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Indiana close to having a state insect

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Network Indiana): Indiana may be on the verge of declaring an official state insect, after years of lobbying by elementary school students.

Kayla Xu’s teacher says Kayla asked her three years ago why Indiana didn’t have a state insect — all but three states do. That question led to research on Say’s firefly, and a classwide civics lesson in how to get the bill passed which now covers six grade levels across several West Lafayette schools.

Kayla, now 10 years old, led off a parade of a dozen West Lafayette pupils making their pitch for the firefly before the Senate Public Policy Committee. She quotes a Purdue entomologist who describes the firefly as “the Paul Revere of the insect world.” Pioneer farmers would see the flies glowing and take it as a signal to check their crops for pests.

The committee unanimously endorsed the measure. The full Senate will vote next week.

Say’s firefly is named for New Harmony entomologist Thomas Say, who identified it nearly 200 years ago. Governor Holcomb announced last fall he’d make the firefly part of his 2018 legislative agenda. He followed up with a plug in his State of the State address.

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