The annual Wildlife in North Carolina button made its debut at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s State Fair exhibit in 1981, and since then, it has become a “must-have” collector’s item for thousands of people who visit the exhibit each year.
The Wildlife Commission’s Division of Conservation Education created the 1 ½-inch button as a give-away item to help market the Commission’s Wildlife in North Carolina magazine.
The Eastern gray squirrel graced the first button in 1981. During the past 40 years, a variety of animals — from birds to reptiles to mammals — has made an appearance on buttons adorning the clothes of kids and adults alike.
The buttons have become so popular that many exhibit visitors stop by the Wildlife Commission’s State Fair exhibit just to pick up the latest wildlife button.
While there’s no known monetary value associated with owning an entire button collection, some buttons have more appeal than others. For instance, the 1996 button is a hot collectors’ item — and almost impossible to find — not because it features the rascally raccoon, but because the raccoon has no eyes.
Start your collection by stopping by the Wildlife Resources Commission exhibit at the State Fair!