Helen Butler who has been working voluntarily for red squirrels on the Isle of Wight since 1991, has won a national Red Squirrel Trust Award.
The new national award scheme recognises the achievements of the many volunteers who give up their time for the conservation of our much loved red squirrels, received an enthusiastic response in its first year, with the leading nomination coming from the Isle of Wight. The scheme, which is being run by the Red Squirrel Survival Trust (RSST,) has been designed to reward the vast army of volunteers working tirelessly around the country to preserve the native red squirrel.
Over the past 20 years Helen has done much to protect the red squirrels found on the Isle of Wight. This is one of their strongholds and the animals have become a tourist attraction for the Island. Founder of both the Wight Squirrel Project (1993) and the Red Squirrel Trust (2005), she has been monitoring the Isle of Wight red squirrel population, raising public awareness and carrying out post mortems on red squirrels brought to her from around the Island for all of these years. Helen is Project Manager of the Wight Squirrel Project and Chair/President of The Red Squirrel Trust.
“There are an estimated 3,000 volunteers involved in red squirrel conservation across the UK. It is largely thanks to the dedicated efforts of these people that the fight to save the red squirrel from extinction is now in a position to succeed” said Miles Barne Chairman of RSST. RSST Patron, HRH The Prince of Wales has called volunteers ‘the backbone of red squirrel conservation’ and is known to be a keen supporter of the new awards.
“Volunteers have been the backbone of much of the conservation work carried out on red squirrels and their decline over many years, be it fund raising, recording sightings and other data, trapping greys, feeding, or group administration and recruitment. Without all their efforts, all might well be lost. They are generally a modest group, and these awards are our way of offering some form of recognition and thanks for all their hard work.” added Mr Barne.
The awards were presented by His Grace the Duke of Northumberland at a special event held at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.
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