Go Hog Wild! Groundhog Day Roundup
January 30, 2013

February 2 is Groundhog Day, the day many of us head outside (or tune into the news) to find out whether we can look forward to six more weeks of brutal winter or if spring is around the corner. Why do we depend on a big furry, rodent to tell us?

According to legend, when German settlers arrived in New World in the 1700s, they brought a tradition known as Candlemas Day, celebrated at the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Superstition held that if the weather was fair on Candlemas Day, the second half of winter would be stormy and cold. To determine the "forecast," Germans traditionally watched a badger to check for a shadow. In the New World, the groundhog was selected as the replacement forecaster.

According to legend, if the groundhog sees its shadow, it regards this as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to its hole. If the day is cloudy and shadowless, the groundhog takes this as a sign of spring and stays aboveground.

You don’t have to believe in the prediction to enjoy the day, though. Several fun family activities are planned throughout New England to celebrate—at the very least—being one day closer to spring.

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary Groundhog Day Extravaganza
Ongoing activities throughout the afternoon include nature hikes, snow sculptures, a groundhog obstacle course, crafts, refreshments, and more. The groundhog celebration takes place at 2 p.m. in the warm barn. Families with children of all ages are invited. Dress for the weather since many of the activities will be outdoors. Between 1 and 4 p.m.

Drumlin Farm Groundhog Day Festivities
Ms. G, Drumlin Farm’s resident groundhog, gives her forecast for the rest of the winter at this Groundhog Day celebration. Ms. G was orphaned soon after her birth in the spring of 2003 and lives at the farm. Activities include a story and snacks by the fire, winter crafts, and meeting resident wildlife (from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m). In addition to all the fun, New England meteorologist Mish Michaels, along with several area weather forecasters, will be on site to ring in the day!

Groundhog Day Safari at Stony Brook Reservation
The Boston Natural Areas Network and the Department of Conservation and Recreation are hosting a ranger-led hike through the reservation’s urban wilds. Unlock the mysteries of wildlife in winter on this family-friendly outdoor safari for ages 6 and up. Search for clues of animal activity. Is the groundhog asleep? Where do animals go in winter? Wear sturdy footgear, dress in layers, and bring a water bottle. Meet at the Bajko Skating Rink at 75 Turtle Pond Parkway in Hyde Park at 1 p.m.

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