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Winners Gallery

Here you can find some of the best examples of winning programs in recent years. We created this gallery to:

We hope you enjoy and benefit from this collection of winning programs. May these inspire you to continue your service in promoting wildfire prevention. Check back often for more award-winning projects!

Gold Level

Gwen Hensley - 2015

Visual Information Specialist, USFS Daniel Boone National Forest

Nominated by: Virginia Department of Forestry

Project Synopsis:

Gwen Hensley was selected as a gold Smokey Bear award recipient due to her extraordinary creativity and talent bringing ideas and concepts to life through graphic artistry. Her numerous skills in graphic design, printing, communication, leadership, and attention to detail have made her stand out from the rest. Gwen’s background and knowledge of printing has helped tremendously in the production of products for agencies and individuals in times of emergency andhigh importance. Gwen has shown dedication not only to the high quality and timeliness of her work, but also in how she can improve the efficiency of the product development process through education. She has given briefings in Texas and Utah on how to properly take pictures in order to ensure their usefulness for creating documents. Gwen has been a resource for fire prevention education teams (FPETs) nationally for many years and has provided artwork, ideas, and input on various materials. Her ability to adapt products for FPETs in a timely manner and electronically deliver them ready to print has proven to be an extremely valuable resource. Gwen has demonstrated her commitment for the need to find various ways to share material. Thanks to her outstanding work and dedication, Gwen has helped deliver a better understanding of wildfire prevention efforts on both a local and national level.

Promotional Techniques:

Impact:

Best Practices:

How You Can Do The Same:

Utilize creative skills to develop innovative and effective promotional materials that can be used easily.

Ad Council and HelpsGood - 2014

The Smokey Bear Social Media Program, 2010–2013

Project Synopsis:

The Smokey Bear Social Media Program received this award for its success in vastly expanding the campaign’s audience through emerging digital media, while also reinforcing the campaign message to its core audience.

As the campaign targeted Americans 18 to 35 years old, HelpsGood, Smokey’s social media agency, understood the importance of establishing Smokey’s identity and prevention message on digital media. Through these efforts, Smokey’s social media presence enabled Smokey to have a daily presence in media and, more importantly, the creation of a two-way engagement with the campaign’s audience.

Promotional Techniques:

Impact:

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How You Can Do The Same:

Insert Smokey’s wildfire prevention message into trending topics on social media and encourage others to partake in social media conversations surrounding Smokey and wildfire prevention.

Fred X. Turck - 2010

Assistant Director, Resource Protection

Nominated by: Virginia Department of Forestry

Project Synopsis:

This award recipient was chosen for more than a decade of dedicated wildfire prevention efforts, including countless hours of donated time. The recipient showed outstanding commitment, motivation, and determination in educating the public and his colleagues to reduce human-caused wildfires.

His accomplishments at the local, state, national and international levels were: helping to develop and refine the National Fire Prevention and Education Team training; providing team support in Kentucky, Virginia and Jamaica; coordinating joint educational prevention activities for Southern and Mid-Atlantic states; and promoting numerous marketing and education products on his own time.

The award recipient is distinguished not only for his hard work and determination, but also for his creativity. His individual contributions to the projects include:

Thanks to his involvement and innovative thinking, he has spread the message of fire safety to many new audiences.

Impact:

His consumer-oriented ideas over the last decade have been replicated by at least half of the nation’s state forestry agencies. Among his products:

Promotional Techniques:

Directly targeting the public, including a prevention website, PSAs geared toward particular events, product giveaways, and educational publications.

Best Practices:

Silver Level

Kevin Conran - 2016

Project Synopsis:

Kevin Conran received a Silver Smokey Bear Award for his efforts above and beyond the normal call of duty as a fire specialist, working outside his duties and normal hours in an inter-agency manner. The group particularly liked the unique and creative Outdoor Explorer Program that he founded. Kevin attended several community meetings, displayed very strong leadership, raised funds, and helped rejuvenate a local fire committee.

