The 2016 Squirrel Census Report
Seal of Authenticity
The Squirrel Census is an urban science and storytelling project focusing on the Eastern gray (Sciurus carolinensis), his pals, and his mortal enemies. We have won awards. We have accepted congratulations. We have fist-fought people. We have made hats and t-shirts and videos and music and posters. We have saved the planet. But we still have work to do.
Yes, This is Real
We used authentic scientific methodology, along with the power of volunteers, to count squirrels and gather stories in Inman Park. We tallied over 1,000 squirrel sightings. We plugged our numbers into a well-known wildlife counting formula popularized by Vagn Flyger, best known for recording the Great Squirrel Migration of 1968. Then we wrote up our Report. It breaks down the squirrel numbers into handsome infographics. Stories and illustrations are humbly offered, as well.
Squirrel On Its Haunches
The report unfolds into an original 20 x 28 framed map of Inman Park, with every squirrel sighting noted, along with the squirrel activity. Reading it, it feels as though squirrels are hopping around on the map, stealing acorns, running along power lines. Complementing the vital data, the map includes an excerpt from another squirrel story. Presented in a simple yet tasteful frame, it is the perfect final touch to creative living spaces.
This is the last thing. There are so many things. Once you start looking in the trees – once you stop what you’re doing, wherever you are, and you just get outside of your own head and all its selfish and crude thoughts designed only to keep you alive but not to let you live, you know?, once you look around at the world in your immediate atmosphere — well, that’s when the real work begins, and there is a lot of it. Things to be observed and understood and applied. Stories to be told.
The 2012 Squirrel Census Report
IN 2012, we held our first Squirrel Census. It changed our lives. Made us appreciate the unceasing hum of natural urban environs in a way we could never before have known. We play ping-pong, right? Ping-pong brought us together. Ping-pong is community. And so we’re all playing ping-pong, right, in this bar in Inman Park, and we’re like, “By a show of hands, does anyone want to count squirrels?” And we all raise our hands. Other people, outsiders, said, “Why? Why would you do such a thing? I don’t get it.” Where are they now? We know where: They’re in another bar somewhere, asking someone else, “Why?” Still doing the same thing.
Not us. We have spoken at conferences and colleges. Gotten asked on dates. Some of us have gotten married and/or had kids. Some of us have suffered other outcomes in the Love Department. Witnessed life and death. Cried. Laughed. Learned. Through it all, we are alive and living.
And the squirrels keep working the acorn mines. Up at dawn, lunchbox in paw, no excuses, off to work. All we gotta do, they think, is get through this one day alive. Just this for today: No dying. And make sure little Jimmy doesn’t start smoking the stuff. That’s all we gotta do. Maybe run around. Climb. Take a few dangerous leaps, just to show everybody we can. Maybe flirt a little. Tussle. Run. Run! Then, day over, sun setting in a fiery crash into the Earth beyond the human skyline, nice view from the branch, hawk circling overhead, calling out, “I’m gonna get you tomorrow! Rest up! Because you might have dodged my talons today, Squirrel-Friend, but tomorrow you will bleed your way into my stomach and fill me with warm God-like powers of Time Suspension!” (Hawks get weird when they talk about food.)
Anyway, another day done, climb into the nest or cubby-hole in the tree, curl up. Dream of love. Love is what keeps the world alive, because it leads to babies. More squirrel babies. We have to stay alive. If we die, the world dies with us. No hope. We’re saving the planet one day at a time. Dream, Squirrel, dream.