Show garden will demonstrate how neighbours can join forces and link their gardens to save an iconic British species
Hedgehog Street, a collaboration between two wildlife charities, People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS), plans to raise awareness about one of our most endangered mammals by showcasing a garden at the WI Centennial Fair in Harrogate from 3–6 September.
The garden has been designed by award-winning garden designer, Tracy Foster, who last year built a Hedgehog Street show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, winning a Gold Medal and the People’s Choice Award in the summer garden category.
This year, a Hedgehog Street garden will be one of the highlights at the WI Centennial Fair, demonstrating how neighbours can co-operate with each other in order to boost numbers of our much loved, prickly garden-resident. The show garden will demonstrate three distinctively different styles of garden from a working garden with a potting shed belonging to a family with small children; to an outdoor living room space owned by an older couple whose children no longer live at home; and to a contemporary garden with a hedgehog-friendly water feature. Crucially, all will be linked by hedgehog highways with CD-case size holes interconnecting the adjoining gardens and all will display a range of hedgehog-friendly features.
Tracy says, ‘We are so excited to be part of the WI Centennial Fair this year. You can expect to see how neighbours can come together to help reverse the alarming decline in hedgehog numbers. We want to show visitors how they can use the space they have, whether small or large, to help our hedgehogs, whilst also creating a unique garden that works for them’.
Our native hedgehog numbers have dropped by a third over the past 10 years. Hedgehogs need to be able to access many different gardens to survive as they range over huge areas, travelling about a mile each night in search of food or a mate. With the loss of hedgerows in the UK, and a growing number of garden owners enclosing their gardens with panel fencing or similar barriers, hedgehogs are finding it increasingly difficult to survive.
Henry Johnson, Hedgehog Officer from PTES concludes, ‘Over the last four years Hedgehog Street has recruited over 34,000 Hedgehog Champions to open up their gardens to ‘hogs, and we need to engage tens of thousands more. A future without hedgehogs in Britain is unthinkable and the WI garden will show just how easy it is to help them, and how attractive the results can be. Our simple message is calling all gardeners to make a CD-case sized hole in your fence and recruit your neighbours to do the same.’
To become a hedgehog champion visit www.hedgehogstreet.org
For further information, interview requests, or images please call Jake Baker or Susannah Penn at Firebird PR on 01235 835297 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
PTES is a UK conservation charity created in 1977 to ensure a future for endangered species throughout the world. Working to protect some of our most threatened wildlife species and habitats, it provides practical conservation support through funding research and internships; providing grant-aid for world-wide and native mammals species conservation; supporting education, training and outreach programmes; and driving public participation via wildlife monitoring surveys, publications, campaigns and events. Priority species and habitats include hazel dormice, hedgehogs, water voles, noble chafer and stag beetles and traditional orchards and native woodlands.
BHPS is a UK charity founded in 1982 dedicated to helping & protecting hedgehogs native to the UK. They run a helpline offering advice on caring for & encouraging hedgehogs in the wild and in gardens. They aim to educate the public on how best to help hedgehogs and fund research into the behavioural habits of hedgehogs to ascertain the best methods of assisting their survival.
Visit www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk for more information on BHPS or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
About Hedgehog Street
Wildlife charities PTES and BHPS launched Hedgehog Street in June 2011 to encourage hedgehog conservation action at a local community or neighbourhood level. Over 34,000 volunteer “Hedgehog Champions” up and down the country have registered to help to date and the campaign is ongoing, but we still need your help to make a difference. www.hedgehogstreet.org
An independent study (The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs) commissioned by PTES and BHPS from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) in September 2010 established clear scientific evidence of the decline in hedgehog populations across the UK. In 2013, PTES also published a long-term trend analysis based on their Living with Mammals and Mammals on Roads surveys which showed that hedgehog populations have plummeted by over a third in the last ten years.
The reasons for the decline in UK hedgehog numbers are complex, but are thought to be associated with the loss of hedgerows and permanent grasslands; the intensification of agriculture and larger field sizes; and the use of pesticides which reduce the amount of prey available. Urban and suburban areas are becoming increasingly important for hedgehogs, but the move towards tidy, sterile gardens isolated from one another by impermeable boundaries has also contributed to their demise.
A range of academic research projects, funded by PTES and BHPS, also aim to further scientific understanding about the causes for the decline in hedgehog numbers and most importantly what can be done to reverse this threat to this iconic species.
The hedgehog was voted as Britain’s National Species in a 2013 BBC Wildlife poll.
About WI Centennial Fair
WI Centennial Fair is open to members and non-members. The event is taking place at the Harrogate International Centre from 3-6 September 2015. It offers visitors the opportunity to sample great food and drink, as well as a chance to take part in over 150 seminars and workshops.