Environmental & Science Education
by Edward Hessler
|Punxsutawney Phil [Flickr]|
The news this morning from Gobbler's Knob was that Punxsutawney Phil was hard to wake, grouchy and reluctant to stick his nose from his house. His mood would seem natural since he had been awakened earlier to be transferred to this temporary home.
When Phil was dragged out—his handler wearing heavy gloves—he saw his shadow. Well it was declared he did, a decision that is made before the event by the way. Phil's not sayin' but it was a cloudy day. Officials are too much with us.
I don't know whether an instant replay was demanded by his competitors or not (Buckeye Chuck - Ohio, Jimmy the Groundhog - Wisconsin, Staten Island Chuck - Staten Island, New York, Shubenacadie Sam - Nova Scotia, Gen. Beauregard Lee,- Georgia).
Staten Island Chuck and Shubenacadie Sam predicted and early spring and there may be others, too. Staten Island Chuck has the best percentage of all for these predictions: ~80 percent. I think he doesn't use a shadow but chooses a labeled bowl with food in it.
But hey, it is all about branding and Phil's handlers have done that well.
So, six weeks more of winter. Oh, hum. Nothing new here! The middle of March is about six weeks away and that month ranks third for snow.
NOAA's National Center for Environmental Information has an entertaining and useful infographic on Phil's predictions since 1887. Phil and his many descendants have been right ~ 50 percent of the time.
Here are 24 facts you didn't know—maybe you did, I didn't—about Bill Murray's film, Goundhog Day.
The Groundhog is not about this day but is a powerful poem. It is about a man who comes to understand the bargain we make with the cosmos: our eventual death and decay. The author, Richard Eberhart, grew up in Austin, Minnesota. He received many recognitions and awards. He also lived a very long life: 101 years.