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News article

Gold Award for wildlife preservation work at York St John University  

Published: 02 February 2023

  •   Featured
  •   Campus & Estates
A hedgehog walking through grass

The University has been awarded Gold in the Hedgehog Friendly Campus scheme.

They may be cute, prickly and photogenic but despite public affection for them, hedgehogs are facing an ecological emergency in the UK. 

The creatures are considered vulnerable to extinction in Britain, due to habitat loss, development, roads and garden hazards. There are now thought to be fewer than one million hedgehogs left here. 

Hedgehog Friendly Campus is an innovative programme run by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, to help halt their decline.  

York St John University has been a part of the scheme since 2019, earning Silver status in February 2022. Now the years of hard work from staff and students has paid off and we’re delighted to announce that the University has achieved Gold. 

The York St John Grounds team and Sustainability team have led the work, supported by volunteers from across the University. This includes: 

  • carrying out hedgehog surveys at Lord Mayor’s Walk and at the York St John University Sports Park 
  • building hedgehog houses 
  • setting up feeding station and water bowls 
  • maintaining brush piles for shelter 
  • establishing wildflower meadows 
  • organising a student and staff litter pick 
  • cutting harmful pesticides  

Julia Dyman, Energy and Environmental Projects Officer, said: “We are all proud of the hard work that has led to this award for the University, and that we are playing a significant role in supporting the hedgehog population in the local area.  

“Hedgehog numbers have been on the decline in Britain over the past few decades, but there is hope. Surprisingly, hedgehog populations in urban areas seem to be increasing, possibly due to the prevalence of gardens and green spaces, as well as conservation actions by humans.” 

Chey Salisbury, Groundskeeper, said: “Supporting wildlife and keeping a green campus is really important to us so it’s great to see that the work is paying off for the hedgehogs. Tracking tunnel surveys have found evidence of them at both Lord Mayor’s Walk and our Sports Park. We’ll start these again in the spring when hedgehogs re-emerge from hibernation. 

“Since they’re nocturnal, they’re not easy to spot unless you are out in the early morning. If you do see one out during the daytime, they may be ill or injured so please contact us at .” 

Achieving the award doesn’t mean that the hedgehog projects on campus are complete. Work continues to improve habitats, monitor numbers and spread the message about hedgehog preservation. Staff and students are also invited to join hedgehog house-building workshops, hosted by the Grounds team. 

Alongside this, there is an upcoming lecture “Helping Hedgehogs in the UK with Toni Bunnell’ which will discuss their decline and what people can do to help. The public event will be held in De Grey Lecture Theatre, bookable via Eventbrite 

Contact us

Communications team

York St John University, Lord Mayors Walk, York, YO31 7EX

01904 876 466

To contact us out of hours, phone 07812 365 499