State Symbols

State Symbols

Most states have a bird, a flower and other things that have been adopted as official symbols. The New York State legislature has adopted a number of items as official symbols of New York State. Let's see what they are and what we can find out about them.

Beverage

Milk was adopted as the state beverage in 1981. Milk is full of vitamins and minerals important for human health, especially for growing children. It is also an important New York farm product. Visit Milk, A Dynamic Adventure into the Dairy Industry to learn more.

Bird

The bluebird was adopted as the state bird in 1970. While many New Yorkers have never seen this beautiful member of the thrush family, it is a good choice. It is red, white and blue in color. It lives in the country and nests in hollow trees or bird houses. It eats insects, often flying down to the ground to catch them. It is among the first migratory birds to return in the spring. To learn more about the Eastern Bluebird, visit Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's All About Birds.

Fish

New York's state fish was chosen in 1975. It is the Brook Trout, a beautiful fish usually found in freshwater streams. It is a sport fish, an exciting catch for people who like to fish. The record Brook Trout was caught in Ontario, Canada in 1916 and weighed 14 1/2 pounds. To learn more, visit Sea Grant's page on Brook Trout.

Flower

Since 1955, New York's state flower has been the rose. There are many species of wild rose and many varieties of domestic roses. Many are beautiful, fragrant and fun to grow. When the flower has been pollinated, it may ripen into a berry called a rose hip which is good food for birds and may even be used by people to make tea. For more about roses, visit The History of Roses.

Fossil

Our state fossil since 1984 is the eurypterid. It was a sea dwelling animal found in shallow water about 420 million years ago. Sometimes called a sea scorpion, its closest living relative is the horseshoe crab. Prehistoric Pittsford has a page about eurypterids.

Fruit 

The apple was adopted as the state fruit in 1976. It is a good choice since New York grows more apples than any other state except Washington. Visit Apple Kids for information and activiities about apples.

Gem

The state gem is garnet. Garnets are often red but come in other colors. They are used in jewelry and also as abrasives to polish or "sand" other objects smooth. Visit Gemstone.org to learn more.

Mammal

In 1975, the beaver was adopted as New York's state mammal. Beaver fur was an important trade item during the early years of European settlement and exploration of North America. Thousands and thousands of beaver pelts were shipped to Europe to make men's hats. Once almost gone from New York State waters and woodlands, the beaver is once again common. Learn more about this natural engineer at Beavers: Wetlands and Wildlife

Muffin

Well maybe it seems silly, but we have a state muffin. The apple muffin was made our official muffin in 1987. RecipeLink.com has some apple muffin recipes you might enjoy trying.

Shell

The bay scallop became the state shell in 1988. Bay scallops live on the bottom of the ocean but do not bury themselves like clams. They can actually swim by flexing their shells open and shut quickly. Visit the Assateague Naturalist to get more information about these interesting animals. 

Soil

A suprising number of states have an official state soil. If you think about how important soil is for us to raise the food we depend on, maybe a state soil makes more sense. New York's state soil is the Honeoye series. Visit the Natural Resources Conservation Service to get a PDF file about it. 

Tree

The Sugar Maple was chosen as New York's official tree in 1956. It is a common tree in many New York State forests and an important farm resource. New York State is one of the leading producers of maple syrup in the United States. To learn more about Sugar Maples, visit The Cornell Sugar Maple Research and Extension pages.

Visit NetState.com for information on the symbols for other states in the United States.
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