The kids Tuesday hosted Gov. Bill Ritter (D-Colorado) in their Adams County School District 50 building as he signed House Bill 1017 into law, making the western painted turtle the official reptile of Colorado.
"There is no state reptile, so why shouldn't we have one that is slow, harmless and cute?" said Skyline 5th grader Amy Loi. She further told a school-wide assembly and the governor that choosing a snake as the official state reptile was ruled out by her fellow classmates because it was "mean and nasty."
The governor quizzed the students on their knowledge of other state icons. For example, the state bird is the lark bunting, the state flower is the Columbine and the official state fossil is the Stegosaurus.
The western painted turtle has roots which go back 210 million years. They're generally found below 6,000 feet in elevation, meaning they're found in streams and marshes on Colorado's eastern plains.
On Monday, a 10-year-old from Lakewood inspired the official designation of skiing and snowboarding as the official winter recreational sports in Colorado. William Kane brought a petition with 82 signatures to the Capitol to prove to lawmakers the widespread support for the measure.
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