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Dec 1, 2008

Red Squirrels and Other Rodents

Red squirrels and other rodents from Birmingham Nature Centre  
Teaching about native speices especially red squirrels 

The project started in September 2005 to coincide with National Red Squirrel Week, which was in September of that year. One of the objectives was to encourage schools to make early visits to the centre at the start of the term when schools were reluctant to leave the classroom.

The intention was to introduce Birmingham youngsters to one of our native mammals and to allay some of the myths regarding the relationship between red and grey squirrels. It was also an opportunity to discuss the problems of indiscriminate introduction of non-native species to a country. As many schools teach the “Teeth and Eating” section of the National Curriculum in this term, it seemed an ideal approach to the topic and to encourage school groups to think about rodents as an important animal group.

A focus for sessions was the food squirrels, in particular, eat and the teeth of rodents. Some of the evidence that children looked at came from the local area – which has an abundance of grey squirrels, but the materials relating to red squirrels came from Brownsea Island or were donated by Underscar Manor near Keswick, a hotel which feeds their local population of red squirrels.

In the first year, all offered places were taken up. More recently, Red Squirrel week has moved to October, but there has been continued interest. The biggest problem is that there is a limit to the number of schools that can book sessions in one week. WWT Martin Mere.

Developed by:  Birmingham Nature Centre

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