It’s Showtime Folks

Original Author: Ken Neil, Tayside Project Officer

Preparing for a talk in Glasgow


So, off to Glasgow to deliver a talk to the Glasgow Glenmore Club. It was a last minute stand in for Mel, who was called away elsewhere, but a welcome visit to old haunts. It turns out that their meeting place is one street away from my old flat where I lived for six years when I was a city dweller.

For me delivering public talks is one of the pleasures of being a Red Squirrel project Officer. The people that we are invited to speak to range wide in age (from nursery tots to the elderly) and knowledge (from primary pupils just learning about nature to Natural History societies, who don’t always have the most tricky questions). What they have in common is that they have asked us along to find out what we do to protect one of the best loved Scottish mammals. If we are lucky, they also want to know what they can do to help.

There is always a pleasant sense of anticipation when sorting out my presentation, maybe adding a new picture or two that has been submitted by one of our enthusiastic photographer friends, checking that my facts are up to date and dusting off “the boys” (my red and grey stuffed squirrels). Then, on arriving, I am keen to find out how many have turned up, though be it six or sixty, the show goes on. Passing on one’s enthusiasm for a subject is never hard and the reward is huge when I can see that spark igniting and people paying attention, fired up and keen to support us.

Question time is always fun and sometimes blush-making when a tricky question catches me out. A good example?

P7 schoolboy: “What do you call a group of squirrels?”.

Me: “Ehm… tomorrow we’ll both know.”

And we did – it’s a “scurry”. At the end of the visit it is good to know that SSRS has made some new allies.

“But why Glasgow? Aren’t red squirrels away out in the country?” Well, our message is for everyone – city folks, as I was, can love nature too. After all it’s on everyone’s doorstep.

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