Sunday, January 19, 2014

Squirrel Appreciation Day is January 21

This Tuesday is a very special day for squirrels and anyone who loves them. Squirrel Appreciation Day was started in 2001 by Christy Hargrove, a wildlife rehabilitator from Asheville, NC. There is no "official" program for the observance of this day, but it is an excellent excuse to learn more about squirrels. And since the day falls in the middle of winter, when squirrels' natural food is most scarce, it is a good time to supplement their diets by putting out some extra food. While peanuts are a very popular and easy choice, they are not necessarily the healthiest food for squirrels. Hard-shelled nuts like pecans are better, and some corn on the cob or sunflower seeds are also appreciated.

You may want to purchase or build a squirrel feeder to put out in your yard. If you Google "squirrel feeder plans" you will find plenty of sites offering instructions on making a feeder. Here is one site that offers links to plans for several different designs.  One of the advantages of having a squirrel feeder in your yard is that it can help divert the squirrels from your bird feeders or your vegetable garden. You can also easily find plans for nest boxes designed for squirrels.

You can also visit a local park or nature preserve and watch the squirrels, birds and other wildlife on display there. If there is a wildlife rehabilitation center in your town, you can inquire about donating money or supplies, or volunteering. Here is a national list of wildlife rehabbers in the United States.

Squirrel Appreciation Day is an excellent time to think about things that you can do to help preserve the environment and the habitats that are so important to squirrels and other animals, as well as humans. There is a wealth of information about ways to do this, only a Google search away. You might start here for some practical and relatively inexpensive steps you can take to help the planet.

Squirrel Appreciation Day is an important time to think about what we can do to help squirrels and all wildlife that we share this planet with. The most important thing, though, is not just to appreciate our bushy-tailed friends one day out of the year, but to make every day Squirrel Appreciation Day.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Squirrel Hell Holley, NY Is At It Again

I have been dreading having to write this. The squirrel-hating redneck hell of Holley, NY has scheduled its annual wanton squirrel slaughter, known as the "Squirrel Slam," for February 8. Cynically described as a fundraiser for the local fire department (mission: to protect life and property) this event gives the yokels a chance to go out and prove their manhood by taking the lives of hundreds of small furry herbivores.

If you want to read more about this disgusting event, and why I and most any civilized, compassionate people oppose it, you can read my blog entry from last year. On this post, you can read the letter that I sent to the mayor of Holley, John W. Kenney, Jr. You can email Mr. Kenney at You can also contact the Holley Fire Department, the sponsor of this event, at

I am going to leave it here for now. I will post more information as it becomes available, including any petitions that might be created.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Oberlin College Adopts Albino Squirrel As Its Mascot

Oberlin College is a small liberal arts school in Ohio known primarily for its progressive social values and for being the first college in the United States to admit black and female students. For several decades, the campus has also gained notoriety for its population of albino squirrels. In fact, the Huffington Post recently labeled Oberlin as number one among the colleges most obsessed with squirrels. Now the college has decided to give its white squirrels official status as the mascot of the college's athletic teams.

The sports teams have for years been known as the Yeomen and Yeowomen, and will keep these oddly awkward names going forward. But the athletic department logo will now feature the inspiring image of the fighting albino squirrel pictured above. A school spokesman has said that the new mascot is an attempt to better connect the school's athletic teams with the general college community. Apparently, the squirrels have been widely accepted as a sort of unofficial mascot for years, so the school just decided to make that role official.

I would like to applaud Oberlin College for its excellent decision. I have long wondered why so few sports teams have adopted a squirrel as their mascot. There are certainly few better athletes to be found in the animal world. To celebrate this move, I offer the short video below of one of Oberlin College's famous albino squirrels: