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Asheville, N.C. (November 27, 2012) – On Saturday, December 1st, The Health Adventure proudly presents a wonderful traveling exhibit, Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl: Home Sweet Home created by the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum in Milwaukee in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service.
Two beloved American icons come to life in the 1,500 square foot green-built exhibit at The Health Adventure, from December 1 – May 26, and is sponsored by Park Ridge Health.
The U.S. Forest Service has a long and proud tradition of reaching out to Americans on behalf of conservation. Smokey Bear is perhaps one of the most recognized symbols, by both children and adults, for his wildfire prevention message; while Woodsy Owl’s message covers multiple areas of conservation. As Gail Kimbell, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service notes, “we’re working with partners on dozens of projects around the country to get kids away from the TV, away from the computer, away from their PlayStations and out into the forest—face to face with nature, up close and personal.” This exhibit will help bring kids to nature and nature to kids.
The exhibit encourages families to spend time together outdoors and inspires children to discover and care for the natural resources that sustain our world – our home sweet home. Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl guide visitors through urban, woodland and stream settings featuring a variety of educational activities (presented in English and Spanish), props, costumes and puppets that underscore the importance of protecting ecosystems, as well as highlighting ways to reduce, reuse and recycle resources. Exhibit activities will be especially engaging for children ages 2 – 8, providing young children with open-ended play opportunities that help build fundamental academic and social skills.
At Home In the Great Forest
Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl greet visitors under a leafy forest canopy where visitors will learn the story of the real Smokey Bear and how human activities can impact our natural environment. A ranger’s station and lookout tower, complete with a pretend two-way radio, interactive map, fire safety activity, computer workstation and sighting tube, encourage children to explore the roles of the forest ranger, cartographer and firefighter. Photos and video clips provide views of real forests, reforestation and areas affected by wildfires. On the nature trail, children make their way over a tipsy bridge, through a hollow log, and across a rock climbing wall as they discover the sights, sounds and creatures that live in the forest. Along the way, children can create a performance at Woodsy’s puppet tree using audio effects, costumes and scripts that promote conservation messages. A pretend campfire and sing-along, stump seating, tent, camping gear and first-aid supplies provide ways for children to experience the fun of outdoor recreation, while learning the importance of safety. A stop at Woodsy’s recycling station helps remind children to “leave no trace.”
At Home in the Urban Forest
A cityscape mural provides the backdrop for a pretend house with a small yard and garden shed that encourages visitors to explore the concept of urban ecology. Children can pretend to install green building materials, practice recycling and reducing water consumption, and discover the amount of energy it takes to power household appliances. In the yard, children can plant a tree sapling, turn the compost tumbler, and guide a pretend raindrop from the garden shed roof into a rain barrel that feeds a kid-sized plot of vegetables and flowers. Other backyard activities include creating a pretend picnic, assembling a birdhouse made of recycled materials, and enjoying a variety of related reading materials.
The Bridge Home
A pretend bridge and stream provide a transition between the forest and urban settings, helping introduce the concepts of interdependence and our responsibility for protecting the environment. In and along the pretend stream, children can guide a pretend raindrop around rocks and logs to a beaver’s dam, follow animal tracks, compare the differences in the urban and forest shorelines, learn about water safety, and pretend to fish from a kid-sized rowboat. A directional signpost provides information about local outdoor recreation venues.
About The Health Adventure:
The Health Adventure is located in the Biltmore Square Mall off of I-26 at Exit 33. Providing our community with science and health education for 45 years, The Health Adventure is an accredited museum and is a non-profit 501(c)(3). The Health Adventure is a proud partner of Park Ridge Health. Open Monday through Saturday from 10 am until 8 pm and on Sundays from 12:30-6 pm. For more information visit thehealthadventure.org or call 828.665.2217.