The Gleaner

Crafty local groundhogs predict an early spring

Students in the four-year-old kindergarten classes at Heritage Elementary in Huntingdon conducted an important experiment on February 2. The children brought a collection of brightly coloured paper groundhogs glued to popsicle sticks onto the playground, and after finding the perfect location to stick them in the snow, they carefully verified whether any produced a shadow. Happily, the Heritage groundhogs were shadowless, predicting an early arrival of spring.

The crafted groundhogs agreed with predictions produced by several other seasonal seers across North America on Groundhog Day. Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam was the first to call an early spring, followed by similar predictions from Val d’Espoir’s prognosticating groundhog Fred la Marmotte, and Ontario’s Wiarton Willie. The esteemed oracle of Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania, known as Punxsutawney Phil, “chose” a paper scroll that, when read aloud, revealed his promise of an early spring as well.


Kindergarten students at Heritage Elementary cheered after their handcrafted groundhogs did not produce a shadow on Groundhogs Day PHOTO Sarah Rennie


There were, however, some dissenting voices among Canada’s divining woodchucks. Manitoba Merv, a puppet, emerged from his home at Oak Hammock Marsh only to forecast six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow. In Alberta, Balzac Billy, which is a person dressed in a groundhog costume, popped up outside the Blue Grass Nursery and Garden Centre in Calgary where he also predicted another six weeks of winter. And, in a bit of a twist, Lucy the lobster, who happens to be the sole crustacean soothsayer in Canada, also saw her shadow in Barrington, Nova Scotia. (SR)

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