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My first introduction to becoming environmentally aware came through the wise teachings of Woodsy Owl. The "Give a Hoot! Don't pollute." campaign started in the 1970's with a series of anti-litter public service announcements targeted toward young people. From campgrounds to waterways, Woodsy appealed to the conscience of young Americans to "give a hoot" about their surroundings.

The messages not only encouraged viewers to stop littering, but to also engage in clean up efforts in their communities. I remember chastising my dad for littering after watching the Woodsy ads in the early 80's. While my delivery of the anti-litter message was not received well, in the end my father was happy I could actually learn something from watching television. (This was, of course, long before Planet Green.)

After some time reflecting on how Woodsy impacted my view of the great outdoors, I wondered whatever happened to him. Had he gone the way of most of my favorite television stars of the 80s? Fortunately not! According the National Forest Service, Woodsy is still inspiring kids to appreciate and care for the environment. He has a new motto, "Lend a Hand ? Care for the Land!" and spends most of his time sharing a message of environmental stewardship at schools across the country. Woodsy's motto isn't the only thing that's changed; it also appears that he's been working out. I've never seen an owl so buff!