Flood waters continue to recede in western Wisconsin. Most rivers and streams have crested. Many counties in Governor Walker’s disaster declaration are working on these assessments and will report estimates as soon as possible view full county report.
Wisconsin State Animal
Although badgers have been associated with our coat of arms, the state flag, the University of Wisconsin, the official seal and Cornish miners since the days of the Wisconsin Territory, it was four elementary school students from Jefferson County who discovered the animal had no official status in Wisconsin. You would think the badger was the only logical choice for state animal. Some northern legislators, however, wanted the white-tailed deer picked due to its strength, regal stature, and the economic value of deer hunting. In 1957 a compromise was reached, the American badger (Taxidea taxus) was named the state animal.
Wisconsin State Bird
During the 1926-27 school year, the state Federation of Women's Clubs sponsored bird studies in the public schools. School children robin chose the familiar robin (Turdus migratorius) 2-to-1 over the nearest competitor. The robin has earned this title partly because it is one of the five most abundant summer residents found in Wisconsin. The robin is also a migratory bird. We commonly think of it as the first sign of spring, even though it arrives after the killdeers, Canada geese, and red-winged blackbirds.
Wisconsin State Domestic Animal
The dairy cow was added to the statutes as Wisconsin's official "domestic animal" in recognition of its many contributions to the state. This made sense since Wisconsin already promoted itself as "America's Dairyland," as seen on our license plates. This also lead to the designation of the state beverage, milk. Wisconsin has been a leader in the nation's milk production for many years. Agriculture remains an important part of Wisconsin's economy.
Wisconsin State Tree
The sugar maple (Acer saccharum) was selected as the state tree by school children in a statewide vote in 1893. Oaks, pines, and elms were also favorites, but the maple won out. A second vote of school children in our centennial year, 1948, reaffirmed support for the sugar maple. Legislators created a new section of the statutes to authorize the designation of official state symbols. So a state tree, state flower and state bird were all selected during the centennial session and became official state symbols in 1949.
Wisconsin State Flower
State flowers were first nominated in 1908. When the official tally was taken on Arbor Day 1909, school children selected the wood violet (Viola papilionacea) over the wild rose, trailing arbutus, and the white water lily. It was a close vote. The wood violet is a small flower commonly seen in wet woodland and meadow areas, and along roadsides. This purple violet is very popular in the eastern United States and blooms between March and June. Not only is it the state flower for Wisconsin, but it also holds this title in Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
Wisconsin State Mineral
The state mineral became Galena at the same time red granite became the state rock, thanks to the proposal put fourth by the Kenosha Gem and Mineral Society in 1971. They wanted to promote awareness of Wisconsin's geology. Galena was selected because of its abundance, uniqueness, economic value, historical significance, and because it is native to our state. Galena is the most important mineral source of lead. It grows in cubes or square crystals and is dark gray.
Wisconsin State Dog
American Water Spaniel
The American water spaniel was named Wisconsin’s official state dog in 1985. Enactment of the law was the culmination of years of effort by eighth grade students of Lyle Brumm at Washington Junior High School in New London. The American water spaniel is said to be one of only five dog breeds indigenous to the United States and the only one native to Wisconsin. The American water spaniel was developed as a practical, versatile hunting dog that combined certain physical attributes with intelligence and a good disposition.
Wisconsin State Tartan
The state tartan was created by 2007. Legislation was introduced at the request of the Saint Andrew’s Society of Milwaukee, which had formed a committee to recommend an appropriate design. The design selected was chosen to reflect the diversity and uniqueness of the state. Historically, tartans served to identify Scottish highland clans and families. The color scheme reflects the tartans of many notable Wisconsin families of Scottish ancestry and the natural resources and industries of Wisconsin.
Wisconsin State Pastry
In 2013 Wisconsin designated the kringle as the state pastry. The kringle is a flaky dough pastry that can be filled with fruit, nuts, or other filling and baked with icing. The proposal was supported by the city of Racine, as they are a mass producer of the pastry.
Wisconsin State Fruit
The cranberry was designated the state fruit in 2003. The legislation was the culmination of a class project by fifth grade students from Trevor Grade School in Kenosha County, who decided that the cranberry, rather than the cherry, was the best candidate for Wisconsin’s state fruit. Wisconsin leads the nation in cranberry production, accounting for over half of the nation’s output. Cranberries are grown in 20 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, primarily in the central part of the state.
