Counting Squirrels: Beware

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Vintage Girl Scout Mammals badge

Need an inexpensive nature activity to kick off the Girl Scout year?

New York City is recruiting volunteers to participate in a census of squirrels in Central Park this month.

According to AM NY:

 

 

The Squirrel Census, an award-winning project dedicated to documenting Eastern gray squirrels, will count the furry four-legged creatures in Manhattan’s largest park from Oct. 6 through Oct. 20. The results of the data gathering will be released as a multimedia, interactive map of Central Park.

Organizers prefer counters to be at least 14 years old, but younger children can participate with an adult partner.

While this is the first census of Central Park, the Squirrel Census organization (yes, it really exists) has done two counts in Atlanta’s Inman Park and other smaller inventories.

I think I’ll pass.

Holland Park signI’ve had bad experiences with park squirrels before.

Yes, dear readers, it is time to share my squirrel story.

I lived in London in 1990 and took regular morning walks through Holland Park. I usually stopped at the neighborhood news agent for a newspaper for myself and a small bag of peanut M&Ms for the squirrels.

But one morning I arrived at the park and realized I’d forgotten the M&Ms. “No problem,” I thought. I certainly wasn’t going to make a detour for the squirrels.

After walking down a path for a few minutes, I noticed this one squirrel who seemed to be scampering along with me.

He would walk behind me, then scurry in front of me, stop and stand up on his hind legs, and stare at me.  He did this four or five times.

That’s when I realized, this squirrel RECOGNIZED me. He was WAITING for me.

No, he was waiting for my M&MS.

Then Mr. Squirrel decided to take matters into his own hands.

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Innocent looking squirrel from Pinterest. Don’t be fooled.

He lunged at me, landing on the leg of my jeans.

Mr. Squirrel  clawed his way up my pants leg and STUCK HIS LITTLE SQUIRREL HAND IN MY POCKET.

Yes, the pocket where I usually had M&Ms. He thoroughly rummaged his little squirrel hand around in my pocket looking for candy.

That’s when I started yelling and kicking trying, to dislodge Mr. Squirrel. But he held on tight. I was yelling, turning in circles, kicking my leg, with a squirrel flapping on my leg.

Finally, he turned loose. I swear he gave me a dirty look before scampering away. He also muttered something rude under his breath.

I headed home, my jeans shredded and leg bleeding.

But I vowed not to let Mr. Squirrel win, and the next day went out for another walk. In Kensington Gardens.

In announcing the Central Park count, the New York City mayor’s office has cautioned:  “Count with your eyes, not your hands.”

I hope they tell the squirrels to keep their hands to themselves.

© 2018 Ann Robertson

Sharing Girl Scout Ways

GSWay_AmbThe Nations Capital Archives & History Program Center has been open for six months now. We offer workshops to help girls earn their Girl Scout Way badges on the third Saturday and Sunday of each month. Registration is through the Council event calendar.

Girls watch “The Golden Eaglet,” learn the history of our council, and examine vintage uniforms and badges. They also do a scavenger hunt through the 1963 handbooks and try some activities from older badges.

One troop just sent me a delightful thank you note, and their leader included a few photos. Enjoy!

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Watching “The Golden Eaglet” in October 2015 (photo by Sarah Barz).

 

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Ambassador Jenn, an archives aide, watches as I model my own vest (photo by Sarah Barz).

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Sandy Alexander teaches Council history.

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Don’t forget classic songs and games! Susan Ducey teaches Strut Miss Lizzie (above).

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Trying out an old badge requirement (photo by Sarah Barz).

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Group shot! Each workshop ends with a group photo. We immediately print it out, paste it into our guest book, and each girl signs before she leaves.

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GSCNC Antiques Road Show

The GSCNC Annual Meeting on April 13, 2013, included the council’s first Girl Scout Antiques Road Show. Members were invited to share their Girl Scout treasures and the stories behind them. The Archives and History Committee helped identify a few curious objects. We hope to repeat the Road Show next year and have better audio for the 2014 video!

Juliette Gordon Low Gets Another “Wax” Likeness

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Girl Scout CEO Anna Maria Chavez visits Juliette Gordon Low at Madame Tussaud’s museum.

Madame Tussaud’s museum isn’t the only place near Washington, DC, to see a lifelike image of Juliette Gordon Low.

Cadette Leah T. of Troop 5576 portrayed Juliette Gordon Low at the Greenbriar East Elementary School’s Wax Museum in late February.  The Fairfax County sixth grader wrote to the GSCNC Archives and History Committee, asking if she could borrow an appropriate uniform.  Naturally, we said, “Of course!”

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Juliette Gordon Low at Greenbriar East Elementary

The Committee has uniforms from various decades and age levels that troops can borrow.  For the very earliest years of Girl Scouting, we have reproduction uniforms to lend.

Leah completed her Daisy look with a badge book, a strand of pearls, several boxes of Girl Scout cookies, and a small horse and dog to indicate Daisy’s love of animals.  She obviously has done her homework on our founder.

Update: April 2, 2014

Due to high demand, the Committee has revised its lending policy.  Please see the “Dress Like Daisy” page on this website.