IT WAS what is often seen as a classic tale of goodies and baddies: cute fluffy creatures under threat and the eco-warriors battling to bring them back from the brink that kept youngsters enthralled at a special mammal-themed workshop at Truro's Trewithen Gardens.
Year 4 students from Probus School learned about the plight of the red squirrel, which has become the most threatened species of mammal in the UK, since the grey squirrel was introduced, and met some of the red squirrels being bred in Trewithen as part of a special conservation programme.
Led by Natasha Collings, coordinator of the Cornwall Red Squirrel Project, the workshop included an interactive presentation to teach children about how the grey squirrel was introduced to the UK, and the effect this had on the native wildlife, especially the red squirrel. The presentation also encompassed wider ecological themes including habitats, adaptation and camouflage.
Probus School Year 4 teacher Tony Bowyer said: "This workshop fitted in perfectly with the class's science project about habitats. They loved how active and fluffy the red squirrels are and really enjoyed learning about where they live and what they eat.
"The children have never seen a red squirrel so this is a very special experience for them considering how rare they are."
Trewithen's head gardener, Gary Long invited a couple of lucky children into the enclosure to feed the squirrels. He said: "It's really nice for the children to get out of the classroom and for them to experience something quite unique."
To attend or find out more about the red squirrel workshops call Natasha on 07825 507238.