Georgia Names State Frog

Thursday, April 21, 2005
The green tree frog will soon become the official Georgia amphibian.
The green tree frog will soon become the official Georgia amphibian.

State Sen. Preston Smith (R-Rome) and a group of sixth graders from Armuchee Elementary School in Rome will stand with Gov. Sonny Perdue Tuesday as he signs Senate Bill 41 making the green tree frog the official state amphibian.

Two years ago, while these same students were studying the political process and "how a bill becomes law" in fourth grade classes taught by Marilyn McLean and Ruth Pinson at Armuchee Elementary, they decided
to see if they - a group of school children - could get a bill passed.
They contacted Rep. Barbara Massey Reece and asked her to sponsor their
legislation. Rep. Reece filed the bill which passed the House in 2004,
but failed to make it through the Senate.

This year, the students asked Sen. Smith the sponsor the bill, and it
sailed through both the Senate and House with nary a whimper. On Tuesday (April 26) at 9 a.m., the students who began their quest to put the tree frog in alongside Georgia's other "official" symbols - including
grits, azaleas, the brown thrasher, the peach, the peanut and the Cherokee Rose - will witness the measure becoming law when the Governor
signs his name to it. Afterward, they will take a field trip organized
and sponsored by Sen. Smith to tour Atlanta's Fernbank Museum of
Natural History with its current exhibit "Frogs: A Chorus of Colors"
featuring the state's new official amphibian, the green tree frog.

"The students in Ms. Pinson's fourth grade class made this happen," Sen. Smith said. "It is only right that they be here when their idea comes to fruition."

Sen. Smith said he felt the students' frustration when the bill did not pass in 2003 or in 2004. "It was a good civics lesson, albeit a tough one, for them to learn," Sen. Smith continued. "It taught them that sometimes the wheels of government move slowly, but if you persevere, and keep working with the legislature, eventually you may see
your idea become law.

"Some of my colleagues who serve in the legislature have waited many, many years to get a single bill passed - so the students did well. It
was a fiscally responsible bill - it will not cost the state a dime. In
addition, it didn't hurt anyone or take away anyone's rights. Through this long procedure the students were able to make the process of state government come alive in a way that they will never forget."

The students will take a bus from Rome to the State Capitol on Tuesday
and then head to Fernbank for a tour of the frog exhibit and lunch.


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