Hudson Scouts Sing Happy Birthday to Smokey Bear

You are 75 Years Old and Not a Grey Hair on Your body! 

October 4, 2019


by Doug Robinson

Smokey Bear visited Hudson’s Cub Scout Pack 21 during its monthly Pack meeting to express his thanks for their wonderful birthday wishes during Hudson’s Old Home Days.

During Hudson’s Old Home Days, the scouts decided to celebrate Smokey’s 75th birthday by offering all those who wished to have their picture taken with a custom-made Smokey Bear picture frame.

“We decided we wanted to get involved with Old Home Days so we created what we referred to as The Smokey Bear Selfie Booth.  At the Selfie Booth, everyone in attendance at Old Home Days was invited to have their picture taken in our booth.  These pictures were then shared on Smokey’s Facebook, wishing him a happy 75th,” commented Scout Pack leader Aaron Cox.

“And what’s a birthday without presents?” continued Cox.  “During Old Home Days, the scouts made Party Goody Bags for anyone who joined us in celebrating Smokey’s birthday.  The scouts put together bags which included coloring sheets, crayons, temp tattoos, candy, and glow sticks.  Originally it was only intended for Thursday but was such a hit with people, and we ran out of goodie bags so fast, we extended the fun to Friday handing out over 80 goodie bags in two days.”

“Smokey Bear was born on Aug. 9, 1944, when the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council agreed that a fictional bear would be the symbol for their joint effort to promote forest fire prevention.

“Artist Albert Staehle was asked to paint the first poster of Smokey Bear.  It depicted a bear pouring a bucket of water on a campfire and saying “Care will prevent 9 out of 10 fires,” writes

“News about this real bear named Smokey spread across the nation, and he was soon given a new home at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.  The living symbol of Smokey Bear, he played an important role in spreading messages of wildfire prevention and forest conservation.  Smokey died in 1976 and was returned to Capitan, New Mexico, where he is buried in the State Historical Park.”

Continuing, “In 1975, the original Smokey the Bear was retired from public duties, and he passed away in November, 1976.  Smokey’s lineage continued as he was replaced in 1975 by another orphaned black bear cub, Smokey II who died in the summer of 1990.

Smokey Bear’s slogan, “Remember … Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires,” was made in 1947 by the Ad Council.  In April 2001, the message was changed to “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” states

As the living symbol of Smokey Bear, he played an important role in spreading messages of wildfire prevention and forest conservation.  Smokey can be seen standing alert and on guard, informing the public about the severity of a possible wildfire at nearly every fire station throughout the United State.

Smokey entered the Pack meeting expecting to say “thank you” to the scouts, but he was deluged by the scouts who surrounded him.  Their boisterous and energetic voices unified as they belted out ‘Happy Birthday to you’ to the enjoyment of all.  It could be noted that even bears do blush, as Smokey exploded into a wide smile, reaching from ear to ear.  He too waved, clapped, and jumped around with excitement.

Smokey strutted the room with pomp and purpose, greeting and shaking the hands of many scouts handing out Smokey stickers, custom-made stickers picturing himself and the word Smokey written on the sticker.

He then posed for pictures and continued to press the flesh to everyone’s enjoyment.  The gentle giant hugged the little ones and high-fived the bigger scouts.  He offered all a “thumbs up.”

It was an event which all the scouts will recall with warmth and affection in the days and weeks to come.

On his way out of the meeting and back to his den in the forest, Smokey could be heard saying to all the scouts, “Remember; only you can prevent wildfires.”