A PASSIONATE student advocate for wildlife has been recognised with a national award. 

Lyndon Howson, who is in his final year studying for a degree in Zoology, has won the Mammal Champions award.

It is in recognition of his outstanding dedication and leadership in volunteering as project coordinator for the student-led project Hedgehog Friendly Campus Project at the University of Chester.    

It’s a week of success for Lyndon who has also been selected by Universities UK (UUK) to feature as one of its 100 Faces campaign which aims to champion and celebrate the positive impact of ‘first-in-the-family' students and graduates in the UK.

Lyndon has been highlighted in the category of Science and Healthcare Pioneers for his commitment to wildlife. 

To mark the 70th anniversary of the Mammal Society the 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, 27, from Grange-over-Sands, has been recognised for his outstanding dedication and leadership in volunteering as project coordinator for the student-led project Hedgehog Friendly Campus Project at the University.  

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, who have registered their interest in helping hedgehogs.

Hedgehog Friendly Campus is a national accreditation programme funded in part by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and delivered by Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK). 

With support from staff in the Volunteering Team and the School of Natural 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.  

Beyond his work with wildlife, Lyndon has also spoken at Buckingham Palace about his journey with the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) awards.

His speech covered how he became a councillor in his hometown at the age of 20; his role with the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Project and how the DofE awards helped him focus during a battle with cancer.

He found out he was in remission a week before receiving his invitation to speak at the DofE awards in May 2023. 

Lyndon said: “Being recognised by the Mammal Society, an organisation I've looked to for inspiration as I embark on my career in mammal conservation, is truly inspiring. This award will serve as a beacon of inspiration, as I continue with my dedication to mammal conservation efforts. 

“I’m also so pleased to be part of the UUK 100 Faces campaign. University has been an amazing experience for me in providing so many opportunities to grow and develop.”