PAC, Landrum Library present “Groundhogology – Of Whistlepigs and World Politics”

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, January 21, 2016

Presenter and naturalist, Doug Elliott

Presenter and naturalist, Doug Elliott

Thanks to a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) is partnering with the Landrum Library to host a series of free, educational programs for adults, families, and children in 2016.


The first program will take place on Feb. 2, Groundhog Day, at 6 p.m. Celebrate Groundhog Day with PAC, the Landrum Library, and naturalist and storyteller, Doug Elliott, as he presents “Groundhogology – Of Whistlepigs and World Politics.”

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It all starts in Elliott’s mountainside cabin with a gift from an old groundhog hunter. From there we go on a rollicking and revealing journey, not only through the natural world, but also into folklore, history, mythology, philosophy and into the lives of people of different cultures, past and present.

You’ll hear how groundhogs have been a source of food, clothing, medicine, and music for generations of Appalachian folks. You’ll learn the mystical aspects of groundhogs and how they are woven into Native American and European mythology. You will find out the real story of Groundhog Day. You’ll get clues to the great riddle: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? You will learn how groundhogs can teach us about ourselves and even give us perspectives on society and world politics today.

This program is flavored with traditional songs, regional dialects, lively harmonica riffs, and more than a few belly laughs and wood chuckles. This program is best for adults and children who listen like adults. Families are welcome, too.

Elliott is a naturalist, herbalist, storyteller, basket maker, philosopher and harmonica wizard. He has performed at festivals, museums and schools from Canada to the Caribbean. He has been a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn. and has conducted workshops and programs at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the Smithsonian Institution. He has trained rangers for the National Park Service and guided people on wilderness experiences from Maine to the Florida Everglades. He was named harmonica champion at Fiddler’s Grove Festival in Union Grove, N.C.

For more information, contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060 or e-mail Keep an eye on the PAC website,, for information on upcoming PAC/Landrum Library programs at the Landrum Library. The next Landrum Library program is scheduled for April 12, at 6 p.m. when mycologist, Todd Elliott, will present. The Landrum Library is located at 111 East Asbury Drive.

-Submitted by Pam Torlina