Welcome to the Big Sky Country! Montana’s state symbols have some exciting stories to tell. (Continued below)
|Nicknames & Slogans|
|Nicknames||Big Sky Country, Bonanza State, Treasure State|
|Symbols of State|
|Motto||Oro y Plata||>|
|Flower||bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva)||1895||>|
|Tree||ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)||1949||>|
|Grass||bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata)||1973||>|
|Bird||western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)||1931||>|
|Animal||grizzly bear (Ursus arctos)||1983||>|
|Fish||blackspotted cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii)||1977||>|
|Butterfly||mourning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)||2001||>|
|Fossil †||duck-billed dinosaur (Maiasaura peeblesorum)||1985||>|
|Cowboy Hall of Fame||Wolfe Point||2003||>|
|Arboretum||University of Montana, Missoula||1991||>|
|Firefighter’s Memorial||Firefighters’ Memorial Park||2003||>|
|Medal of Valor||1985||>|
|Language (State/Local Government)||English||1995||>|
|Veterans’s Memorial Rose Garden||Missoula Memorial Rose Garden||1999||>|
|Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans’ Memorial||Grateful Nation Montana Memorial||2013||>|
|Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial||Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial||1987||>|
|Korean War Veterans’ Memorial||Korean War Veterans’ Memorial, Butte||1997||>|
The explorers Lewis and Clark discovered a number of species that were later adopted as Montana symbols. The state flower and tree (bitterroot and ponderosa pine) represent the Rocky Mountains, while the state grass and bird (bluebunch wheatgrass and western meadowlark) represent the grasslands of the Great Plains.
The grizzly bear once roamed the Great Plains as well, though it now survives only in forested mountains and the northern taiga and tundra. It is an official symbol of both Montana and California, though the California grizzly is sadly extinct.
One of Montana’s most unique and amazing symbols is its state fossil, the duck-billed dinosaur Maiasaura peeblesorum. Another amazing symbol is Montana’s ugly state flag, which looks like some kind of prehistoric monster itself.
Fortunately, no flag can mar my favorite Montana symbol, the nickname Big Sky Country.
If you think state flags and flowers are nothing more than trivia, guess again. A thorough exploration of the more than 1,500 items adopted as state symbols embraces geography, history, and psychology.
You have found the best state symbols website, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The introduction above is adapted from Geobop’s State Symbols and My State Symbols Book, by far the biggest and most detailed state symbols references ever. You can learn still more about the symbols of the 50 states in the books Flag Quest and Grading the States. (Learn more about them here.)
After you spend some time exploring your favorite state’s symbols, you can come back here and tell us what you think about them.