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California's State Amphibian:
The California Red-Legged Frog
Rana draytonii

Learn more about the California Red-Legged Frog here |
Follow the AB2364 legislation here

Introduction

The California Red-Legged Frog (Rana draytonii) has been listed on the federal Endangered Species list since 1996. In 2013, SAVE THE FROGS! and our supporters launched a campaign to raise awareness for the frog by working towards legislation that would name the frog California's official State Amphibian. On June 28th, 2014 Governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation (AB2364) into law. Having the frog as our official state amphibian will help to protect the frog by educating politicians about its plight; putting it in front of many students and teachers when they study the state's official plants and wildlife; and making it difficult for those whose activities intentionally harm the frogs. This page details our efforts and all the steps in the campaign process. We hope others will be inspired to get an official state amphibian for their state as well!

Rana draytonii - California Red-Legged Frog

Official Text of the California Law Approved June 28th, 2014

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The California red-legged frog is the largest native frog in the western United States and is found almost exclusively in California with a few sightings in Baja California and Mexico.
(b) The California red-legged frog is particularly well known as a result of Mark Twain's famous short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," which featured the species.
(c) The California red-legged frog's unique place in California's history extends as far back as the 19th century Gold Rush. Miners, known as forty-niners, consumed nearly 80,000 frogs per year, nearly eating the species into extinction.
(d) While the California red-legged frog no longer has to fear the fork, the species continues to face myriad natural and manmade threats, including the introduction of invasive species into the California red-legged frog's habitat, as well as habitat loss. In fact, according to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, populations of the California red-legged frog have disappeared from nearly 70 percent of its historically known habitat. In May 1996, the species was listed as a federal threatened species, with the state also classifying it as a species of special concern and subject to protection in June 1996.
(e) Declaring the California red-legged frog as the official state amphibian of California will acknowledge the species' important place in the ecology, culture, and history of California, as well as broadcast and reinforce the state's commitment to protecting endangered species.
SEC. 2. Section 422.7 is added to the Government Code, to read:
422.7. The California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) is the official state amphibian.

 

Timeline of Events: Our Campaign for California's Official State Amphibian

September 2013

Virginia Haddad, a SAVE THE FROGS! supporter and teacher at Sea View Elementary School in Salton City, California, contacted SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger about her classes' willingness to make the California Red-Legged Frog California's official state amphibian.

October 2013

Sea View Elementary School students sent a letter to Assemblymember Manuel Pérez asking him to create legislation to make the California Red-Legged Frog the state's official amphibian.

January 2014

SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger and SAVE THE FROGS! Ecologist Michael Starkey gave presentations on amphibian conservation to all 500 students at Sea View Elementary School. A representative from Assemblymember Pérez's office attended. After the presentations, a conference call was held between the students, the Assemblymember's office, SAVE THE FROGS! and the Sea View teachers and principal to discuss the path forward towards creating legislation.

Sea View Elementary

Michael Starkey crlf

Sea View students
"Thank you again for coming to my school, Kerry. You saw how the kids loved it. Two boys came up to me yesterday and told me they want to be frog scientists."
-- Virginia Haddad, Sea View Elementary School, Salton City, California

February 2014

On February 21st, 2014, Assemblymember Manuel Pérez introduced a bill (AB2364) to make the California Red-Legged Frog the state's official amphibian. On the same day, he spoke to the students of Sea View Elementary School about How A Bill Becomes A Law, to discuss the process the legislation will take to make the California Red-Legged Frog California's official state amphibian. Here is the official bill Fact Sheet.

