The new bills proclaiming these designations took effect on January 1.

Single Mushroom Growing in Sacramento
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It’s still a little early to see what 2024 will bring, but Californians have already gotten two new things—an official state bat and mushroom. Yes, in addition to the California poppy, California redwood, grizzly bear, and garibaldi fish, the pallid bat and the golden chanterelle are now official state symbols.

Now, you might be thinking, “a bat?!” Bats may look a little scary but they actually do a lot for the state. They actually provide $1 billion worth of pest control to California agriculture since they eat mosquitoes, wasps, and flies. The pallid bats also reduce wildfire risks because they eat bark beetles and wood borers. The California Senate bill that designates the pallid bat as the official state bat also states that, “The pallid bat is as diverse as Californians—pallid bats live in California’s deserts, oak woodlands, coastal redwood forests, and high up into the pine forests of the Sierra Nevada mountains. They live in social colonies and have a rich language of calls to communicate with one another.”

Try this Rainbow Chard with Chanterelles and Walnuts recipe.

Photo: Thomas J. Story; Styling: Janna Lufkin

And as for the golden chanterelle, seeing as there’s a shroom boom happening in food, decor, and wellness, it’s no surprise we now have an official state mushroom. The California Senate bill proposing the golden chanterelle as the state mushroom touts the benefits of mushrooms: “Mushrooms are important for both wildlife and people. Their extensive belowground networks nourish forests and grasslands via symbiotic connections with plant roots. They decompose dead wood, improve groundwater quality and quantity, store carbon in soil, and play a critical role in climate resilience and healthy soils.”

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The California golden chanterelle is an edible mushroom found beneath California oak trees—it was recently recognized as an endemic species. “Recognition of a state mushroom honors the manifold cultural, economic, and ecological roles mushrooms play in California,” the bill states.

The addition of the a state bat and mushroom aren’t the only new decrees or laws that took effect on New Year’s Day. Some other laws include the state minimum wage going up to $16 an hour; the ability for property owners to sell their ADUs separately (like a condo); workers getting at least five sick days; and the requirement that law enforcement has to tell you why they pulled you over during traffic stops. You can see more of the new laws here.

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