Squirrel protection project wins grant

A CONSERVATION project to protect red squirrels across the North East has won a major grant.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded £247,700 to the Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

The four-year project, Red Squirrels Northern England, will encourage urban and rural communities across Northumberland to come together and help protect the red squirrel.

The Trust will work with partners Natural England, the Red Squirrel Survival Trust and Forestry Commission to deliver the programme.

Up to 25 ‘focus communities’ will be involved over the course of the project with special learning activities happening in those areas.

Guided walks and talks will give the whole community the chance to get involved. Schools will have the chance to go on field trips and learn how to record and monitor red squirrel activity. Volunteers will play a key role in the project and will receive training in order to adopt a woodland, undertaking regular squirrel monitoring to detect squirrel presence or absence within a specified area.

The first year of the project will include activity in Rothbury.

Many of the remaining 15,000 red squirrels on mainland England live in the North East.