The State Flag and Seal
The State Flag consists of the State Coat of Arms against a blue background. The Coat of Arms includes a buck’s head which symbolizes the abundant wildlife in Vermont, a band of pine trees which stand for the Green Mountains, a shield which bears the Vermont landscape (mountains, pine tree, fields, grain, and cow) and below are crossed pine branches. The state motto is written on a red banner at the bottom. The Coat of Arms was adopted in 1779, 12 years before Vermont became a state.
The State Bird – Hermit Thrush
A small North American bird, Catharus guttatus, of the family Turdidae. Usually found in evergreen forests, the hermit thrush lives in Canada and the northern U.S. during the summer and spends the winter in the southern states. It is about 18 cm (about 7 in) long, brown above and white below, with the breast and throat spotted with black. The hermit thrush characteristically cocks its chestnut-red tail and droops it slowly when alarmed. The bird is noted for its beautiful, flutelike song. The cuplike nest is built in low bushes or on the ground.
The State Animal – Morgan Horse
All Morgans trace to Justin Morgan through his most famous sons: Sherman, Woodbury and Bullrush. The breed played a large part in the evolution of the Standardbred, the Saddlebred, and the Tennessee Walking Horse and it was the chosen mount for the US Army until mechanization. The Morgan is a spirited and courageous horse but easily handled and intelligent. It is also a hard, versatile horse, very powerful, well proportioned in all respects, and possesses great stamina.
The State Tree – Sugar Maple
The Sugar Maple’s wood is excellent for furniture and it produces maple syrup. A single tree is 70-120 feet high and produces two to three pounds of sugar when “sugared-off.” It has a five-lobed leaf and a small wing-shaped seed pod. In the fall the leaves turn bright yellow.
State Fossil – Charlotte the Fossil Whale
The white whale (Delphinapterus leucas) was designated the state fossil by Act No. 66 (1993). It is a toothed whale recognized by its brilliant white to grey-white color, prominent forehead knob or “melon”, and lack of a dorsal fin. The Charlotte whale was uncovered during construction of the first railroad between Rutland and Burlington in 1849. This specimen dates from approximately 12,500 years ago when the Atlantic Ocean flooded the Champlain Basin, which was depressed below sea level by huge glacial ice sheets, inundating it with marine waters. For 2500 years following that, this region existed as an arm of the Atlantic Ocean known as the Champlain Sea. This particular whale contains the most complete post-cranial remains of the Champlain specimens yet found.
State Flower – Red Clover
A perennial, but of short duration, generally abundant on meadow land of a light sandy nature, where it produces abundant blossom, forming an excellent mowing crop. Not of great value as a bee plant – the bees not working the red clover as heartily as they will the white variety.
Several stems 1 to 2 feet high, arising from the one root, slightly hairy; leaves ternate, leaflets ovate, entire, nearly smooth, ending in long point often lighter coloured in centre, flowers red to purple, fragrant, in dense terminal ovoid or globular heads.
State Rocks – Granite, Marble and Slate
Granite is a tough, durable rock composed primarily of three different minerals. These minerals are easy to see due to their different colors. The white mineral grains found in granite are feldspar. It is the most abundant mineral found in granite. The light gray, glass-like grains are quartz, and the black, flake-like grains are biotite or black mica.
Marble is simply limestone that has been compressed and/or heated deep within the earth’s crust. Unlike granite, marble was never molten rock, but it may have been heated and squeezed enough for the limestone grains to bend and flow. Marble is also made up of only one mineral — calcite — a relatively soft mineral with a hardness of “3″. Calcite is a common mineral — all limestones and nearly all seashells are made of it, but it does not occur in granite. Because marble is made entirely of calcite, it is much softer than granite.
Slate is chiefly comprised of quartz and illite, with mica, calcite, and minor quantities of other various minerals. Slates vary in color, most commonly seen in black, gray, red, purple, or green. Red color is due to the presence of Hematite, while green colors are due to Chlorite. Grey and black are due to carbon and/or graphite. Shades of red (purple) and tan are related to varying amount of iron oxides.