Forum Board meeting: 31 January 2019
The Forum was founded in January 2018, with the intention of annually rotating the Chair amongst members of all the Squirrel Groups/Networks that it represents in South Scotland. In keeping with this plan, Peter Garson (Gatehouse Squirrel Group) has handed over the Chair to John Rae (Save Our Squirrels Berwick Group) for 2019. Others present at the meting were Melanie Allen (Mid Nithsdale RSN), Andrew Middleton (Lower Nithsdale RSG), Rob Asbridge (Kirkcudbright RSG), Mia Misso (Solway Forests RSN), Alson Wallace (Glenkens RSG) and Freda Seddon (Annandale RSG). The next Board meeting is set for 13 June.
We decided to add a ‘Useful Information’ tab to the homepage of this website, where we are placing guidance and information documents produced by our Groups/Networks and others. The emphasis is on practical tips for helping your local red squirrels.
We revised a previous audit of the skills and training needs of all our Groups/Networks, as we have gained more experience with surveys, humane grey squirrel control, raising public awareness, recruiting new members and fund-raising. One of the main reasons for the Forum’s existence is to enable those in need of advice or training to find help more easily from other Forum members with relevant experience. The recent Red Squirrel Survey Training Day (see separate post) was a great example of this happening, but it raised the issue of how the data generated should be stored securely for later analysis and interpretation. We are now working with the staff of Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels on this in relation to all kinds of survey work and grey squirrel control.
A pledge was made to investigate the potential of Forum-wide funding applications for useful high cost items such as thermal (infrared) imagers, microscopes, camera traps and GPS sets. It is hoped that ‘big may be beautiful’ in the eyes of some donors!
A provisional date of 26 October was set for the Forum Annual Meeting, which we hope to hold at the Johnstonebridge Centre (between Lockerbie and Moffat) after the great success of the first such autumn meeting there last year.