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Guest writer, Lisa Sheldon

 

Earlier this month, bituminous coal became the official West Virginia state rock. The choice is obviously for its contribution to the state’s economy and history. West Virginia is the nation’s second largest coal producer to Wyoming. It is a key source of energy.

 

The state rock is the newest of the state symbols. The first was the state flower, the rhododendron or great laurel, designated in 1903. The choice was by vote of public school children.

 

The year of other state symbols is as follows:

 

1949 - Bird: Cardinal

 

1949 - Tree: Sugar Maple

 

1972 - Fruit: Apple; in 1995, it became the Golden Delicious Apple, first discovered in Clay County in 1905

 

1973 - Animal: Black Bear

 

1973 - Fish: Brook Trout

 

1990 - Gem: Fossil Coral (actually, it is a fossil, not a gem)

 

1995 - Butterfly: Monarch

 

1997 - Soil: Monongahela Silt Loam

 

2002 - Insect: Honeybee

 

2008 - Reptile: Timber Rattlesnake

 

2008 - Fossil: bones of the Megalonyx jeffersonii or ground sloth

 

Each of these symbols was chosen because of its significance to West Virginia, and each has an interesting story.

 

Take some time to investigate the creatures, flora, fauna and other things that represent the state. You can also check out the state colors, seal, flag and songs that coincide with West Virginia history, natural resources and economy. It will be a reminder of why West Virginia is “Wild and Wonderful.” The information is available online by searching for West Virginia state symbols or check out the subject at Calhoun County Library.

 

This Week's Editorial:

By Helen Morris:

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