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Media Advisory: Public Invited to Smokey Bear Exhibit Opening

WHAT:         
 Ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the new Smokey Bear exhibit, followed by an hour-long meet-and-greet with Smokey Bear—a costumed character—and members of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.

WHEN:         
 Thursday, May 23
10 a.m.: Ribbon-cutting and remarks 
10 a.m. to 11 a.m.: Zoo visitors have an opportunity to meet Smokey Bear and members of the Forest Service and take photos with them.   

WHERE:       
Smokey Bear exhibit (bottom of the Zoo adjacent to Great Cats Gift Shop)
Smithsonian’s National Zoo
3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
NOTE: Park in Parking Lot D at the bottom of the Zoo, across from Kids’ Farm.

WHO:            
Steven Monfort, John and Adrienne Mars Director, National Zoo
Jim Hubbard, under secretary for natural resources and the environment, USDA

A new Smokey Bear outdoor exhibit will open at Smithsonian’s National Zoo Thursday, May 23, inviting visitors to look back at the legacy of one of the most famous residents in the Zoo’s 130-year history. A public celebration, beginning at 10 a.m., will follow brief remarks and a ceremonial ribbon cutting. Visitors to the Smokey Bear exhibit will have an opportunity to meet Smokey Bear—a costumed character—and members of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. While supplies last, visitors can enjoy free flags, magnets and other giveaways, courtesy of the Forest Service, which is commemorating 75 years of the Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention campaign. 

The “real” Smokey Bear was rescued from a forest fire in New Mexico and lived at the Zoo from 1950 to 1976. As visitors stroll through the exhibit, they will see the rich stories of Smokey Bear the character and Smokey Bear the Zoo resident take shape. Archival photographs and 14 colorful posters line the pathway in front of Smokey Bear’s former habitat, teaching visitors about his legacy as an ambassador for wildfire prevention and wildlife conservation. Complementing this outdoor gallery are bilingual panels in English and Spanish highlighting the real Smokey Bear’s story and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s forest ecology research. This exhibit was made possible by the Forest Service.

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