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Lamar’s Truman Boyle will wake up Georgia’s prognosticating groundhog Saturday

Local bugler Truman Boyle will play Reveille to wake up Georgia’s Official Weather Prognosticator General Beauregard Lee on his biggest day of the year – Groundhog Day. A special ceremony will be held Saturday, Feb. 2 at Dauset Trails Nature Center where Georgia’s official groundhog moved recently and Boyle will provide the music to wake him from his slumbers and hopefully bring him out of his burrow. According to popular belief, if the groundhog emergest from his burrow and sees his shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat into its den and winter will persist for six more weeks and if it does not see its shadow due to cloudiness, spring will arrive early. Boyle is a retired Georgia State Patrol and part of the group Bugles Across America which plays Taps at military funerals and other special ceremonies. Groundhogs are the largest species in the squirrel family. Other names for groundhogs include woodchucks, whistle-pigs and land-beavers. Groundhogs are skilled climbers and swimmers, which helps them to escape less-skilled predators. Groundhogs usually dig to create elaborate burrow systems. Their burrows have separate rooms for rearing young, sleeping and hibernating and they even have a ‘˜bathroom’ chamber. Groundhogs begin hibernation around mid-October and emerge in February. Their burrow system is located about 2-4 feet underground and may extend 15-25 feet horizontally. The main groundhog nest chamber is usually located at the end of the burrow. The main gate at Dauset Trails will be open by 6 a.m. The free ceremony will begin around 7:30 a.m. Visitors can enjoy games and souvenir shirts will be sold for cash or checks only. The Huff-N-Puff Half Marathon and Groundhog Grinder 5K race will take place on the trails after the ceremony. Go to ultrasignup.com for more race info. See blacksmith demonstrations throughout the day at Acorn Forge in the Barnyard. Dauset Trails Nature Center is a private, non-profit nature center located near Jackson. Dauset Trails provides outdoor educational experiences showcasing Georgia’s native wildlife, flora, early farm life, hiking and mountain bike riding trails and horse riding trails on 1400 beautiful, scenic acres. There are no admission or parking fees. Please visit our website for itinerary updates, directions and more information at DausetTrails.com.

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