On March 1, 2005 both houses of the state legislature passed a bill approving the Hot Air Balloon as the state’s official aircraft. Governor Bill Richardson signed the bill into law.
The state’s love of hot air balloons started with flyers, Bill and Sid Cutter, who decided in 1973 to give a hot air balloon to their mother for her birthday. They then enticed a few former New Mexico Military Institute graduates into developing a balloon to give more visibility to their alma mater.
Other New Mexicans got enthusiastic about hot air ballooning so a balloon rally was set in Roswell in conjunction with the Wool Bowl Thanksgiving 1973. Then came the World Balloon Championship contests that evolved finally into the First International Balloon Fiesta in 1977.
Now every October in Albuquerque, “the Balloon Capitol of the world,” the skies are full of hundreds of beautiful, colorful, and unusual shaped balloons from all over the world. On the ground are thousands of spectators stretching their necks to view these sights and their pocketbooks thereby assisting the economic stability of the state.
The New Mexico Spadefoot (Spea multiplicata) is found widely through the state, occurring in all 33 counties and in elevation ranges from 3,000 to above 8,500 feet. Outside of New Mexico it occurs from central Texas and western Oklahoma to Arizona and south into Mexico.
Males are about 2 1/2 inches in body length. On the top side the animal is variable in color, being gray, brown or dusky green. One identifying mark is the lack of a "boss," a circular round projection, between the eyes. The eyes are close together and appear close to the top of the head. Like other spadefoots, they have vertical pupils. On each hind leg is a small, hard, wedge-shaped structure which is used for digging into moist soil. Spadefoots remain in these underground refuges until the onset of monsoon rains.
After the rains start and low areas are filled with water, males emerge and begin calling to females which arrive later. The voice of this species has been described as sounding like a fingernail running across the teeth of a comb. Males frequently call while floating on the surface of the water. When handled or held by a predator, the species gives off an odor which smells like roasted peanuts.
The State Bird of New Mexico, the Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) is known by a wide variety of names including Chaparral Bird, el corrrecaminos, and el paisano. It is the larger of two ground cuckoos, the other being the Lesser Roadrunner found in Mexico and Central America. The Greater Roadrunner is found across the American southwest and south to central Mexico.
The Greater Roadrunner is found throughout much of New Mexico, mostly at lower elevations (up to 7,000 feet), and is most frequently seen running along side the roads and trails of the state. It can fly but only weakly and hesitates to do so. It has a long tail, a shaggy crest and is streaked brown below with a dusty background. The back is olive to dark grayish brown.
The birds build a bulky stick nest in low brush or even abandoned machinery. Three to six eggs are the normal clutch number. Roadrunners feed on a wide variety of prey items including snakes, lizards, beetles, small birds and rarely cactus fruits.
There is probably no State Bird more closely connected to the people of the state than the Greater Roadrunner is to the citizens of New Mexico. Early settlers for example were told that if you got lost a roadrunner would always lead you back to the path for which you were searching. Many Native American groups said that the spirit of this bird has supernatural powers. Hopi tribes used the "X" on Kachina figures to confuse evil spirits because the "X" footprint of a roadrunner doesn't show which direction the bird is traveling.
The State Legislature adopted the Greater Roadrunner as the official State Bird on March 16, 1949. In 1969, "Dusty Roadrunner" was adopted as the official symbol of the State of New Mexico to keep the state clean and beautiful. Dusty is regarded as a jovial, hard-working bird caricature with the intent on encouraging us to keep the state clean. Complete with a red cap and broom, he was created in 1967 and adopted as the official New Mexico litter control mascot. Dusty travels the state with Keep New Mexico Beautiful, Inc. (1-800-760-KNMB), educating its citizens on the importance of preservation and conservation of natural resources and providing for community involvement.
The bolo tie is a Western fashion staple, hailed for its comfort and versatility. Employing several types of clasps, the bolo tie can be worn with a closed or loosened collar.
In the 1930's, Navajo men would fasten a silver conch to their necks with a sting. The bolo tie is also traced to the neckerchiefs worn by Boy Scouts and Argentine cowboys.
In the United States bolo ties are widely associated with Western wear, and are common in the western areas of the country.
