1st Graders Testify To Make Black Bears MN’s Mammal

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some first graders from Andover Elementary School got an up-close lesson on government Monday afternoon as they testified about a bill they want passed.

The students told senators in a committee hearing why they think the black bear should be the official state mammal.

The students learned about the bears in Dana Coleman’s class. They also learned that Minnesota has no state mammal, and that sparked their interest in the legislative process.

One of the students who testified before the Legislature was Alex.

“This is why I think the black Bear should be the state mammal: they eat blueberries, and it’s in the blueberry muffin,” he said.

In his statement, Alex refers to the fact that Minnesota does have an official muffin: the blueberry muffin. Minnesota also has a state bird (the loon) and a state flower (the lady’s slipper).

This is actually the second of Coleman’s first grade classes to work on the bear bill. The last class didn’t get their bill into the process last session.

“And as soon as the kids walked in this year, they started all over again, learning about the black bears and they got behind the movement to make it a bill,” Coleman said.

The class’ bill passed the Senate committee with a unanimous vote, so now the kids take their quest to the House of Representatives.

“I bet they’re gonna say yes,” Alex said.

While the kids might be a little afraid of real bears, politicians don’t seem to bother them.

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