When getting a new license plate, many states offer the option to donate money when registering a plate and in return, drivers get a special license plate. From supporting environmental issues to flaunting your admiration towards your local sports team, license plates can showcase your love for a cause that is close to your heart.

So, what about having a special license plate that shows your appreciation for animal shelters? People all over the U.S. adore their dogs and cats and many proudly advocate for adoption and spay and neuter initiatives. That’s why a class of 7th graders in Vermont came up with a genius idea: give drivers in their state the option of paying $30 when registering their vehicle to get a special pet license plate.


The idea for the bill came to fruition after 7th grade Social Studies teacher, Ed Kolnaski, implemented “Take Action” projects in his classroom. Ed used to do similar projects at a small private school and when joined Sheldon Elementary School, he knew he wanted to bring the project to his new classroom. The project is designed for students to immerse themselves in various local and global problems, such as the declining bee populations, the issue of poaching, as well as cyberbullying and child slavery.

Three of Ed’s students decided to focus how to help animals in their community and came up with the great idea for pet-friendly license plates. With the help of their teacher, the three students researched the legislative process which took about three to four weeks, gathered signatures for a petition to show support, and even reached out to local legislators. 

Ed Kolnaski

The students also gathered information from other U.S. states that already have “Pet-Friendly Plates.” Speaking to One Green Planet via email, Ed said the students weren’t deterred from the lengthy process. They were ready and willing!




The students then worked closely with Rep. Marianne Gamache, the local state representative, as well as the Legislative Committee on how exactly to word the bill. While it’s not likely that H.B. 252 will be brought to the floor for a vote, at least not this year, the students are excited at the prospect of the bill becoming an actual law. Fellow classmates and teachers have been supportive, posting the project on social media and showing their admiration for the project.


For fellow teachers who are feeling inspired by Ed’s “Take Action” project, Ed said that the project doesn’t take a ton of extra planning and suggests teachers “start simply by providing students with the perspective that the world is not something that simply happens to you (although it can feel like that as young person) but it is something that you can actively take a part in and change for the better.” From there, Ed suggests taking the time to explore issues that impact people both locally and globally and from there, the students can pick a project, do the research, and contact organizations! Kids are indeed our future and seeing initiatives that help provide a way to help the world such as Ed’s “Take Action” program, are truly inspiring.

How You Can Help 

If you’d like to help Ed and the students in his Social Studies class succeed in making H.B. 252 a law in the state of Vermont, show your support by signing this Care2 petition! The petition will go directly to Vermont legislators and show them that people from all over the U.S. want this bill to become a law to help save animals!

For more ways to help animals in your community, check out these other One Green Planet articles:

Lead Image Source: llipkind/Pixabay