Woodsy Owl and Smokey the Bear

Here are some fun facts about our countries most recognizable forest celebrities. 

Both Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl are representatives of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.

Smokey was “born” in 1944, Woodsy is by far his junior, having celebrated his 40th birthday on September 15rh, 2011.

An anti-littering advocate, Woodsy was created to be a recognizable icon for young children, as part of the first Earth Day in 1970.  Smokey was part of an advertising campaign to warn people of the dangers of forest fires.

In 1947, Smokey advised us, “Remember… Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires”.  In April 2001, the words “Forest Fires” were changed to “Wildfires”, to include the dangers of grass fires.  Woodsy most famous motto, “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute”, was replaced in 1997 with  “Lend a Hand — Care for the Land!”.


Smokey and Woodsy have both been celebrated in song, children’s books, cartoons, and comics.  Smokey was also brought to life in poetry.  The Smokey the Bear Sutra was written in 1969 by Gary Snyder.


In Capitan, New Mexico is the Smokey Bear Historical Park.  Named after an incident in 1950, when a real bear cub was found with burned paws following a forest fire outside of Capitan.  Woodsy has never been portrayed by a real owl, nor does he have a park.  For information on the Smokey Bear Historical Park; http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/FD/SmokeyBear/SmokeyBearPark.htm

Children, Smokey and Woodsy

Woodsy and Smokey join together for an annual poster contest for children.  http://www.gardenclub.org/youth/contests/postercontest.aspx

The USDA Forest Service sells authorized Smokey the Bear and Woodsy Owl learning materials to approved agencies for free public distribution.  Schools and Fire Departments are considered appropriate customers.  For more information:   http://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gjAwhwtDDw9_AI8zPyhQoY6BdkOyoCAGixyPg!/?navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&cid=fsm9_010089&navid=150130000000000&pnavid=150000000000000&ss=119995&position=Not%20Yet%20Determined.Html&ttype=detail&pname=Conservation%20Education-%20Woodsy%20Owl

Woodsy Owl and Smokey Bear make celebrity appearances for parades, festivals and events.  To request an appearance, or get information on scheduled appearances; http://www.stateforesters.org/smokey_bear/education

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