Throwback Thursday with Woodsy Owl


By Neva Knott

Posting my dad’s lecture notes this week kept me thinking about what’s changed since the environmental movement began in the 1970s. In my heart of hearts, I believe much has–we use fewer pesticides (but still too many), on-the-ground conservation efforts have increased–many topics of energy conservation, waste management, sustainability, and connecting human action to natural resources–are in the mainstream now. Even when I was in college in the late 1980s, that was hippy-kid stuff here in the Pacific Northwest.

I was pondering this then-now connection while walking my dogs this morning, on the school sports field below our house. There’s always trash around; today it was off-handedly strewn water bottles from last night’s soccer game. In my mind, I thought, what happened to “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute”?

And, in honor of Throwback Thursday, here’s the answer to that question:

Woodsy Owl is still alive and, still very active in conservation education through the US Forest Service. Heart-warmingly so. Check out this poster, the winner of the 2010 contest–what I love about it is the inclusion of so many environmental concepts, giving the millennial version of why one shoot give a hoot:


By Matalynn Clark

Woodsy also tours regularly with his buddy, Smokey the Bear. Here’s Woodsy, doing what he does best–walking the woods, spreading his message:


As a journalist, and a consumer of media–aka, a citizen attempting to be informed within the democracy I live–I hate the 24-hour-news cycle. When I began this blog, writing about Woodsy Owl and Crying Eyes Cody were on my list, and not just for a Throwback Thursday post; rather, I wanted to rejuvenate their images of importance–they are two icons from the 1970s that still have something to say today.

EE contributor Sarah Chessman wrote about Crying Eyes Cody a couple of months ago, and today, I found this post, written on another blog, about Woodsy–it’s the story I wanted to tell, but was scooped. Please go to the blog, “Peeling Back the Bark,” to learn how Woodsy came to be, and a bit about his creator, Harold Bell:

All images, including the poster credited to Matalynn Clark, are courtesy of the US Forest Service, in the Public Domain.

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