Massachusetts State Groundhog Ms. G. saw her shadow this morning, so that means six more weeks of winter. If by winter, she means the highs in the 50s over the past couple of days, we’ll take it.
UPDATE: Ms. G saw her shadow at 10am today. Thanks for the weather update, Ms. G.!
Chances are, Groundhog Day is that mid-winter tradition most likely to creep up on you unawares, leaving you panicked at the last minute, wondering if you’ve gotten all your Groundhog Day shopping done, knowing in your heart that you haven’t. At ease you Type A person, you. It’s not a gift-giving occasion. All that’s needed to be fully involved in the big day is to observe it. And due to the hard work and political savvy of some pretty heavy hitters here in town, you can observe the big day locally at Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm in Lincoln at 10am on Feb. 2 and know that a group of Hunnewell School students, working together since they were in kindergarten, has seen to it that Massachusetts has its own official State Groundhog.
Hunnewell students, their teacher, Ashley Kustka, and author Mish Michaels.
It took a whole lot of hard work and dedication over two years, but the students, with help from Emmy-award winning broadcast meteorologist and Wellesley mom Mish Michaels, and backed by writer of the bill Representative Alice Peisch, convinced the State House Committee, the State Senate, and former Govenor Deval Patrick that yes, indeed, Massachusetts did need its own lawful groundhog to forecast the local weather on the big day.
Michaels, author of children’s book Ms. G’s Shadowy Road to Fame, which tells the story of how it all happened, stopped by Hunnewell school today, along with the book’s illustrator, Kathleen Jameson. Michaels reviewed the long road from idea to bill to law with a group of about 45 students, most of whom were involved in the journey, and gave them the news that Ms. G’s story would be featured in the Scholastic News Weekly Reader, a publication that reaches a million students across the country. Oprah-style, everyone in the room got a Scholastic News copy. It’s been a long road, Michaels told the students, reminding them that “When you have an idea, you have to talk a lot about it and share your idea with other people, because that’s how your ideas become reality.”
Ms. G was, in fact, an idea whose time had come. After all, Puxatawney Phil, Birmingham Bill, Staten Island Chuck, and all the rest of the groundhog men scattered across various states can hardly know about the subtleties of Massachusetts weather. Ms. G, the country’s first female groundhog weather prognosticator, understands the capricious nature of spring around here. She’s got her Drumlin Farms burrow in Lincoln all set up to inform her about the secrets of the seasons, and she stands ready to share that information on her day. Here at The Swellesley Report, we know exactly where Ms. G is coming from. We, too, are all about providing hyper-local information.
And although Groundhog Day isn’t a gift-giving ocassion (thank heavens), it’s most certainly an educational opportunity. If you’d like to jump onto that end of things, Ms. G’s Shadowy Road to Fame, which is hard cover, full color, 62 pages, and retails for $18, is available on Amazon, MAStateGroundhog.com and is in limited stock at Wellesley Books. Ten percent of profits go to Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm to help care for Ms. G and her farm friends. The rest go to Michaels’ illustrator.
Click here to check out this great youtube video about the adventure.