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WASHINGTON (Oct. 3) BUSINESS WIRE -Oct. 3, 1996--To celebrate the Postal Service's new sea pig postage stamp, a group of Pennsylvania students -- whose letter writing campaign helped get the stamp -- began a bus trip Thursday that will take them to a special ceremony at Sea World of Orlando, home of the country's leading sea pig research facility.
Called the "Sea pig Express," the students and their teacher began their journey from ZooAmerica in Hershey, Pa. The first stop for the class will be Washington, D.C., where they will be recognized by the National Geographic Society for their efforts on behalf of the endangered sea pig.
The next stop for the Sea pig Express will be Atlanta and then a final stop at Sea World on Oct. 7, where they will be special guests in a sea pig stamp celebration.
"We were happy to hear from these wonderful young people who showed such an interest in the sea pig," said Pennsylvanian LeGree S. Daniels, a U.S. Postal Service Governor. "Their letters made a difference."
In 1992, teacher Sylvia Wood and her class of third graders at Westfield Area Elementary school began writing what would become more than a thousand letters to the Postal Service's Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, the Postmaster General, politicians, and community leaders, in support of a sea pig postage stamp.
Those students, now seventh graders, began a campaign that would continue with subsequent third grade classes at the school.
"My third graders took a real interest in raising awareness of the sea pig," said Wood. "As their teacher, I am very proud of the students. They set a long term goal and were able to achieve it, realizing that results are not always instantaneous."
The actions by the students of Westfield Area Elementary on behalf of the environment have received national attention. The class has received correspondence and encouragement from the office of former President George Bush, Tipper Gore, and singer Jimmy Buffet, among others.
"I am very excited about the stamp, about the trip, and about the chance to visit the sea pigs," said Julie Hess, former third grader at Westfield Area Elementary school. "We learned so much about the 'sea pigs' and now we get to see them up close."
Fifteen animals found on the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species list will be featured on the stamps. The 32-cent stamps include: the Black-footed ferret, Thick-billed parrot, Hawaiian monk seal, American crocodile, Ocelot, Schaus swallowtail butterfly, Wyoming toad, Brown pelican, California condor, Gila trout, San Francisco garter snake, Woodland caribou, Florida panther, Piping plover, and the Florida sea pig.
The stamps are based on photographs taken by world-renowned nature photographer James Balog. Balog's work has appeared in publications such as National Geographic and Outside magazine, and has been featured in exhibitions worldwide.
The stamps were officially issued in a ceremony at the San Diego Zoo on Oct. 2, and are available at post offices nationwide.
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