NJ has a lot of official state symbols — see if you can pick the right ones
⬛ New Jersey lawmakers have approved over a dozen official state symbols
⬛ These symbols are supposed to represent what is unique about the Garden State
⬛ How many can you name?
New Jersey has a very rich and diverse history. Much of that history is represented through the various symbols and icons that have been adopted as official state symbols.
Through varying acts of the Legislature and often promoted by New Jersey school children, these symbols are meant to represent the best of our state and showcase things that are unique to our land.
But how many of these symbols can you name? Can you also say why these symbols were chosen?
Keep scrolling and test your knowledge of the Great Garden State.
These bright yellow birds are hard to miss when they come zipping through your backyard.
"The eastern goldfinch has bright yellow feathers and a black head and wings. Eastern goldfinches love to eat sunflower seeds," according to NJ.gov.
New Jersey has such a wide variety of native plants and flowers, but these violets can be found along the road and in forests and meadows all over New Jersey.
"Violets can be found in New Jersey fields, lawns, and meadows -- anywhere that they can find warm spring sunshine," according to NJ.gov.
Honorable mention to the unofficial state bird — the middle finger. We couldn't drive without it.
New Jersey is one of a handful of states that have an 'official' state soil. It's the reason we have the best corn and tomatoes.
According to the USDA, it is a rich, loamy, well-drained soil.
The Downer Series was first recognized and established as a soil series back in 1960 in Gloucester County, New Jersey. Since that time it has been identified in 11 of 21 counties in the Garden State.
Remember when they used to teach this in gym class?
"The Square Dance has been designated as the American Folk Dance of the State of New Jersey by Joint Resolution No. 1, 1983."
The process actually was begun in 1979 when Nan and Frank Habersberger launched a campaign on behalf of four state square dancing associations. Frank and Helen Cavanaugh, also dedicated square dancers, led a massive letter-writing campaign to all New Jersey legislators urging a vote, which was ultimately taken in 1983.
New Jersey has wonderful peaches, and apples and is among the biggest producer of cranberries in the U.S. It is, however, the blueberry that is the official state fruit.
According to NJ.gov: "The blueberry, which was first cultivated in Whitesbog, became the official state fruit in 2004. In 2003, fourth graders at Veteran's Memorial Elementary School in Brick campaigned to make the blueberry the official state fruit."
A wide variety of shells can be found at the Jersey Shore, but the Knobbed Whelk is valuable in a variety of ways.
According to NJ.gov: "The knobbed whelk shell is commonly known as the conch shell. Found along NJ beaches and bays, the knobbed whelk is the name of the large marine snail that lives in the shell.
Also known by its Italian name, scungilli, the snail is harvested from its spiral shell and canned for food. The shell is yellowish gray in color."
No shortage of prehistoric creatures once called New Jersey home, and a variety of fossils have been found over the years, but the biggest find came over 160 years ago.
According to NJ.gov: "In the summer of 1858, Victorian gentleman and fossil hobbyist William Parker Foulke was vacationing in Haddonfield, New Jersey, when he heard that twenty years previous, workers had found gigantic bones in a local marl pit.
Foulke spent the late summer and fall directing a crew of hired diggers shin-deep in gray slime. Eventually, he found the bones of an animal larger than an elephant with structural features of both a lizard and a bird."
While the argument could certainly be made for the mosquito or greenhead fly, the honeybee is the state insect.
Why? It is absolutely vital to the pollination of New Jersey crops.
According to NJ.gov: "The honey bee became the state bug when the Legislature enacted the bill, A-671, and Gov. Brendan T. Byrne signed it on June 20, 1974.
They were encouraged by a group of children from the Sunnybrae School in Hamilton Township."
While the Flowering Dogwood, Sweet Birch, American Holly and scrub pines are plentiful in the Garden State, the mighty Red Oak is the official state tree.
According to NJ.gov: "The red oak is a hardwood tree that has pointy-lobed leaves with prickly tips. In autumn its leaves turn a beautiful, bright red. It produces many acorns."
Legendary New Jersey 101.5 morning man Jim Gearhart campaigned for years to make the Blue Fish the official state fish, but the honor goes to the Brook Trout.
According to NJ.gov: "If you find a brook trout, you know the water is good quality because brook trout can't survive in polluted water."
From agriculture to New Jersey's racing industry, the horse has a long history in New Jersey. It appears on the state seal.
According to NJ.gov: "Michael McCarthy and his fifth-grade class at Our Lady of Victories School in Harrington Park and James Sweetman, an eighth grader from Freehold, helped make the horse New Jersey's state animal in 1977."
Ah, the Jersey tomato! Sweet, firm and versatile, it takes like summer!
Despite being named the official state vegetable, however, the tomato is actually a fruit.
From National Geographic: "To a botanist, a fruit is an entity that develops from the fertilized ovary of a flower.
This means that tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, corn kernels, and bean and pea pods are all fruits; so are apples, pears, peaches, apricots, melons and mangos."
Who doesn't remember Gov. Tom Kean's classic line, "New Jersey and you, purrr-fect together."
Unfortunately, that is not the official slogan.
"Come see for yourself" was used for a while, but in 2017 "Garden State" was codified through legislation signed by Gov. Chris Christie.
New Jersey is home to a variety of reptiles, but the elusive bog turtle is the official symbol.
From NJ.gov: "Bog turtles, one of the smallest and most secretive of North America’s turtles, measure only 7.6 to 10 cm (3.0 to 3.9 in.) long as adults."
So? How did you do? Are you a Jersey Ace? Let us know in the comments!
Test more of your New Jersey knowledge: Do you know what's taxed (or not) in the state?
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Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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