The N.C. Wildlife booth is a fan favorite at the N.C. State Fair each year because of the fun, collectible buttons they feature inside their booth. This year, however, they will not only be expanding their location, but they will have two buttons available for visitors!
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission not only preserves the wildlife resources and habitats in our state, but also provides education, outreach and programs that protect the animals in our state and allow citizens to enjoy outdoor-recreational activities. Tammy Rundle, Industry, Events, & Giving Coordinator, has been working with the Wildlife Resources Commission for over 20 years and has recently gotten involved with the planning process for their booth at the N.C. State Fair. “I grew up in a family that hunted, fished and did just about everything outside, which led to my love for outdoor recreation and wildlife,” Tammy said. “My role here at the commission has just evolved over time and I really enjoy working with industry partners, including the N.C. State Fair, and establishing those relationships that help us educate and grow interest in wildlife and associated recreation.”
In normal years, the N.C. Wildlife Commission has a booth both at the N.C. Mountain State Fair in Fletcher and the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh, however due to COVID-19, they were unable to attend the N.C. Mountain State Fair this year. “It was a hard decision for us to make, however we felt it to be important and necessary to ensure the health and safety of the staff,” she said, ” we will be doubling up at the N.C. State Fair this year by having two booths, one specifically to promote our agency located beside the Children’s Barnyard area and another specifically for our Law Enforcement effort which will be located in Safety City.” Both booths will have their own theme and focus on building awareness of the organization, their mission, and goals, and helping encourage interest in wildlife associated recreation and its benefits to our great state. Additionally, the agency exhibit will showcase some of the unique equipment that is used in the field for conservation efforts. These areas will be in open air this year as opposed to a tent to promote safety for attendees and staff. “We have really tried to do everything we can to not only make our area of the fair safe this year but also fun and educational for people,” Tammy said, “we have selected several pieces of equipment to bring with us that people can see and learn how they are used in conservation efforts.”
The one thing that many people think of when they picture the N.C. Wildlife booth at the fair are the buttons, they bring every year featuring a specific animal. This year not only will the 2020 button showcasing the Monarch Butterfly be available, they will also have the 2021 button featuring the Walleye! “We have a team that looks at different species each year to determine which species should go on the button,” Tammy said, “it was a lot of fun to be on the committee this year. It’s not an easy process because we can only feature one animal, but it’s rewarding to look at what the agency has focused on during the year and build awareness of that species.” Both buttons will be available in Safety City at the N.C. Wildlife Law Enforcement booth where visitors can also learn about our Law Enforcement Division.
The Walleye was chosen for the 2021 button because of the need to raise awareness for the species. This fish can be found in Lake Gaston as well as many areas in Western N.C. “At one point the fish almost disappeared and since then we have worked hard on our conservation efforts of that species including propagating them in our hatcheries to release in the hatchery supported waters,” Tammy said, “we’ve done a lot to ensure that they do not disappear from our state, and we want people to learn about the species and how to protect them and their habitat.” Tammy and her team also love the way that the fish looks on the button! “It’s such a unique looking fish and a great way to promote N.C. Wildlife,” she said.
Tammy is looking forward to working with the fair. She truly enjoys working with a team that is passionate about what they do and making a difference in the industry. “Everyone is so dedicated to giving their best effort to educating people about what we do,” she said, “there is so much passion in building awareness of our resources and in encouraging the same passion in our future leaders. That is the real goal!” Be sure to stop by the Wildlife Commission exhibit beside the Children’s Barnyard to learn how equipment helps conservation, and then venture to Safety City to meet the N.C. Wildlife Law Enforcement team, pick up a button and learn about the incredible work that they do for our state at the N.C. State Fair this year!