Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February Nature Net News - Groundhogs

See the original here.

Nature Net News - February 2011
Your source for tips & tricks for exploring nature with your kids

Dear Reader,
It's that time of the year again. You know, when the hibernating animals start to leave their burrows only to  be scared by their own shadows? ....Well not really. That myth is just one thing you'll learn more about in this edition of Nature Net News!

Groundhogs are called many things, from cute to varmint, and they appear in a variety of forms.

From peeking a bushy head out of a burrow to ravaging a farmer's vegetable garden, the groundhog is an interesting creature to learn about!

Kathe, Sarah & Brenna

The Folks at Nature Net

Did you know..... Some other names for the groundhog include "woodchuck," "whistle-pig," and "land beaver."

Another fun fact: groundhogs can climb trees!

What to Do This Month:
Celebrate Groundhog Day on February 2nd!

Sing The Groundhog Day Song!

Tricks of the Trail for Parents:
Sleepy 'Hogs
Though Groundhog Day is celebrated on February 2nd, most local groundhogs are still hibernating in their burrows at this time! Instead of watching for groundhogs, try taking a nature walk to spot signs of spring. Is the snow melting? Are the trees beginning to sprout buds? Can you see fresh grass?

Instant Outdoor Expert:
Groundhog Day
Most of North America celebrates Groundhog Day. On the second day of February it is said that a groundhog will awake from its hibernation slumber and emerge from its hole. If that groundhog sees its shadow, it will return to its burrow and there will be six more weeks of winter. If it does not, spring will arrive early. So goes the folk legend.

The belief of a groundhog emerging from its hole and predicting the weather came from early settlers from Europe. This is because in some parts of Europe, beavers, hedgehogs, and bears are supposed to act in the same manner. Despite the popularity of this image, most wild groundhogs awake in March--not in February.

Make This Month's Nature Craft: Poppin' Groundhogs!

Learn about This Month's Featured Nature Net Site: Aldo Leopold Foundation

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