Squirrel Appreciation Day!
Yes, you read that right! There is such a thing as Squirrel Appreciation Day and it occurs every year on January 21st. It was originally started by an American wildlife rehabilitator back in 2001 as an attempt to draw attention to these lovable, nut-burying creatures at a time of year when their food supplies are scarce. I must admit that I’ve only recently discovered this unofficial day that celebrates our furry, tree-climbing friends and I don’t have any particular obsession or fascination with squirrels. But having encountered first-hand the fearless ‘Squirrels of the West-End’, as I like to call them, I thought there was no better time to pay homage to these friendly, furry creatures and their home in the Glasgow Botanic Gardens.
Located at the intersection of Byres Rd. and Great Western Rd., the Glasgow Botanic Gardens is a small idyllic park officially known for its grand glasshouse structures containing a variety of plant life. Unofficially however, the Botanic Gardens has become known for its bold, inquisitive, and friendly squirrels that generally have little regard for personal space and will fearlessly approach you in the expectation of receiving food. On a typical day, you’d be hard-pressed not to see some group of individuals with rustling bags of various nuts being followed by an entourage of grey, furry creatures.
Of course the squirrels aren’t the only reason to visit the Botanic Gardens. As I previously mentioned, the gardens also boast several impressive glasshouse structures, all of which contain a variety of plant life, from ferns to cacti and even a banana tree! The most notable glasshouse, the Kibble Palace, also contains a carnivorous plant area, a small fishpond and often has events that you can get involved in. For days when the weather is a little warmer, the Gardens also contain numerous outside benches and picnic tables perfect for sitting and chatting, spending time with friends and enjoying the outdoors.
Besides the luscious greenery and the furry, food-seeking inhabitants, an added bonus of the Botanic Gardens is its close proximity to the UofG’s Main (Gilmorehill) Campus. We talk a lot about PGR self-care on the blog and the importance of taking breaks and with the Botanic Gardens being so close, it’s a perfect spot to visit if you’re needing a breath of fresh air from your work or are wanting to stretch your legs on a lunchtime walk. If you’re looking to venture out with a group then the PGR Lunchtime Walks are also something you could get involved in (these will soon be starting at the Garscube Campus as well).
Do you like to venture outside of the lab/office for breaks? Where are your favourite local places to visit to help you clear the cobwebs? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @UofG_PGRblog.