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Bee or butterfly? Pick your favorite design for a new MN license plate

Are you more of a butterfly person, or a bee person?

Minnesota's bees and butterflies are in rough shape. A native bumblebee was just added to the endangered species list, while monarch butterflies and honey bees have also been hit with big population declines.

So these pollinators are getting featured on the state's newest critical habitat license plate – and you can vote on which design you like the most.

The DNR says a panel of judges picked three finalists from 24 design entries submitted by artists. Those three were revealed Thursday, and the DNR has a voting page where you can pick your favorite. The voting closes at 5 p.m. on Feb. 8.

Here's a look at the three designs:

The public vote won't automatically determine the winner.

The DNR says law enforcement has to make sure they're clearly legible and visible. Then the state's DNR and Public Safety commissioners – taking all factors into account – will pick the winning design.

The winner will be the latest in the state's critical habitat license plates line. There are nine other design: a wild turkey, a moose, a loon, a pheasant, a chickadee, a showy lady’s slipper, a fishing scene, and two with deer.

Motorists who buy a critical habitat license plate pay a $10 initial fee, plus a minimum annual contribution of $30.

That money goes into the Reinvest in Minnesota program to "preserve important wildlife habitat and plant communities such as wetlands, prairies, old growth forests, and endangered orchid sites," according to the DNR’s website. The sales of these license plates have generated more than $59 million to acquire or preserve 22,000 acres of critical habitat, as well as help fun non-game wildlife research efforts, the DNR says.

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