North Hertfordshire goes nuts for Squirrel Appreciation Day
PUBLISHED: 15:25 21 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:49 22 January 2020
North Herts residents have been celebrating the highlight of the squirrel calendar today - Squirrel Appreciation Day!
Garden City Collection, on Wilbury Hills Road, has invited Letchworth residents to share on social media their favourite photos of our furry friends.
"It's always lovely to see the unusual black squirrels exploring Letchworth gardens", they posted on Facebook this morning. "The mischievous brush-tailed critters often make their way to The International Garden Cities Exhibition and try their luck with the bird feeder!"
National Squirrel Day was coined in 2001 by American wildlife rehabilitation specialist Christy Hargrove, who says "you can make of it what you want, as long as it's in the name of squirrel positivity!"
Hertfordshire is no stranger to the squirrel-verse, boasting a long association with the round-eyed rodents.
Letchworth is widely considered to be where the now famous Hertfordshire black squirrel was first sighted.
Legend has it that in 1912 the Duke of Bedford brought them over from America for his Woburn estate in Bedfordshire.
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Garden City Collection even include black squirrels in their Letchworth A to Z book - in between architects Bennett and Bidwell, and school teacher Edith Booth.
In recent years, Hitchin man Steve Barley has received global recognition for his Grand-Prix themed squirrel assault courses - receiving nearly three million YouTube hits - and last year said he intends to build "more elaborate obstacle courses", unless his wife "wants her washing line back!"
North Herts Museum also tweeted its support for the squirrel fraternity this morning, sharing the tragic story of one of Hitchin's last red squirrels.
"This poor little guy was one of the last red squirrels to live in Hitchin", they posted on social media (see above).
"It was rescued by Miss Hailey, a resident of The Biggin, in about 1910, after she found some boys tormenting it in St Mary's Churchyard."
One resident celebrating today is Rachel Tricket, from Norton, who has been photographing squirrels which gather outside her lounge window.
"I have a mix of three black and a few grey squirrels in my garden", Rachel said. "It's fun watching them chase each other about. They've yet to master climbing the metal pole holding the other feeders, but it's funny watching them try. I just love having the wildlife in my garden."
How have you been celebrating Squirrel Appreciation Day? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us more