Willows Hedgehog Rescue
Schools Wildlife Garden Project.
However we firmly believe that the rescue and rehabilitation is only a small part of the story and it is certainly only part of the future of our native European Hedgehog. Many changes in the wider countryside & in our towns and cities has pushed a lot of our wildlife to clinging on for survival. The hedgehog is just one of the many species to find itself in massive decline.
There have to be massive changes to the way we approach our use and appreciation of the planets natural resources in order for our native fauna and flora to survive. Many of these changes have to be on a national and indeed global scale and it can seem hard to see what impact an individual can have. However everyone can make changes on the most basic of levels by gardening for nature and by taking interest and responsiblity for the natural world around them.
We want everyone to get involved with wildlife and the natural world and especially important to us is to get children involved and passionate about nature. The passionate children of today are the adults able to influence the policy makers of tomorrow, indeed some of them may become the policy makers of tomorrow.
To this end we want to encourage schools to provide habitat for wildlife and the opportunity for children to get close to the natural world and as a result we are launching our Willows Schools Wildlife Garden Projects competition.
The rescue unit is totally self funded and we rely on fundraising and donations to cover the costs of the daily running which runs into many thousands of pounds a year. One important awareness and fundraising period for us is Hedgehog Awareness Week which runs in May each year. This year we took our roadshow to six events over the week and with good weather on our side we had a very successful week. In recognition of this we decided to launch our Schools Wildlife Gardens Project and to give back some of the support we received back into the community.
- Teaching children how all life is dependent on its environment & other species, including us.
- Reconnecting children with nature in an increasingly electronic & urbanised world.
- Showing how a difference can be made in even a small space.
- Promoting working together to achieve a measurable goal, a wildlife garden showing positive results even after a short time. So it is a positive experience.
- Instilling a nurturing attitude.
- Allowing those who may struggle in the classroom to achieve outside the classroom.
It also becomes a legacy for future students to take care of and expand as well as providing much needed habitat for our native wildlife. Hopefully the children will also take the ideas away with them and carry them over into their own gardens at home and even become involved with conservation as they grow older.
We have now received all applications and we have chosen the winning school for 2013.
It was a very hard descision to make as the applications were of such a high standard and we would like to thank teachers and children alike for their brilliant answers and for taking part.
We have chosen a winner where we feel our support for the schools wildlife garden will have the most benefit to the school and pupils. The winning school will receive the items listed below as well as receiving a talk by us & assistance with the wildlife garden.
The winning school is St Georges CE First School in Redditch.
We chose St Georges for a number of reasons and not least because they are in a very urban part of Redditch where many of the children do not have access to gardens at home or immediate access to green spaces in the near vicinity.
The applying member of staff Debbie Luck has spent a lot of her own time in trying to improve the schools grounds with vegetable plots, a small forest schools area and tree planting on a budget of more or less zero. Debbie has achieved a lot given the circumstances and we felt that the school and its pupils deserved as much as we could give them to create a green space that will encourage children to get out into the natural world. The children also hand wrote some fabulous answers to the questions we asked pupils to answer in the competition and they should be very proud of themselves as the effort & thought put in secured the prize for their school.
We visited the school today (18th of July 2013), a visit that was secretly arranged with the head teacher without the knowledge of Debbie or the children, in fact they had no idea that they had won. Jayne, a reporter from a local newspaper and I went along & presented a certificate to the children along with telling them exactly what they had won and why. Three of the children who took the time to write down answers on the application then had the opportunity to have their photograph taken with Higgy (our hedgehog mascot), Jayne, Debbie and me for an article which will be going in the newspaper.
Jayne and I then had the opportunity to have a short guided walk around the present forest schools area and areas where it is envisioned that the new wildlife areas will go before I had to get back to feed a lot of very hungry hoglets.
The project will kick off as soon as the children return to school after the summer holidays, so the autumn term will be a busy time for us and the children who will start designing how they would like the areas to be.
Once again, well done to the children- we look forward to seeing the wildlife areas become a reality and we will post updates on here as the wildlife project progresses.
We have also managed to gain enough support to provide bird food / feeders & hedgehog food / feeding station to a runner up. All other schools will receive a free educational visit from myself. We have also been in discussion with various organisations and we are hoping that we will be able to repeat this competition in 2014 and beyond.
We are inviting schools to apply to take part in the competition by no later than the 7th June 2013 by emailing email@example.com with the subject title "Willows Wildlife Corner" and to include the school, location and the age range of the children taking part in the school’s wildlife garden project.
We will then from the second week of June send out the application packs for schools to complete and return to us. Dates of return of the pack and our decision will be announced at a future date.
The winning school will receive:
- Hedgehog home. (Willows Hedgehog Rescue, hand made by supporter)
- Hedgehog feeding station. (Donated by supporter)
- 10kg of Hedgehog Food. (Willows hedgehog Rescue)
- Spikes Hedgehog Food. (Spikes World)
- Bill Oddies Birdfood. (Bill Oddie Birdfood)
- £125 towards planting. (Willows Hedgehog Rescue)
- £75 towards planting. (Burcot Garden Centre)
- Advice on planting. (Burcot Garden Centre)
- Bird Feeders. (Willows Hedgehog Rescue & Bill Oddies Birdfood)
- Wild bird food. (Willows Hedgehog Rescue)
- Bat box. (Willows Hedgehog Rescue)
- Number of bug hotels (lovingly made by Jayne - Willows Hedgehog Rescue & Megan - supporter)
- Selection of wildlife gardening & British wildlife books. (Willows Hedgehog Rescue)
- Hedgehog & Wildlife Talk. (Charlie - Willows Hedgehog Rescue)
- School visit to assist with wildlife garden. (Jayne & Charlie -Willows Hedgehog Rescue)
- Meadow in my Garden seed mix of 21 annual flowering species.
- Additonal items to be confirmed depending from supporting suppliers.
Also wish to thank, Spikes World, Ark Wildlife, Bills Bird Food, Meadow in my Garden for coming on board with additional items- to be announced.
We will also visit the school to talk about the work we do and to advise on the wildlife garden.
The competition is open to schools in North Worcestershire & South Birmingham the area we cover as a rescue centre.
Hopefully this is only the first competition of many and we are looking into the feasibility of running the opportunity to win wildlife planting and goodies as an annual event to coincide with Hedgehog Awareness Week.
If you would like further information or are an organisation that would like to support us with this scheme then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would like to see local nurseries, garden centres and suppliers come on board with this project to help us make a difference.