GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (GRPS) -- Michigan has a state flower, state tree, state bird, even a state soil -- but there's no official state insect. Scholars at Aberdeen Academy are leading the movement to change that.

Emma Witkovsky's fifth-grade class at Aberdeen Academy researched potential options for an official state insect this school year. They settled on stoneflies.

A stonefly is critical to Michigan's waterways. It plays a key role in the food chain and is also a natural indicator of clean water because it is intolerant to water pollution.

Their research caught the attention of Michigan State Rep. Rachel Hood. After visiting with scholars, she introduced House Bill No. 5563 to designate the stonefly as the official state insect.

Scholars presented an update on their efforts to the Board of Education on Monday.

"We worked hard to write a five-paragraph essay that told what a stonefly is, including its life cycle, its importance to the waters of Michigan, as well as its role in many food chains, and its impact on Michigan's economy through fly fishing," said Mike Krivoy, a fifth-grade scholar at Aberdeen Academy.

"Once our essays reached Lansing, Rep. Hood wanted to meet our class," said Mason Malosh, a fifth-grade scholar at Aberdeen Academy. So we prepared a presentation for her where we taught her all about the stonefly."

"Rep. Hood taught us how a bill becomes a law and told us that a lot of people were excited for our hard work and that she loved Michigan waters and hoped every kid in Michigan could learn about the beautiful water surrounding us," said JaMilah White-Lester, a fifth-grade scholar at Aberdeen Academy.

As part of their research, scholars went outside the classroom to collect data.

"We visited Honey Creek at Seidman Park in Ada to count the number of macro-invertebrates, multiply them by their sensitivity rating, take the sum of our county times the sensitivity and then divide by the total abundance," said Georgia Marshall, a fifth-grade scholar at Aberdeen Academy. "I know it sounds like a lot of math, but it was pretty easy."

"Aberdeen scholars rocked this," said Witkovsky. "They worked incredibly hard and surpassed any and all expectations anyone had for them. They also overcame fears of insects, and some learned how to enjoy the outdoors on a whole new level."

House Bill No. 5563 has been referred to the Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee. If it passes out of committee, it will head to the House of Representatives for a vote.