OLYMPIA — The fourth-grade students of Wedgwood Elementary School in Seattle contacted Sen. Ken Jacobsen, D-Seattle, to propose a bill declaring the Olympic marmot an endemic mammal to Washington. In response, Jacobsen introduced Senate Bill 5071 and invited the class to come testify in favor of the bill.
Tonight that measure was approved by the Senate on a 43 to 4.
There is thought to be only 800 Olympic marmots. The creatures are found on the Olympic Peninsula and in particular Hurricane Ridge. They are highly social creatures that form gregarious bonds between individuals in a family, identifying each other by touching noses and smelling cheeks. During the morning and afternoon on summer days they spend their time sunbathing on rocks and in the evening they return to their burrow.
“I commend these 4th graders for taking the time to learn about this state mammal and learn about the process of proposing a bill,” said Jacobsen. “No education is better than a hands-on education. It was such a pleasure to see them testify in front of my committee and to see their hard work pay off this evening.”
The students’ trip to Olympia was the culmination of their classroom State Government unit.
“First and foremost, these students developed a true interest in the Olympic marmot, an underappreciated mammal,” said Jacobsen. “These students, their parents, their school and I are extremely excited and motivated to see their proposed bill signed into law.”
If passed, the Olympic marmot would join the Willow Goldfinch, Steelhead Trout, Green Darner Dragonfly, Pacific Chorus Frog and Orca whale as official state animals.