School kids watch as Tiger Salamander bill becomes law

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DENVER — School kids and amphibians came to the Capitol again — and, again, they attracted a number of TV cameras and photographers — as Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill that started as their school project into law.

The Tiger Salamander is now Colorado’s official state amphibian as a result of their efforts.

The students, who came up with the idea to make the official designation, testified in support of the bill as it was heard by House and Senate committees; and they weren’t about to miss the final step of the legislative process, as Hickenlooper put pen to paper in the Capitol’s west foyer Friday morning.

Tiger Salamander

Tiger Salamander

“You guys have demonstrated how the system can work,” Hickenlooper told the schoolkids who stood around him before the bill signing. “You had a great idea, you went out and followed it up. We now know that the Tiger Salamander is the only amphibian found in all 64 [Colorado] counties.

“You are a great model to the rest of the state that your own initiative and your own efforts can have huge results. You’ve changed the future of this state and the future of Tiger Salamanders everywhere.”

After the signing, students celebrated their own accomplishment — and the attention they’ve brought to this uniquely-Colorado creature.

“A lot of people don’t get to see this animal because it’s nocturnal,” said Marko Babiak, one of the students at the bill signing. “So it’s kind of putting it out in the spotlight and it’s exciting because now everyone gets to see it and how beautiful the creature is.”

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