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Hedgehogs on Chilliwack UFV campus symbols of peace

Two of the steel structures are on display, expressions of solidarity with the people of Ukraine
Ian Lees (left) and Josh McKenzie (right) with the ‘Hedgehog’ they created, which has been placed near the main entrance to the Chilliwack UFV campus. (Anne Russell/UFV)

UFV instructors and students are using a symbol of war as a symbol of peace and solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

Maciej Kaczor and Matt Olafson, UFV faculty members, have created a ‘Hedgehog’ that can be seen at the edge of the Chilliwack campus near Vedder Park. A second one, created by welding students Ian Lees and Josh McKenzie, sits near the main entrance to the Chilliwack campus.

What is a hedgehog?

In nature, they‘re cute little critters with spiny bodies. In war, hedgehog are spiky metal structures that hold invading tanks at bay.

The latter is inspired by the former, with both using spines/spikes as a defensive measure.

“The idea is to deny mobility to the enemy while defending your turf,” Kaczor said in a chat with Anne Russell, UFV’s Media and Communications Manager.

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Kaczor and Olafson saw the hedgehog as the perfect symbol for the war in Ukraine, with the beleaguered Ukrainians defending their homeland against Russian invaders. Kaczor, a program technician in UFV’s Faculty of Applied and Technical Studies, originally hails from Poland and said the conflict has weighed heavily on him.

“I have friends from Ukraine, and they are now fighting to save their country,” he said.

Olafson, a welding instructor, worked with Kaczor to create the first hedgehog, which is mounted on top of a map of Ukraine. The words End War can be seen on top along with a Ukrainian symbol.

They challenged beginner-level students in UFV’s Welding Foundation program to make another, and Lees and McKenzie stepped up.

“It was one of our first projects and an introduction to what we’ll be doing in the field,” says Lees. “It was a difficult project technically, but we are happy that we get to make a statement that this war is wrong.”

Instructor Ed Williams said the students jumped at the opportunity, buying into the idea of doing something inspired by a social conscience.

Kaczor said the students are proud to have their work on display.

“Quite often what beginning welding students produce is repetitive and ends up in the scrap bin because it is just for practice,” he said. “So this was a special experience for them.”


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Eric Welsh

About the Author: Eric Welsh

I joined the Chilliwack Progress in 2007, originally hired as a sports reporter.
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