Which cartoon icons are teaching kids about the environment?

The federal government has a long history of helping to educate children about the environment through cartoon characters, some of which have been updated for a new era of climate education.

Smokey Bear first appeared in 1944 reminding us "only you can prevent forest fires," but as government policy evolved to include controlled burns that prevent larger, unplanned fires, Smokey's message got a subtle tweak in 2001. "Only you can prevent wildfires" suggests that planned fires are OK.

Woodsy Owl told kids to "Give a Hoot! Don't Pollute!" in 1971, but by 1997, he was encouraging healthy relationships with nature with a new motto. "Lend a hand, care for the land!" encourages kids to renew, reuse and recycle.

Energy Ant surfaced in 1975 when the Federal Energy Administration (which later became part of the U.S. Department of Energy) needed to give conservation a push during the energy crisis. The blue ant still helps kids use energy wisely, appearing on the department's Energy Kids page.