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Impact:

Best Practices

How You Can Do The Same:

Jimmye Turner - 2016

Project Synopsis:

Jimmye Turner received a Silver Smokey Bear Award for utilizing his unique talent of artistry to bring issues such as wildfire prevention, conservation, and fire safety to children and their parents. Through an array of original cartoon characters, Jimmye depicted both the impact of unwanted wildfires and the importance of preventing them. While his initial efforts were locally based in Oregon and Washington, Jimmye extended the geographical reach of his talent via the web and social media.

Promotional Techniques:

Impact:

Best Practices:

Jimmye used his creativity to design, create, and implement innovative ideas, such as his Fire Prevention Trading Cards, to spread wildfire prevention messages.

How You Can Do The Same:

Soledad Holguin - 2014

BIA Pacific Regional Office

Project Synopsis:

Soledad has toured various Native American tribes in the Pacific region to teach them fire prevention techniques. She has taken her wildfire prevention education to the next level through researching and developing interactive curricula specific to the value systems of each tribe.

She addresses the individual fire causes for each community and understands the need to tie wildfire prevention to the heritage of the community, the land and natural resources. She has presented at conferences, tribal events, meetings and trainings across the western United States and has kept wildfire prevention relevant by innovating methods to ensure that forest, range and grassland health appeals to all ages.

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Impact:

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How You Can Do The Same:

Research your community to understand the value system. Develop interactive prevention strategies that respect and enrich cultural and traditional boundaries.

Mike Davis - 2014

FMO USDA Forest Service Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests

Project Synopsis:

Mike has utilized large, diverse audience opportunities to create low-cost campaigns across state borders. He created PSAs and placed them on highways and in movie theater ads. He worked with local organizations, such as Home Depot and local libraries, to reach the largest audience possible.

Partnerships:

Promotional Techniques:

Impact:

Best Practices:

By taking advantage of his current resources, such as Smokey Bear cutouts and other prevention materials, Mike has illustrated the importance that targeted messaging can have to gain the largest reach using minimal resources.

How You Can Do The Same:

Be resourceful and implement low-cost investments that reach large audiences over long periods of time through targeted promotional techniques, reusing icons like Smokey Bear, and partnering with local organizations that can help your message reach the most people.

Angel Crespo - 2013

Cuerpo de Bomberos de Puerto Rico; Puerto Rico Fire Department

Project Synopsis:

Puerto Rico’s Fire Chief Angel Crespo has developed a persona known as “Bombero Rapero” (the Fireman Rapper). Under this persona, he composes and performs music that addresses fire prevention and reaches audiences throughout Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Latin America and the United States with large Spanish-speaking populations. His song “Fuego Forestal,” which translates to “Forest Fire,” urges his listeners to take proper precautions to prevent wildfires and specifically appeals to islanders to stop the common practice of debris burning.

He spreads this message by performing at community awareness events, even those where the Puerto Rico Fire Department typically lacks a presence. He has also been featured on television news outlets and has established an internet presence through his music video for “Fuego Forestal” (Forest Fire). In addition to Bombero Rapero, he has partnered with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources in an effort to inform the public about the role humans play in starting wildfires.

Impact:

Promotional Techniques:

Best Practices:

Creativity: Uses rap and hard rock music to promote wildfire prevention in a fresh, innovative and unexpected way.

Nebraska Partners in Prevention - 2012

Nominated by: Nebraska Forest Service

Project Synopsis:

The Nebraska Partners in Prevention, a group of volunteers dedicated to promoting wildfire prevention, was established in 2001 and has been recognized with two Smokey Bear awards – bronze in 2004 and silver in 2009. Their creativity and innovation, both in approaching the issue and educating the public, have set a standard that can be replicated in every state. The Partners regularly present educational workshops targeting the general public, as well as local, state and federal fire-prevention professionals interested in building or improving fire-prevention programs.

They have distinguished themselves by marketing the issue of wildfire prevention in new and exciting ways: by developing yearly “Wildfire Awareness Month” and “Fire Prevention Month” slogans, partnering with a regional food warehouse firm to distribute plastic bags printed with a wildfire prevention message, working with students to create their own prevention campaigns, and implementing the “Neighbor to Neighbor” program, in which wildfire-safety toolkits are given to farmers and ranchers throughout the state. The five members have clocked countless hours, driven thousands of miles, and attended hundreds of fire department and community meetings across many states.

