LAST week the County Hotel, Selkirk, played host for the second meeting of the newly named Selkirk and Ale Water Red Squirrel Network.

The Red Squirrel Network will cover the land between Selkirk, Ashkirk, Ettrickbridge and Lilliesleaf.

The new Selkirk and Ale Water group will join the other five south east Scotland groups as part of the Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels campaign to help improve the population of red squirrels in the Borders.

The Scottish Borders Conservation Officer for Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels, Laura Preston, said to the group: "As soon as people see a red [squirrel], something just clicks."

The Selkirk group will help plug the gap between the Tweeddale and Teviot groups where grey squirrels have continued to thrive.

The second meeting welcomed in a dozen people who had an interest in red squirrel conservation, local wildlife and some who had pre-existing knowledge on grey squirrel control.

During the meeting, Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels Community Engagement Officer, Sarah Cooper, explained what roles needed to be filled, what activities members could take part in, including fundraising, public events and the trapping and 'dispatching' of grey squirrels.

The group will be able to build up its own stock of grey squirrel traps, red squirrel feeders and event equipment using the £1000 start-up fund open to the Selkirk and Ale Water Network.

Both Sarah and Laura then went on to explain how the group could access the resources available to them online, especially the page where squirrel sightings can be reported.

If you were unable to make last week's meeting, or if you're just a member of the public who wants to help out from home, the group has a tip which is handy to know, Laura told us: "The best thing that people can do is to report their squirrel sightings - so reds and greys."

Laura added: "It helps us determine the presence and absence of red and grey squirrels and then that helps us determine where we are going to carry out our work."

The next meeting of Selkirk and Ale Water Red Squirrel Network will be on Tuesday, February 11 at 7pm and is free to attend. The current location for this meeting is at the Lilliesleaf village hall (to be confirmed).

For more information about the Selkirk and Ale Water group, contact Sarah Cooper on

And to see what work is being done to help red squirrels, visit the Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels website at