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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The governor of New Jersey has signed legislation designating the bog turtle as the Garden State’s state reptile.

Officials said Riverside Elementary School science teacher Mark Eastburn two years ago told his students that New Jersey didn’t have a state reptile.

Credit: Office of the New Jersey Governor

So, they decided to advocate for the bog turtle, which was federally listed as a threatened species in 1997, in hopes that the designation would help restore the habitat and allow the species to thrive.

Murphy said Monday he wanted to commend students, teachers and scientists for working to protect the turtle and the environment.

“I commend New Jersey’s young students, teachers and scientists for working hard to protect our critically endangered bog turtles and our environment,” said Governor Murphy. “I could not be more excited to sign a bill officially making the bog turtle New Jersey’s state reptile. This bill shows that when we work together, we can accomplish some pretty great things.”

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)