Get Together

Jamie Allen and Sally Parham of The Squirrel Census 🐿️: Getting volunteer Squirrel Sighters together to—you guessed it!—count squirrels

Episode Summary

Today we are talking to Jamie Allen and Sally Parham, two of the folks behind The Squirrel Census. The Squirrel Census started in Atlanta in 2012 with a simple, somewhat inexplicable, wild idea: let's count squirrels and present our findings to the public. Jamie, the creator of the project, formed a team of cartographers, artists, scientists and more to bring the first census to life. Together they trained hundreds of volunteers they call squirrel sighters to count squirrels, then spent the coming months preparing the data and stories they gathered to the community. Since that first census in Atlanta's Inman Park, the team has hosted 3 more, including most recently an ambitious foray into Central Park. More than 500 New Yorkers came out to count squirrels with them, and it was all over the news, spurred on by features in The New York Times, support from leaders at the Parks Association, and pun-filled tweets by the NYC Mayor's Office.

Episode Notes

Today we are talking to Jamie Allen and Sally Parham, two of the folks behind The Squirrel Census.

Yes, it is just what it sounds like.

The Squirrel Census started in Atlanta in 2012 with a simple, somewhat inexplicable, wild idea: let's count squirrels and present our findings to the public.

While they're certainly rigorous, what they're doing isn't dry science. The team is considerate, design-savvy, and deeply funny people. They've made a scientific activity into something not just accessible, but playful.

Jamie, the creator of the project, formed a team early on of cartographers, artists, scientists and more to bring the first census to life. The team trained hundreds of volunteers they call Squirrel Sighters to count squirrels, then spent the coming months preparing the data and stories they gathered to the community.

Since that first census in Atlanta's Inman Park, the team has hosted 3 more, including most recently an ambitious foray into Central Park. More than 500 New Yorkers came out to count squirrels with them, and it was all over the news, spurred on by features inThe New York Times, support from leaders at the Parks Association, and pun-filled tweets by the NYC Mayor's Office.

If you want to get involved with the Squirrel Census, check out their hilarious website thesquirrelcensus.com or scope them out on Twitter @squirrelcensus.

Grab your copy of GET TOGETHER—our handbook on community-building 🔥: bit.ly/gettogetherbook