Impact:

Promotional Techniques:

The Partners have promoted their various programs through word of mouth, as well as local media contacts, and their contributions have been picked up by outlets such as National Public Radio.

Best Practices:

Bronze Level

Jennifer Myslivy - 2017

FIRE MITIGATION AND EDUCATIONAL SPECIALIST, BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

Nominated by: Idaho Bureau of Land Management

Project Synopsis:

Jennifer Myslivy was selected as a Bronze Smokey Bear award recipient due to her contribution of several programs in the area of wildfire prevention. Her efforts included the robust One Less Spark campaign and a creation of an annual Idaho Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wildfire prevention order. She also created a webpage that has more than 1 million page views; an expanded fire trespass program; and participation and leadership on several prevention teams and committees.

Promotional Techniques:

Myslivy created a webpage, Facebook page, and hashtag promotion for the Steppe Up education campaign.

Impact:

This program brought the awareness of sagebrush steppe habitat to the forefront of public awareness and highlighted the impacts of human-caused wildfires on the habitat. Myslivy highlighted specific ecological impacts on plants and the animals that depend on them such as wildfire destroying sagebrush and being replaced by cheatgrass.

Best Practices:

How you can do the same:

Create relatable promotional materials about regionally important issues with ecological background that people can easily understand. Create a social media presence that encourages people to get involved with important issues.

Raymond Johnson - 2017

FIRE PREVENTION TECHNICIAN, USFS HUMBOLDT-TOIYABE NF (SPRING MOUNTAINS NATIONAL RECREATION AREA)

Nominated by: Dawn Swinney, Forest Fire Prevention Officer, USFS Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest

Project Synopsis:

Raymond Johnson has been passionately working on wildfire prevention since 1999. Johnson, known as “Ranger Ray” by his students, reached out to schools, sometimes presenting at four schools a day during a 40-year partnership between the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and the Clark County School District, the largest school district in Nevada.

The program brought wildfire prevention programming to a large audience of children early on in their education. During the fall of 2015, Johnson went into more than 50 schools, delivering his wildfire prevention message to more than 8,300 students. Johnson had a similar reach in 2016. He also staffed booths at rodeos and other events, helped produce a school play about wildfire prevention and the USDA Forest Service, and made appearances on English and Spanish-language news outlets. When Johnson discovered that a surge in roadside wildfires was caused by Spanish-speakers lighting warming fires, he tackled the issue by advertising in Spanish language media outlets and using Spanish-speaking members of his crew as interpreters. The following year, these roadside starts decreased dramatically from 17 fires in 1999 to only one fire in 2000.

Promotional Techniques:

Impact:

Best Practices:

Raymond Johnson used creative marketing that allowed him to reach broad audiences and focus on target demographics when needed.

How you can do the same:

Reach out to local schools and media outlets to get education to diverse audiences. Find the source of a rising wildfire cause and create a media campaign to reach the target demographic.

Jon Motsinger - 2016

Project Synopsis:

Jon Motsinger received the Bronze Smokey Bear Award for creating a unique and innovative campaign with geocoins to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 70th Birthday while helping spread his wildfire prevention message. As an avid geocacher, Jon developed trackable geocoins that were symbolic of Smokey’s Birthday and wildfire prevention. Through these coins, Jon extended the reach of wildfire prevention campaign messaging to an entirely new audience and empowered geocachers to circulate the coins and educate others with Smokey’s fire prevention message.

Promotional Techniques:

Impact:

Best Practices:

Jon used his creativity to develop a wildfire prevention program that utilized new mediums and channels, and spread Smokey’s wildfire prevention to a new audience of geocachers, while also celebrating Smokey’s 70th birthday.

How You Can Do The Same:

Create new promotional materials in efficient and inventive ways that people can easily use.

Bob Blasi - 2016

Project Synopsis:

Bob Blasi received the Bronze Smokey Bear Award for his tremendous effort to prevent wildfires through countless in-person educational programs at town meetings and camper trainings. Bob built a local network, tracked trends in the community, and conducted early morning patrols to put out campfires left smoldering overnight. His projects are replicable by others through the United States.