New Mexico passed a non-binding measure to designate the bolo as the state's official neckwear in 1987. The State Legislature adopted the bolo tie as the official State Tie on March 13, 2007.
The Sandia Hairstreak (Callophrys mcfarlandi) is the State Butterfly of New Mexico occurring in 24 of the state's 33 counties. It also occurs in southeastern Colorado, west Texas and into northeastern Mexico. It was originally described in 1960 from a specimen taken in the Sandia Mountains east of Albuquerque. The wing span ranges from 1 1/8 to 1 1/4 inches.
The underside of the wings are a beautiful golden-green with a white line bordered with black toward the base of the wing. The upperside of the wing in the male is brown, female is reddish-brown with a narrow black border. The larval food plant is Beargrass (Nolina species) in the Agave Gamily (Agavaceae) where the caterpillars feed on the flowers and fruits. Caterpillars are widely colored ranging from pink to maroon to green. Flights (emergence from the cocoon) occurs from early spring to early summer with occasional second flights in late summer.
Habitat is dry hillsides with Beargrass. At times this is the most abundant spring butterfly within it's range. Adults are more active in the morning and retreat to the base of Beargrass at night. The species is well adapted to droughts.
New Mexico claims the distinction of having the oldest as well as one of the newest state capitols in the United States. The oldest is the Palace of the Governors (See Fig. 1, pg. 119). Built in 1610 (ten years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock), it was the seat of nearly three centuries of government—Spanish, Mexican and American. It is now a museum on the plaza.
In 1886 a new territorial capitol was built on the south side of the Santa Fe River but six years later a mysterious fire burned it to the ground. The building was four stories high, with rounded corners and topped by colossal bronze statues representing Liberty, Justice, Industry and Commerce.
The next capitol was completed June 4, 1900 for an incredibly low cost of $140,000 and was a three story silver-domed edifice. Various additions were built adjacent to this building and then in 1950 a major renovation got underway to unify the architectural appearance of all the buildings in this complex to territorial style. At that time the dome was removed and that building is now known as the Bataan Memorial Building.
A blend of New Mexico territorial style, Greek revival adaptations and Pueblo Indian adobe architecture comprise the design of the newest capitol. The round structure is modified to form the Indian Sun Symbol (the Zia symbol which appears on the state flag) and includes four levels, one of which is below ground. Dedicated on December 8, 1966, it contains 232,346 square feet and was built for the cost of $4,676,860 or $20.00 per square foot. A recent renovation, completed in 1992, focused on removing existing asbestos, making the building more energy and space efficient as well as becoming more handicapped accessible. The State Capitol Annex, formerly the building housing the State Library, sits adjacent to the Capitol and is connected with an attractive passageway.
The New Mexico Legislature adopted the biscochito (bizcochito) as the official state cookie in 1989. This act made New Mexico the first state to have an official state cookie. The biscochito is a small anise-flavored cookie, which was brought to New Mexico by the early Spaniards. The cookie is used during special celebrations, wedding receptions, baptisms, Christmas season, and other holidays. It was chosen to help maintain traditional home-baked cookery.
This is the recipe for New Mexico's state cookie.
6 C. flour
1/4 Tsp. salt
3 Tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 Tsp. anise seeds
2 C. lard
1/4 C. brandy
1/4 C. sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
Sift flour with baking powder and salt.In separate bowl, cream lard with sugar and anise seeds until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in flour and brandy until well blended. Refrigerate 2-3 hours. Turn dough out on floured board and pat or roll to 1/4- or 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into shapes (the fleur-de-lis is traditional).Dust with mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350° or until browned.
March 25, 2009, Governor Bill Richardson signed legislation declaring Under the New Mexico Skies as the first official cowboy song. The song was composed by Syd Masters of Edgewood, NM. This song was selected at a songwriting competition sponsored by the New Mexico Music Commission at the Western Music Associations music Festival in Albuquerque in November 2007.
The Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki) is also known as the New Mexico Cutthroat Trout. This species is native to cold mountain streams and lakes of much of northern New Mexico. They have a yellow-green to gray-brown body with scattered black spots. The latter third of the fish is heavily spotted with black. There are several red streaks under the throat which give it it's name. Typical adults are up to 10 inches in length and weight about 1 pound. Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout live up to 8 years.
