Throughout the year, BPY students learn about many customs and holidays, both Jewish and secular. February 2 was Groundhog Day. This is a custom dating back to 1877 when Punxsutawney held its first Groundhog Day celebration. This tradition was brought by the Pennsylvania Dutch to predict the type of upcoming weather in the middle of winter based on whether a groundhog sees its shadow on Feb 2. After learning about the history of the tradition, the students discussed whether the groundhogs’ predictions are based on science. Last week, BPY scientists studied shadows and burrows, and were thrilled to visit their very own resident groundhog burrow in the BPY woods. Punxstawney Phil, who has been predicting the weather for the longest, only has a 39% accuracy rate. Students used weather forecasts and trends to make their predictions. They studied the weather patterns near Punxsutawney Phil (PA), Staten Island Chuck (NY) and Lady Edwina of the Turtle Back Zoo (NJ). Using their knowledge of shadows and weather forecasts, they predicted the groundhogs’ predictions. This past Friday, students checked to see whether they accurately predicted what the groundhogs would see! Based on the forecast of the groundhogs, there should be an early spring. Time will tell if they are right!