Nutty for squirrels? There's a group for that.
Nowadays, there's a day to celebrate everything. Tuesday January 21 is no exception. On that day, squirrel enthusiasts can celebrate all things squirrels. Why? Because it's National Squirrel Appreciation Day! A day to learn, celebrate, and acknowledge the furry friends that you likely cross paths with on a regular basis.
According to the Department of Natural Resources, there are nine different species of squirrels scurrying about Michigan and they're pretty adaptable to living near people. In Ann Arbor, this is quite apparent, so much so that there's a university club dedicated to feeding and appreciating them.
Molly Mearns, a senior at the University of Michigan, is one of three co-presidents of the University’s Squirrel Club. Mearns joined the group as a freshman after she scouted the legendary group at Festifall, the school's largest student organization fair, and she's been an active member ever since.
The university is home to more than 1,600 student-run clubs and organizations. The Squirrel Club is listed as a "health and wellness" club, due largely to the benefits of getting outside and meeting up with new people (and squirrels, of course).
"For me I think of it more as a study break, just getting people outside, you meet new people,” said Mearns.
When the weather is favorable, the club meets every Sunday at noon on the steps of the Hatcher Graduate Library.
One of the three presidents stations themselves on the library steps with peanuts and guidance on how to effectively feed the squirrels.
This technique has been perfected and passed down by the club's predecessors.
"We feed squirrels peanuts with the shell on,” said Mearns. “You approach the squirrel slowly, you kind of crouch down really low, and then [you] wave it up and down.”
Leaving the shell on prevents confusion for the squirrel when trying to differentiate between the peanut and a feeder’s finger.
Additionally, using your teeth and tongue to make a 'squirrel noise’ has been proven to attract a furry friend.
The club sells T-shirts as a way to fund their peanut stash, which is passed out at meetings as a way to "mainly" feed squirrels, according to their website. The club directs any questions regarding squirrel emergency or general care to The Squirrel Forum, a squirrel care and rehabilitation website.
The club is free and open to everyone. To get involved, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will you celebrate National Squirrel Appreciation Day this year? Tweet to us at @MichiganRadio with your favorite squirrel content.