Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Schoolkids, scientists croaking about state amphibian

From the News & Observer:

"The bullfrog's resonant croak echoes across North Carolina ponds all summer.

"Now its admirers are raising their voices at the General Assembly, asking lawmakers to make the king of frogs the state amphibian. A fourth-grade class at Pines Elementary in Plymouth wants the bullfrog to join the long list of officially sanctioned symbols, which range from the sweet potato to the Eastern box turtle to milk.

"But the state Herpetological Society has jumped in, suggesting other amphibians would be a better symbol. They consider the bullfrog a tad common -- especially for a state that boasts some of the nation's most diverse amphibian populations.

"Caught between schoolchildren and scientists, lawmakers must once again navigate the treacherous currents of symbolic politics. The bill has passed the House and is pending in a Senate committee. ..."

North Carolina has some great state symbols. Some of them make perfect sense (state bird: Cardinal; carnivorous plant: Venus flytrap; stone: Emerald; dance(s): the shag, clogging; flower: Dogwood; mammal: Eastern Gray Squirrel).

Some of them are head-scratchers (beverage: milk -- not Cheerwine or Pepsi?; insect: honey bee -- not mosquito?).

Others you have to assume got in as a rider (state boat: Shad boat?; saltwater fish: Channel bass?; Tartan: Carolina Tartan?).

Still, these are the things I had to learn as a fourth- and eighth-grader. And I'm glad I did.

Are there some symbols that should become state symbols?


Anonymous said...

There should be a state horse: The Banker pony. Also, what about a state sport? Golf? Stock car racing? College basketball?

James said...

Some of those categories are pretty specific: Carnivorous plant? Man, what a tough list to cull through. What are there, all of like 3 on the whole planet?

Easley needs to sack up and make Eastern Style Q as the State barbecue.

M. Lail said...

James, that's hilarious. Like the Venus flytrap, some of theme are easy. Emeralds are ONLY found in N.C., so that's an easy call. Some, you have to assume, have a strong lobby. Like the Scotch bonnet lobby. (Don't cross them!) Or the honey bee lobby. (Scary!)

I'm with you on the whole 'cue thing, though that will never happen. Too *political*.

How 'bout an official state thrash metal band? (Corrosion of Comformity). Or a state memoir? (Tim McLaurin's "Keeper of the Moon"). Or an official cheesy state tourist trap? (Tweetsie Railroad!)

Anonymous said...

Is there a state lighthouse? There should be. A state ghost? That might be tough. Whom do you give it to? The Maco Light near Wilmington? The Devil's Tramping Ground? The hoofprints at Bath?