Forget Phil! Ms. G to Give Forecast at Drumlin Farm
January 30, 2014

Sunday, February 2 is Groundhog Day, when many people look to a little furry creature to tell us whether we’ll have six more weeks of winter or if spring is near. Punxsutawney Phil gets most of the glory, but here in Massachusetts, we have our own groundhog to look to for guidance.

Ms. G, Drumlin Farm’s resident groundhog, gives her forecast for the rest of the winter during this day-long Groundhog Day celebration. Ms. G was orphaned soon after her birth in 2003 and lives at the farm. At 10 a.m., she’ll decipher the weather clues and deliver her seventh annual forecast. (Ms. G has had better local forecast accuracy with her “shadow/no shadow” forecast than Phil in Pennsylvania, for those keeping track.)

Early in the morning, WBZ-TV meteorologist Danielle Niles will be broadcasting live from Drumlin Farm from 5-8 a.m. You can check out her report on TV to see how many layers to wear before you head over to the farm.

The rest of the day is packed with activities. Local meteorologists from WBZ-TV, NECN, and the Blue Hill Observatory will be on hand from 10 a.m. to noon, talking with families about the weather wonders of the seasons as part of a special “weather science fair.”  Experts from the Discovery Museum will also join Drumlin Farm naturalists for a fun exploration of the science of winter.

Highlights include enjoying hot cocoa and making winter crafts (10:30-noon); learning about winter predators and how native wildlife survives the cold months (11-11:45 a.m.); visiting the greenhouse to learn secrets for enjoying fresh local food all year long (12:30-1:15 p.m.); seeing how the farm’s pony’s winter coat  keeps him warm (1:30-2:15 p.m.); interpreting animal tracks (2-2:45 p.m.) and the hibernation station to learn about the strategies animals use to survive the winter (2:45-3:30 p.m.).

Former WBZ-TV weather forecaster Mish Michaels and Wellesley school students have recently submitted a bill to the Massachusetts state legislature to declare Ms. G the Official Groundhog of the Commonwealth. To learn more about the campaign, visit www.mastategroundhog.com.

Other Groundhog Day Events
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. Advance registration is required. Call (978) 887-9264 or email ipswichriver@massaudubon.org for more information.

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 (unless weather is too severe). 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. Call 617-542-7696 or email info@bostonnatural.org for more information.

Why Do We Look to a Groundhog to Predict the Weather, Anyway?
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.

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