Bitterroot Bill, the valley's groundhog day prognosticator, did not see his shadow Monday.

So it will be an early spring. The announcement was made by Tom Reed, manager of the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge, where Bitterroot Bill, a yellow belly marmot, lives.

Reed, Bob Danley and Kim Pennington led an energetic group of Stevensville 3rd graders to the "white barn," an historic structure on the refuge where the marmots have been living under the rock foundation.

The Bitterroot Groundhog Day result was opposite of Punxsutawney Phil, the renowned groundhog on the East Coast, who was pulled out his den early in the morning and saw his shadow, resulting in a wintery prediction.

Bitterroot Bill did not come out of his home at the appointed time - 12:30 p.m. MST. If he had, he would have missed the sun by minutes. It had just dipped behind a layer of clouds building from the west.

Danley said the main purpose of the event is to get kids outside and to notice the natural world around them. He talked to the children about marmots and they saw plaster casts of different animal tracks and animal pelts.

By the way, Bob Danley does a weekly report that KLYQ Radio airs Monday mornings at 8 a.m. from the Metcalf Wildlife Refuge. We will also be posting those shows online, starting this month!