A rural village school has received a handwritten letter from inspirational naturalist and pioneer, Sir David Attenbrough, wishing them well in their mission to be hedgehog friendly.
Baldersby St James Church of England Primary School in the tiny North Yorkshire village of Baldersby St James is one of just 20 primary schools across the UK to be part of a national project called the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Scheme.
The scheme, managed by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society aims to educate adults and children about the importance of saving the hedgehog as a native species and facilitate schools, colleges and universities to make their grounds more hedgehog friendly.
The 22 pupils at Baldersby St James were so proud of their work that one of the school team wrote to Sir David to tell him about what the children were doing to help the hog population. They were delighted to receive a handwritten response from the famous broadcaster.
Schools, colleges and universities can work towards accreditation at Bronze, Silver or Gold level and despite Baldersby St James being a small school, staff and pupils have already achieved a phenomenal amount for their prickly friends. Beginning with making posters to educate people about the correct food and water for hedgehogs and sending letters to their grounds staff asking them to take care when strimming, they then learned how to make hedgehog feeding stations, nesting boxes and hedgehog houses and are now allowing the grass in their school orchard to grow long to provide the conditions which hedgehogs need.
Headteacher at Baldersby st James, Steff Brown said “We heard about the scheme through my daughter who studied at Lincoln University and as our school is in such green surroundings, I thought we had the perfect place for hedgehogs to flourish – and of course the children were super-excited to get involved!
“We were lucky enough to have a visit and educational talk from Jackie and Pete from the Nidderdale Hedgehog Appreciation Prickly Pals Yorkshire (HAPPY) Rescue Centre and they talked to us about their rescue work and donated a hedgehog house to the school.
“One of our Year 1 boys, Will Muir, made buns as part of a challenge from his Beaver group, brought them to school and the children and staff all made a donation to go towards saving the hedgehogs. Will raised £15.40 which he decided to donate to HAPPY.
Will said “We decided to give the money raised from my buns to HAPPY as we heard how much money they need to run the HAPPY centre, we asked if we could help to raise more money for them as we all really want to help the hedgehogs be around when we are grown up. The best bit so far has been getting a letter from David Attenbrough!”
The school, which is one of ten schools in the Hope Learning Trust, is currently working towards Bronze and Silver accreditation, which it hopes to secure in the next 6 months.
Further information about the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Scheme can be found at https://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/