Groundhog Phil Says Spring is Coming
FILE - Groundhog Club handler A.J. Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 138th celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa., Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. Phil's human handlers took the occasion of Mother's Day, Sunday, May 12, 2024, to announce that the two kids born earlier this spring to Phil and his partner, Phyllis, are named Sunny and Shadow. Sunny is a female, Shadow a male. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger, File)

Groundhog Phil Says Spring is Coming

May 13th, 2024

Punxsutawney Phil is a special groundhog. People say he can tell us when spring will start. Phil has a friend named Phyllis. They have two baby groundhogs. The baby groundhogs are named Sunny and Shadow. Sunny is a girl. Shadow is a boy. Every year, Phil tries to tell us about winter. If Phil sees his shadow, winter stays for six more weeks. If he does not see his shadow, spring comes early. This year, Phil did not see his shadow. So, spring is coming soon! Phil has people who take care of him. These people say Sunny and Shadow are Phil and Phyllis's children. They are not going to predict the weather like Phil. Phil is still the only one who does that job. Many people gave ideas for the baby groundhogs' names. Then, Phil and a man named Tom chose the names Sunny and Shadow. They told everyone the names on Mother’s Day. A video on the internet has the news too. A member of Phil's club found Sunny and Shadow in March. They were with Phil and Phyllis. The groundhog family lives in a warm home under the ground at a library. They eat fruit and vegetables. Phil, Phyllis, Sunny, and Shadow are a happy groundhog family. They are famous and many people know them.
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💭 Discussion Questions

. What can Phil the groundhog do that is special?
. What are the names of Phil's baby groundhogs?
. Where does the groundhog family live?

📖 Vocabulary

🌐 Cultural context

Punxsutawney Phil is part of a U.S. tradition called Groundhog Day, celebrated on February 2. It is a popular event where a groundhog predicts the arrival of spring based on seeing his shadow. Phil is a symbol in this tradition.

🧠 Further reading

Groundhog Day
Every year on February 2, people in the United States and Canada have a special day. It's called Groundhog Day. On this day, a groundhog comes out of its home in the ground. If the groundhog sees its shadow because the sun is shining, it means winter will last six more weeks. If it does not see its shadow, it means spring will come soon. This year, they say spring will come early. A long time ago, people from Germany had a similar idea. They watched animals like the badger on a day called Candlemas. If the badger saw its shadow, they thought winter would stay longer. In a place called Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania, there is a big party for Groundhog Day. Many people go to see a famous groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil. This party is very popular. Other places have parties like this too. But, some people have looked to see if the groundhog's shadow really tells us about the weather. It turns out it does not always work. Still, many people like the Groundhog Day tradition. It is fun to guess if spring will come early or if winter will stay longer.

Wildlife rehabilitation
Wild animals sometimes get hurt or sick. Some people help these wild animals feel better. They want to help the animals go back to the wild. What happens when we find a wild animal that needs help? We shouldn't touch the animal. We should call someone who knows how to help them. These people are called wildlife rehabilitators. The rehabilitators look at the animal. They see if they can help it get better. If yes, they give the animal food and a safe place to stay. They also give it medicine if needed. Sometimes, animals cannot get better. Then, they are put to sleep in a kind way. Other times, they can go to a place where they can live safely. We want animals to live in the wild, not with people. People who help wild animals try not to let the animals think they are their family. They hide their faces and hands, and cover the animals' homes. This helps animals remember they are wild. People who help wild animals know a lot. They work hard to make sure wild animals can live in their homes in nature.

People have their own stories, songs, jokes, and building styles. These things are special to groups of people and their way of life. Folklore is what we call these special things. Folklore is not learned in school. It is shared when we talk, show, and do things together. It helps people remember their way of life. A long time ago, a man named William Thoms made the word "folklore." "Folk" means people, and "lore" means learning. Folklore is about learning from people and sharing it. Folklore can be about many people or just one family. It is very important and helps people feel close to each other.