The Young Americans Are Coming!

Young Americans

Woo-hoo! They’re on their way. Any day now!

Notre Dame High School For Girls, Glasgow, is in the grip of ‘American Fever’.

Have you heard of The Young Americans? If you live ’stateside’ you probably have.

They’re a touring troupe of American boys and girls aged 18 to 22 who not only tour their native land, but do outreach tours across the globe. Their aim is to further the performing arts of music, singing, acting and stagecraft, with the underlying goal of helping to build the confidence of the kids they meet .

So I’m all for it!

They’re going to be at Notre Dame for five days. During their stay they’ll work with the girls on a show. Ideas and skills will be traded - don’t think for one minute our kids won’t have anything to teach the Americans! - then they’ll combine to put on a performance for the public.

It’s certainly generated a lot of excitement and the girls I’ve spoken to told me they ‘can’t wait’.

I hope to have some photographs - and a detailed commentary - very soon. You’ll love them!

And Now Bad News For Some Other American Visitors!

If you live in the UK you’ll know all about the red squirrel. It’s our native species of squirrel, and the majority of them are in Scotland.

But in recent years their numbers have been dwindling and now they’re under threat of extinction.

This is because at some time in the past - no one seems to know exactly how or when, or even why - the red squirrel’s American cousin, the grey squirrel, was introduced to this country. Now, the grey squirrels carry certain viruses which cause them little or no harm, but which are lethal to the red squirrels.

Last week it was announced here in Scotland that environmentalists will be monitoring both species, and if necessary a cull of the grey squirrels will be carried out.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Notre Dame High School (where I teach) is set in beautiful wooded grounds in the city centre, and the grey squirrels are our constant companions, darting around from tree to tree and often perching on the window sills while lessons are in progress.

Let’s hope the red squirrels build up their immune systems. It would be great to see both!

What About Those Crayfish?

River Tweed

There’s another threat from the States! Crayfish, which are closely related to lobsters and are natives of Louisiana and the Mississippi basin, have somehow found their way into the River Tweed in Scotland, one of the most renowned salmon and trout fishing rivers in the world.

Tweed salmon

In the peak season it costs over £1,000 per day (that’s almost $1,800 US) for a permit to fish in the river. Now the crayfish are causing havoc. Their own predators, the alligator and the turtle, are not in the River Tweed - good news for the anglers :-) - so the crayfish numbers are increasing rapidly. They scare off the salmon and trout and feed on their eggs. Bad news for the anglers!

It’s one thing culling squirrels, but how do you go about culling crayfish who hide under rocks in a river?

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