Push for Daring Jumping Spider to be named NH State Spider

Rory Klauber, News Editor

Trivia Time: How many US states have officially recognized a state spider? Which state(s)?


Don’t know? Just ask nine-year-old Eva from Hollis Primary School, “The only other state that has a state spider is South Carolina, the wolf spider.”


It turns out, Eva is correct. South Carolina is the only US state to have an official state spider. However, on January 17, Eva and her third-grade classmates proposed the Daring Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax) to be named the New Hampshire state spider to the State District Representatives.


Former Beaver Brook assistant director for ten years and current third-grade environmental science teacher at HPS, Tara Happy, recently took an online class with the NH Fish and Game Department to inspire her lessons plans for her third-grade classes and one of the topics covered was about spiders. “As I prepared the lesson and activities, I began to learn so many cool things about spiders, and I realized I wasn’t as afraid of them anymore. I hoped that by teaching the students about the amazing things spiders can do that they would be less afraid of them,” said Happy.


One day during the spider unit, Happy began to wonder what the state spider was. Happy said, “That was when we realized there wasn’t one. The students didn’t think it was fair that we have a state vegetable but not a state spider since the spider is such an important piece of our ecosystem.”


For most, spiders are thought to be scary and creepy. Eva, for one, was definitely in this boat before the unit in school. However, “after learning about spiders with Mrs. Happy, I feel a little bit less scared of them,” admitted Eva.


“I like how it can jump 10-50 times its own body length. They are common in North America, and they are found as far north as Canada and all the way down to Florida and northern Mexico,” said Eva.


Kat McGhee, a current representative from Hillsborough District 27 and resident of Hollis, eagerly took this project on because it allowed her to research and learn about what other state emblems and animals were while also helping represent her home community. “When Mrs. Happy came to me with her request, I was all in. We are both enthusiastic and optimistic, it seemed like a fun project to undertake,” McGhee remarked excitedly.


McGhee has been District 27’s state representative since 2018, and over the past three years, she has grown accustomed to the processes by which law proposals or bills go before being put into law. McGhee speculated on the timeframe, “The legislative process is a long one…It is likely House Bill 318 will be coming up for a vote in a House Session as soon as February 24. After that, if it passes, which I believe it will, it will be held until crossover, when House bills switch to the Senate and Senate bills that have passed come to the House for ratification. Cross over usually starts in April and is completed by the end of May. To become law, the bill will require the Governor’s signature.”


Happy reported just yesterday morning, February 25, that “the proposed NH State Spider House Bill 318 passed. In April, HPS’s Team Spider third graders will head to the Senate to present one final time. Go Daring Jumping Spider!”