In celebration of Smokey the Bear’s 80th birthday in 2024 the USDA Forest Service is coordinating a free reading program for libraries nationwide. This challenge, available through Beanstack and a printable challenge paper log, will engage youth in reading about wildfire prevention, forests, and natural resource careers while they explore their local environment. Participating libraries may run the challenge anytime between January 1st to November 28th, 2024 (Smokey’s birthday is August 9, 2024). This challenge is geared for ages 4 to 10, but all ages are welcome. Participating libraries will receive at no cost:

  • One roll of 500 Smokey Stickers
  • 50 Smokey Cards
  • Smokey Stamp for use on paper challenge, completion certificates, and other items.
  • Access to a digital toolkit containing everything needed to promote and implement the challenge, including:
    • Printable challenge paper log, Smokey’s Reading List, posters, bookmarks, sticker/button templates, completion certificates, coloring sheets, “Pin the Hat on Smokey” game, and additional prizes.
    • Graphics and images for online platforms, social media, monitors, and websites.

The ICfL is the statewide coordinator for Idaho libraries participating in the Smokey Bear Challenge. We have ordered materials for Idaho libraries and hope to distribute them at next month’s Regional Summer Learning Workshops. Your library can choose to participate however you want (or not participate at all). The ICfL will gather data on which libraries are doing the challenge and approximately how many kids participated when you fill out your Summer Reading Report in September.

If you have any questions about this challenge, check out the website or email Jennifer Redford: