You too, can join us for a Groundhog Day Celebration and prognostication of spring’s arrival
On Tuesday, February 2nd 10AM
In the Upper Ballroom of the Elks Lodge at 2301 Springdale Road in Waukesha
Several area school groups and lovers of this most whimsical day of prognostication will join the Wildlife In Need Center (WINC) and the Milwaukee Groundhog Club as we celebrate Groundhog Day and we hope you will too.
10AM: Education Coordinator Leslie Kiehl will perform an educational program about the Center including the entire line up of educational animal ambassadors.
11AM: The moment we’ve been waiting for all winter will come as handlers and Groundhog Club President Richard Perschon, present Waldo the woodchuck to make his prediction
11:30AM: Stick around to meet-and-greet our educational animal ambassadors up close
Waldo was brought to WINC during the summer of 2008 after being rescued by a couple spending their vacation in an RV. The couple had tried to keep him as a pet and although our staff tried diligently throughout the remainder of the summer and fall to “wild” him up they were unsuccessful. The goal for each animal admitted to WINC is to rehabilitate it so that it can be released back to the wild, but if Waldo couldn’t protect himself from predators he couldn’t be released. When it isn’t possible to release an animal we evaluate their circumstances, injuries and temperament and if they meet certain requirements we look for opportunities for permanent housing. Oftentimes that is with a nature center or other educational facility, but if we have the space and staff time we will occasionally add an animal to our own educational team. In Waldo’s case, not only was he young and healthy with an agreeable personality, we had recently lost our first educational woodchuck to cancer so he couldn’t have come at a better time.
The celebration of Groundhog Day arose from a variety of traditions, including some religious, some seasonal and most importantly, some observational. It gradually became a time when both people as well as animals emerged from their winter slumber to welcome the strengthening sunshine, only to return in wait for the actual coming of spring. Groundhog Day is now held annually on February 2nd which also happens to be the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. The most important thing is that the observance of this day gives those of us in cooler climates an excuse to celebrate, breaking up the monotony that leads to spring fever.
The Milwaukee Groundhog Club began in 1908 with a chance meeting of two men whose birthdays both happened to be February 2nd. They met at the Blatz Hotel along with several others who were discovered to be “groundhogs.” This year will mark their 102nd birthday as a group and they are proud to say that every shape, size and color of person (or groundhog) is invited to become a member, as long as their birthday is February 2nd!