LaBelle, Florida -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson is
encouraging children to help celebrate Smokey Bear's 60th birthday by
entering a statewide birthday card contest.
Smokey Bear, who turns 60 on August 9, 2004, is a nationally recognized
wildfire prevention icon.
The Florida Division of Forestry is sponsoring a birthday card contest for
children living in Florida who have not yet entered the sixth grade. To
enter, children should design an original birthday card of any size
depicting Smokey Bear and a fire prevention message. Cards should be mailed
to: Florida Division of Forestry, Forest Protection Bureau, 3125 Conner
Boulevard, Tallahassee, FL 32399.
Cards will be judged on originality, design and overall effectiveness of
the fire prevention message. One winner will be chosen on August 9 from
each of the four regions of Florida (Panhandle, North, Central and South
Florida). Each winner will receive a three foot tall stuffed Smokey Bear
and four one day, one park admission tickets to any theme park at the Walt
Disney World Resort in Orlando. Tickets have been provided through the
support of the Walt Disney Company. The four winning cards will also be
posted on the Florida Division of Forestry web site. Second- and
third-place prizes will also be awarded. For full contest rules and mailing
address information contact your local Division of Forestry office or visit
http://flame.fl-dof.com. Cards need to be postmarked by July 28th to
During the early years of the National Fire Prevention Campaign, Walt
Disney permitted the Ad Council to use Bambi on the first wildfire
prevention poster. The campaign was so successful that the Ad Council
decided to develop an animated animal character to use as the permanent
wildfire prevention symbol. The Smokey Bear campaign was created by the Ad
Council in 1944. Smokey Bear became the living wildfire prevention symbol
in 1950 when a tiny bear cub was found badly burned from a wildfire on the
Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico. The Smokey Bear campaign is the
longest-running public awareness campaign in Ad Council history and is
credited with reducing the number of acres lost annually to wildfires from
22 million to 4 million in the United States.