[NAFEX] Youngsters pitch chokecherry as ND state fruit

Brungardt, Sam Sam.Brungardt at state.mn.us
Tue Jan 23 19:01:59 EST 2007


No. 1 pick
By Teri Finneman  <tfinneman at forumcomm.com> 
(Fargo Forum front page - 01/19/2007) 
North Dakota may soon get what a group of teenagers thinks it needs --
an official state fruit. 
A dozen Williston seventh- graders boarded a bus at 6 a.m. today to take
their mission to the Capitol -- making the chokecherry the official
state fruit.  The classmates will appear before the Senate Natural
Resources Committee at 11 a.m. 
"They are very excited and a little nervous, too, as is the teacher,"
said their former sixth-grade teacher Nancy Selby. 
The push started last year after Selby's then-students read a newsletter
about a student who wanted a state fruit in his state. 
After realizing North Dakota didn't have one, students wrote letters to
Gov. John Hoeven, who explained the Legislature passes laws. 
The students remembered learning about chokecherries in fourth grade
when studying Lewis and Clark. 
They then asked Sen. Stan Lyson, R-Williston, to sponsor their bill.
Lyson still chuckles about his surprise over their persistence. 
"Do I think that the state needs an official fruit?  No.  But what
better way to teach young children how our state and our laws are made?"
said Lyson, chairman of the committee that will hear the bill. 
North Dakota's emblems reflect the character and the culture of the
state, said Don Canton, a spokesman for Hoeven.  Some are used in the
state Tourism Division's Travel Guide 2007, said spokeswoman Kim
Schmidt. 
The chokecherry shouldn't breathe easy just yet, however.  Some proposed
state symbols haven't made the cut. 
Efforts to name Barnes soil the official state soil failed in 1989 and
1991.  The honey bee also didn't make it as the state insect in 1989. 
In 1985, a failed attempt was made to designate the red fox as the state
mammal.  Two tries were made -- in 1995 and 1997 -- to make Knife River
flint the official state rock. 
If you think state rocks and insects are odd, Minnesota has a state
muffin (blueberry), Georgia has a state seashell (knobbed whelk) and
Oklahoma has a state country-and-western song ("Faded Love"). 
Wayne Sanstead still recalls the 1967 session when he proposed making
Teredo Petrified Wood the state fossil. 
"That was one of the most intriguing bills in the history of the
Legislature, in my book," the former legislator and current
superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction said. 
A group of North Dakota gem and mineral hobbyists approached him to
designate a state fossil.  The national Gem and Mineral Society
representatives took pictures during the bill signing to publish in
their worldwide magazine, Sanstead said. 
"I didn't know anything about Teredo wood or about state fossils,"
Sanstead said.  "It made a hero of me to untold numbers of people."
Selby also didn't think her students' effort would get this far.  "I
know it's going to be a great, interesting day," Selby said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Teri Finneman at (701) 241-5560 

Senate endorses chokecherry for state
The (Fargo, N.D.) Forum - 01/20/2007 
BISMARCK - Hailey Horob, Lexie Enget and Jake Germundson succeeded
Friday where many professional lobbyists have fallen short.  The three
Williston seventh-graders coaxed a Senate committee to immediately
endorse a bill they favored. 
It would name the chokecherry as North Dakota's state fruit. 
The students took turns praising the chokecherry Friday at a hearing of
the Senate Natural Resources Committee. 
They described the chokecherry plant's various uses.


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