Promotional Techniques:

Impact:

Bob successfully reduced human-caused wildfires to zero for over two years running from November 2013 to December 2015. The last time that the Tusayan Ranger District had zero human-caused fires for one calendar year was in 1965.

Best Practices:

Bob worked with the community to take proactive steps to stop campers from abandoning campfires by educating them on how their actions can directly cause wildfires.

How You Can Do The Same:

Caloosahatchee Forestry Center - 2016

Project Synopsis:

The Caloosahatchee Forestry Center received a Bronze Smokey Bear Award due to their strong and long-lasting partnership with the local baseball team the Miracles and their community engagement. The organization was very proactive in developing this partnership and engaging with the public through multiple avenues.

Promotional Techniques:

Impact:

Best Practices:

The forestry center fostered long-lasting partnerships with local organizations that have a significant impact on the surrounding community.

How You Can Do The Same:

Conasauga Ranger District - 2016

Project Synopsis:

The Conasauga Ranger District received the Bronze Smokey Bear Award for their enhanced effort to reduce unwanted ignitions in a very populated area of Georgia. To do this, the rangers used several methods of outreach and partnerships to spread wildfire prevention messaging to the surrounding community.

Promotional Techniques:

Impact:

Best Practices:

How You Can Do The Same:

Work with corporations in your community to find natural connections between their business objectives and spreading the wildfire prevention message.

Steve Deffibaugh - 2015

Assistant Fire Chief, Princeton Fire Department

Nominated by: Texas A&M Forest Service

Project Synopsis:

Steve Deffibaugh was selected to receive the bronze Smokey Bear award based on his passion for promoting Smokey Bear’s wildfire prevention message and his ability to appeal to children of all ages. Steve has demonstrated that he knows the value of proactive outreach regarding wildfire prevention by reviewing fire loss data along with fire reports to determine which communities were at higher risk from human-caused fires in north central Texas. His wealth of knowledge about the different types of causes and locations of human- caused wildfires enabled him to deliver crafted programs based on the specific human cause factors. A driving reason for his passion for promoting Smokey’s message was to help carry on the legacy of his GreatUncle, Homer C. Pickens, who was an officer with the New Mexico Game & Fish Department and helped care for the bear cub that became the original Smokey Bear. Steve brought a personal side to Smokey Bear and helped audiences understand that Smokey Bear was an actual bear. This is extremely important when sharing Smokey’s message with children because it provides them with a real connection to the negative outcomes of human-caused wildfires on wildlife, homes and people. Steve has proved his passion for proactive wildfire education outreach programs by going above and beyond his job responsibilities as an Assistant Fire Chief. Steve works actively with firefighters and goes out of his way to assist volunteer rural fire departments by supplying them with resources and sharing advice to support their wildfire prevention programs.

Promotional Techniques:

Impact:

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How You Can Do The Same:

Find fun and exciting ways to spread Smokey’s message to children of all ages through games and activities

Chelsea Ealum (née Parker) - 2014

Public Relations Coordinator, Florida Forest Service

Project Synopsis:

Chelsea Ealum received this award for her creativity in creating materials in a format that had never been used before. She utilized new and distinct channels to spread wildfire prevention education programs. From social media, to can coolers, to press releases, Chelsea used her forward thinking and creativity to broaden the scope of the wildfire prevention message through both local and statewide avenues. Chelsea did research on fire cause statistics and formulated a plan to address the major wildfire causes in her area that included eye-catching flyers, handouts and banners.

Promotional Techniques:

Impact:

Best Practices:

Used her creativity to design, create and implement innovative ideas such as her prevention credit cards and can coolers that gained statewide favor and implementation through federal grant funding.

How You Can Do The Same:

Be creative and think of social media strategies that have never been implemented before to spread wildfire prevention messages. Create new promotional materials in efficient and inventive ways that people can easily use.