The species feeds on a wide variety of aquatic invertebrates including insects, zooplankton and crustaceans. They breed in spring and early summer and prefer water temperature between 48-52 degrees Fahrenheit. Females lay a wide range in the number of eggs from 200 to 4,500. They are laid in a gravel nest in flowing water where there are high levels of dissolved oxygen.
The species has declined in recent years because of the introduction of Rainbow Trout and neighboring land practices. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is responsible for managing sport fishing in the state and has a program to restore and rehabilitate populations in the state.
New Mexico historian Ralph Emerson Twitchell designed the first flag of New Mexico statehood, as authorized in 1915. It consisted of a blue field with a miniature United States flag in the upper left corner, the state’s great seal in the lower right corner and “New Mexico” embroidered diagonally across the field from the lower left to the upper right corner.
In 1920, the New Mexico Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) advocated the adoption of a flag representative of New Mexico’s unique character. Three years later, the D.A.R. conducted a design competition, which was won by the distinguished Santa Fe physician and archeologist, Dr. Harry Mera. The doctor’s wife, Reba, made the winning flag design with a symbolic red Zia on a field of yellow. In March of 1925, Governor Arthur T. Hannett signed the legislation, which proclaimed the Mera design as the official state flag.
The State Flag of New Mexico has a modern interpretation of an ancient symbol of a sun design as seen on a late 19th century water jar from Zia Pueblo. This pueblo is thought to have been one of the Seven Golden Cities of Cíbola, which explorer Vásquez de Coronado sought. The red sun symbol was called a “Zia” and is shown on a field of yellow. This distinctive design reflects the pueblo's tribal philosophy, with its wealth of pantheistic spiritualism teaching the basic harmony of all things in the universe. Four is the sacred number of Zia, and the figure is composed of a circle from which four points radiate. To the Zia Indian, the sacred number is embodied in the earth with its four main directions; in the year with its four seasons; in the day, with sunrise, noon, evening and night; in life, with its four divisions - childhood, youth, adulthood and old age. Everything is bound together in a circle of life, without beginning, without end. States of America have all flown over the “Land of Enchantment” during the long history of the state. The Zia believe, too, that in this great brotherhood of all things, man has four sacred obligations: he must develop a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit, and a devotion to the welfare of his people.
The red and yellow are the colors of Isabel of Castilla that the Spanish Conquistadors brought to the New World. The symbol's proportions are fixed by legislative act, with the four groups of rays set at right angles, the two inner rays one-fifth longer than the outer rays. The diameter of the circle in the center is one-third the width of the symbol. The flags of Spain, the Republic of Mexico, the Confederate States of America, and the United States.
Claude Stephenson, Folk Arts Coordinator and the State Folklorist, also serves as the ADA Coordinator. Claude currently sits on the New Mexico Music Commission and the New Mexico Centennial Steering Committee. He also manages the New Mexico component of the National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces program. He has been with New Mexico Arts since 1991.
Claude obtained his Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of New Mexico in 2001. He grew up in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and outside of a year stay in Washington, DC, has lived in Albuquerque since 1970. Claude is an avid musician and awardwinning mandolin player. He and his wife live in an old adobe down by the river in the South Valley where they grow lots of vegetables.
Studying the past in New Mexico has always resulted in rich finds about early human history and information about those species which were here millions of years before. One of these early species was the Coelophysis (see-low-FYS-iss), an early Triassic dinosaur which was named the New Mexico State Fossil by the State Legislature on March 17, 1981./p>
Coelophysis bauri first appeared in the Mid Triassic Period around 228 million years ago. The genus name, Coelophysis, means "hollow form" and refers to the hollow limb bones. It was a small dinosaur compared with those that have appeared on movie and TV screens. Coelophysis was up to almost 9 feet in length and about three feet high at the hips. It has a long tail which probably acted as a counterweight when it was running and maneuvering at high speeds. It was thought to have weighed around 50 pounds and some researchers have speculated that it was warm-blooded.
It is believed that the species was probably an opportunistic feeder, eating both live prey and scavenging on dead materials. The teeth are typical of carnivorous dinosaurs being blade-like, recurved and serrated and were continually replaced as they were damaged or worn out. Initially it was thought that the species was cannibalistic but recent studies have proven this to be incorrect.
