Field Studies Council Derrygonnelly and FRSG Make Perfect Partners

Field Studies Council (FSC) Derrygonnelly and the Fermanagh Red Squirrel Group (FRSG) have successfully collaborated the last couple of years on two Red Squirrel outreach education projects. The projects were made possible through funding from the NGO Challenge Fund administered by Northern Ireland Environment Link (NIEL).

The two projects have delivered a lot of great work on the ground – and in the classroom. The funding enabled much valuable and tangible deliverables across the county including 54 interactive workshops delivered to both primary- and post-primary schools.

Due to their decline, the Red Squirrel is a priority species – identified in the council’s Local Biodiversity Action Plan as well as being a priority species for Northern Ireland. Students of all ages have been learning about the threats that invasive species such as the Grey Squirrel pose to our local wildlife and habitats; how our biodiversity has responded to change and what we can do to help species survive. One of the simple messages of the programmes has been for students and their families to report sightings of Red and Grey Squirrels.

Heather McDowell, Education Officer at FSC Derrygonnelly says that “It’s been a productive and engaging partnership for everyone. The Red Squirrel is a really interesting introduction for children of all ages to the challenges facing our native species and the issues surrounding their conservation. It was also interesting to see first-hand the enthusiasm local pupils have for Red Squirrels and to hear about their sightings”.

Rose Cremin, Chair of the FRSG stresses the value the partnership and the FSC has made to highlighting the plight of the species. “The partnership has been hugely beneficial to the Red Squirrel conservation efforts – education programmes, training sessions, educational materials and interpretation panels are some of the key pieces that have been delivered through the funded projects”.

A key message for everyone has been submitting sightings of Red and Grey Squirrels! You will find a link to do this on the group’s website at You can also find out more about the work of the FSC at

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