A zoology student from Grange-over-Sands has been shortlisted for the national 'Mammal Champions' award for his volunteer work and advocacy for British mammals.

Lyndon Howson, a 26-year-old student at the University of Chester, showed his dedication to animal welfare through his role as project coordinator for the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Project at the university.

Mr Howson 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."

Since stepping into the role 18 months ago, Mr Howson has grown the project from a team of seven to a group of more than 170 volunteers.

Alongside support from staff in the Volunteering Team and Biological Sciences, he organised activities such as such as camera trapping surveys, hedgehog tunnels, habitat management, and meadow planting, fostering an engaged and passionate community of volunteers.

This not only increased volunteer engagement within the project, but also resulted in a rise in the campus hedgehog population from zero to eight, including three hoglets born last year.

Mr Howson delivered a speech at Buckingham Palace stressing the importance of hedgehog conservation.

He also participated in events like Chester Zoo's Wildlife Connections Festival, where he engaged with the wider community to spread awareness about hedgehog conservation.

He has also actively participated in outreach events such as the Chester Zoo's Wildlife Connections Festival, where he interacted with more than 4,000 visitors.

Mr Howson's educational activities also include talks at the HOBY Youth Leadership Summit UK and a bug house building workshop to spread further knowledge and enthusiasm for hedgehog conservation.

Partnering with the Chester Zoo Network for Nature, he has expanded the range of volunteer opportunities and consistently supports habitat-enhancing initiatives in the area.

A strong advocate for a holistic approach to wildlife conservation, he supports other species like badgers and a breeding pair of foxes.

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."