The first remains of the fossil were found in 1881 and was classified by Edward D. Cope in 1889. In 1947 a large "graveyard" of Coelophysis was found at the Ghost Ranch in Rio Arriba County not far from the original find. It is thought that the mass burial was caused by a flash flood which trapped other species in addition to this one. The species has also been found in Arizona and possibly in Utah.
In addition to its long history in the geology of New Mexico, Coelophysis was also the second dinosaur in space! In 1998 a Coelophysis skull from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History accompanied the Space Shuttle Endeavour mission STS-89. It was also taken onto the Space Station Mir before returning to Earth.
One of the more common sights across lower elevations in New Mexico are various species of yucca. One of these, Soaptree Yucca (Yuca elata) is one of the more widespread species. Yucca are members of the Family Agavaceae. Yucca (pronounced "yuh-ka") are hardy plants that thrive under trying conditions.
Soaptree Yucca can grow up to 30 feet, rarely to 35, in height with roots stretching for a hundred feet or more in search of water. This is easily seen in areas where there are moving sand dunes such as at White Sands National Monument near Alamogordo. Flowers are a creamy white and borne on a long slender stalk. Some individuals grow low while others form a tall stalk topped with broad, sharp-edged leaves.
It occurs in sandy soils, gypsum area, rocky areas, grasslands and similar areas from the lowest elevations up to 6,000 feet. The flowers can be eaten and are fed on by cattle during times of drought. Settlers would crush the roots and stems for a soap substitute. Leaf fibers were once used to make rope and twine.
After a survey of students was conducted they chose yucca as the State Flower. The New Mexico Federation of Women's Clubs supported their choice and the New Mexico State Legislature adopted the yucca as the official State Flower on March 14, 1927.
Hundreds of years before the Spanish explorers arrived, the Indians were mining and fashioning ornaments out of this gemstone in combination with shell and coral from the California coast they acquired in trading with other tribes.
Chemically, it is a phosphate of aluminum carrying small quantities of copper and iron and a green mineral, variscite. These give the gemstone its color as well as its value and beauty. This is the only phosphate that is considered a precious stone.
The Navajo and Pueblo Indians of the Southwest call turquoise chalchihuitl, as did the ancient peoples of Mexico and Central America who used the same word to describe jade or green turquoise. Turquoise set in silver by numerous silversmiths is a big industry in New Mexico and beautiful and authentic pieces may be purchased on reservations or at fashionable stores throughout the United States.
The State Legislature adopted the turquoise as the State Gem on March 23, 1967.
;The Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis) is one of the more widespread species of grass in New Mexico occurring in all 33 counties. This perennial grass is a warm season grass and is without doubt the most valuable forage grass in the state for cattle. The plant usually grows up to 1 foot in height but can occasionally grow as high as four feet. The seed stalks have two curling comb-like spikes that appear purple and is probably the reason for the name Blue Grama. Sometimes called White Grama, it is neither blue nor white.
Native Americans used the seeds to make a flour for bread and Blackfoot Indians predicted the weather based on the number of branches grown during the current growing season. This is a valuable plant for xeriscaping and provides a good alternative to thirsty lawns of non-native grasses.
The species grows from the lowest elevations up to 8,000 feet, rarely higher, in a variety of habitats including sandy and loamy soils, shallow sites, rocky slopes, bottomlands and mountain grasslands.
March 25, 2009 a guitar known as the New Mexico sunrise was named New Mexicos Official Guitar. The instrument is a custom guitar designed and handcrafted by Pimentel and Sons. The guitar features inlaid Zia sun symbols. Taking more than a year to craft, the New Mexico Sunrise guitar is adorned with inlays of coral and mother-of-pearl. It has 10 types of aged wood from around the world.
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The Tarantula Hawk Wasp or Tarantula Hawk (Pepsis formosa) was selected because of an initiative from a classroom in Edgewood, NM. An elementary class and their teacher researched states which has selected state insects and then selected three insects for students around the state for which to vote. This species was then selected by the 39th legislature in 1989. A class in Alaska became interested in the project and attended the legislative session where the bill was introduced.
