Washington teacher, students speak in favor of bill that would designate state dinosaur

You've heard of a state flower and a state bird, but now Washington is close to designating a state dinosaur.
Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 7:50 AM PST
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OLYMPIA, Wash. (KPTV) - You’ve heard of a state flower and a state bird, but now Washington is close to designating a state dinosaur.

It’s all part of a years-long effort started by fourth grade teacher Amy Cole and her students at Elmhurst Elementary in Tacoma.

Four years, Cole was teaching her fourth graders about how government works. They came across a fact in their textbook about a class in Massachusetts that petitioned their legislature to make the ladybug their state insect.

That inspired what is now House Bill 1020.

“In my short years as an educator, I have very quickly learned the challenge of keeping students engaged in learning with so many other factors competing for their attention, and so when my students read about those Massachusetts students and their success with the state insect, I saw those wheels start turning, and I ran with it,” Cole said.

The bill would designate the Suciasaurus rex as the official dinosaur of Washington state.

It’s the first and only dinosaur to be discovered in Washington. Paleontologists uncovered one of its bones in the San Juan Islands more than a decade ago. It’s believed to be similar to a Tyrannosaurus rex.

During a public hearing on Monday, students urged lawmakers to make it the official state dinosaur.

“I think that the Suciasaurus rex should be the state dinosaur because all the cool states have them and we need one too,” one student said.

“The reason why it matters to me is because dinosaurs are beautiful creatures and are no longer with us, so we should preserve the memory of dinosaurs in Washington,” another student told lawmakers.

The bill was originally introduced in 2019, but it never made it to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk.

On Monday, lawmakers in the State House overwhelmingly passed it. It now heads to the Senate.

In case you’re wondering, 14 states have official state dinosaurs. Oregon is not one of them.