Freddie, the state’s most popular weather-predicting groundhog, came out of hibernation on Wednesday to provide his annual forecast to fans and followers in attendance.
"Freddie was happy he could celebrate his special day with friends this year and is ready to nestle back in his burrow for a few more weeks of winter,” said Trevor Moore, wildlife biologist for the West Virginia State Wildlife Center. “When spring arrives, Freddie hopes everyone will come back and visit him and enjoy a day at the Wildlife Center.”
According to tradition, six more weeks of winter can be expected if skies are clear and a groundhog returns to its burrow after getting spooked by seeing its shadow. If skies are cloudy and a groundhog doesn’t see its shadow, an early spring can be expected.
In the past 40 years, Freddie’s forecasts have been accurate 50 percent of the time. He predicted an early spring in each of the last three years.
The center is a modern zoological facility operated by the state where guests can see native and introduced wildlife in a natural wooded setting. In Upshur County south of Buckhannon, West Virginia, the center is home to a variety of native and introduced wildlife species, such as elk, bison, bobcats, black bears, gray wolves, and mountain lions.
Wildlife can be viewed along a wheelchair-accessible 1.25-mile trail that includes interpretive signs about each animal's history, biology, and relationship with humans.
Directions to the Wildlife Center
From I-79 at Weston (exit 99), follow US-48/US-33 east 12 miles to Buckhannon, then follow WV-20 south 12 miles. From I-79 at Flatwoods (exit 67) follow US-19/WV-4 north 30 miles to Rock Cave then follow WV-20 north two miles to the center.
For more information about the West Virginia State Wildlife Center, visit wvdnr.gov/west-virginia-wildlife-center.