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Students disappointed to lose bonfire, local beavers excited for free wood

A photo of a large North American beaver relaxing in a shallow pond, holding a wooden stick in its mouth.
A North American beaver (Castor canadensis)
National Park Service / CC0 1.0

The following content is purely satirical and entirely fictional.

After Princeton football’s 36–28 loss to Yale on Saturday, while Princeton students mourned the lost opportunity for a traditional celebratory bonfire, the local beaver population was excited to receive the massive pile of wood purchased for the fire.


Brothers Norbert and Daggett Beaver had attended the game with their families. The rumbling of the beavers slapping their tails against the bleachers exhilarated the crowd, who were unaware that the beavers were cheering on the Yale team. After the game, the beavers triumphantly watched maintenance crews clear out the bonfire pile and transport the wood to Roebling Memorial Park.

“Beavers are often called ‘nature’s engineers’ due to their use of wood and mud to construct dams,” according to a Prezi presentation created by local eighth-grader Demitri Lawrence. These dams divert water into ponds, which serve as protection from foxes, wolves, and the IRS. Just this year, the North American beaver overtook wolves to be named the top keystone species in the country by a U.S. News & World Report ranking.

While North America was once home to as many as 200 million beavers, their populations diminished starting in the 17th century, when beavers were widely hunted for their pelts. Also, in the past century, the town of Princeton passed zoning laws which precluded beaver dam construction with onerous design standards and a prohibition on building at night, the time when beavers are most active. Debates over these rules continue today.

In 1991, as a conciliatory gesture, the University began gifting the local beaver population its unused bonfire wood whenever the football team fails to beat Harvard and Yale. The beavers have received such a gift for four of the past six years.

Sam McComb is an associate Humor editor. He would like to thank Ms. Lawrence’s 8th grade science class for their help with this article.