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1919 - Swall Hotel in Newhall burns down (corner Main & Market) [story]

Good News | Commentary by Linda A. Castro
| Thursday, May 1, 2014

LindaCastroWhat is California’s state amphibian? If you said, “I don’t know,” you answered correctly. California doesn’t have a state amphibian. However, due to the efforts of some industrious and civic-minded elementary school students, the California red-legged frog is on its way to becoming our state amphibian.

Last fall, students at Sea View Elementary in Salton City learned that California does not have a state amphibian, although more than 20 other states do. With the assistance and encouragement of teacher Virginia L. Haddad, the children decided to advocate for a state amphibian. With the help of an organization called Save the Frogs, the children decided to advocate for the California red-legged frog – because it bears our state name, is found throughout California, and would draw attention to its need for protection.

The children contacted their local Assemblyman, V. Manuel Pérez, to ask for his office’s help with drafting a bill to declare the red-legged frog the state amphibian. Pérez, D-Coachella, who is a former educator, was impressed with the children’s enthusiasm for the legislative process and agreed to draft the legislation, which led to his introduction of AB 2364.

redleggedfrog-Jamie-Bettaso-525On April 24, AB 2364 passed on the Assembly Floor on a 52-8 vote. It now goes to the Senate.

Pérez said he was pleased about the passage of the bill in the Assembly because it “highlights the significance of a species for our state’s history and ecology by making it a state symbol.” He said the bill also “represents for me the essence of learning in action. The students came up with this idea, did the research and have been engaging at each step of the legislative process. It’s been an inspiring experience to work with them.”

These children found out about a problem, and rather than saying, “Why should I care?” or “Somebody (else) should do something about that,” they took action. They did their research and did the work to make things happen. In fact, two of the children went to Sacramento to testify in support of the bill before the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife.

Haddad with some of her students.

Haddad with some of her students.

Haddad, who inspired these children to take action, is a true credit to her profession. She went above and beyond the traditional classroom learning process and encouraged her students to become personally involved with the protection of one our beloved native species and with our legislative process. What a great learning experience for these children.

The California red-legged frog has been designated as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act since 1996. Its population has been dwindling for years.

Recently, federal biologists began a project to attempt to relocate hundreds of their eggs in an attempt to bring back their population. Hopefully soon, we will hear positive results about this project, as well.


Linda Castro is a former attorney who is a nature enthusiast and animal lover.  She currently serves on the board of the SCV-based Community Hiking Club.  Her articles highlight local and community stories that are heartwarming, uplifting or inspirational.  If you have a story you’d like to share with her, contact her at poisonoak.linda@gmail.com.  Include photos if you’ve got them.


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  1. IMHO it should be the Pacific Tree Frog (Hyla Pacifica)….Just sayin’. =D

  2. Segundo asensio suarez says:

    es maravilloso que los niños se impliquen de tal forma con la fauna y las autoridades. Se formaran como personas con gran respeto hacia cuanto les rodea como seres sociables y comprension de los demas

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