Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

22-02-2022: Going for gold with the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Scheme

Its always good to get a post out on a Palindrome and Ambigram date! - so we're using this as our day to give you a hogtastic update :)

In 2020 during the height of lockdown Kingston University joined the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Initiative with our team – the KU Hoglets. 

It’s been a really busy 1.5 years since joining and we recently had the great news that we had achieved our Silver Award for the work undertaken both directly because of this project but also due to wider biodiversity work that we have been doing for some time which falls within the scope of the scheme.  

As we start Going for Gold this year, we wanted to give you all an update on some of work to date on the project. 

Back in 2020 out team decided to concentrate on three main strands of work that focused on data, education and behaviour change and communications.  

The following table highlights some of the work that we’ve done under those strands over the last two years to reach silver. 

Initiative 1: better data 

Single survey in 2020 at Seething Wells Campus

Full Surveys of all our sites at the start and end of the survey season in 2021

Initiative 2: Education and behaviour change 

GM team stickers litter picks hedgehog first aid training

Litter picks of green spaces via green impact. Work to audit and reduce unnecessary rodenticide use on one campus

Initiative 3: Communications

Hosting hedgehog talks at the Kingston Biodiversity Network Meeting, social media and interactive poster campaign (10 things)

Fundraising schemes, information points,

 Initiative 1: better data 

When we did our surveys with footprint tunnels, we didn’t find any signs of hedgehogs on our sites, but we did find the following. 

By in large, we found that while slugs and some snails love hedgehog food, most of the food that was taken was by small rodents (based on footprint size) with the likely suspects listed based on past surveys) as well as foxes. We found no signs of hedgehogs which while disappointing does seem to correspond with the habitats and their connectivity on most of our sites. But the survey findings are still useful to us, as it shows what species are using our sites as their homes and allows us to make more informed management decisions where needed. 

While a long shot on a few of our sites, because of the existing ecology; we had hoped to see them Kingston Hill, Roehampton Vale, Tolworth Court, Clayhills and Seething Wells. These sites have existing habitat connectivity to wider sites, have habitats on site that can support hedgehogs and some are close to records found on the big hedgehog map as shown below (from screenshots taken in 2020) from the

For in 2021 we surveyed our sites twice, once at the start of the season and once at the end, so we are confident of most of the results except those from Middle Mill where we unfortunately had human interference with the tunnels. But given Middle Mill’s location, we don’t think we’ve missed signs of hedgehogs despite this lack of confidence. 

In terms of maintaining the work and working towards our gold award, we will be re-surveying some of the sites above this year and also looking to assist a site external to the University do a survey of their site too. Thus working to continue to improve the data around where we still have hedgehogs in the area. Get in touch if you would like to take part in the surveys. 

Long term the footprint tunnel surveys are ones that we will look to undertake every few years at select sites as part of our range of wildlife surveys. This will help to see if the situation changes  and hedgehogs colonise our sites (fingers and toes crossed). 

Have you checked out the ? If you have and you know that you have seen hedgehogs on sites which aren't shown on the map - get reporting and recording!

Your records will help by supporting more informed local conservation work and allowing local people to talk to each other and implement a local hedgehog street scheme etc.  

Initiative 2: Education and behaviour change

In 2020 we started by getting our grounds team who manage KU sites trained up on managing habitats safely for hedgehogs and first aid for hedgehogs. 

We got the teams stickers to add to their equipment to remind them on what to check for  before starting work. 

Most of our work over the last two years has been around litter –  trying to teach people the true impacts of litter so that we all start taking more responsibility and stopping the impacts on wildlife.

It seems to be one of the banes of human existence that we seem to be programmed to be lazy about getting rid of our waste properly, let alone reusing valuable resources such as plastic or paper by recycling to minimise raw materials being used to make new stuff.

As well as taking part in the The Big Hog-Friendly Lockdown Litter Pick Challenge in 2020 (see that and other information on HFC here and doing mini litter picks on sites during any biodiversity event; we worked to get litter picks added to our Green Impact Scheme that the whole university has been taking part in in 2021 – teams adopting a site to do regular litter picks in that area. We had four different teams at the university undertake over 12 litter picks as reported on the main Green Impact Scheme including the Finance teams GI team.

We’ve also had really great engagement from individual volunteers with this including (Jai from @hinchleywschool) who is a Duke of Edinburgh Student who wanted to help us help wildlife by tackling the litter issue and has been great helping us in our woodland at Kingston Hill, including getting his  family litter picking in the woodland on Christmas day!!

Litter is still one of the biggest issues facing wildlife on our sites so this will be continuing in the 2022 Green Impact Scheme so why not help us by adopting a green space and helping us keep the litter out of the area that wildlife uses?

Also if you are interested in running a litter scheme to help wildlife as a student – this is definitely something that would make the biggest difference. Especially if you live in one of our halls, as the issue around litter falling out of windows around all of the halls, straight into our woodland and river side habitats is still a big issue that we are facing. 

Initiative 3: Communication

Our work around communication started with hosting a public talk to the Kingston Biodiversity Network, where Jo Wilkinson from the HFC team gave a talk around hedgehogs ecology touching on first aid too. 

We then ran a communication campaign in the 2020 award period, working with the KU Hoglets creating an interactive poster campaign we tried to flood the interest with information around 10 things that people could do for hedgehogs and getting them to share that information as far and wide as possible. 

Continuing to use this poster to promote the 10 things that people can do in our communication work in 2021. 

We also set up information points with leaflets about hedgehogs in a couple of locations and did some fundraising to get donations to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. We absolutely didn't use this as an excuse to make fun hoggie biscuits to eat them ;)

We will continue with both of these endeavours in 2022. If your office/school/business can host an information point with information like this, get in touch and we can help organise leaflets for you via KUHoglets. 

Interested in helping us raise money this year? With bake or craft sales? Get in touch and let us know what your ideas and we can see if we can get it off the ground. 

If you would like to join the KUHoglets email and we can invite you to the next meeting as we start going for gold in 2022!

til next time

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