Nature Journaling #246: Groundhogs & the Halfway Point to Spring

Nature journals are a fun way to pass the time. To many Great Parks nature interpreters, they are a tool that fosters meaningful connections with the natural world.

Join us in keeping a nature journal throughout 2021. This is your journal – something to help you connect to the natural world around you and make discoveries along the way.

If the weather is too awful to go outside for your nature observation, take a peak out a window from the comfort of inside your home! If you do venture outside, you may want to take a small pocket notebook to make notes or quick sketches to work further with them when you get back inside. Also, use a pencil – ink in a pen could freeze if it is too cold! Any notebook will work for your journal.

A groundhog stands on its hind legs outside of its den.
Photo by Grayson Smith/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Midwest Region.

Today’s Prompt: Groundhogs & the Halfway Point to Spring

Today is Groundhog Day. It is said that if the groundhog comes out of his den and sees his shadow because it is a sunny day, there will be six more weeks of winter. But if he comes out of his den and doesn’t see his shadow because it is a cloudy day, spring is just around the corner.

This groundhog tradition comes from Germany, where instead of a groundhog seeing its shadow or not, they relied on a hedgehog. The tradition is based on Candlemas Day, the day that marks the mid-point between winter and spring.

What do you like best about winter? What are you looking forward to in spring?

A Few Tips for Success:

  • Work with your child’s attention span. If they aren’t enjoying an activity, allow them to choose a new one. If they are highly focused, give them plenty of time to continue the observations.
  • Allow creativity. Children often have interests that go beyond the questions we pose. Create a safe environment so they can create and explore on their terms.
  • Journal along with your child. You never know what you may discover and it’s a great way to spend some quality time together.
  • Try activities at different times of day. Observations may change with time and temperature.

Want to try your hand at different nature journaling topics? Click here for more prompts.