The state flag was adopted on March 28, 1925 with the following description: "There is hereby designated a banner for the State of Nebraska which shall consist of reproduction of the great seal of the state, charged on the center in gold and silver on a field of national blue."
The Goldenrod (Soldiago gigantea) was declared the state flower on April 4, 1895. It can be found in all regions throughout the state.
The Western Meadowlark became the state bird on March 22, 1929.
Some other Nebraska birds
The Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera)
click on image to enlarge
The American Elm (Ulmus Americana L.) was named as Nebraska's first state tree on Feb. 15, 1937.The 1972 Legislature named the cottonwood (Populus deltoides marsh) as the state tree. The cottonwood was chosen because many Nebraska elm trees had been killed by Dutch elm disease and because the cottonwood often is associated with pioneer Nebraska.
Little Bluestem, Andropogon scoparius (schizachyrium), was designated the official state grass of Nebraska on May 5, 1969. It is also known as "beard grass" and grows abundant in prairies.
Nebraska has had two official state names: the "Tree Planters' State" and the "Cornhusker State." On April 4, 1895, a bill called for a joint resolution to designate Nebraska as The "Tree Planters" state.
On Nebraska's centennial, the governor signed a bill designating blue chalcedony, commonly called the Blue Agate, as Nebraska's official state gemstone.
On Sept. 13, 1997, Gov. Ben Nelson declared the Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) to be the official state fish. The channel catfish is a popular sport fish that is often used for food.
Approved by the governor on Feb. 26, 1981, a bill introduced by Sen. Shirley Marsh, adopted the Whitetail Deer as the official state mammal.
Nebraska State Seal
(the gold circle within the state flag)
The design for Nebraska's Great Seal was established by the State's first Legislature in 1867. The state's appreciation for transportation, which hastened settlement, is represented by a train of cars heading toward the Rocky Mountains in the background and a steamboat ascending the Missouri river in the eastern part of the circle. The mechanical arts are represented by a blacksmith with hammer and anvil in the foreground. Agriculture is represented by a settler's cabin and sheaves of wheat in the lower left. Around the top of the circle, in capital letters, is the motto: "Equality Before the Law" and the circle is surrounded with the words, "Great Seal of the State of Nebraska, March 1, 1867"
Nebraska played an important role in the famous Oregon Trail, heavily traveled by pioneers as they trekked across the United States in their Conestoga wagons in search of the new frontier, new farmland, a new life.
Nebraska has 95 state parks and recreation areas. Among the most important state historical parks are Fort Robinson, near Crawford; Fort Kearny, the outpost that protected travelers on the Oregon Trail; Buffalo Bill's Ranch, the home of William F. Cody for 30 years, in North Platte; and Arbor Lodge, the stately mansion of J. Sterling Morton, a territorial governor and originator of Arbor Day, in Nebraska City.
Other places to visit among the points of interest near Omaha are Fontenelle Forest; Mormon Cemetery, the burial place of those who perished in the winter of 1846 to 1847; Fort Omaha, established in 1868; and Boys Town, a famous community established by Father Edward J. Flanagan for homeless or neglected boys. The restored home of William Jennings Bryan, the U.S. political figure and three-time candidate for the U.S. presidency, is located in Lincoln. Red Cloud, the small town setting for many novels by the Pulitzer Prize winner Willa Cather, has 26 sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Other historic sites in the state include Fort Atkinson, the first military post in Nebraska; the Gothenburg Pony Express station; and the historic town of Brownville, on the Missouri River.
Ever since Buffalo Bill started his famous Wild West Show in the 1880s, rodeos have been a popular spectator sport. From the Nebraskaland Days and Buffalo Bill Rodeo in North Platte to Nebraska's Big Rodeo in Burwell, the tradition has been kept alive. A summer season of county fairs and horse races culminates in early September at the Nebraska State Fair in Lincoln. Many festivals are linked to the countries of origin of Nebraska's early residents. A Czech festival in Wilber in August, Swedish festivals in Oakland and Stromsburg in June, an Italian festival in Omaha in July, Cinco de Mayo in May in Scottsbluff, and a Danish Christmas in Dannebrog are all part of Nebraska's diverse character. Native American powwows include the Santee Sioux in June, Winnebago in July, and Omaha (at Macy) in August. In Omaha the Rodeo and Stock Show in September is sponsored by the civic organization Ak-Sar-Ben, which is "Nebraska" spelled backward. One of the state's liveliest events is the Ak-Sar-Ben Festival in October. Included in this festival are an elaborate parade and coronation ball.