Teen pushes recognition for Idaho giant salamander Ilah Hickman poses with a young Idaho giant salamander at the Idaho state Capitol in Boise, Idaho (AP photos)
Teen pushes recognition for Idaho giant salamander
Lexile

Idaho lawmakers have rejected a grade school student's request. She wants a giant salamander to be named the state amphibian.

The House State Affairs Committee voted against 14-year-old Ilah Hickman's plan. It was her fifth attempt in as many years.

"I was kind of disappointed. But either way I'm going to come back next year and push it again," Hickman told The Spokesman-Review. "I'm going to keep pushing."

The Idaho giant salamander can grow to more than a foot long. Hickman told lawmakers that the salamander makes its home almost exclusively in Idaho. The girl noted it has skin markings that resemble a topographical map of Idaho's Bitterroot Mountains.

But lawmakers remained wary. Some believe that if the salamander is made the state symbol, it could lead to federal protections. Not all want that designation. An Idaho attorney general's opinion advised them on the issue. It said that approving the salamander as a state symbol wouldn't do anything in the way of encouraging federal protections.

Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise, agreed. She pointed out that designating a state symbol had nothing to do with endangered species.

"We addressed that," Ward-Engelking said. "We got an opinion from the attorney general. It was very clear. I spoke with him personally. He said no way, no how was a state symbol going to impact that whatsoever."

Idaho fourth-grade classes study state symbols as part of Idaho history. A fourth-grade teacher backed the bill as well.

But Rep. Ken Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, voted against the salamander. He recalled being repulsed by them as a boy.

"They were ugly. They were slimy. And they were creepy," he said. "And I've not gotten over that. So to elevate them to the status of being the state amphibian, I'm not there yet."

Critical thinking challenge: Why is the giant salamander referred to in this story called the "Idaho" giant salamader?

Assigned 6 times


COMMENTS (14)
  • malikkh-Dav
    2/04/2015 - 09:20 a.m.

    The idahThey were ugly They were slimy And they were creepy

  • KaysaunH-Mau
    2/04/2015 - 11:37 a.m.

    Because they are probably in IDAHO of course they should be in IDAHO.

  • AddyS-Mau
    2/04/2015 - 11:41 a.m.

    I think that the giant salamander lives in Idaho and so does that girl lives in Idaho too or she could not have found the salamander if she was not there

  • emilianar-Hyl
    2/04/2015 - 11:58 a.m.

    I think that she is very determined to make that large salamander to be the state amphibian. It is also cool how the salamander is over a foot long.

  • samuelw-Hyl
    2/04/2015 - 12:00 p.m.

    I think this article is awesome because this lady is determined to get the salamander to be the state amphibian. I would do the same thing I would be pushing it and ill would be determined to get the salamander to be the state amphibian.THIS ARTICLE WAS AWESOME!!!!! KEEP TRYING TO GET THE SALAMANDER TO BE THE STATE AMPHIBIAN!!!!!

  • kaylal-Hyl
    2/04/2015 - 12:02 p.m.

    I loved this article. I thought it was amazing how this teen wanted a giant salamanderas the state animal. If she did get it that would of been the chance of a life time. I honestly thought she should have won that.I love how Hickman was disappointed put is going to try again and try as hard as possible.

  • tylero-Hyl
    2/04/2015 - 12:06 p.m.

    I liked this article because I did not know that a salamander could get that that big also I have a questing for Ilah kickman what habbitat did you find the giant salamander?Also what I cant see really good pitcher of it and I want to know if it had spots or what coler is it?

  • robertd-Hyl
    2/05/2015 - 12:06 p.m.

    I don't think that salamanders are slimy, creepy amphibians. They are just amphibians that live in water and I have fun catching them. I think the giant salamander would be a great state amphibian. So would frogs.

  • margareth-Hyl
    2/05/2015 - 12:07 p.m.

    The giant salamander referred to in this story is called the " Idaho" giant salamander because the giant salamander makes it's home almost exclusively in Idaho. Anther reason that the giant salamander referred to in this story is called the " Idaho" giant salamander because the salamanders back markings show a topographical map of Idaho's Bitterroot Mountians. I also think that the giant salamander should be the state amphibian because of the same reasons.

  • AugustH-5
    2/05/2015 - 11:13 p.m.

    14 year old Ilah Hickman is pushing to make the Idaho giant salamander the state amphibian. The house of state affairs committee voted against this plan. Hickman told the house of state affairs that the salamander makes it home exclusively in Idaho. She also said that markings resemble a topographical map of Idaho bitterroot mountains. Most people do not like the ugly and repulsive look of the salamander, and do want an ugly creature like that representing the state. I could care less about a state animal/amphibian. it really does not matter to me.

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