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Groundhog Day 2012

by Brian DeHart 2/2/2012 10:56:00 AM

You say groundhog, I say woodchuck. Regardless what name he goes by, Bill Murray's nemesis in not just one but two films--well, actually the animal in Caddyshack was more precisely a gopher--rises from his burrow today in Punxsutawney, PA. Established originally during a secret ceremony in 1887 and a public media event since 1966, tradition holds that if Phil sees his shadow and retreats in fear, we can expect another six weeks of winter weather.

The annual awakening (Pennsylvania's is the most well-known, but other communities and zoos around the country hold similar reveilles) is not without controversy. Two years ago People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals issued a letter protesting the practice and advocates that a mechanical animal stand in for the drowsy fellow. The DuPage County Forest Preserve District has stated it also does not condone disturbing animals found in a state of hibernation which can create life-threatening stress.

Coincidentally, February 2nd also portends the arrival of winter quarter midterm exams. Best of luck to all students reading these words. If you woke up this morning after a long night of studying and saw your shadow, it means that spring break is just six weeks away.

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2/9/2012 4:27:23 PM

Hi Brian - Such a great movie! I always wondered about this - I knew they hibernate, but never thought about them being disturbed for such a goofy reason...


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