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Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Youth Poster Contest

The Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Poster Contest is an annual tradition amongst elementary schools, scout troops, and youth groups across the Nation. Each year members of the Charlevoix Area Garden Club have worked with elementary school students and art teachers in our community to encourage participation in the poster contest.

This year, posters created by students from St. Mary School in Charlevoix were judged locally – with the local winners sent to the State Contest for judging. The 4th grade CAGC winner, Mackenzie Glotzhober, was awarded 3rd place at the State level, and the 5th grade CAGC winner, Evie Bennett, was awarded 2nd place at the State level.

Charlevoix Area Garden Club's Winning 4th Grade poster - created by Mackenzie Glotzhober, St. Mary School

Charlevoix Area Garden Club's Winning 5th Grade poster - created by Evie Bennett, St. Mary School

What is now known as the Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Poster Contest began as an initiative of the New Mexico State Garden Club in 1959. The following year, the National Council of State Garden Clubs (today’s National Garden Clubs, Inc.) decided to replicate this contest and called it the National Smokey Bear Coloring Contest. The winners of the first National Smokey Bear Coloring Contest were announced at the National Council of State Garden Club’s 1961 convention.

In 1994, the contest celebrated Smokey Bear’s 50th birthday under the name of the Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Poster Contest. The contest became a national art competition in which children draw their interpretation of Smokey Bear and his wildfire prevention message or Woodsy Owl and his conservation message.

Charlevoix Area Garden Club's Winning 2nd Grade poster - created by Kathryn Chellis, St. Mary School

Created in 1944, the Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention campaign is the longest-running public service advertising campaign in U.S. history, educating generations of Americans about their role in preventing wildfires. Despite the campaign’s success, wildfire prevention remains one of the most critical issues affecting our country. Smokey Says: “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires”.

Woodsy Owl is America’s icon for the conservation of the environment. Since 1971, Woodsy has helped parents and teachers inspire children to observe, explore, and care for the environment. He challenges children to “Lend a Hand, Care for the Land!” and to take an active role in caring for the land through recycling, reusing, and reducing waste, planting and caring for trees, using resources wisely, and not littering.

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