Squirrel Appreciation Day

Squirrel Appreciation Day

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If you love the Lakes as we do, you will know Beatrix Potter’s wonderful Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, the story of an impertinent red squirrel. But it’s unlikely that you will have seen many of them – red squirrels – in recent years.

Numbers dropped dramatically due to the proliferation of the invasive non-native grey squirrels, but you, our guests, have been helping to save them.

Our visitor giving programme supports two conservation charities, and alongside Fix the Fells we have been donating to Save our Squirrels. So it’s with great delight that we join the celebrations for Squirrel Appreciation Day at the end of this week.

This is observed annually on January 21. The creator, Christy Hargrove, is a wildlife rehabilitator in North Carolina, USA, and she says:  “Celebration of the event itself is up to the individual or group — anything from putting out extra food for the squirrels to learning something new about the species.”

So here goes. The red squirrel is Britain’s only native squirrel. With russet fur, tufted ears and bushy tail it is one of the country’s most iconic species. However, the red squirrel is under threat, and there’s now only around 20,000 left in England. Action is needed if numbers are to be stabilised.

Save our Squirrels (SoS) has three main aims:

- Raise the profile and plight of the red squirrel through education, engagement and access work
- Undertake habitat management and squirrel conservation activities with the landowners and managers in the 16 reserves and surrounding areas
- Secure the long-term sustainability of red squirrel conservation, access and public engagement

We’ve been asking for a voluntary contribution of £3 per visit for our conservation charities, and so far we - you, that is - have raised more than £12,000. There’s evident success on the squirrel front; they’ve been spotted recently in a garden in Grasmere, and in the car park of the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, not just in the regulated conservation areas.

So on Squirrel Appreciation Day we say thank you, and keep up the good work. Beatrix Potter would be thrilled.

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