Skip to main content

US Forest Service Symbol Woodsy Owl Turns 40

Posted by Renee Lee, U.S. Forest Service Office of Communication in Conservation Forestry
Feb 21, 2017
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.

Category/Topic: Conservation Forestry

Write a Response

CAPTCHA This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Comments

Kristen Starling
Jun 12, 2014

I work for a City Government in Mid-West Georgia and I am wondering how (if allowed) to obtain copies of some of the Woodsy Owl commercials from the '70's & '80's as our City TV Station may want to run them in Public Service Announcement spots. Thank you.