Smokey Bear takes fire safety message to Delaware’s largest kindergarten program (photos)
An estimated 535 kindergarten students at McIlvaine Early Childhood Center in Magnolia got a first-hand lesson in fire safety and prevention from the iconic Smokey Bear, with each child asked to pledge “never to play with matches” and parting with a gift bag of Smokey Bear school supplies. McIlvaine, located in the Caesar Rodney School District and representing the largest kindergarten program in the First State, was an ideal audience for Smokey’s timeless message that “Only you can prevent wildfires.”
The annual wildfire prevention program, sponsored by the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and coordinated by Trainer-Educator Ashley Peebles, is timed to coincide with the observance of National Fire Prevention Month in October. The interactive school-based program, which reaches approximately 9,000 students each year, discusses the many benefits of trees (oxygen, food, shelter, shade and heat, wildlife habitat, and wood products) and then explains why it’s so important to protect them from fire. After a short video about the dangers of wildfire, students get the chance to meet Smokey Bear in person and are asked to take the “Smokey Pledge” to never play with matches and to always be careful with fire. As a commemorative gift, each student receives a gift bag of Smokey Bear school supplies.
While the program is targeted squarely at the youngest students in Delaware’s schools, most of the gift bags are prepared through the generosity and selfless efforts of senior citizen volunteers from Dover and Wilmington. As they have done for many years, seniors from Dover’s Modern Maturity Center prepared 2,000 gift bags for the Smokey Bear program, and, also this year, volunteers from Park View Apartments in Wilmington also prepared 2,000 bags.
For more information, contact Ashley Peebles at 302-698-4551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.