Turtle Back Zoo's new groundhog Essex Edwina is watched by onlookers.
Essex Edwina is watched by (from left) N.J. State Senate Majority Leader and Deputy Chief of Staff Teresa Ruiz, Newark North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, Essex County Commissioners Len Luciano and Patricia Sebold, and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr.

This is a press release from Essex County. Press releases are official statements that have not been independently verified.

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. introduced Essex Edwina as the new weather prognosticator during the Groundhog Day event at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo on Wednesday, February 2nd. Essex Edwina took over for Essex Ed, who has entered retirement after having Edwina as his apprentice during the pandemic. During the 10 a.m. event, Edwina did not see her shadow which means spring weather is expected to come six weeks early. In addition, she picked the Los Angeles Rams to win Super Bowl LVI.

“I appreciate Essex Edwina’s prediction and look forward to spring,” said DiVincenzo, who disagreed with Edwina’s Super Bowl pick. “It may be cold outside, but it’s still a great time to come out and Experience Essex, and our wonderful Turtle Back Zoo and South Mountain Recreation Complex. Waiting for Essex Edwina on Groundhog Day creates excitement about Essex County’s Turtle Back Zoo and highlights its role as an educational resource,” he added.

Essex Edwina’s prediction is as follows:

Hello Essex Family! So happy you could attend,
I’m nervous, but excited, to take over for my friend.

Ed joined the Great Resignation, he cares no more for changing weather,
He’s got a beach house down in Boca, where the snowbirds hang together.

Now, though I’m new to the job, my prognostications are true,
It’s not just about shadows, there’s more to what I do.

Models and Maps, hours studying in my hut,
But for this first prognostication, I’m gonna go with my gut.

I see tulips and daffodils, cherry blossoms too,
Sunshine and warm weather, that’s what’s in store for you.

Early Spring is in the forecast, under this ice,
So let’s look forward, not back, that’s my 2022 advice.

Now that’s out of the way, I’ve got football to cheer,
Rams’ defense will secure the win, that’s my prediction this year.

This is the first year that Essex Edwina has made mid-winter and Super Bowl forecasts. Her predecessor, Essex Ed, had been predicting the mid-winter forecast since 1997 and the Zoo had various other groundhogs predict before him. New Jersey weather is not always in line with Pennsylvania’s after all, and Ed could easily see his shadow while Punxsutawney Phil does not or vice versa. In the mid-2000s, Essex Ed started adding Super Bowl predictions to his prognostication.

Legend has it that if a groundhog sees his shadow on February 2nd, the winter chill will continue. If the weather is cloudy and he doesn’t see his shadow, we can expect warmer temperatures and an early spring.