My friend John Rich of Oakleaf & Acorn recently sent me a link to check out. As soon as I caught a glimpse of the url - www.squirrelcensus.com, I had a feeling this was gonna be good.
In spring of 2012, a gathering of unpaid staff which included 2 writers, 2 designers, 1 web programmer/artist, 1 postdoctoral research associate, 1 Ph.D. candidate, 1 wildlife fighter and some volunteers, decided to perform a statistical count of the Eastern gray squirrel for the Inman Park neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jamie Allen spearheaded the Squirrel Census- as well as this amazing video that won the team some recognition on Kickstarter. (click on it, it's worth watching)
They decided on a non invasive approach to their census. With a map of Inman Park, (.59 square miles) the team divided up the land into quadrants using alphabetic and numeric coding. The Census takers then counted the number of squirrels they would see in their quadrant, one hectare at a time.
They spent 20-30 minutes in each quadrant during peak squirrel time- which in case you're not as squirrel savvy means mid morning, late afternoon and early evening. In the end, two counts were performed per quadrant over the course of several weeks.
After collecting all their data, Graphic Designer, Nat Slaughter created three prints to detail the team's findings. As they state on their site, this map "notes every squirrel sighting during the Census; breaks the sightings down into squirrel 'constellations'; and offers a total 'squirrel abundance' number."
Of course, numbers would not be reported with 100% accuracy but they were using a well known density estimation equation that dates back to the 50's. That's good enough for me. In fact, them just hanging out at Inman Park with clipboards conducting a squirrel census is good enough for me.
I think my favorite part of their Census, to which there are many, is the comments section. They've created an audio clip of some of the comment highlights which is genius...just scroll down to 'squirrel audio.'
What's a Squirrel Census without squirrel swag? Click here to find the t-shirts and the prints, which would be great framed in just about any room. A conversation starter to be sure...nice work team.
Photos: Squirrel Census Content: Sweet Peach