Some of my favourite projects are the ones which pull together lots of the things I love. Last year I worked as a Community Engagement Officer for The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, and found myself in the lucky position of concocting one such project.
‘Help for Hedgehogs’ is a Heritage Lottery Fund funded project, focusing on Hedgehog habitats and activity in and around the beautiful Brandwood End Cemetery in South Birmingham. The Friends of Brandwood End Cemetery have worked incredibly hard over the years to develop and celebrate the Cemetery, but wanted to focus on practical steps that they could take to support wildlife in the area.
The result is a project which involves conservation work such as creating bug hotels and hedgehog homes, alongside small mammal surveying, art and craft activities, informative talks, knowledge sharing, school workshops and, naturally, community film making. Emma Sargent from The Wildlife Trust has been working alongside some of Birmingham’s Park Rangers to deliver some really exciting, hands on learning.
I have been working with pupils at two local schools – St Albans and Woodthorpe Primary – to document the project. Starting from basic film-making workshops, the pupils then went on to film on location whilst their classmates built bug hotels and hedgehog homes. It always astounds me the speed of the transition between kids nervously approaching a tripod to taking responsibility for directing a shoot! Some members of the crew conducted interviews and presented to camera.
We hope that the final film will carry key messages around what people can do to encourage hedgehogs, a rapidly declining species, into their gardens. The three key messages are:
- Leave areas wild to create spaces for hedgehogs to hibernate
- Encourage tasty bugs into your garden by leaving log piles or making bug hotels
- Cut holes in fences to allow hedgehogs to travel safely between gardens – they travel around 2km per night!
To help The Wildlife Trust map out hedgehog activity there is now an online tool to report sitings. I’m quite chuffed that my parents have recently been able to record a live siting in North Walsall! Go to http://www.bbcwildlife.org.uk/hedgehogsighting and record any ‘hog siting’!
The film will be screened in early June – more details to follow nearer the time!