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US Forest Service Symbol Woodsy Owl Turns 40

The U.S. Department of Agriculture debuts Woodsy Owl in Washington, D.C. in 1971. His signature motto then was “Give a hoot; don’t pollute!”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture debuts Woodsy Owl in Washington, D.C. in 1971. His signature motto then was “Give a hoot; don’t pollute!”

Did you know that Woodsy Owl has been giving a hoot for 40 years? This week, the furry and big-eyed environmental and antipollution steward marks 40 years of being a U.S. Forest Service symbol.

On Sept. 15, 1971, then U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Clifford M. Hardin introduced the owl to the nation. For many years, Woodsy Owl’s signature motto was “Give a hoot; don’t pollute!” Over the following decades, Woodsy Owl has helped educate and inspire youth, as well as those in the education fields, to engage in conservation of the environment. Today, Woodsy Owl encourages youth to “Lend a hand – Care for the land!” and to explore their surroundings.

Those who recall Woodsy Owl of the 1970s may notice the change in his physical appearance. When he debuted in 1971, he was short and portly; today, he is lean and athletic. Further, Woodsy Owl has undergone a sartorial transformation to reflect today’s youth by wearing hiking boots and sporting a backpack.

Today’s Woodsy Owl is lean, athletic and safely geared to enjoy the outdoors. He encourages youth to “Lend a hand – Care for the land!” as they engage in conservation of the environment.

Today’s Woodsy Owl is lean, athletic and safely geared to enjoy the outdoors. He encourages youth to “Lend a hand – Care for the land!” as they engage in conservation of the environment.

Over the years, Woodsy Owl appeared in numerous TV public service announcements about natural resources. Today, Woodsy Owl spreads his message through educational programs of his partners, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Head Start program in 10 states, and the children-focused website, DiscoverTheForest.org. His message has also expanded, as he encourages children to follow his 4Rs: recycle, reduce, reuse, and rot (composting). Woodsy Owl also actively engages with young audiences on his Twitter and Facebook pages.

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