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THE MERRELL BLOG: WHAT'S NOW. WHAT'S NEXT. LET'S GET OUTSIDE.

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Origins

Give a Hoot

Woodsy Owl was created for the first Earth Day in 1970.

The National Forest Service apparently needed a mascot that:

1. Encouraged kids to take care of the nature around them 
2. Got along well with Smokey 
3. Rhymed incessantly

To aid in his mission of environmental protection, Woodsy needed some pretty particular gear. Luckily his outfit is written into US Law: "The term Woodsy Owl means the name and representation of a fanciful owl, who wears slacks (forest green when colored), a belt (brown when colored), and a Robin Hood style hat (forest green when colored) with a feather (red when colored), who furthers the slogan, Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute."

The awesome thing about Woodsy Owl was that the campaign got kids and their families involved in nature. In a world where some of the most recognizable icons are fast food chains or sports mascots, it's impressive that little Woodsy had such likability. Getting people to think about the environment and encourage outdoor adventure is a challenge, so Woodsy had a toolbelt of paraphernalia to remind you: bumper stickers, stuffed animals, songs, PSAs, zipper pulls.  

Woodsy did look a touch strange when appearing as a live-action mascot costume, but kids love the darndest things.

Woodsy Owl could seem dated these days...no fancy blockbuster-style action effects and a wholesome message. He's gotten a few updates recently, now looking like a Skinnier Woodsy Owl, with pants and soled shoes (wait are those Wilderness boots he's wearing??) and he even has his own Facebook page. But his message, created in another era, is more important now than ever. Getting younger generations excited about being outdoors and interested in protecting their surroundings is a cause that demands a million mascots. Luckily we've got a fanciful owl and excellent organizations doing good work to start.

With that I say: Give a Hoot, Put On a Boot (And go outside!)

PSA-ready,

KK

9/13/2011
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