Year 4 children from Probus School have learnt about the plight of the red squirrel in a workshop at Trewithen Gardens.

Led by Natasha Collings, coordinator of the Cornwall Red Squirrel Project, the workshop included an interactive presentation that teaches children about how the grey squirrel was introduced to the UK, and the effect this had on the native wildlife, especially the red squirrel. The presentation also encompassed wider ecological themes including habitats, adaptation and camouflage.

Natasha said: "Being able to use Trewithen as an "outside classroom" is an excellent resource for schools. My workshop can be tailored to Key Stage 1 or 2, teaching children about the issues that face the red squirrel in a fun and engaging way, and includes a visit to the squirrels in their enclosure."

Red squirrels are one of the most threatened species of mammal in the UK, but a breeding programme introduced earlier this year at Trewithen will eventually provide offspring as a valuable resource for red squirrel conservation in the UK.

Tony Bowyer, Year 4 teacher at Probus School, and a regular visitor to Trewithen said: "This workshop fitted in perfectly with the class's science project about habitats. They loved how active and fluffy the red squirrels are and really enjoyed learning about where they live and what they eat".

"The children have never seen a red squirrel so this is a very special experience for them considering how rare they are."

Trewithen's Head Gardener, Gary Long, who invited a couple of lucky children into the enclosure to feed the squirrels, said: "It's really nice for the children to get out of the classroom and for them to experience something quite unique. We're going to arrange a follow up session in the summer when we will hopefully have some kits to show them."

To find out more about the red squirrel workshops at Trewithen, please call Natasha Collings on 07825 507238.

ENDS 26 November 2012

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