Media Advisory: Will Ridge Lea Larry, the taxidermied groundhog, see his shadow on Feb. 2?

Dave Borden, retired geology staff member and Ridge Lea Larry's "handler," with the groundhog at the 2017 cookout. Credit: Douglas Levere/University at Buffalo

The beloved critter will be the guest star — as always — of the UB geology department’s annual Groundhog Day cookout

Release Date: February 1, 2018

Groundhog-shaped cookies from the 2017 cookout. Credit: Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — University at Buffalo geologists are a hardy bunch. They make their own lava and camp out in the Arctic.

So it’s no surprise that the Department of Geology holds an annual cookout in the depths of winter, lighting up the grill at the start of February to mark Groundhog Day and celebrate the beginning of the spring semester.

The highlight this year, as always, will be a visit by Ridge Lea Larry, the taxidermied groundhog that has served as the department’s weather predictor since 1983.

For photos of last year’s cookout, visit the UB Seen visual archive.

What: UB Department of Geology Groundhog Day cookout

The cookout has been held rain, sleet, snow or shine nearly every year since 1983, when UB geology staffer Dave Borden first brought his grill and Larry to work to mark Groundhog Day.


11:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 2 (Groundhog Day).


Outside Cooke Hall on UB’s North Campus. The barbecue will be set up in the outdoor walk between Cooke Hall and the Natural Sciences Complex, near room 127B in Cooke Hall. For a map of this part of campus, visit


Wearing an apron that proclaims “Geology Rocks,” instructional support technician Sue Bratcher manned the grill at the 2015 cookout, which featured hotdogs, hamburgers, high winds and snow. Credit: Douglas Levere/University at Buffalo

The cookout is open to members of the UB community. It draws a large crowd of geology students, staff and faculty.

Ridge Lea Larry — the taxidermied groundhog and star of the show — will be on-site with his handler, Borden. At noon, Larry will pop outside to look for his shadow.

Geology alumni are also expected to attend, as this year’s barbecue is part of the geology department’s first Alumni Day event, which features activities on Friday and Saturday that range from career development sessions to a “Rock Trot” in Delaware Park.

What you will see:

This year’s cookout will feature hotdogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, chips, soda, fun conversation, smiles and laughs. Cookies in the shape of groundhogs are expected.

A little history:

For information on the celebration’s origins, visit At Buffalo, UB’s alumni magazine:

This year’s event is sponsored by the Undergraduate Geology Club, UB Student Association and UB College of Arts and Sciences Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement.

Past and current members of UB's geology department pose with Ridge Lea Larry in 2015. It was a particularly cold and blustery year for the cookout, but attendees were all smiles. Credit: Douglas Levere/University at Buffalo

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