during Hedgehog Awareness Week
Dunbar Pledgehog Project is asking everyone to make their gardens or outdoor spaces a haven for hedgehogs this week. National Hedgehog Awareness week runs from Sunday 30th April to Saturday 6th May and has been organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society to highlight the problems that hedgehogs face and how we can help them.
Jen Walker, Dunbar Pledgehog Officer says, ‘Hedgehogs are endangered and require our help to survive. They need people to provide them with better access throughout East Lothian towns and villages and make more hedgehog friendly choices when gardening or managing outdoor spaces.’
The Dunbar Pledgehog Project is being run by Sustaining Dunbar throughout 2023 and aims to connect both hedgehogs and people thanks to funding from the Dunbar and East Linton Area Partnership.
Jen continues, ‘We tend to forget about hedgehogs during the spring and summer months, but this is when they perhaps need our help the most as it’s when they’re breeding. Having enough natural food, fresh water and safe places to nest or shelter are essential for both adult hedgehogs and their young hoglets to thrive.’
In 2020, hedgehogs were put on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as vulnerable to extinction in Great Britain.
‘Small things can make a big difference, as each hedgehog needs a network of gardens. Research shows that they visit around eight gardens and travel about a mile each night. Having a gap of around 13 cm square will allow them access to your garden and anything you can do on top of that is a bonus. Leaving out a heavy shallow dish of water or allowing some grass to grow a bit longer are an excellent starting point. If you feel more adventurous then piling up leaves, logs or branches in a quiet, shady corner, sowing some wildflowers, planting a hedge or getting a hedgehog house will be of real benefit’ says Jen.
If you live in Dunbar, the Dunbar Pledgehog Project is also asking local residents to make a ‘pledge’ to do something to help our spiky friends by visiting www.sustainingdunbar.org/projects/the-pledgehog-project. You can also try and find out if you have a hedgehog visiting your garden by borrowing a night-time trail camera for free thanks to funding from Dunbar Community Council’s ‘Community Benefit Fund.
If you manage to see any hedgehogs (alive or dead) please also plot them on the Big Hedgehog Map (bighedgehogmap.org) which is run by Hedgehog Street, a joint initiative between the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species.
If you are looking for plants to make your garden better for hedgehogs and other wildlife, then why not come along to a Seedling Swap at the Belhaven Community Garden on Saturday 13th May from 1-4pm. There will be young plants to swap or buy, tours of the garden and a bake sale and refreshments.
Finally, as a celebration of National Hedgehog Awareness Week, Dunbar Garden Centre are offering 25% off their hedgehog products from Sunday 30th April to Sunday 7th May and Jen Walker, Dunbar Pledgehog Officer will be there on Sunday 7th May from 11 am to 4 pm to provide information and advice about encouraging hedgehogs to your garden. She would love you to come along and chat. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.