Hedgehog in the Garden

This week we were surprised by a snorting sound at our Field Study Center de Schelphoek. During a walk around the building, we came across a hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus). The hedgehog was most likely looking for a place to hibernate.

You may expect the hedgehog to sleep through the winter, but this is not the case. Every now and then he wakes up and investigates, for example when his sleeping place is too cold or when there are still enough insects to be found (in warm winters). The hedgehog is a protected species. However, it is sometimes difficult for the animal to find the right place to sleep; think of snail venom, tiles or fences in the garden and a too warm winter.

There are a number of simple ways to give the hedgehog a helping hand:

  • Use as few toxins as possible for pest control. You can possibly poison the hedgehog from the sprays;
  • Do you have a pond? Make a shelf with mesh so that the hedgehog can get out of the water when it falls in (a hedgehog can swim well);
  • The animal needs space, 1 backyard is not enough. Make sure he can walk to the neighbors (for example, an open area in the hedge or fence);
  • Leave the hedgehog’s nest alone in winter. If he gets up earlier in the winter, he may starve because of the scarce food available;
  • TIP: Place a hedgehog house in the garden (basket or old box) or make a house. Like this example from Natuurmonumenten, fun to do and good for nature!

Fieldwork is Doing!

As a foundation, we stand for fieldwork. Why do we think this is important? Students work in groups in which they set up their own research. This is done as follows: students make a research plan, collect data and write a research report or make a presentation. This stimulates their own motivation; they investigate something that they have come up with themselves.

“Postentocht”

Fieldwork is introduced during the “postentocht”, which is conducted at the start of the fieldwork project. At each location there is a supervisor or QR-video who/that shows the fieldwork techniques. The student then practices with the fieldwork materials. During the tour, students learn about abiotic (salt content) and biotic factors (animal species). It also explains what kind of research you can perform and what the best locations are for collecting the data.

Which fieldwork themes do we introduce?

There are several tests that students can perform. Each fieldwork location offers different research opportunities. Nevertheless, there are a number of main themes that are offered at all centers, these are soil, vegetation and water research. Examples of other fieldwork topics are insects, dike, birds, bats, etc.

Are you curious what such a post looks like and how the theme is introduced? Then watch the video below. Kasper, our colleague, shows you how to conduct water research!