19th Jun 2023, by Katie Berry
As one of our dedicated volunteers lays down her tools we talk to Dr Emma Sheehy, Eradication Scientific Lead for our north east project region, about why volunteers make such a difference to the work she and her team are undertaking, and we hear from Janice about what she got up to and loved most about volunteering with SSRS.
"The work that we do in the north east has evolved over the last 2-3 years, as we inch ever closer towards our goal of eradication of grey squirrels from Aberdeen. In the first 10+ years of the project we relied on a team of staff to carry out the majority of work on the ground, with volunteers contributing to an annual spring survey which involved 4 feeder visits over a 6 week period. All other fieldwork was conducted by staff. However, in more recent times, as grey squirrel density continues to drop - recently quite dramatically - in order to continue to remove grey squirrels at a rate exceeding their ability to reproduce, essentially, the north east team need to be “everywhere at once”! In order to achieve this, over the last two and a half years we have recruited around 60 volunteers, who take part in our “Rapid Response Monitoring”, which are fortnightly feeder surveys all over Aberdeen city, and in the south of the region (to prevent immigration from Angus). This amounts to roughly 27 surveys per year, per volunteer, which is no small undertaking! In 2022 the north east team carried out more than 7000 feeder checks, ...