State symbols bill headed to the governor

Posted June 19, 2013

The colorful whirligig creations of Vollis Simpson are for sale and on display at the 2008 Whirligig Festival in Wilson.

— North Carolina will have six new state symbols under a bill that is headed to Gov. Pat McCrory's desk. 

The measure was hurried through committee Wednesday so it could pass on the same day that lawmakers were honoring Vollis Simpson, the foremost maker of whirligig art who recently died.

The bill named the whirligigs created by Simpson as the state's official folk art. 

"His art, as strange as it may sound to some of you, is recognized all over the world," said Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson, who described "people from all over the world" tramping through the folk artist's field to come visit him. 

The five other pieces of the bill named other official symbols: 

  • State fossil: The fossilized teeth of the megalodon shark.
  • Frog: The pine barrens tree frog (Hyla andersonii)
  • Salamander: The marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum)
  • Marsupial: The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana)
  • Art Medium: Clay

Sen. Dan Clodfelter, D-Mecklenburg, noted that the possum in question would be the "Virginia Possum" species.

"I don't know if we have a North Carolina possum. There seem to be plenty of them running around," Clodfelter said, winding up for a question to Newton. "Are there any of our other state symbols that it's legal to hunt and kill?"

The measure passed 45-3, with Clodfelter and Sens. Dan Blue, D-Wake, and Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, voting against it.


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  • Viewer Jun 21, 2013

    Wow! Hope they find time to work on the budget and several other important issues.

  • mpheels Jun 20, 2013

    I don't much care if the possum is named after Virginia or Oklahoma. I think it's pretty silly to have an official state marsupial when there is only one species of marsupial that lives on the entire continent.

  • Cock a doodle doo Jun 19, 2013

    Good to see they're getting the people's work done.

  • sisu Jun 19, 2013

    I don't much care one way or the other but it is kind of embarrassing to even bother having a state possum if it has to be a Virginia possum. What's up with that?