Fermanagh Citizen Science Project Mapping Red Squirrels

A unique partnership between Quercus of Queens University Belfast, the National Trust and the Fermanagh Red Squirrel Group has been taking place the last couple of months, March and April 2014. Funded by the Challenge Fund through the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the project is seeking to gain a better understanding of the distribution of red squirrels across the whole county.

While gaining valuable data on red squirrel distribution, the project is also giving volunteers an opportunity to be involved in practical science-based field work. A training session was held early in the year at the National Trust’s Castle Coole property, delivered by Dr. David Tosh of Quercus. He believes that this Citizen Science approach to conservation “engages, educates and equips members of the public to help conservation efforts on the ground” – in this instance our native, endangered Red Squirrel.

The results aren’t quite in yet from the four teams who have been using camera traps across Forest Service forests, National Trust woodlands and some private lands. The design of the project is also innovative and may be repeated in other parts of the country. However, initial feedback from the volunteers has been great with a lot of enthusiasm and energy over the programme.

If you want to find out more about the project or view some of the images captured over the course of the last couple of months, you can visit www.facebook.com/QuercusQUB. The Fermanagh Red Squirrel Group also hope to include a talk on the project at its next public meeting so keep an eye out for that and come along to discover more!

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