Ohio to unveil new cardinal license plate

A new cardinalis cardinalis will soon be fluttering on Ohio’s highways.

The state’s BMV and DNR will debut a new version of the familiar red cardinal license plate in the spring, according to Kendra Wecker of the Ohio DNR.

The new plate depicts a cardinal in flight, while the bird is perched in the current version. Both also feature an Ohio buckeye leaf in the background.

First introduced in 1997, the red cardinal plate quickly became the state’s best-selling specialty registration.

Each sale generates $15 for DNR’s Wildlife Diversity Fund. The fund supports the protection and management of endangered species and other wild creatures. Proceeds from the state income tax checkoff program and Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp sales also contribute to the fund.

Over the last 20 years, cardinal plate sales alone generated a total of $13 million for the fund, Wecker said.

She told state Wildlife Council members in October the new cardinal came from the brush of famed wildlife artist John Ruthven. Ruthven, now in his 90s, also designed the 1997 plate.

Ohio law mandates cardinalis cardinalis, the official state bird, be pictured on the wildlife conservation plate.

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