While shopping online tonight for some bedding for my 13-year-old, I discovered this owl pillow with the popular slogan borrowed from the 1970s environmental icon, Woodsy Owl: “Give a hoot, don’t pollute!” Interesting how full-circle things eventually come, huh? As the saying goes, everything old is new again.
For more than 25 years, Woodsy has served as an important anti-pollution symbol across the United States. He belongs to the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Services, and is a protected symbol under Public Law 93-318.
With his creation in 1971, he influenced an entire generation of youngsters – that would be Generation X – to take care of the environment. In fact, his introduction came the year after the first Earth Day was celebrated on colleges and university campuses, primarily the University of California, Berkeley.
Woodsy Owl, 1971
I clearly remember the 20th anniversary of Earth Day. I was living in my own apartment and preparing to graduate from college. I was shopping in the produce aisle of Pratt’s Supermarket on NW 39th Expressway. Pratt’s was the only store in town where you could buy organic produce, Dr. Brown’s Soda, and the journal Mother Jones. Right next to the tomatoes was a rack of 20th Anniversary Earth Day T-shirts. I bought one for $9.99.
This Friday, we celebrate the 41st anniversary of Earth Day and Woodsy, identified as a government official on his Facebook page, has a new look. He’s still caring, friendly and wise, but he now sports a backpack, hiking shoes, and field pants. Most importantly, he has befriended a new generation of young Americans, Generation Z, providing them with a positive introduction to conservation and natural resources stewardship.
I love you, Woodsy Owl! Such a sweet childhood companion for Gen Xers far and wide, even if only via Public Service Announcements.