By now you’ve heard plenty about the new laws that went into effect as 2024 began.

Californians can now sell backyard housing units like condominiums. The police must tell you why they’ve pulled you over. The statewide minimum wage has risen to $16. You can now take time off work because of a miscarriage. Employers must provide at least five days of paid sick leave to employees.

Perhaps less known: The state now has a state bat and a state mushroom.

The Golden State already had dozens of state symbols, which are designated by law and officially declare, for example, the golden poppy to be California’s state flower.

Some symbols are ones you’d expect, like the California grizzly bear as the state animal, or the California redwood as the official tree. Others are less obvious, like California’s official state rock, lichen and dinosaur.

On Jan. 1, the pallid bat, or Antrozous pallidus, and the California golden chanterelle, or Cantharellus californicus, joined the long list of symbols. The designations are intended to promote their appreciation, study and protection in the state, according to the wording of the laws that gave them their official status.

The effort to name a California state bat began at least six years ago, but it really gained momentum in 2023 when a 12-year-old girl from Los Angeles began lobbying to award the honor to the pallid bat, Politico reported. According to the bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October, bats in general provide $1 billion worth of pest control to California agriculture and reduce wildfire risks by eating bark beetles and wood borers that weaken trees.

“The pallid bat is as diverse as Californians — pallid bats live in California’s deserts, oak woodlands, coastal redwood forests, and high up into the pine forests of the Sierra Nevada mountains,” the bill says. “They live in social colonies and have a rich language of calls to communicate with one another. The food they eat and the way they catch it varies both within and between different communities of pallid bats around the state.”

The California golden chanterelle was recently recognized as a distinct fungal species that is endemic in the state. The mushrooms are a mesmerizing gold color, flute-shaped and large enough to “feed a family of four with leftovers,” according to the Bay Area Mycological Society. They’re commonly collected from beneath California oak trees.

“California’s state symbols offer the public an engaging opportunity to learn about what makes their state unique,” State Assemblyman Ash Kalra, who wrote the bill designating the state mushroom, said in a statement. “The California golden chanterelle is an ideal fit, as it not only possesses an appropriate golden hue, but also thrives among the oak trees populating much of the state, enriching their root systems and the surrounding soil.”

The New York Times Learning Network recently asked students to share their reflections on wintertime through a series of short writing prompts that asked them what they loved, and what they didn’t, about the season.

Teenagers around the world wrote in, describing their favorite seasonal activities, like reading on a cold day and taking in the beauty of a snowfall. The students also reflected on what they found challenging about the season, and the ways that they planned to give back this year.

The Learning Network recorded many of the responses, including several from California, in a recent article for its Current Events Conversation series, which showcases student writing.

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