Courtesy of Texas A&M Forest Service
The George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas, was honored with a national Bronze Smokey Bear Award on June 7 during the Southern Group of State Foresters annual meeting in Rogers, Arkansas.
Throughout 2015, the Bush Library and Museum hosted the exhibit “History in the Making: Texas A&M Forest Service.” The exhibit was a six-month tribute to the state forestry agency’s past, present, and future. Woven throughout was a prominent wildfire prevention message.
“It was an important story for us to share with our visitors,” says Warren Finch, Director of the Bush Library and Museum. “In the state of Texas, forest management is vital to the preservation of the state’s natural resources and wildlife. Part of this management is the control of wildfires that can destroy thousands of acres of forest, much of it unique, such as the Lost Pines Forest near Bastrop. These fires can endanger the lives and property of Texans.”
The award to the Bush Library and Museum was allocated based on the scope, duration, and reach of their wildfire prevention campaign.
More than 100,000 people visited the exhibit and attended associated events throughout the year, including the Fire Prevention and Safety Family Festival, the children’s summer camps, and the evening lecture series. Smokey attended each regularly-scheduled holiday celebration that year and his wildfire prevention message was integrated into the museum’s public outreach programs.
“Partnering with organizations who share our mission is key to successful outreach,” says Karen Stafford, Texas A&M Forest Service Wildfire Prevention Coordinator. “Because we know we are stronger together.”
Museum staff were instrumental in developing, promoting, and coordinating the prevention events, working with four local municipal fire departments, two municipal police departments, the Texas A&M University Police Department, Texas A&M University, the Lions Club, the Civil Air Patrol, the City of Bryan Coulter Air Field, and Texas A&M University students.
“It is an honor that the museum staff embraced Texas A&M Forest Service’s milestone year, framed it up with Smokey and then powerfully displayed it on a national stage – the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum,” says Stafford. “For this, we congratulate them on forwarding this message and earning the Bronze Smokey Bear Award.”
The George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum was one of five national Smokey Bear Award winners this year. For more information and to see a list of all the award recipients, visit www.smokeybear.com/awards.
About the Smokey Bear Awards
The Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Program, the USDA Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters, and the Ad Council sponsor the national Smokey Bear Awards to recognize outstanding service in the prevention of human caused wildfires and increase public recognition and awareness of the need for continuing wildfire prevention efforts. The Smokey Bear Awards are the highest national honor one can receive for outstanding work and significant program impact in wildfire prevention. This merit award has been bestowed on well-deserving groups and individuals annually since 1957.