Senator Yaw: Student leadership program led charge for hellbender

SUNBURY – State Senator Gene Yaw (R-27th, Williamsport) may have proposed the bill for the Eastern  hellbender to become Pennsylvania’s state amphibian…but he gave the credit to students who did all the hard work. Senator Yaw says it was a student leadership program from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation who led the charge.

Senator Yaw says they also worked with the Clean Water Institute at Lycoming College on the project, “They came in my office and they had draft legislation. They were really into this. And they said, ‘We think this should be the state amphibian, there is no state amphibian, here’s why.’”

Senator Yaw hit a snag in trying to pass the bill however. He says state house majority Leader Dave Reed circulated a memo to have a different salamander named the state amphibian, “I don’t know where the Majority Leader was for the past nine months while my bill was pending, and while all the publicity was going on about it. All of a sudden, he decides it (his salamander) would be the better choice.”

WKOK also spoke with Pete Petokas, Research Associate at Lycoming about the hellbender. You can find that story at and hear his interview by clicking the link below.

(Matt Catrillo)

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