Students are acknowledged during a college’s graduation ceremony, but how about the squirrels residing in the campus? 21-year-old Marie Romano, an alum at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) named the squirrels she saw at lunch when she was a student in 2014, according to Helen Murphy of celebrity and human interest news platform People and Jenni Lee of Texas-based television channel KVUE.
Romano’s favorites are Berry, a squirrel whose mouth had berry stains when she first met her, and two squirrels named Sunflower. They were named as such because she could not tell them apart at first. Romano explains to KVUE, “There’s actually two Sunflowers and I didn’t realize this until seeing them many times, and I don’t want to give up either of their names. There’s Sunflower One and there’s Sunflower Two.”
|Photo Credit: Marie Romano (via Kickstarter)|
In early 2018, she shared the photos of the squirrels to an Instagram page, where it amassed over 6,000 followers. As of this writing, the numbers significantly ballooned to 8,000. That’s how it all started. People really responded positively to it,” Romano states. Given the Instagram page’s popularity, as well as a successful Kickstarter campaign, she decided to start a yearbook dedicate to the squirrels to commemorate “their time on UT’s campus.”
"It just so happens that Marie is a Squirrel whisper," remarks Alex Carroll, Romano’s boyfriend. He remembers the time when Romano “came up with the yearbook idea.” Romano also knows “what noises to make” when the attention of the squirrels. According to her, squirrels respond to tongue clacking. It worked on Berry as it walked to Romano for peanuts.
|Photo Credit: The Daily Texan (via YouTube)|
Squirrels of UT, the yearbook’s title, contains a “detailed look of over 200 squirrels,” including their names, personalities, friendliness levels, and rarity levels. Romano went as far to invent “squirrel-specific classes and organizations.” She adds, “Because it’s a yearbook, I wanted to make it as much as an actual yearbook as possible so I made squirrel classes like acornology.” But it’s not only acornology, the squirrels also have tree-climbing, geology, and gardening classes!