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Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon signs an executive order for Skaneateles High School students, Lili Winkelman and Ellie McSwain, far right, announcing the wood frog as the official county amphibian before the start of a town hall meeting in Skaneateles.

More than a month since he became Onondaga County executive, Ryan McMahon issued his first executive order. 

Before his town hall meeting in Skaneateles Thursday, McMahon signed an order designating the wood frog as Onondaga County's official amphibian. The document recognizes the work of Skaneateles students in their push for state legislation to name the wood frog as New York's official amphibian. 

Two Skaneateles High School students, freshmen Ellie McSwain and Lili Winkelman, were present for the signing. 

The effort to designate the wood frog as the state amphibian began in 2014. Winkelman, a fourth-grader at the time, received national attention. She was interviewed by the HuffPost and the New York Times.

Winkelman and her classmates wrote letters urging state lawmakers to support the wood frog bill. Skaneateles' state representatives, state Sen. John DeFrancisco and Assemblyman Gary Finch, visited the school. That year, the state Senate passed the bill by a 53-4 vote. But it wasn't considered by the state Assembly. 

The following school year, Winkelman and fifth-graders at the State Street Intermediate School in Skaneateles formed the Wood Frog Club

In June 2015, the wood frog bill drew criticism from some Democratic state senators who called it "asinine" that the body considered the legislation instead of focusing on extending rent control regulations for New York City. 

The bill passed by one vote, 32 to 31, in the Senate. However, it again didn't receive a vote in the Assembly. 

DeFrancisco and Finch continued advocating for passage of the wood frog bill in their respective chambers. DeFrancisco, who is retiring from the state Senate this year, sponsored the bill. The Senate passed the legislation in June by a 56-3 vote, but it didn't advance in the Assembly. 

With DeFrancisco's retirement, the wood frog bill will be carried by incoming state Sen. Bob Antonacci. Antonacci recently visited the Skaneateles Wood Frog Club to discuss the bill and legislative process. 

Before signing his executive order, McMahon noted that it was Antonacci who informed him about the wood frog bill. 

"It's really a good learning experience about the legislative process and about perseverance," McMahon said. 

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