"When the Sea View students contacted me with their idea, they impressed me with their research and made a strong case for the red-legged frog, based on its significance to California history, culture, and ecology," said Pérez. "I applaud their enthusiasm and see this as a great opportunity to put learning into action. I am excited to have them participate in the legislative process."
-- Assemblymember Manuel Pérez

"With such a rich role in California's cultural and literary history, the time has come to declare the California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) as the official state amphibian of California."
-- Assemblymember Manuel Pérez

"Thank you everyone for everything you've done to make today such a wonderful day for our students and community. Each of your efforts helped make today one that will be long remembered for the rest of our lives. I am so proud of our students and how well they presented themselves to their peers and to the reporters. Actually, I am proud of how well everyone spoke. Dr. Kriger we are regretful that the Skype did not work, but please know how well Ms. Haddad spoke of you and your efforts on behalf of our students, frogs, and our world in general. I feel today was a huge success for our students and frogs! Thank you again to each of you for helping make this so!"
-- Sea View Elementary Principal Dr. Steele

April 2014

On April 8th, 2014 the bill (AB2364) went to its first vote at the State Capitol in Sacramento. The Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee voted 8-0 in favor of the frog legislation! The bill now moves on to the state's Appropriations Committee. Stay tuned for more updates as this bill hopefully becomes law by Summer 2014!

The committee heard testimony from SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger and Sea View students Freedom Payne and Samantha Lambarena. Providing public comments on behalf of the frogs were Sea View teacher Virginia Haddad; Sea View Principal Dr. Timothy Steele; Coachella Unified School District's Superintendent Dr. Darryl Adams and Samantha and Freedom's parents. Pérez waived his committee presentation to enable the students to have more time to make their statements.

"Samantha and Freedom did an excellent job this morning," said Pérez. "They prepared a strong statement which they each took turns reading. They made a good case for the bill, explaining the frog's significance to California history, culture, and ecology. It's a proud day for all of us."

Samantha, Freedom, and Assemblymember Manuel Pérez:perez frogs california
Photo courtesy Assembly Democratic Caucus.

Freedom, and Assemblymember Manuel Pérez:ab2364 frogs
Photo courtesy Assembly Democratic Caucus.

Freedom Samantha Perez

Assemblymember Manuel Pérez, Dr. Kerry Kriger, and the students, parents and teachers from Sea View Elementary and Coachella Unified School District:ab2364 draytonii

"I was there and watched Kerry and those very impressive young people in action. Great job!"
-- Dan Haifley, Executive Director of O'Neill Sea Odyssey

June 10th, 2014

This morning Assemblymember Perez presented AB2364 in Senate Governmental Organization committee with the testimony of experts Michael Starkey (SAVE THE FROGS!) and Tony Gonzalez (California Historical Society). The bill made it out of committee with a vote count of 7 ayes and 1 no vote. The bill now heads directly to the Senate floor. We anticipate that our bill could be heard as early as June 20th on the senate floor.

June 19th, 2014

This morning the bill passed the Senate on a Floor vote of 24-9 and now heads to the Governor. "AB 2364 spotlights a species important to California history and ecology by making it a state symbol," said Pérez. "But it is also meaningful to me because it demonstrates learning in action. The students came up with this idea, did the research and got involved in the legislative process. I've really enjoyed the experience working with them, and I'm excited that this is the first of my bills this year to head to the Governor's desk." You can read SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger's letter to Governor Brown in support of this bill here.

June 28th, 2014: Governor Brown Approves AB2364!

On Saturday June 28th, 2014 Governor Jerry Brown made amphibious history by signing AB2364 into law, making the California Red-Legged Frog (Rana draytonii) the state's official amphibian (effective January 1st, 2015). Thank you to Governor Brown; Assemblymember Pérez and his staff; the students, teachers and administrators of Sea View Elementary School in Salton City; all the legislators who voted in support of this bill; and to all our SAVE THE FROGS! supporters who sent in letters of support on behalf of the California Red-Legged Frog! You can read Assemblymember Pérez's press release here.

Victory Frogs

Making news

This legislation has made a lot of news, spreading awareness for endangered amphibians!

- CBS TV San Francisco, July 16, 2014:

- Washington Post, April 7th, 2014

- Desert Sun News, April 8, 2014

- KCET TV, April 9, 2014

- Imperial Valley News, April 8th, 2014

The Sacramento Bee, April 7th, 2014:Sacramento Bee frogs

"Dr. Kerry Kriger and Michael Starkey,
Congratulations to all of you for your hard work; working through politics and with politicians is difficult at best. You should feel proud to be supported if only in concept at this moment until a law takes place and is finalized."
-- Tom McDuffie