Vince EMT squirrel

The inVINCEble EMT squirrel along Reed Street is one of several to be given a mask to promote COVID-19 mask awareness in Olean.

A scavenger hunt is a game in which the organizers prepare a list defining specific items, which the participants seek to gather or complete all items on the list, usually without purchasing them.

In coordination with Woodland in the City and the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce, a squirrel scavenger hunt brochure and pin are now available to all “nutty” folks.

Lisa Carpenter, GOACC administrative assistant, says, “We invite you to visit the Squirrels of Olean. At one time, Olean was home to 30 squirrels. Over time, the squirrels have retired to southern locations. Currently, there are 27 squirrels scampering all over.”

The pocket-size brochure, printed by GOACC member Ferguson Printing, gives a checklist of the squirrels as well as map showing their locations. The brochure is available for free.

A squirrel pin is available for purchase when you pick up the brochure. The pins, available at the Chamber office, are $5 each or $20 for five.

Scavenger hunts evolved from ancient folk games. Thanks to Elsa Maxwell, they became a popular form of entertainment. Elsa Maxwell (May 24, 1883-Nov. 1, 1963) was an American gossip columnist and author, songwriter, and professional hostess renowned for her parties for royalty and high society figures of her day. In the 1930s, in a series of exclusive New York parties, Elsa introduced scavenger hunts and treasure hunts, which created a Society’s obsession with them.

This scavenger-hunting craze among New York’s elite was satirized in the 1936 film “My Man Godfrey.”

“GOACC encourages hunters to take a day or a few days and visit all the squirrels — take pictures of you with the squirrels, email them to and bring peanuts with you when you visit either the Lincoln Park or Oak Hill Park squirrels to feed their live relatives,” says Erica Dreher, member services manager. “We do stress that no one should sit on the squirrels.”

GOACC is located at 301 N. Union St., with hours of 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Pins/brochures are available at the office and will be available online at

For more information or questions, call 372-4433 or email