Despite objections that it might hinder economic development and was ugly, students succeeded at introducing legislation to make the wood frog the official state amphibian in New York State.
The idea was first introduced by student Lili Winkelman of the State Street School in Skaneateles. She wrote a letter to Sen. John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, and her class has supported the idea. One benefit for the fifth graders is that they are learning a civics lesson about Albany, in person.
“Of all the amphibians in the state of New York, why is the sponsor bringing this bill to the floor for the wood frog?” asked Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, a rival of DeFrancisco’s.
DeFrancisco answered that the reason was simple. Kids in his district studied the wood frog, and lobbied him to introduce legislation.
On the floor of the Senate, DeFrancisco commented, “I think this is an excellent opportunity to give young people who are interested, with a wonderful teacher who got them interested, to get a lesson in civics and a lesson in government. It’s a good educational opportunity.”
The bill passed last year in the Senate, but died in the Assembly. Opposition has grown stronger in the Senate over the past year. However, students were elated to learn that the bill has again passed the Senate this year – by one vote.