Friday, January 20, 2012

Woodsy's Promising Horizons for 2012

2012 is a great year for Woodsy Owl!  The Woodsy's ABC Teacher’s Supplement for the Woodsy’s ABC book will be distributed to 5,000 elementary school educators nationwide by January 31, 2012.  On Friday, January 27, 2012 there will be the national launch of the revamped Junior Snow Ranger.  15,000 Junior Snow Ranger booklets will be distributed for the launch.  This means that thousands of children nationwide will share the joy of winter by conducting activities outside. Information about the events will be posted on Woodsy's Facebook that day.  Program participants will post photos and videos of their winter experience as becoming Junior Snow Rangers.  Our newly Junior Snow Rangers will continue following Woodsy on Facebook so they can meet with other future conservation leaders.    

If you would like to join this national winter adventure, log on to and look under ranger programs to get your junior snow ranger books.  Encourage your children to practice safety behavior while enjoying winter outside and conduct one or more activities from the JSR booklet with your class.  

Remember, winter is just beginning!      

And, there is more to come... Woodsy's partnership with the Office of the Head Start is growing, the invasive insect magazine is in the making, and the Spanish adaptation of the ABC book is expected to be completed by the end of this calendar year.   As I said, 2012 looks very promising for our friendly owl!  Go Woodsy!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October is more than Halloween... It's Wildfire Prevention Awareness Month!

When I was growing up with my siblings, our main concern during October was what we were going to wear for the school Halloween party. For me, no princess costumes. In my view, that kind of costume is boring and uncomfortable. I wanted to be a super hero, like Bat Girl (my favorite) or Superwoman. However, my mother's idea of a proper Halloween costume for a girl differed from mine. Consequently, I always ended up wearing tiaras and Sleeping Beauty outfits -- that I always managed to destroy while in the playground.

Looking back, I'm thinking about the impact heroes made in my life. Heroes are those who save the world from evil forces, who protect those who cannot protect themselves, and who teach us behaviors to become better citizens, better people. Children want to emulate their behaviors and want to be like them or become their helpers around the globe.

I am amazed today that when children learn about and/or meet Smokey Bear, they are struck with the hero-like awe. After all, Smokey is the guardian of the forest, the one who protects living things by teaching humans to refrain from careless behavior that could start a fire.  This is why is so critical to introduce young children to the importance of wildland fire prevention.

You can start by using our illustrated Smokey Bear story book. This tool has been used all across the nation with a diverse group of children. Not so long ago, Forest Service fire prevention practitioners used it with people with hearing disabilities. Yes! They translated it to sign language, and it was a great success! 

The Smokey Bear story book comes in two formats: the teacher’s version that is a large book they can use to read to the entire class or the students version, which is a smaller hand-held book. Both come in English and Spanish, just visit us for more information.   

Once you introduce Smokey Bear and his prevention message to your children, contact your nearest Forest Service or State Forester’s office to schedule a visit by Smokey Bear to your classroom. In most cases, an official escort will be provided so you can have more information on fire prevention practices, games, and techniques. Children will see Smokey and who knows? Maybe Smokey can bring some mementos for the children so they will remember him and his message through the year.

Incorporate writing in your lesson, and encourage your children to write thank you notes. Mail them to simply Smokey Bear, 20025. Smokey personally reads all his mail.

(Coloring sheet provided by Fred Turk from the Virginia Department of Forestry.)

So, this October do something different and help Smokey spread his wildfire prevention message.  And, Remember....Only YOU can prevent wildfires! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Inspired Children Can Win the National Woodsy and Smokey Poster Contest!

The school year just began and everyone is tied up helping their children with homework and projects.  If your children have to do an art project, why not to encourage them to participate of the Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl poster contest.  This is an annual national competition sponsored by the USDA Forest Service and the National Garden Clubs, Inc.  The national grand prize is a round trip to Washington, DC for a family of four for three nights stay. 

Take a look at the 2011 winning poster and meet the artist: Vaibhavi Patankar. 

This poster was created by Vaibhavi Patankar a 4th grader from Welby Way Elementary Magnet School in West Hills, California. While her favorite subjects are science and math, she also likes language arts. She likes visiting different places including national parks and national forests.

Vaibhavi started taking part of the Smokey and Woodsy poster contest when she was in 1st grade.  She won the national prize for the 2nd grade a year later. 
Participating in the poster contest is very easy.  Contact your school teacher and the local chapter of the National Garden Clubs, Inc. in your community and follow the rules and requirements.  

The Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl poster contest is for children from 1st grade through 5th grade.  Spread the word among your networks and encourage this new generation of children to "Lend a Hand - Care for the Land" and to help Smokey prevent wildfires. For more information visit:    

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Celebrate Woodsy's 40th Birthday!


Celebrate Woodsy's birthday with your children outside and "lend a hand, care for the land," do something for the environment! 

You can also talk to them about the importance of the 4 "Rs": reduce, reuse, recycling, and "rot" (composting.) or, you can simply sing one of Woodsy's songs.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl Present at Your School

Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl are America's beloved icons!  Created as a result of public service campaigns, these icons are recognized for their national public service announcements in the national media,   

Smokey Bear was created in the 1940's and its name, slogan and character looks are protected by the Smokey Bear Congressional Act of 1954.  Smokey is the wildfire prevention icon and it is managed by the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters and the Advertising Council.  Today you find Smokey's public service announcements on television, radio and newspapers nationwide.  In addition, Smokey has his own website,, and it is also present in Twitter and Facebook.   Smokey Bear is also in many schools across the country.  Young children can enjoy The Smokey Bear Story  a bilingual illustrated book aimed for children from pre-K through second grade.  The books tells the story of the living Smokey found after a wildfire in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico.  In addition, the book has Smokey's 5 Rules for Fire Prevention and encourages children and adults to observe them.  Do you know Smokey's rules for fire prevention?  The Smokey Bear book has been a success with young children and even adults. The story is told in English and Spanish, so it can also be used as a language tool.

Woodsy Owl is  America's icon for the conservation of the environment as stated in the Woodsy Owl Act of 1974.  His public service announcements were very popular in the 70's and 80's.  Woodsy's slogan Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute was a call for action against littering and other environmental issues of the times.  Unfortunately, we have not seen the Woodsy as much on national media like we have seeing Smokey, and that was mostly due to lack if funding to develop a national media campaign.  However, young children all over the nation can enjoy Woodsy's messages and teachings again. 

The United States Forest Service has developed educational tools to instill conservation messages in small children and have partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Head Start to promote Woodsy conservation messages of Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute and Lend a Hand, Care for the Land. 

One of these tools is The Woodsy's ABC book .  This is a collection of powerful illustrations will help your children to understand key concepts of nature and the environment.  The Woodsy's ABC book was developed by Forest Service and it is available at the National Symbols Cache for a minimal fee.  You can access the National Symbols Cache at to see this one and other Woodsy products you can use with your children.  A Teacher's Supplement to the Woodsy's ABC book and a CD with Woodsy Owl songs will be available for free distribution to those who contact me through this blog.  These items will be available in November 2011!  Now you can follow Woodsy Owl on Twitter and Facebook