From WILL - Focus -

Encore: Urban Squirrels

We see squirrels every day in cities across Illinois, but squirrels didn’t always live in urban areas in such abundance. 

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(Duration: 51:14)


Sari Lesk

If you’ve spent time on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign-Urbana, you’ve likely noticed the squirrels… and their odd behavior. According to mammalian ecologist Ed Heske, they live on campus because in the early 1900’s, the UI allotted $125 dollars to introduce squirrels to campus to enhance interaction between its students and the natural world.

The idea that urban squirrels would be good for people living in cities, however, wasn’t unique to the University of Illinois; it was part of a much larger movement that swept the US starting on the East coast in the early 19th century. This hour on Focus, we'll listen back to a coversation Jim Meadows had with  and Assistant Professor of History at Pennsylvania University Etienne Benson.