The Urbanization of the Eastern Gray Squirrel in the United States

Etienne Benson

Teaching the Article

Exercise 4: Reforming Wayward Youth

At the beginning of the twentieth century, social reformers turned to nature as a way of improving the moral character of American youth. This “nature study” movement argued that children could become more compassionate, charitable, generous, and disciplined by studying the natural world around them. Ernest Thompson Seton, a popular nature-writer and one of the founders of the Boy Scouts in the United States, agreed. In 1914, writing for the magazine Boys’ Life, he argued in favor of introducing “missionary squirrels” to American towns and cities.



  1. Ernest Thompson Seton, “Around the Campfire,” Boys’ Life, 4 (April 1914), 23, available at Google Books:
    Local copy of article (JPG)