Stroud Valley Primary has become the first school in the country to create a conservation area to protect the endangered hedgehog.
As part of a six month project that began on June 1, pupils are aiming to convert 300 gardens across 45 acres of Stroud Trinity ward into their so-called ‘Hedgehog Republic’.
The UK’s hedgehog population has seen a significant fall since the 1950s, during which it has plummeted from around 30million to less than 1million.
It is said to be due to the increased number of traffic on our roads, as well as the increased use of pesticides and loss of hedgerows.
An estimated 150,000 hedgehogs are killed each year by road vehicles alone.
The schoolchildren said that the dramatic decline in hedgehog numbers is so alarming that it has motivated them to do something about it.
“We should all save the hedgehog because otherwise it will go extinct and I would be very sad about that,” said one year four pupil.
One way in which the children hope to help the animal is by introducing ‘hedgehog highways.’
This comprises the introduction of gaps or holes in boundary fences and walls in order to make the hedgehog’s navigation through urban areas easier and, hopefully, avoid the roads.
“We are giving the hedgehogs a highway to travel along which will take them through our neighbourhood gardens, so they don’t get squashed on the road and be able to find more food,” said another year five student.
It seems safe to say that there is a lot being done to help combat the issue by our local schoolchildren, but what can members of the public do to help, we asked the children?
“If you care then you should join the Hedgehog Republic by signing up at our website or attend our free ‘Daisy Day’ for an introduction to hedgehog-friendly practices,” said another year five student.
The school will be introducing hedgehog-friendly gardening practices, with student ambassadors helping residents convert their gardens into hedgehog havens.
Their work is supported by volunteer Stroud engineers who have designed Hi-Tech Hedgehog Feeding Stations which measure the weight and temperature of a hedgehog, determine its identity and even take videos of it.
The live feed will start streaming mid-July via connectionengine.co.uk.
Sarah Heague, Deputy Head at Stroud Valley Primary said, “This is just a fabulous project as students get to solve a real life conservation problem.”
Show your support by signing up at http://www.hedgehogrepublic.org/get-involved
‘Daisy Day’ takes place at Daisy Bank Park on July 6
Follow the project at ‘Hedgehog Republic’ on social media