Squirrel the new face of recreation district

Board of director’s votes down aardvark, aardwolf
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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The Auburn Parks and Recreation District has a furry new friend. The board of directors voted to make a squirrel the mascot of the district Thursday night. The new face of the Auburn Parks and Recreation District will make appearances throughout town and be used in marketing campaigns to promote the district’s services. Julie Clagett, of Auburn, was one resident who submitted the squirrel idea. She was surprised and delighted to learn it was selected by the board. “I think that’s awesome. That makes my day. I’m so happy it’s the squirrel,” Clagett said. The squirrel beat out several other suggestions, including an aardvark, an aardwolf and a bear. Scott Holbrook, a member of the board of directors, said although he was rooting for his suggestion, an aardvark, the squirrel will be a good addition. “I wanted aardvark. The majority of the board did not agree, so we moved forward. There were a lot of good ideas and some lousy ones,” Holbrook said. “You know to me it’s going to be fun. That’s what the majority of the board wanted. It fit some of the indigenous parts of it.” The squirrel’s name has yet to be decided. The Discovery Club will host a contest for kids to come up with one, he said. Jim Ferris, a member of the board of directors, said he liked the aardvark idea initially, but public comments left him feeling that the animal should be native to the Auburn-area. “I was originally for the aardvark,” Ferris said. “I became persuaded that it made more sense to have a local critter and a critter that didn’t have any stigmas associated with them. The squirrel was actually the most innocuous, but very pleasant.” Ferris said while a final budget for the mascot costume has not been approved, he estimates the costume could cost about $1,500. He said the money will be well spent because the squirrel will appear in a variety of marketing campaigns. “The idea of doing it was not frivolous fun. ARD wants to be a fun environment. We need more and more people to attend our classes and programs and to be aware of what they are and that just fits in with the marketing,” Ferris said. “We can all go nuts for squirrels.” Clagett said she plans to stay true to her word that if one of her suggestions was selected she would make the occasional cameo appearance in the mascot costume. “I think it will be a nice complement to the community,” Clagett said. “I would be willing to wear it part-time, not when it’s hot though.” Reach Sara Seyydin at