Peggy Jenkins with Oil Springs Ollie who will make his debut Feb. 2 at the Oil Springs Youth Centre
Move over Punxsutawney Phil and Wiarton Willie – Oil Spring’s Ollie is about to join the ranks of groundhog weather forecasters.
On Feb. 2, when Phil and Willie are peering out of their burroughs to see if spring will arrive early, Ollie will be making his debut at the Oil Springs Youth Centre.
Village Councilor Kathy Gadsby says the owner of Heaven’s Wildlife Rescue, Peggy Jenkins, recently called the municipal office suggesting Oil Springs hold its own Groundhog Day ritual. Jenkins has a groundhog (whose name has been changed from Sheldon to Ollie) she was willing to let the village use.
Jenkins says Ollie/Sheldon came to Heaven’s Wildlife Rescue earlier this year as a young animal and can’t be released into the wild. She takes Ollie with her during talks, usually to school aged children.
Gadsby says the municipality jumped at the idea of Oil Springs own Groundhog’s Day ritual and have turned it into a family event. A fundraising breakfast will be held to raise money for the Oil Springs Parks and Recreation Committee and Heaven’s Wildlife.
Jenkins expects the mild-mannered groundhog will adapt well to life in the spotlight. “He’s very good,” she says. “He’s not afraid of people at all,” Jenkins adds noting some groundhogs are not that friendly. One groundhog prognosticator in the US actually bit a mayor one February 2nd.
Just to be sure Ollie doesn’t have any ill will toward Mayor Ian Veen, the two met face-to-face Wednesday in a getting to know you session.
Ollie’s big public debut will be at the Oil Springs Youth Centre on Victoria Street at 8:30 am, when Ollie will emerge to tell the crowds how many more weeks of winter to expect.