In an effort to shine light on a little known invertebrate in Virginia, a piece of legislation just passed through the General Assembly now giving distinction to a state-recognized salamander. House Bill 459, introduced by Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) will add the red salamander, scientifically known as Pseudotriton ruber, to Virginia’s list of official designations.
According to a report from WHSV, a group of young nature conservationists from the 4-H-affiliated “Salamander Savers” in Fairfax is to thank for the measure. The club for lovers of amphibious creatures started in 2015 when three children wanted to save salamanders from a local lake.
The bill passed with a 96-1 vote by the House of Delegates on February 5 and then with a 39-1 vote by the Senate on February 22.
The list of officials emblems and designations of the Commonwealth now includes 36 items that are instinctive to Virginia. The list includes:
1. Artisan Center – Virginia Artisans Center, located in Waynesboro.
2. Bat – Virginia Big-eared bat (Corynorhinos townsendii virginianus).
3. Beverage – Milk.
4. Bird – Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis).
5. Blue Ridge Folklore State Center – Blue Ridge Institute, located in the village of Ferrum.
6. Boat – “Chesapeake Bay Deadrise.”
7. Cabin Capital of Virginia – Page County.
8. Coal Miners’ Memorial – The Richlands Coal Miners’ Memorial, located in Tazewell County.
9. Covered Bridge Capital of the Commonwealth – Patrick County.
10. Covered Bridge Festival – Virginia Covered Bridge Festival, held in Patrick County.
11. Dog – American Foxhound.
12. Fish (Freshwater) – Brook Trout.
13. Fish (Saltwater) – Striped Bass.
14. Fleet – Replicas of the three ships, Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery, which comprised the Commonwealth’s founding fleet that brought the first permanent English settlers to Jamestown in 1607. The replica ships are currently exhibited at the Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg.
15. Flower – American Dogwood (Cornus florida).
16. Folk dance – Square dancing.
17. Fossil – Chesapecten jeffersonius, an extinct scallop from Virginia’s coast which lived in the early Pliocene epoch between four and five million years ago.
18. Gold mining interpretive center – Monroe Park, located in Fauquier County.
19. Insect – Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio glaucus Linne).
20. Maple Festival – The Highland County Maple Festival, held in the 2nd and 3rd weekends of March.
21. Motor sports museum – The Wood Brothers Racing Museum and Virginia Motor Sports Hall of Fame, located in Patrick County.
22. Outdoor drama (modern) – “The Trail of the Lonesome Pine Outdoor Drama,” adapted for the stage by Clara Lou Kelly and performed in the small town of Big Stone Gap.
23. Outdoor drama (historical) – “The Long Way Home,” based on the life of Mary Draper Ingles, adapted for the stage by Earl Hobson Smith, and performed in Radford.
24. Rock – Nelsonite. Previously mined for titanium dioxide, the rock is named after the county in which it was discovered, Nelson County.
25. Salamander – Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber).
26. Shakespeare festival – The Virginia Shakespeare Festival, held in Williamsburg.
27. Shell – Oyster shell (Crassostrea virginica).
28. Snake – Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis).
29. Song emeritus – “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny,” by James A. Bland. The song was originally adopted by the General Assembly during the 1940 session.
30. Song (popular) – “Sweet Virginia Breeze,” by Robbin Thompson and Steve Bassett.
31. Song (traditional) – “Our Great Virginia,” lyrics by Mike Greenly, arranged by Jim Papoulis, and music from the original American folk song “Oh Shenandoah.”
32. Spirit – George Washington’s rye whiskey produced at his historically-significant home of Mount Vernon.
33. Sports hall of fame – Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, located in the Portsmouth.
34. Television series – “Song of the Mountains.”
35. Tree – American Dogwood (Cornus florida).
36. War memorial museum – Virginia War Museum, located in Newport News.