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U.S. Forest Service goes Hollywood with The Lorax

What is the Lorax?

And why do we care?

And why had the U.S. Forest Service taken us

from the far reaches of the forests to the carpets of Hollywood?

Ask the Chief. He will be there.

He knows.

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell will travel to California for the premier of the animated movie Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, which includes the agency’s first Honorary Forest Ranger Betty White.

In the movie, a 12-year-old boy (Zac Efron) tries to win a young girl’s heart (Taylor Swift) by going in search of the Lorax, a grumpy yet charming character who fights to protect the world played by Danny DeVito. Betty White plays the role of the grandmother.

The movie is adapted from the book of the same name, written in 1971 by Theodor Seuss Geisel, known by millions simply as Dr. Seuss. The book is narrated by the Once-ler, a faceless character who tells a young boy the story of the lost Truffula trees, which are nowhere to be found. But as he tells his story, the Once-ler says to the boy:

Unless someone like you

cares a whole awful lot

nothing is going to get better

It’s not.*

The Lorax then tosses the last Truffula tree seed, urging the boy to set out and plant the seed and help bring back a forest of Truffula trees as well as the Barb-ba-loots, Swoomee-Swans and Humming-Fish that relied on a healthy forest to survive.

“Given the many threats to America’s private and public forests due to a changing climate, pests and pathogens, and land conversion, this children’s story can spur conversations about what has to happen today to restore the health and productivity of America’s forests,” Tidwell said. “This is an opportunity to start a dialogue about the inherent value of forests and the importance of sustainable management.”

The nation’s 193 million acres of forest and grasslands provide a wealth of public benefits: clean air and water, wildlife habitat, recreation and the wood and paper products Americans use every day.

“Forests matter to everyone, and we must use and care for them responsibly and sustainably,” Tidwell said. “The Forest Service, our state partners, family forest owners and the many partner organizations we work with are helping to protect more than 751 million acres of forest land in America. Ensuring that trees are part of America’s landscape is a goal we all share with The Lorax.”

The Lorax also is an integral part of a public service campaign with the Forest Service and the Ad Council. The two agencies have worked together since 2009 on a public service campaign designed to inspire children and their families to unplug and reconnect with nature.

The Ad Council helped the Forest Service join forces with Universal Pictures, which created pro bono a series of new English and Spanish television, radio and outdoor public service advertisements that feature characters from the movie, which will open nationwide March 2, Dr. Seuss’ 108th birthday.

The PSAs encourage viewers to go Discover the Forest, an online site that helps children learn about how to discover the wonders of forests around them.

*Excerpt from The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, Random House, 1971.

7 Responses to “U.S. Forest Service goes Hollywood with The Lorax”

  1. Ellen Goodman says:

    Since you are busy killing the bison, the wolves, the horse, the burros, and since you use so many acres to graze cattle which destroy environments for birds and small wildlive, it is obscene that you intend to hijack the Lorax. Such sleazy PR! Shame and more shame!

  2. Linda Havens says:

    The TV add I saw the other night called the Lorax the “guardian of the forest.”

  3. ellen reynolds says:

    Hope it is true to the book. I have used this book for years and was hoping to use the new movie as another resource for my school programs. Let’s hope the forest service wouldn’t promote something for the almighty dollar.

  4. Larry Wiseman says:

    Kudos to the Chief for “going out on a limb” to support this exciting project. A note to the numbers people: 193 million acres covers the National Forest System and grasslands; it doesn’t take into account the larger share of America’s privately-owned forests. Also a note to Ellen Goodman: I respect your concern, but you’re “barking up the wrong tree.” The Forest Service mostly invests in forest conservation, protection and rehabilitation. Harvesting wood from National Forests only provides 2 percent of the wood we use to build houses and make paper. To the contrary, wildlife conservation is a core value of the Forest Service. You can’t hold them responsible for killing the bison; they were gone long ago. In fact, the Forest Service has done as much as any agency to recreate the habitat that allowed bison and wolves to return to the wild.

  5. David Fredley says:

    What are you thinking? Today, the Washington Times said of the movie that it is “a movie the Unibomber would have loved.” Are timber companies and other natural resources companies really bad guys? Is that what you are saying?

  6. Kathryn Fernholz says:

    It is great to see the Forest Service championing a “dialogue about the inherent value of forests and the importance of sustainable management”! Whenever forestry is being discussed, it is important for professional foresters to participate and share their knowledge and passion for growing trees and caring for forests!

  7. Barbara says:

    How dare the USFS spend millions of dollars on this insulting campaign, after closing many of the trails near and dear to my heart, in the Eldorado National Forest. I would love to discover the forest, BUT YOU CLOSED IT! Hypocrites!

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