The insect is a black satin in color with orange wings which are smoky near the margins. It has long legs and holds the wings at the side when not flying. They are from 0.8 to 1.2 inches in length. They are solitary wasps and probably the largest wasps in the United States.
Many species in this group (there are about 20 species in the U.S. and 250 in the world) burrow into the ground and form branching tunnels. Females hunt for large spiders, stings them and drags them to the burrow where an egg is attached to the spider. After hatching the larva will then feed on the paralyzed spider. Adults of both sexes frequent flowers of trees, shrubs and especially milkweed.
Smokey Bear, probably the most famous bear in the history of the United States, was a cub first found cowering an injured in a tree after a 17,000 acre forest fire in the Lincoln National Forest near Capitan. Starting in 1950, Smokey was selected by the U.S. Forest Service and the Advertising Council as a spokesman and symbol for fire prevention campaigns all across the country. Smokey served in this capacity for the rest of his life, even after his death in 1975. He is buried in Smokey Bear State Park in Capitan.
The American Black Bear (Ursus americanus), or Oso Negro is found from Alaska to northern Mexico and occurs widely in wooded areas throughout the state. They are omnivorous, feeding mostly on a wide variety of plants but also on animals (mostly small rodents) in addition to carrion. Large individuals can weigh in excess of 400 pounds. Females usually breed every two years and 2-3, rarely 4 cubs being born after a 7-8 month gestation period.
The bear's head appears as the symbol of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. It is a protected game animal and may be hunted only by license in certain parts of the state and year.
The American Black Bear was selected as the state's official animal on February 8, 1963 by the New Mexico Legislature.
The Squash Blossom Necklace was officially adopted in 2011 by the State Legislature as our state’s Official Necklace. The Squash Blossom Necklace is a creation by Southwestern Native American tribes that combines the use of the Naja or crescent moon symbol and multiple flower-like silver beads which are similar looking to flowering plants like the pomegranate, sunflower, squash or other flower blossoms that spread out at their ends. The Navajo tribe was the first to create this combination into a necklace, and it is traditionally worn by both male and female—sometimes considered a symbol of wealth. In their language the flower like bead is called “Chil Bitan” and the crescent ornament is called a “Nazhahi.”
Those original creations were not created until after the arrival of the Europeans, possibly around 1880’s, and the Spanish crescent moon symbol was commonly included as a silver ornament on the horse’s bridle hanging in the center of the animal’s forehead. Combining this frequently seen symbol with their own moon images may have been the source of this “naja” image. The earliest Navajo necklaces were traditionally done in silver but later the Zuni began adding the turquoise inlay patterns in the 19th century
Lillian Whiting first noted the phrase, "Land of Enchantment," in the title of her book on New Mexico in 1906. In September 1935, Joseph A. Bursey, Director of the State Tourist Bureau, designed a brochure using this phrase. That same year New Mexico Magazine first advertised using "The Land of Enchantment" to encourage tourism in the state. The year this nickname first appeared on New Mexico license plates was in 1941. But it wasn't until 1947 that the Tourist Bureau filed with the Secretary of State for exclusive right to use the phrase as their trademark. This phrase was adopted as the official nickname of the state June 18, 1999.
The poem “A Nuevo Mexico,” written by Luis Tafoya in January 1911, was declared to be the official state poem during the 40th Legislative session in January 1991. The poem, with its English translation, is as follows:
A NUEVO MEXICO
“Levanta, Nuevo Mexico,
esa abatida frente
que anubla los encantos
de tu serena faz,
y alborozado acoje
Simbolo de gloria y de ventura
Despues de tantos anos de
lucha y de porfia,
tu suerte se ha cambiado
y ganas la victoria,
llegando a ver por fin
el venturoso dia
que es colmo de tu
dicha y fuente
de tu gloria.
Has sido un gran
imperio, colmado de riqueza,
y grandes contratiempos
tuviste que sufrir,
mas ahora triunfo pleno
alcanza tu entereza,
y el premio a tu constancia
Tu pueblo por tres
siglos aislado y solitario,
de nadie tuvo ayuda,
de nadie proteccion,
lucho por su
existencia osado y temerario,
sellando con su sangre
dominio y posesion.
Tras tan heroico esfuerzo
por fin has merecido
el bien que procurabas
con insistencia tanta
de que en la Union de Estados
con la soberania que
al hombre libre encanta.
Obstaculos y estorbos del
y entrada libre tienes
a la gloriosa Union, En
donde los ciudadanos prosperan
con tantas garantias
y tanta proteccion.
Por tan pasmosa dicha
el parabien te damos,
a ti como a tus hijos,
de honor tan senalado,
y que en tu nueva esfera
de veras esperamos
que a fuer de gran
un gran estado.
Lift, New Mexico,
your tired forehead
That clouds the enchantment
of your peaceful face,
And joyfully receive
the bright crown,
Symbol of glory, venture,
After so many years of
fight and persistence
Your luck has changed
and you gain victory,
Reaching up to see your
fortunate day at last
That is an overflow of
happiness and the fountain
of your glory.
You have been a great
empire filled with riches,
And many mishaps you
had to suffer,
But now complete triumph
reach up to your integrity,
and reward for your constancy,
you were able to achieve.
Your people for three
centuries, isolated and lonely,
With help or protection
They fought for their
existence, reckless and daring,
Sealing with their blood
their dominion and possession.
After such heroic effort
finally you deserve
The goodness with such
an insistence you procure,
To be admitted in the state
of the union
With the sovereignty that
is a free man’s enchantment.
Obstacles and hindrance for
good they disappear,
And free admittance you have
to the glorious union,
Where the people prosper
With so many guarantees
and great protection.
For that marvelous
satisfaction we welcome you,
You and your children
such a deserved honor,
And in your new sphere
we truly hope
That by dint of
imperiousness a great state
you will become.
In 1996 the New Mexico State Legislature passed a House Joint Memorial declaring "Red or Green?" as the official state question. This refers to the question always asked whether one prefers red or green chile when ordering New Mexican cuisine. This measure was passed to signify the importance that the chile industry has on the economy of the state. New Mexico produced 99,000 tons of chile in 2000, valued at nearly 49 million dollars, the number one cash crop in terms of sales in the state. With the adoption of this state question, New Mexico is acknowledging the financial gain and national recognition that chile generates for the state.
The New Mexico Whiptail (Cnemidophorus neomexianus) was first recognized by science from a specimen collected in Socorro County in 1947. It became the official state reptile when Governor Bill Richardson signed HB 13 on April 6, 2003.
This 7-striped whiptail is identified by having a wavy vertebral stripe with spots on the sides between the lighter stripes. The tail is gray at the base occurring as greenish to greenish blue toward the tip. The underside of the animal is white to pale blue.
It occurs mostly in the Rio Grande Valley from Espanola south to Presidio County, Texas, into adjacent Mexico and in the southwestern part of the state to western Hidalgo County. It also occurs in the Tularosa Basin. New Mexico Whiptail prefer disturbed riverside habitats and desert-grassland areas.
This species is active during the day, often retreating from the heat from noon until mid-afternoon during periods of high temperatures. They hibernate but are active from mid-March through mid-October. New Mexico Whiptail feed heavily on moths, butterflies, beetles, insect larvae, grasshoppers and ants. They hunt in short, jerky movements but can move rapidly in pursuit of prey or to avoid being eaten.
New Mexico's first seal was designed shortly after the Territorial Government was organized in 1851. The original seal has long since disappeared, possibly as part of the artifacts placed into the cornerstone of the Soldiers Monument in the Santa Fe Plaza. Imprints of the original seal showed an American Eagle clutching an olive branch in one talon and three arrows in the other. Along the outside rim was the inscription "Great Seal of the Territory of New Mexico."
In the early 1860's an unknown official adopted a new seal utilizing a design similar to today's Great Seal. It featured the American Bald Eagle, its outstretched wings shielding a smaller Mexican Eagle, symbolizing the change of sovereignty from Mexico to the United States in 1846. The smaller Mexican Brown, or Harpy Eagle, grasped a snake in its beak and cactus in its talons, portraying an ancient Aztec myth. The outside rim of the seal contained the words "Territory of New Mexico," with the date 1850 along the bottom in Roman numerals (MDCCCL).
