Hedgehog Awareness Week – Introducing Thornback
Ayup! Did you know that it’s Hedgehog Awareness Week 2015?
It is! From the 3rd to 9th of May, the humble hedgepig is being celebrated, primarily by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk).
To directly quote them, this year efforts are focussed on gardeners – there is so much that gardeners can do to help the hedgehog, very simple things like:
- Ensuring there is access into the garden (all that is needed is 5” square gap).
- Checking areas before strimming or mowing.
- Moving piles of rubbish to a new site before burning it.
- Ensuring netting is kept at a safe height.
- Checking compost heaps before digging the fork in.
- Stopping or reducing the amount of pesticides and poisons used.
- Covering drains or deep holes.
- Ensuring there is an easy route out of ponds and pools.
Not all of us have gardens, or gardens that connect in any way, shape or form to the wider world of nature, but we can still spread the word. Hedgehogs are a wonderful part of British wildlife and need a helping hand.
The BHS have already reached their target of £1,000 and are hoping to raise that to £2,000 during Hedgehog Awareness Week 2015. Texting HHAW50 £5 to 70070 will donate £5 to this appeal. (You can change amount to £1, £2, £3, £4, or £10 to donate those amounts).
Why? Because, dear reader, there was an estimated Hedgehog population of perhaps 30 million in the 1950s. By 1995, the population was estimated to be only about 1.5 million.
I have a soft spot for the humble hedgey, or as I like to think of him, the land urchin. Like me, he’s gentle but prickly.
Nerdy etymological fact explaining what I just said: Sea Urchins are indeed named after hedgehogs, for Urchin is one of their many archaic names. Funny right? With the name passing out of common use, the ‘sea’ prefix becomes somewhat redundant.
But wait! There’s a further reason why this has earned my attention this week. It coincides nicely with a chance to share with you some content from my upcoming short story collection. The title will be changing too, but more on that later in May.
Interspersed with the stories are a few select poems of mine and now seems the perfect time to share one of them. It’s called ‘Thornback’ and it’s about my favourite animal… yes, the humble hedgehog. I hope this helps you see these fellows as I do and maybe spurs you onto share, retweet or donate, or do whatever you can to aid Hedgehog Awareness Week.
Thornback, nocturnal sentinel, territorial and never defenceless.
Prickpig, snorting derision, snuffling sergeant of the garden.
Urchin, solitary warrior, armoured in spears to defy all foes.
Bristlebeast, feasting on beetles, bugvore bastard of the hedgerow.
Hedgehog, summer ranger, softness hidden and sharpness shown.
Have a good week and lest I forget, May the 4th be with you!