Student environmental hero nominated for national award

A passionate student advocate for animals and the environment has been named as a finalist for a national award.

Lyndon Howson, who is in his final year studying for a degree in Zoology at the University of Chester, has been shortlisted for a Mammal Champions award.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the Mammal Society this new annual award has been launched to recognise those who give up their time and energy to work for a brighter future for British mammals.

Lyndon, 26, from Grange-over-Sands, has been nominated for his outstanding dedication and leadership in volunteering as project coordinator for the student-led project Hedgehog Friendly Campus Project at the University of Chester. Over the past 18 months, Lyndon, alongside his fellow student project coordinator, has transformed the initiative from a small team of seven volunteers to an impressive force of over 170 individuals.

With support from staff in the Volunteering Team and Biological Sciences, he has organised and facilitated various activities, such as camera trapping surveys, hedgehog tunnels, habitat management, and meadow planting, fostering an engaged and passionate community of volunteers. Lyndon’s efforts as a coordinator on the project have not only invigorated the volunteer base but have also resulted in a substantial increase in the hedgehog population on campus. The numbers grew from zero to eight, with three hoglets born last year.

Beyond the University, Lyndon has tirelessly worked to expand the project’s reach, actively participating in events like Chester Zoo’s Wildlife Connections Festival, where he engaged with over 4,000 members of the public, spreading awareness about hedgehog conservation and offering valuable information through fact sheets.

His commitment extends to educational forums, as evidenced by his talk at the HOBY (Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership) Youth Leadership Summit UK and a bug house building workshop, ensuring that knowledge and enthusiasm for hedgehog conservation spread further.

Collaborating with Chester Zoo Network for Nature, Lyndon has broadened the scope of volunteer opportunities and consistently participates in habitat- enhancing initiatives in the surrounding area. He has also been instrumental in fostering a holistic approach to wildlife conservation, evident in the support provided to other species, such as badgers and a breeding pair of foxes.

Lyndon’s advocacy goes beyond local efforts, as he has addressed global audiences, delivering a speech at Buckingham Palace emphasising the importance of hedgehog conservation. Lyndon said, “I feel so lucky to have been nominated. To have been recognised for my commitment and work with Hedgehogs means so much to me.”

Jo Morison, Volunteer and Mentoring Manager at the University, said, “We are absolutely thrilled that Lyndon has been shortlisted for this award. His passion and dedication in making the world a better place for animals is infectious and we are so proud of all he has achieved. Good luck Lyndon!”

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