Where better to celebrate National Squirrel Appreciation Day than at the Monroe-Walton Art Center where a squirrel literally fell into the job of mascot for the center last summer. Since Monday is National Squirrel Appreciation Day, the art center is making a big celebration on the day in honor of Oliver Weft – the official name given to the very lucky little fellow.
“Oliver has been our own little mascot ever since he fell out of the tree in front of the art center in August, right before the opening of our Fiber Show. He reminds you all that squirrels are important to the growth and maintenance of forests … and so we will take a little time to learn about squirrels and make some fun crafts,” Hope Reese, director of Monroe-Walton Center for the Arts, said on the Facebook events calendar. “Children are invited to drop by with parents to make a free pinecone feeder, hear a story or two and have fun making other squirrely crafts and snacks. Some activities are free, others have a small fee of $2. A naturalist from Hard Labor Creek will be here to share fascinating information about squirrels and we will have a video featuring our own Oliver Weft. Adults will enjoy making gilded acorns with Maria — just $2 each!”
Ever since falling out of the tree on S. Broad Street in front of the Art Center, Oliver has had a place in the home, and the heart, of Reese. She fed him and raised him until he was old enough to venture out on his own, but he still returns to the fold at her Monroe home where a warm bed and an endless supply of squirrel cuisine is always on tap.
National Squirrel Day is celebrated all over the country is many different ways, according to its creator Christy Hargrove, a wildlife rehabilitator om North Carolina, such as “anything from putting out extra food for the squirrels to learning something new about the species.” But I bet not many cities, or art centers, have their very own special squirrel in whose honor the day can be dedicated.