My interests lie largely in three areas: Nature (particularly biology), political science and symbols. Though symbols may seem trivial, they sometimes seem the glue that holds everything else together.

I began researching state symbols almost thirty years ago. My primary interest was in ecosymbols, or symbols of Nature, such as state flowers and birds.

When I began my studies, there were just two state symbols general references. The first was State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers, and Other Symbols by George Earlie Shankle, first published in 1934. Shankle’s book is still found in libraries across America, even though it doesn’t even include Alaska or Hawaii.