Smokey Bear was recently spotted at the Babcock Dairy Plant, helping to whip up a special batch of ice cream to celebrate his 65th birthday. Samples of the ice cream, named “Smokey Bear’s Necessities,” will be distributed at the Dane County Farmer’s Market in downtown Madison on Saturday, August 8th. Below is the press release about the event, which was written and distributed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources:
MADISON – Ask almost anyone the name of the best-known bear in the world and Smokey Bear would likely be the winner. If Smokey’s your favorite bruin too, why not come down to the Madison Farmer’s Market on Aug. 8 to help him celebrate his 65th birthday by sampling some free ice cream?
Smokey will be there along with examples of wildfire fighting equipment and while the supply lasts, Smokey and his helpers will serve free ice cream. “Smokey Bear’s Necessities,” a specialty ice cream made for his birthday bash by the folks at UW-Madison’s Babcock Hall, is flavored with things a bear would eat, honey, cinnamon, cranberries and pecans.
“For 65 years Smokey has symbolized wildfire prevention and education on the role of fire in nature,” said Catherine Regan, DNR wildfire prevention specialist. “His face and his slogan, ‘only you can prevent wildfires,’ have accompanied generations of campers, hikers, hunters and anglers in pursuit of their favorite pastimes.”
On August 9th 1944, illustrator Albert Staehle drew the first Smokey image. The real bear was found by firefighters clinging to a tree after a wildfire had passed, Smokey, as he came to be known, was just a cub in 1950. After his rescue and treatment by an area vet for burns he lived at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. for the remainder of his life, a living symbol for wildfire safety and prevention.
For more information on Wisconsin’s wildland fire fighting and prevention programs visit the DNR’s wildfire website http://dnr.wi.gov/forestry/fire/ where you can also learn about Firewise, a program designed to reduce your home’s risk from wildfire.