“With a Ranger’s hat and shovel and a pair of dungarees” *, Smokey Bear became a national icon as well as the longest running public service advertising campaign in U.S. History. Most adults will complete the sentence “Only you…” with “…can prevent a forest(wild)fire.” He is a part of my lessons plans that I like to refer to as Americana. These lessons expose children to the experiences of a child in the history of the United States.
We talk about campfires and bonfires in the summer and how fires are an adult’s responsibility to maintain. Extreme emergencies should mean a call to 911, but we always ask an adult for help when possible and we NEVER play with fire. It could destroy the homes of many people and animals as well as cause burn injuries, just like it did for the small cub who later became Smokey Bear. The chorus of the song is easy to learn and leads to conversation with adults at home:
“Smokey the Bear, Smokey the Bear.
Prowlin’ and a growlin’ and a sniffin’ the air.
He can find a fire before it starts to flame.
That’s why they call him Smokey,
That was how he got his name.” *
More information about Smokey’s journey in fire prevention can be found at Smokey Bear – Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.
* Smokey the Bear
By: Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins