It already works. The site received its first report Thursday morning from an owner near the 40th and Normal, which included photos of flying squirrels crouching in their nest box taken in 2020 and 2021.
The site also has detailed plans for the construction and installation of nesting boxes. The design was perfected by Don Althoff, a flying squirrel researcher in Ohio who built and installed 400 boxes. But he also has connections with the East Campus – he graduated there in 1978 and, in recent weeks, has shared his expertise with Powell and others.
Powell hopes the owners will use the blueprints to build their own boxes and agree to participate in the research project. It could mean allowing UNL students and instructors and Game and Parks staff to come and inspect the boxes, or it could be as simple as emailing updates on flying squirrel activity.
The website also includes a reminder: flying squirrels are considered an endangered species in Nebraska and should not be disturbed without a special permit.
“And you don’t want to handle them anyway, because they have nice big teeth, even though they’re cute little critters.”
The solitary nesting box on the East Campus will soon be joined by others. Once the students return for the spring semester, Powell and School of Natural Resources principal John Carroll plan to host what they call a fundraiser night.