Ron Hodgson and Mark Thibideau - 2014

Ron Hodgson, Region 5 Fire Prevention Coordinator

Mark Thibideau, Fire Prevention Tech, Shasta Trinity National Forest

Project Synopsis:

These candidates created the “One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire” campaign to help raise public awareness and reduce the high number of wildfires occurring along highways in their patrol area and across the forest. The human-caused fires in the Shasta Lake area and on Interstate 5 occurred in wildland urban interface (WUI) areas. Statistics showed that many human-caused fires were vehicle-related or occurred near roadways.

Mark Thibideau looked for a fresh approach to engage the public in wildfire prevention and, together with Ron Hodgson, developed an effective approach to reach targeted audiences with fire prevention messages that focused on vehicles and roadways, as well as specific users of outdoor equipment, such as chainsaws and mowers.

Partnerships:

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Impact:

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How You Can Do The Same:

Share the “One Less Spark” message or create your own adaptable message about the numerous types of human-caused wildfires in your area that can be plugged in under one general theme. Partner with local and federal organizations to spread the message using innovative and targeted resources.

Wardens Helping In Prevention - 2013

Pennsylvania

Project Synopsis:

Since 1988, the completely volunteer-based Wardens Helping In Prevention (WHIP) program has distributed a WHIP manual to Forest Fire Wardens throughout Pennsylvania and parts of Maryland. The manual includes information on basic leadership skills, teaching techniques, lesson plans, public service announcements, and Smokey Bear games and coloring sheets. The information imparted by the manuals allows wardens to effectively inform their communities about wildfire prevention at schools, malls, fairs and other community events.

Upon completing a wildfire prevention program, the WHIPs log information into their PREVACT database, which then allows them to see which areas have not yet been targeted by WHIP-run events. Through these efforts, as well as maintaining relationships with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and other local institutions, the WHIPs have helped reduced the impact of wildfires in Pennsylvania.

Impact:

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Glenn Liepe - 2013

New Jersey State Forest Service

Project Synopsis:

Glenn Liepe researched, developed and marketed a K-9 prevention “Tracks” program. Starting in 2004, Glen lobbied for a pilot Wildland Fire Investigation and Prevention initiative that would utilize a bloodhound. He volunteered to house and care for the dog at his own expense, participated in several months of specialized K-9 training, and developed a template for the “Tracks” Program.

“Tracks” provided an innovative way to reduce human-caused wildfires in the Pine Barrens region of New Jersey. Glen made it a point to deliver programs to every school in Hamilton Township, reaching more than 2,900 students in that township. Since 2004, “Tracks” has participated in over 750 programs across the state, with over 10,000 fire prevention contacts. The program also implemented 24-hour law enforcement responsibilities, including responding to wildfires and delivering wildfire prevention programs.

Impact:

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Eric L. Mosley - 2013

Georgia Forestry Commission

Project Synopsis:

Eric Mosley’s leadership efforts engaged multiagency partners, including the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and many volunteer fire departments to develop and use wildfire prevention education teams in Florida and Georgia. Under Mosley’s leadership, various 2- to 3-person task force teams blanketed the area with wildfire education and prevention information. The teams identified, assessed and mapped hundreds of homes and businesses in high-risk areas, and provided each contact with wildfire prevention information.

Furthermore, Mosley reached out to the Florida Forest Service and subsequently partnered with them and led teams to create notebooks consisting of GPS map locations of at-risk properties, as well as assessment information about each individual home or business. These notebooks were duplicated and provided to local fire departments with instructions for wildfire prevention, suppression and evacuation needs. The Fire Prevention and Education Teams also made a point to saturate schools in their areas with programs and materials. With Eric spearheading the efforts, local prevention programs and messages were unified, allowing one consistent message to be heard by the public.

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Texas A&M Forest Service East Texas Operations - 2013

Project Synopsis:

In 2010, the East Texas Operations team of the Texas A&M Forest Service created innovative approaches to educate their local population about wildfire prevention, including a program based on the popular “Are You Smarter Than A 5TH Grader?” game show, in which participants were quizzed on information that the team had previously provided them.

In addition, the East Texas Operations team held a “Show and Tell” program that introduced children to firefighters’ personal protective equipment, giving the children a hands-on opportunity to learn.

