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Governor, elementary students propose change to state tree

Governor, elementary students propose change to state tree

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MONROE, Sevier County — A new initiative headed by Gov. Herbert aims to change the Utah state tree from the blue spruce to the quaking aspen.

The governor heard arguments for the change made by fourth graders from Monroe Elementary during the Rural Partnership Meeting at the end of September. He said the presentations by the students were very persuasive.

The students noted that Utah is the home of the Pando aspen tree, located one mile north of Fishlake. According to the Deseret News, Pando is the heaviest and one of the largest living organisms on Earth. The entire grove covers over 146 acres and each tree is linked by the same genetic markers. The tree reportedly weighs over 6,600 tons.

"You're going to see legislation proposed and I predict it will change the state tree," Herbert said." They made a great case, made their arguments and articulated why we should change the state tree. I think this is going to see positive results."

Lawmakers will vote on a bill during the winter legislative session to decide whether or not Utah should change its state tree from the blue spruce, adopted in 1933 and also the state tree of Colorado, to the aspen, a common tree seen in most mountainous areas of the state.

Herbert said he was inspired by the students' presentation, as well as by an ATV drive he took with fellow lawmakers on the Fishlake National Forest Trail as part of a rural area briefing.

Senator Ralph Okerland from Sevier County will sponsor the bill along with Rep. Spencer Cox in the upcoming session of the legislature.

Herbert told the students at Monroe Elementary the change is something he's thought about for a long time.

"It's a question I've had since I was in fourth grade," Herbert said. "It's been an issue for generations, but today, we see the beginning of something being done to create change."

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UtahPolitics
Robynn Garfield

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