HOUSTON—A forester with Texas A&M Forest Service was honored with the Bronze Smokey Bear award during today’s Southern Group of State Foresters annual meeting in Mobile, Alabama.
Staff Forester Jonathon Motsinger conceptualized a new way to spread Smokey’s message of personal responsibility in “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” while marrying the thrill of a treasure hunt, the adventure of an outdoor experience, and the celebration of the bear’s 70th birthday.
The Smokey Bear 70th Birthday Geocoin project enables geocachers to locate, move and log-in 70 trackable Smokey geocoins in a world-wide network of geocaches.
Since the project launched in September 2013, the coins have been tracked across more than 315,000 miles while visiting all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 15 countries on five continents.
Motsinger’s geocoin wildfire prevention campaign also aligns with the U.S Forest Service and Texas A&M Forest Service missions to inspire more parents, children and outdoor enthusiasts to spend time outside and reconnect with nature.
“While there is no way to calculate the number of people affected by this outreach and education campaign, we can confidently say that we have been able to impact a new audience with wildfire prevention messages on a national and global scale,” Texas A&M Forest Service Program Coordinator Karen Stafford said. “None of this would have been possible without the forward thinking and progressive ideas of Jon Motsinger.”
For more information about Texas A&M Forest Service geocaching visit http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/geocaching/.