HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — The nation’s second-oldest almanac says it’s ending its 30-year tradition of collecting woolly bear caterpillars for their supposed ability to forecast winter weather.

The Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanac said Thursday that its woolly bear contest drew just three submissions last year compared with more than 1,000 in 1996.

Business Manager Gerald Spessard says interest declined after the local school system stopped promoting the event.

The 217-year-old publication launched the contest in hopes of doing for Hagerstown what Groundhog Day did for Punxsutawney, Pa. An almanac worker would make a winter weather prediction based on the relative widths of the caterpillar’s three, black-and-brown bands.

Spessard says the caterpillars weren’t very accurate forecasters.

The almanac is second in longevity to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, now in its 221st edition.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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