Wisconsin State Dance
The polka was designated the state dance by 1993 Wisconsin. The legislation was introduced at the request of a second grade class from Charles Lindbergh Elementary School in Madison and supported by several groups, including the Wisconsin Polka Boosters, Inc., and the Wisconsin Folk Museum. Supporters documented the polka heritage of Wisconsin and provided evidence that the polka is deeply ingrained in Wisconsin cultural traditions.
Wisconsin State Grain
Corn was designated the official state grain in 1989. During legislative debate, sponsors claimed designating corn as the state grain would draw attention to its importance as a cash crop in Wisconsin and make people more aware of corn’s many uses, including livestock feed, sweeteners, ethanol fuel, and biodegradable plastics.
Wisconsin State Beverage
The Wisconsin Legislature designated milk as the official state beverage in 1987. This action recognized Wisconsin’s position as the nation’s leading milk-producing state and the contribution of milk to the state’s economy. The World Dairy Expo and various Wisconsin dairy production and dairy cattle associations supported the legislation.
Wisconsin State Fossil
The Wisconsin Geological Society proposed a state fossil in 1985 to encourage interest in our geological heritage. The trilobite is an extinct marine arthropod that was common in the warm, shallow salt sea that periodically covered Wisconsin hundreds of millions of years ago. The three-lobed creature had a tough, furrowed exoskeleton that was shed as the animal grew and molted. Many specimens ranging from less than an inch to 14 inches in length have been preserved in rock formations throughout the state.
Wisconsin State Soil
Antigo Silt Loam
The Wisconsin state soil was selected in 1983 to help remind us of our responsibility to take care of our soil resources. People argued that soil, a natural resource that took 10,000 years to produce, not only is essential to Wisconsin's economy, but also is the foundation of life itself. Silt loam is a productive, silty soil originating from the glaciers and enriched by organic matter from prehistoric forests. It is named after the city of Antigo. This soil supports dairying, potato growing, and timber.
Wisconsin State Insect
In 1977, the third grade class of Holy Family School in Marinette was studying the legislative process, hands-on. With encouragement from the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association, they asked the Legislature to select the honey bee (Apis mellifera) as the state insect. The news got the school community abuzz. Attempts to get other elementary school students to help choose a state bug by popular ballot failed. The monarch butterfly, dragonfly, ladybug and mosquito were contenders for the title, but the honey bee won.
Wisconsin State Symbol of Peace
The mourning dove was named the state symbol of peace in 1971. Wisconsin has two sub-species of Mourning dove that look almost alike. Some of them migrate to wintering grounds and others stay in Wisconsin all winter. This bird species is currently hunted in Wisconsin, along with many states. They have been hunted for many years throughout the United States and continue to be one of the most abundant birds in North America.
Wisconsin State Rock
Galena was made the official state mineral and red granite the state rock in 1971. The proposal was introduced at the request of the Kenosha Gem and Mineral Society to promote geological awareness. Galena met the criteria for selection, as set by the Wisconsin Geological Society, including abundance, uniqueness, economic value, historical significance, and native nature. Red granite is an igneous rock composed of quartz and feldspar. It is mined in several sections of the state and was selected as the state rock because of its economic importance.
Wisconsin Wildlife Animal
White Tail Deer
In 1957, Wisconsin’s northern counties introduced a bill to make the white-tailed deer the official animal, citing the state’s large native deer population, the animal’s physical attributes, and the considerable economic benefits derived from the annual deer hunt.
Wisconsin State Fish
Named the official state fish in 1955, this ferocious member of the pike family is often known in fish stories as "the one that got away." The lakes and rivers of Wisconsin's north are home to the muskellunge. Muskellunge occur in 711 lakes and 83 river segments in Wisconsin. Look for muskies in lakes in the headwater regions of the Chippewa, Flambeau and Wisconsin rivers. Many lakes and streams have healthy muskellunge populations in central and southern Wisconsin where fry and fingerlings have been stocked.
Wisconsin State Flag
The flag was first designed in 1863 at the request of Civil War regiments who wanted an official flag to fly during the war on the battlefield. The flag was later revised several times to add more distinctive features. The flag includes the Coat of Arms which represents many of our valued natural resources and the contributions of early pioneers to the state's development.
Wisconsin State Seal
The seal consists of the coat or arms with the words “The Great Seal of the State of Wisconsin” centered above and a curved line of 13 stars, representing the 13 original United States, centered below, surrounded by an ornamental border.