‘SHORT the Squirrel’ makes appearance in Montgomery

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Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman met with SHORT the Squirrel, Alabama's official literacy mascot, to discuss the critical role literacy plays in shaping the future of the state. The visit, made possible by the Alabama Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Program and the Alabama Farmers Agricultural Foundation, left a lasting impression, emphasizing the significance of investing in educational initiatives. (Contributed. www.shortthesquirrel.com)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – SHORT the Squirrel, Alabama’s charismatic literacy mascot, embarked on a special trip to Montgomery to highlight the importance of literacy and education across the state. During the visit on Feb. 15, which was made possible through its partnership with the Alabama Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Program and the Alabama Farmers Agricultural Foundation, SHORT advocated for support of educational programming to further its mission of spreading literacy-rich, community-oriented, enjoyable content to Alabama’s youngest citizens.

During the visit, SHORT interacted with members of the legislature and government officials to promote the critical role literacy plays in shaping the future of the state. The mascot’s vibrant personality and commitment to fostering a love for reading left a lasting impression, emphasizing the significance of investing in educational initiatives.

“It’s encouraging to see organizations like SHORT the Squirrel actively engaging in promoting literacy and education. It’s a reminder that by working together, we can create a more informed community, laying the foundation for a prosperous future in Alabama,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate. 

SHORT the Squirrel is a nonprofit reading organization that is committed to creating vibrant, engaging narratives that not only entertain but also foster a sense of curiosity and joy, while encouraging a love for reading in Alabama’s youngest citizens. The charming character has become synonymous with the organization’s efforts to make reading and learning enjoyable for all and regularly makes appearances at schools across the state. SHORT was founded in 2020, and since then, has released fourteen grant-funded titles and activity booklets that are available to children and schools throughout the state and beyond.

SHORT the Squirrel’s appearance at the State House provided an opportunity for legislators to learn more about the organization’s ongoing projects and initiatives aimed at enhancing literacy levels in Alabama. This includes the launch of its upcoming virtual birthday party and corresponding curriculum, which teachers across the state can access and receive for free to use as a supplement to their existing lesson plans as long as they are registered in advance. Developed in partnership with Alabama Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Program and the Alabama Farmers Agricultural Foundation, SHORT’S fourth birthday party takes place in Dothan and highlights the rich agricultural bounty of the state in a fun and interactive way.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with SHORT the Squirrel in our ongoing efforts to make Alabama a better place to live, work and play,” said  Nick Williams, chairman of the  Alabama Association of Resource,  Conservation, and Development Councils. “Our partnership exemplifies our shared values and determination to create a more empowered society while highlighting all the wonderful things Alabama has to offer.”

As Alabama continues to prioritize education and literacy, the presence of SHORT the Squirrel at the State House serves as a symbol of unity between families, educators and the community in the pursuit of a brighter, more educated future for young Alabamians.

SHORT the Squirrel is a nonprofit reading initiative founded in 2020 by college friends Monica Anderson Young and Dr. Dee Dupree Bennett with the mission of cultivating a love for reading and igniting the imaginations of Alabama’s youngest citizens through literacy-rich, community-oriented, and enjoyable content. The “Official Mascot for Childhood Literacy in Alabama,” SHORT is a curious squirrel who, alongside his friend “Owl-Livia,” helps children explore their surroundings and enjoy reading while on the go. SHORT is committed to creating vibrant, engaging narratives that not only entertain but also foster a sense of community, curiosity, and joy. Through interactive  tales demystifying new experiences and community partnerships, SHORT the Squirrel aims to contribute to the development of young minds, nurturing a lifelong passion for knowledge and a deep connection to the world around them. For more information, please visit www.shortthesquirrel.com.