Throwback Thursday with Woodsy Owl

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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:

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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:

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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:

http://fhsarchives.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/remembering-harold-bell-creator-of-woodsy-owl/

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

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