Third graders from St. Michael's Country Day School in Newport, RI advocated for naming the American burying beetle the state insect in order to help raise awareness of its need for protection.
"These students are an inspiration. They truly took their education beyond the classroom," said Governor Gina Raimondo. "It is with them in mind that I announce a Beetle Drawing Competition to celebrate and bring attention to our new state insect. Now that the American burying beetle is a symbol for our state, I want to see Rhode Island's children draw our state insect as a true Rhode Islander. Participants can mail drawings into my office or email email@example.com to enter between now and August 14th. I am looking forward to seeing the entries!"
This legislation was sponsored by Representative Lauren H. Carson and Senator V. Susan Sosnowski and approved by the General Assembly.
"I'm so impressed by the initiative these children took and the diligence with which they pursued their idea. Many years from now, when their grandchildren are learning about Rhode Island like they were this year, they'll be able to proudly tell them the story of how Rhode Island has a state insect because of their advocacy in the third grade. They have already made their mark in Rhode Island," said Representative Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport), who added that she hopes the American burying beetle has made it off the endangered species list by then.
"The students behind this bill have worked hard to make their idea a reality, negotiating the democratic process like adults and exercising their rights as involved citizens. It's been an excellent civics lesson for them, and they've been a great example to other kids of how any citizen, at any age, can be engaged in their government and make a difference," said Senator Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham).