Carnley, Hammett meet Short the Squirrel at Alabama State House

Published 11:00 am Saturday, February 24, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

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 on Thursday, Feb. 15.

During the visit, which was made possible through its partnership with the Alabama Resource Conservation and Development 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. State Sen. Josh Carnley and Dist. 92 State Rep. Matthew Hammett were among those legislators in attendance at the event. 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 by longtime friends and former Troy University sorority sisters Dee Bennett and Monica Young when they noticed a lack of reading materials for kids in common waiting places in their community. Since then, has released 14 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 the Alabama Resource Conservation and Development 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. Our partnership exemplifies our shared values and determination to create a more empowered society while highlighting all the wonderful things Alabama has to offer,” Alabama Association of Resource, Conservation, and Development Councils Chairman Nick Williams said.

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.