Two days after the Olympic marmot officially became the state endemic mammal, Secretary of State Sam Reed and others celebrated Washington’s newest state symbol with a “Marmot Day” event in our office Tuesday morning. (TVW plans to air the ceremony Wednesday at 9 p.m., with rebroadcasts Thursday at 9 a.m. and Friday at 6 p.m.)
Sam recognized and thanked a group of students from Seattle’s Wedgwood Elementary School and their teacher, Kelly Clark, for thinking of the “marmot bill” and persuading Sen. Ken Jacobsen (46th District, Seattle) to introduce it this year. Sen. Jacobsen lauded the students for getting involved in the legislative process. (No word if he will introduce a bill next year allowing marmots in bars.) Margaret Tudor from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife recognized the students’ efforts to protect the Olympic marmot.
Claire Demorest and Garrett Lawrence, two of the Wedgwood students who testified on the marmot bill this year, talked about how the two-year effort to recognize the Olympic marmot was very rewarding and a great learning experience. Claire pointed out the need to protect the species from possible extinction. “We only have 800 Olympic marmots left,” she said. Demorest, Lawrence and the others who testified in the Legislature will attend Seattle’s Eckstein Middle School as sixth graders this fall.
At the end of the event, Sam revealed the winning name of our office’s online poll to name the mother marmot replica in our front lobby’s display case. And the winner is “Marilyn Marmot” (rhymes with “Bardot,” with the silent “t”) with 47 percent. “Maddie” took second with 25 percent. Thanks to all who took part in our poll.
And what do Olympic marmots themselves think of all of the hoopla surrounding their elevated status? They’re probably too busy sunning themselves on Hurricane Ridge to care.