Woodsy Owl was "born" in 1970 — the same year as me — as a creation of the United States Forest Service with the mission of helping children appreciate nature and learn about environmentalism.
Woodsy's most famous motto is the one featured on this bookmark: "Give a hoot! Don't pollute!"1
Here are some more Woodsy tidbits and links:
- Woodsy was voiced by several different actors for commercials in the 1970s and 1980s. They included Sterling Holloway (the original voice of Winnie the Pooh), Barry Gordon and Frank Welker.2
- Woodsy appeared in a series of Gold Key comic books from 1973 to 1976. You can see those covers on Comic Vine.
- This December 2009 blog post by Jamie "Mad B-Logger" Lewis on Peeling Back the Bark discusses the role that the late Harold Bell played as one Woodsy's co-creators. The best part about the post, though, is the comments section. More than a half-dozen people claim that they first came up with the Woodsy character and the "Give a hoot!" slogan.
- According to Woodsy's history page on the Forest Service website: "Woodsy's looks have changed to be more identifiable with children in the 1990s. He now sports a backpack, hiking shoes, and field pants — smart and safe for exploring the 'great outdoors.' Woodsy appears sportier, readyn [sic] to fly across forests and urban areas or lead children on nature hikes. Woodsy provides a new generation with a positive, enlightened introduction to a world in which we all work together to conserve."
- On Don Markstein's Toonopedia, Woodsy is referred to as an "advertising spokestoon." Markstein has this to say about Woodsy:
"Woodsy ... works hard at being insufferable, with his constant preaching about environmental degradation. ... At Gold Key, it almost became a schtick to show how annoying he was. He was constantly haranguing his neighbors, such as Mrs. Hare and Hot Lion; and while they'd give lip service while he was watching, they often backslid when he wasn't. His protege, Bitsy Owl, was on board with him, but often made naive mistakes, damaging the environment even while trying to help."
- Woodsy's current motto is "Lend a Hand — Care for the Land!" (I like "Give a hoot!" better.)
- You can follow @WoodsyOwl on Twitter. Woodsy is also on Facebook.
- Finally, you can print out some Woodsy coloring sheets for your kids here.
1. Here are the complete lyrics to "Help Woodsy Spread the Word" from the United States Department of Agriculture:
"Help Woodsy spread the word, never be a dirty bird. No matter where you go, you can let some people know to Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute, never be a dirty bird. In the snow or on the sand, help keep America looking grand2. Frank Welker has had a famous and lucrative career in voice-acting. His most notable work has been with Scooby-Doo and Transformers. His vocal work for "Raiders of the Lost Ark" included the double-crossing Nazi monkey. Movies featuring Welker's work have grossed a combined $6.4 billion. Check out Welker's website for more fun stuff.
"Help Woodsy spread the word, never be a dirty bird. No matter where you go, you can let some people know to Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute, never be a dirty bird. In the city or in the woods, help keep America looking good."