While working as a wildlife biologist in Alaska, my love affair with animals took a whimsical turn when I began researching state symbols, including state birds, mammals, etc. I then began researching national symbols before I began to survey the larger realm of symbolic flora and fauna.
My research evolved into GeoSymbols, which is by far the most ambitious website of its kind (and the most popular of Geobop’s websites). Rather than simply list a jurisdiction’s symbols, I attempt to relate the stories behind them and explain their significance. I’m even critical of some symbols, in keeping with Geobop’s vision statement, Nurturing Fearless Thinkers.
Whether you want to delve into the debate swirling around the Pledge of Allegiance or the United States’ national motto (I prefer the original E pluribus unum) or simply want to know what South Dakota’s state flower is, GeoSymbols has the answers, along with plenty of questions.
GeoSymbols is organized into several main sections. Most general topics are discussed in the Topics section, while items related to specific places (nations, states, etc.) are recorded in the World section. There is also a Reference section.
Though it was #1 on the Internet, GeoSymbols was never truly finished. For starters, there may be more than a thousand state symbols alone! Factor in national symbols, and we’re talking a lot of research and writing.
After my websites self-destructed, I spent years putting everything back together as I studied web design, programming and database management. If you type “state symbols” into Google, GeoSymbols currently appears to rank fourth on the Internet overall. But compare the newly revised Venezuela, Alabama and New York sections to the competition, and you’ll see why I expect to be number one again soon.
A massive GeoSymbols upgrade was begun in February 2013, and I hope to be finished by June or July. So what changes can you expect to see?
Take another look at the Alabama home page, and you’ll see two obvious changes. First, it’s finished; all forty-three symbols are linked to articles, most of them featuring pictures. The page is also more attractive and functional, with a lot of little style changes.