You’ll soon see more of two popular birds flying along Iowa’s highways. A pheasant and an eagle are featured on two new Department of Natural Resources specialty license plates unveiled by the state Tuesday. The plates go along with the Goldfinch and Wild Rose plates that feature the state bird and flower.
D-N-R director Jeff Vonk says the license plates are “a critical part of funding” for the REAP, or “Resource Enhancement and Protection” program and the wildlife diversity program. Vonk says the department has for many years lacked money for diversity programs. People in conservation groups asked for a new style of plate and Vonk says they think the new plates will spur more sales. He says there are about 45-thousand of the specialty plates out there now and in the 10 years they’ve been available, they’ve raised nearly seven million dollars for conservation projects.
Artist Greg Bordignon of Robbins created the designs for the new plates. He says the eagle is shown in a typical Mississippi River scene. He says the view is a tugboat and a city similar to Dubuque or McGregor with the eagle landing on a branch near the river. He says he tried to make the eagle look majestic without looking like a logo. The pheasant is shown flying up from a fence row of a cornfield with a farmstead shown in the background. Bordignon says that’s a scene you can see almost anywhere in Iowa.
Several other states have wildlife plates, but Bordignon thinks Iowa’s design will stand out. He says he thinks they’re unique. He says they tried to keep the normal blue and white background and layout of the plate while incorporating the wildlife into it. The plates are available at your county treasurer for 45 dollars to purchase them, and it costs 25 to renew them each year.