on Oct 05, 2011 03:34 PM • Views 6087
Media Contact: Carolyn Rickard, Public Information Officer

RALEIGH, N.C. (October 5, 2011) – The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is celebrating 30 years of giving away its “must-have” state fair button – a collector’s item for the thousands of people who visit the agency’s exhibit at the fair each year.

Many people across the state have complete collections of buttons, and sets can even be found for sale online.

The Commission has given away the button since 1981. The button traditionally features native North Carolina species, such as black bear, brook trout and box turtle.  This year’s button features the gopher frog.

The gopher frog was chosen to draw attention to this threatened species, and to demonstrate how Wildlife Commission biologists use science to make management decisions.

The gopher frog, once common across the lower coastal plain and sandhills, has declined dramatically with the loss of longleaf pine forests. The gopher frog requires fire-maintained pine forests to provide the stump holes and grassy vegetation that it uses as summer habitat. These forests also must contain isolated temporary wetlands—sometimes referred to as vernal ponds—required for the gopher frog’s winter breeding habitat.

Visit the Commission’s exhibit at the N.C. State Fair to learn how the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission uses science and public involvement to conserve wildlife.

In addition to taking home a gopher frog button, visitors also will be able to take a shot at the air rifle range, learn about firearms safety from Wildlife Enforcement Officers, and see how biologists use science to conserve North Carolina’s wildlife resources.

Visit the Commission’s exhibit at the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh, Oct. 13–23.