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June 5, 2012 > Ohlone Humane Society: Building a brighter future, one squirrel box at a time

Ohlone Humane Society: Building a brighter future, one squirrel box at a time

By Lauren Kawakami, OHS Social Media Coordinator

Compassion for animals is a concept we adults are familiar with. Many of us support animal welfare through donations and volunteering; others lead by example through acts of kindness or lifestyle. Providing humane education to children helps them to establish a lifelong respect and empathy for all living creatures. We recently collaborated on a project with a local Junior Girl Scout troop who wanted to make a difference for wildlife. The efforts of these young ladies have had a far-reaching effect on our community... and it all began with a humble squirrel box.

We first met Junior Girl Scout Troop #30323 when they visited the Ohlone Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (OHS WRC) to earn their Wildlife badge. The girls so enjoyed learning about wildlife rescue and rehabilitation that they decided their Bronze Award project would benefit animals. They conferred with David Anderson, OHS WRC manager, and decided to make screech owl and squirrel boxes from scratch.

After the girls approached local vendors for materials, Dale Hardware and Hulbert Lumber responded with generous donations. Both companies were so tickled by these young gals taking on a construction project that they gave the troop more than the usual allowance. Then during meetings at OHS WRC, the girls tackled challenges which included reading design plans (yes, there are patterns for owl/squirrel boxes!) to cutting and assembling plywood parts under the watchful eye of David.

For most of the girls, this was their first time handling power tools and they did a fantastic job with assistance from David as well as Saundra and Ankit, OHS WRC volunteers. The troop completed their project by creating a tri-fold poster board and doing an oral presentation to qualify for the Bronze Award. Success! The Junior Girl Scouts' parents, especially troop leader Liza Hintzman, are to be commended for enabling these gals to meet challenges that build self-esteem and expand their potential. Truly, the sky is the limit!

The first to benefit from the owl and squirrel boxes (the designs differ only in the placement of the holes) were three orphaned baby squirrels at the OHS WRC. After spending time in an incubator and then an indoor carrier, the squirrels matured to where they could be moved to an outdoor pen. David installed one of the Junior Girl Scout boxes so the babies would have a snug and safe haven. When the squirrels were released back to the wild, their box went with them along with a plentiful food supply for the first few days to make sure they acclimated to their new surroundings. A resounding success!

Ohlone Humane Society was invited to participate in the Girl Scouts of Northern California's centennial celebration, the One Hundred Fun Hundred. 20,000 Girl Scouts from 38 states and five other countries converged on the Pleasanton Fairgrounds for a day of activities, education and fun. We joined other animal welfare organizations such as Muttville and SaveABunny in the "Critter Corner," introducing Girl Scouts to different animals and humane programs. This was the perfect venue to feature Troop #30323's presentation and boxes! Indeed, Girl Scouts, troop leaders and parents from different parts of the U.S. and the world were inspired by their presentation and are considering animal welfare projects for their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards!

The owl and squirrel box project has had a ripple effect through the community, beginning with the girls and spreading to their family, friends and other Girl Scout troops. While benefitting wildlife, constructing squirrel boxes has also meant building a brighter future through humane education for our children. Compassion for animals can start with the simple act of hammering a nail into a piece of wood.



Ohlone Humane Society is an advocate for all animals. From the rescue and adoption of companion animals to rehabilitating injured or orphaned wildlife, we care for animals in the Tri-City area and beyond. Just as important as supporting animals is our community outreach-touching the lives of people through animal assisted therapy, spay/neuter assistance, humane education and collaborative projects like the squirrel and owl boxes.

For more information about Ohlone Humane Society and our programs, call (510) 792-4587 (Advice Line) or email Info@OhloneHumaneSociety.org.

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