A group of students from Hope College are working with us to tackle the thorny issue of declining hedgehog numbers by providing the small mammals with purpose-built homes.
As part of their sessions with the Desmond Family Canoe Trail project, they have been putting their woodworking skills to the test and learning all about how they can support the prickly creatures. Over the past four weeks the 16 to 24-year-olds have benefited from the facilities and staff expertise at the One Vision media centre to learn a range of traditional techniques, and now they have eight luxury flats for lucky hedgehogs to move into!
The hedgehog homes are being donated to supporters of Lowton Hedgehog Rescue, so they can provide rehabilitated animals with a place to take shelter in their gardens. They’ll be set up during Hedgehog Awareness Week – run by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society to highlight how people can easily help the small mammals.
Emma Sanford, teacher at Hope College, said: "It was fantastic to see the students coming together and using their enthusiasm and new-found practical skills to help wild hedgehogs in the Wigan area. They learnt a lot about hedgehogs and can’t wait to hear back from the rescue about who moves into the homes."
Vicki Birch, project leader for the Desmond Family Canoe Trail, said: "This initiative is part of our efforts to support wildlife that lives in and near our waterways, and supports the canoe project’s aim of helping young people learn and make friends whilst getting involved with their local community. We’re delighted that the young people got so much out of the sessions and look forward to working with them again."
Irene Thomson, who runs Lowton Hedgehog Rescue, said: "It’s wonderful to see youngsters so passionate about caring for wildlife and we’re really grateful to the students of Hope College for making these hedgehog homes. Spring is a really busy time as hedgehogs are fully active again after coming out of hibernation, so the new homes will get plenty of use."