Sharing the love for south Scotland’s red squirrels

Original Author: Liz Gunby

Community Engagement Officer Liz Gunby reflects on her first summer inspiring community action in south Scotland, and talks about some upcoming opportunities to get involved in the project.


This summer the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels team embarked upon its mission to inspire community action across the country. The holidays soon filled up with a busy events schedule of country fairs, gardening shows, and community gala days.

Rain or shine (often on the same day), the team got out there, spreading the word about red squirrel conservation and informing people on how they can take action to help red squirrels where they live.

All our staff were kept on their toes, but none more so than Liz Gunby, our new Community Engagement Officer for South Scotland. Liz shares some reflections on her first summer of squirrels.


Hi Liz! What has the response from the public been like this summer?

The response has been nothing short of amazing! Everyone has been so friendly and encouraging. There is a lot of love for our native red squirrels, and people genuinely want to help and do what they can do to protect the species.

Liz and Stephanie
Liz (right) getting the message out with Conservation Officer Stephanie Johnstone and Sandy the Squirrel
What’s been your community engagement highlight so far?

That’s a difficult one, as there are so many! If I had to choose, it would be the generosity our volunteers, freely giving their time to protect red squirrels. They work with passion, enthusiasm and commitment, and have a massive amount of knowledge which they willingly share. For me, this demonstrates a key point for learning and how we can further our knowledge and skills base, even in an area which is new to us.

Engaging children in red squirrel conservation with volunteers at Crocketford Gala Day
You have lots more events coming up, including some information days for potential volunteers. Why should people come along?

Our events are designed to be inclusive, informative and fun. There’s a volunteering role for everyone— from helping with the spring surveys to running children’s activities at community events. It all helps to raise awareness and educate people about the wider conservation issue.

We work in a person-centred way, which means we are always aware of where people are ‘at’. We will never ask you to do more than you feel comfortable with, and will offer training for all new tasks and specific areas of conservation work.

Getting involved with the project is also a great way to make new friends and experience the wonder of the natural world first hand!


Join in

Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels has a whole range of exciting events lined up for the rest of the year, including guided walks, children’s activities and volunteer training days. Keep up to date by visiting the events listings on our Facebook page.

If you live in Dumfries & Galloway and would like to learn more about getting involved, come along to one of our upcoming information events:

Thursday 21 September: Kirkcudbright
Friday 29 September: Lockerbie 


For more information, contact us at

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