Friday, February 5, 2010

Marmot Day

Question: I heard that February 2nd is Marmot Day in Alaska. What's up with that? Don't you like groundhogs?

Answer: February 2, 2010 was the first official Marmot Day in Alaska. February 2nd of each year is designated Marmot Day by ch 57 Session Laws of Alaska 2009. The law states:


* Section 1. AS 44.12 is amended by adding a new section to article 2 to read:

Sec. 44.12.110. Marmot Day. Marmot Day is established on February 2 of each year. The day may be observed by suitable observances and exercises by school programs, the Alaska Zoo, civic groups, and the public.

* Sec. 2.
This Act takes effect immediately under AS 01.10.070(c).

Why the Marmot and not the groundhog? Here is the official sponsor statement by Senator Linda Menard taken from the official bill file:
Sponsor Statement for SB 58

Senate Bill 58, an act establishing February 2nd of each year as Marmot Day, will create a localized, Alaska version of Groundhog Day.

While many people in the Lower 48 spend every February 2nd honoring Punxsutawney Phil, or some other incarnation of the famous groundhog, Alaska residents don’t have the same representation.

The Marmot Day bill (SB 58) solves that, giving school children, public institutions and even adults the opportunity to use a local hire (the marmot) as their symbol.

Marmot Day can be celebrated in myriad ways, from special events at the Alaska Zoo to school celebrations with an educational angle so children can learn more about Alaska’s furry ground squirrel.

Already, the Marmot Day bill has received support from the Alaska Zoo and the Mat-Su Borough School District.

I hope you will also support the Marmot Day bill.

The official bill file also contains letters of support from children, school teachers and others interested in having a local alternative to Groundhog day.

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