What to know about Gwinnett celebrity groundhog Gen. Beauregard Lee

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What to know about Gwinnett celebrity groundhog Gen. Beauregard Lee

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JONATHAN PHILLIPS / SPECIAL
General Beauregard Lee pokes his head out of the front door to his enclosure at the Yellow River Game Ranch in Lilburn on Sunday, February 2, 2014.

Punxsutawney Phil and Staten Island Chuck can step aside; there’s only one groundhog’s prediction to watch this Groundhog Day.

Gen. Beauregard Lee was Gwinnett County’s own celebrity groundhog for decades, but moved to Dauset Trails Nature Center in Jackson in January 2018. Not to worry — Dauset Trails will be helping Beau continue his Groundhog Day tradition, welcoming guests to watch the general make his prediction at sunrise on Feb. 2. 

Will it be six more weeks of winter, or an early spring? 

You can rely on metro Atlanta’s favorite rodent, who has a 94 percent accuracy rating, according to the Yellow River Game Ranch, where Beau previously made his longtime home.

What do you need to know about this furry Southern gentleman? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

  1. He’s not the first groundhog to make predictions in metro Atlanta. Beau is the “bachelor nephew” of the original Gen. Lee, who served as the Yellow River Game Ranch’s chief rodent prognosticator for 10 years before Beau took over. The current Gen. Lee is 18 years old, according to a 2017 estimate, far exceeding the life expectancy of his fellow groundhogs, which is about six to eight years.
  2. Beau’s on his own time. Nobody’s yanking the General out of his home before he’s good and ready to predict the weather. Beau decides when to come out and make his annual prediction. When he was at the Yellow River Game Ranch, that decision was aided by a trumpeter, causing much anticipatory fanfare from the crowd that gathered every year. 
  3. Not just a general, but an (honorary) doctor. Beau has received honorary doctorates from the University of Georgia (in “Weather Prognostication”) and Georgia State University (a “Doctor of Southern Groundhogology”).  He’s also been honored by the National Weather Service twice for his reliable forecasts.

Entry to Dauset Trails Nature Center is free every day. It is located at 360 Mt. Vernon Church Rd. in Jackson. 

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