U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Smokey Makes Friends at Collett School
Learning came alive at Collett School in Riverside for 120 second graders, as they received a visit from BLM employees, volunteers, and Smokey Bear. In what has become an annual event at the school, teachers invited the BLM to help the kids learn their new fire-related vocabulary words from those who are in the field. The words -- firefighters, dispatch, gear, emergency, chief, fire engine -- gained new meaning when Kristen Allison showed the kids her packs containing fire gear while explaining to them about what happens when someone calls 911. (text continues below)
The magic continued as Barbara Croonquist introduced the students to the True Story of Smokey Bear. It was amazing to see the children thinking about how they could help prevent wild fires in their own world, and to see their faces light up as Dee Dechert brought their new friend Smokey Bear in to meet them. For the past several years, Smokey has also visited several special education classes at the school so some of the students are beginning to recognize their furry friend. There were hugs all around and one student even reached down to give Smokey one of the wooden blocks he had been playing with.
Smokey and his BLM friends made a second appearance at Collett school the next week to visit 120 kindergarten students and their teachers. Smokey, Barbara Croonquist and Dee Dechert made sure that the kids knew Smokey’s five rules and they learned how to put out a campfire. We don’t know who looks forward more to these visits, the students, or the employees and volunteers. It just doesn’t get any better than that!
- Barbara Croonquist, Contact Representative, BLM California Desert District (December, 2012)