House for Hedgehogs
Colin Daley (Grandad to Noah)
2020, who would have thought the impact it would have on us all? New phrases like ‘Covid-19’, ‘Furlough’, ‘Lockdown’, ‘The R’, ‘Bubbles’ etc being used more often than I could ever imagine. The rules placed on us by a government struggling to cope with a global pandemic and to trying to safeguard the population and stop the NHS being overwhelmed were perceived by some as negatives, but what about the positives 2020 brought ?
Some of my positives came in an unexpected way, for one my grandchildren being a bigger part of my life than a non-COVID-19 scenario would have allowed for. Having not worked since March as I am self-employed I had lots of time on my hands so I put it to use doing all those jobs around the house that you never seem to get the time for to ordinarily.
Our ‘Bubble’ consisted of Noah (2yrs) and Amélie (9mths) and with the help of their Nana we helped look after them. In relation to my jobs I had the best helper a Grandad could have, his two-year-old Grandson Noah.
Noah loves being outside and during the summer months would love to go to the coast or woods for walks and into the garden to help weed and he would help pick fruit and vegetables, although a lot of the Strawberries and Raspberries this year never made it to the table.
I would point out to Noah all the different plants, birds and insects and he had no qualms about handling worms, he enjoyed being shown all aspects of nature.
As the weather turned from Summer into Autumn and the trees were losing their leaves, Noah loved running through them and throwing them around, he also liked to kick the soil in the mole hill mounds with his favourite Yellow Wellies on. He would help me collect the soil in the wheelbarrow and take it to the vegetable beds and put all the garden waste into piles for compost.
This is when I told Noah about hedgehogs and how they would find shelter in wood piles and openings in walls and how they came out at night and slept through the day and that they needed to have shelters to hide or even live in as they were becoming endangered , not that he knew what that meant, this is when I decided we would build a ‘Hedgehog House’ together.
I had some old bricks and a piece of Yorkshire stone that I could use so together we loaded up the wheelbarrow and brought them over to a secluded part of the garden, I had seen a TV program some months earlier about hedgehogs and building shelters for them so I put this to use in our design.
We picked a secluded part of the garden where I had previously seen an hedgehog foraging on a night time and I instructed Noah where to put the bricks and explained why it was important to help keep the weather out and he dragged them into place, when we were happy with the base I lifted the Yorkshire stone onto the base to cover the shelter. Noah was very pleased with his handy work and proudly posed for a photograph stood on top of his ‘Hedgehog House’.
Helping to educate Noah about looking out for nature and protecting the environment is a really rewarding experience, he will hopefully carry these values forward and in turn pass this knowledge on both in his adult life and to his own children ensuring that people realise how wonderful nature can be and why it needs protecting before we make it disappear through exploitation.
Having had the time through Covid-19 being around has made me realise how important our environment and nature is both for taking pleasure from and helping with our mental wellbeing and people should learn from this pandemic how important it is to have nature and a thriving environment to take pleasure from.