It is not clear when the Latin phrase "Crescit Eundo" was added to the seal, but in 1882, Territorial Secretary W.G. Ritch embellished the earlier design with the phrase, which translates as "it grows as it goes." This has also become the State Motto. This version of the seal was officially adopted as New Mexico's "official seal and coat of arms" by the territorial legislature in 1887.
When New Mexico became a state in 1912, the legislature named a commission for the purpose of designing a state seal. In the meantime, the legislature authorized interim use of the Territorial Seal with the words "Great Seal of the State of New Mexico" substituted. In June 1913, the commission, which consisted of Governor William C. McDonald, Attorney General Frank W. Clancy, Chief Justice Clarence J. Roberts, and Secretary of State Antonio Lucero, filed its report adopting the general design of the Territorial Seal, substituting only the date 1912 for the Roman numerals. That seal is still in use today as the Official Seal of New Mexico.
The official state slogan for business, commerce and industry in New Mexico is: "Everybody is somebody in New Mexico." It was adopted by the New Mexico Legislature on April 3, 1975.
The Cumbres & Toltec Railroad was named the New Mexico’s official State Train in 2005. This railroad, built in the 1880’s, runs the 64 miles between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado over gorgeous mountainous terrain, thru tunnels and on high narrow trestles as a tourist attraction for both states. The steam engine locomotives and preserved cars have changed little since their early days as the Denver and Rio Grande narrow gauge line and are known as “America’s longest and highest narrow-gauge steam railroad.” Making the trip all the way between the two points or getting off midway at the top of the mountain in Osier and returning back by bus to your departure point gives one an opportunity to travel back in time to the early days of the twentieth century. These trips run daily from late May to mid October with special trips now offered in the winter.
For more history and specific trip information, call (505) 756-2151 or www.cumbrestoltec.com
Few plants or animals are more ingrained in the culture and biology of New Mexico than the Piñon Pine (Pinus edulis). It is also sometimes called Two Needle Piñon. The species is found mostly in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona with small populations in some of the adjacent states. The species grows very slowly, often in more dry habitats in the mountains at an elevation of 4,500 up to about 8,000 feet. The adult trees are usually within 15-35 feet tall. The round to ovate cones are distinctive. The New Mexico Federation of Women's Clubs was asked to select the State Tree and the Piñon Pine proved to be their favorite. On March 16, 1949, the State Legislature officially adopted the Piñon Pine as the State Tree. Seeds (pine nuts) of the plant were collected by Native Americans for centuries. This was noted by the first Spanish settlers arriving in the 1600's, Every few years Piñon Pine will produce a bumper crop of nuts which are gathered by people, and eaten by birds, bears and other wildlife. Jays, especially Piñon Jays depend heavily on nuts of this plant and even help to spread the plant by caching deposits of seeds. Piñon wood warms New Mexicans across the state and give off a distinctive and very pleasant incense smell. In recent years many Piñon Pines across the state have died off because of drying and warming conditions which have made them more vulnerable to bark beetles. Global warming will only make their recovery more difficult.
Chile (capsicum annum L.) and frijoles (pinto beans of the phaseolus vulgaris family), New Mexico's state vegetables, are a unique part of the New Mexico diet. The pinto bean, along with maize (corn) and squash, has been a staple of the Pueblo Indian diet since pre-historic times. The early Spanish settlers brought the chile plant to New Mexico from the Valley of Mexico, where the Aztecs had cultivated the plant for centuries. Chile is a pungent pepper which is harvested in the early fall, toasted, peeled and served as a delicious stew, stuffed with cheese or made into a favorite recipe. When the chile ripens it turns bright red. It is then strung (chile ristras) and hung out to dry. There are as many ways to prepare red chile, as there are claims of who harvests the mildest or the hottest. New Mexico State University can take credit for developing a variety of strains. The use of frijoles, chile and corn has given the state a distinctive cuisine, which can only be considered "Native New Mexican."
The combination of the vitamin-rich chile and the protein-rich frijole offers natives and visitors alike a memorable dining experience. In 1965, the legislative debate over adoption of the vegetable centered over the argument that the two vegetables were inseparable so both the chile and frijole were adopted as the official vegetables.