We started the morning by checking three hedgehog tunnels that we had placed around the school grounds the night before, as well as a wildlife camera stealthily placed in one of the wildlife areas. Whilst one footprint tunnel contained just one single fat slug, we were very pleased to find one of the tunnels had hedgehog footprints and another had lots of small rodent footprints!
Sidegate school hedgehog monitoring
Unfortunately no hedgehogs were picked up on the camera (just a lot of swaying grass!), but Ed Boyle, Ipswich Wildlife Ranger, did find a frog and lots of tadpoles in the school pond whilst we were checking the footage. After a quick break we headed out to the edges of the school field loaded with bug pots, sweep nets and identification guides, to see what bugs we could find as part of the Great Bug Hunt primary school competition.
Off the children went in pairs lifting up logs, rocks, sweeping nets along the hedges and rummaging around the grass to see what they could find. We had a good look at lots of spiders, woodlice, beetles and bees, before it was time for lunch, and the end of our wildlife session for the day.
The footprint tunnels stayed at the school so that students could continue to monitor the fields for hedgehogs, and just last week I learnt that they detected hedgehogs in all three corners of the school grounds. The grounds team will soon to be installing extra Hedgehog Highways too, so fingers crossed the school will continue to have visiting hedgehogs for future wildlife ambassadors to monitor too! If you are based in Ipswich and would like to monitor your garden or local green space for hedgehogs with our footprint tunnels, get in touch!