Northern Cardinal - Photo Alan Schmierer

A new Northern Cardinal Ohio license plate is available! The new, updated license design and image were created in celebration of the plate’s 20th anniversary.

Purchasing a Cardinal license plate is one way to support conservation through the Ohio Division of Wildlife – and of course the plate tells other motorists that you are a bird nerd. It costs $25 (in addition to the yearly vehicle registration fee); $15 from the sale of each license plate supports Ohio’s wildlife diversity.

The original northern cardinal wildlife license plate was released in 1997, and it featured artwork by famed Ohio wildlife artist John A. Ruthven. Born in Cincinnati, Ruthven, now 92, has been hunting, fishing and painting for most of his life. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original cardinal license plate, Ruthven created new artwork for a redesigned license plate.

“When they asked me to paint a new cardinal, I was delighted,’” Ruthven said. “I’m very proud to be involved with this project. This whole thing blends together well for a lifelong experience with Ohio and the outdoors.”

Proceeds from the sale of the plate go to the Wildlife Diversity Fund and are used to support conservation and education efforts throughout the state. The Wildlife Diversity Fund supports projects that have worked to reintroduce native Ohio species, such as river otters and ospreys, as well as increase numbers of rare species such as bald eagles, brook trout, lake sturgeon and freshwater mussels. In addition, the Wildlife Diversity Fund enables the ODNR Division of Wildlife to form partnerships with Ohio’s zoos, creating exhibits, displays as well as educational products and publications for students, teachers and wildlife enthusiasts. Since 1997, sales of Ohio’s wildlife license plates have generated more than $13 million for worthwhile conservation projects across the state. More information about the Wildlife Diversity Fund is available at the ODW Web site.. For more information about ODW specialty license plates in general, visit the Bureau of Motor Vehicles Web site or call 888-PLATES3.