The program also partnered with the Texas State Fire Museum and their Fire Safety Summer Camp. They visited campers and, on Family Safety Day, used a passport system where children would collect stamps at different informative stations in an effort to get children more involved in wildfire safety. The team worked cooperatively with school districts and volunteer fire departments to leverage knowledge, skills and resources. As a result, the number of preventable human-caused wildfires was reduced in their 54-county area. These effective wildfire prevention programs and products are being replicated for use throughout Texas.

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Robin D. Nelson - 2013

Bureau of Land Management, High Plains District Office

Project Synopsis:

Robin D. Nelson, geographic information specialist in Casper, Wyoming, has spent many years volunteering her time to educate children in the Casper area about wildfire prevention and protection of homes and property against wildfire.

She was able to make children comfortable around Smokey, even when they cowered away from him at the start of presentations. As a result, the children were enthusiastic about wildfire education and engaged with the video and interactive activities that Nelson used in her program.

Eventually, she built such strong partnerships between the Bureau of Land Management and local schools that the Smokey Program no longer had to reach out, but would be contacted before the school year even started and asked to visit. In 2010, the Casper Field Office won the 2010 Outstanding Indoor Exhibit from the Game and Fish Department for Nelson’s and Smokey’s participation. Nelson partnered with numerous companies and organizations to spread the wildfire prevention and Smokey’s message.

Impact:

Promotional Techniques:

Best Practices:

Partnerships: Fostered relationships with local schools and media outlets to ensure Smokey’s message consistently reached a wide audience.

Paul M. Reier - 2013

Virginia Department of Forestry

Project Synopsis:

Paul Reier, forest technician with the Virginia Department of Forestry and volunteer with his local fire and rescue squad, received a Bronze Smokey Bear award for his many hours (on and off the job) working to ensure Smokey is at numerous fairs, special events (including an Easter Egg hunt at the Virginia State Capitol), baseball games and schools.

He partners with everyone from nursing homes to the local county fire and rescue organizations and county fire departments. Paul found new ways to get Smokey Bear involved in community events, including the Ladies Professional Golf Association. He also developed cross-generational wildfire prevention message delivery, where elderly populations provide information to grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Also, Paul helped test a cooling vest, which allows for a longer period of time spent in the Smokey suit and thus, longer exposure at events.

Impact:

Promotional Techniques:

Best Practices:

Partnerships: Adept at leveraging all contacts to set up a potential Smokey wildfire prevention program, and continues to make new contacts in an effort to expand the scope of Smokey Bear.

Melissa Yunas - 2012

Wildfire Mitigation Specialist

Nominated by: Florida Forest Service (Formerly Florida Division of Forestry-DOF)

Project Synopsis:

Yunas greatly improved awareness of fire-safety tactics in her six-county area, addressing public outreach as well as relationships between fire-safety professionals. To counteract the problem of high turnover rates for rangers and the need to constantly train new people, she developed a wildfire-prevention manual for each of the six counties in her district to help new rangers with wildfire prevention programming and other job responsibilities.

The manual, distributed to every ranger in the district, includes local information for each county, such as contact lists for schools and libraries, area fire causes, resident demographics, and local events that rangers should consider attending. Through outreach, she concluded that rangers were enthusiastic to help with wildfire prevention projects, but had not been approached and were thus unsure of what to do. She designed training in specific prevention areas for the rangers, so that they could assist in prevention programs, as well as Firewise and fire mitigation programs.

After implementing her training programs, rangers’ participation rates increased dramatically, and they played a larger role in their communities. For example, despite years of absence from county fairs, the rangers returned, showing the public a unified front in combating human-caused wildfires. Additionally, she conceived a separate festival, the “Fire Fest,” to deal directly with the issue of wildfire awareness. Partnering with a local state park, she created an entertaining event that educated attendees about wildfire prevention and suppression. The Fire Fest has now become an annual tradition with many local partners. Among her other projects have been the planning of a birthday party for Smokey Bear, and her outreach to local Native American tribes to develop fire prevention and Firewise programming.

Impact:

Promotional Techniques:

She successfully leveraged media contacts to create support for the annual Fire Fest, and also promoted this event and others, such as Smokey Bear’s birthday parties, by creating flyers.

Best Practices: