In an effort to encourage children to spend more time outdoors and reconnect with nature, the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council today announced that they are joining Universal Pictures to launch a series of public service advertisements featuring characters and footage from Universal and Illumination Entertainment’s upcoming 3D-CG feature Dr Seuss’ The Lorax.
Initially launched in 2009, the Discover the Forest campaign aims to encourage children and their families to get outside and experience the many benefits of nature. The goal of the campaign is to instill a life-long love for nature in children. Created pro bono by Universal Pictures, the new English and Spanish television, radio and outdoor PSAs feature the Lorax, a symbol of forest conservation, to encourage children to explore and enjoy nature everywhere and become lifelong stewards of the forest and its beauty.
More than 245 million Americans live within 100 miles from a national forest or grassland. However, children in the U.S. spend fifty percent less time outdoors than they did twenty years ago, according to the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. Research shows that children who play outside have lower stress levels and more active imaginations, become fitter and leaner, develop stronger immune systems and are more likely to become environmentally conscious in the future.
“If the parents or family members can help in getting them there, we promise to provide children with some of the most beautiful natural playgrounds you’ll find anywhere,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “Our nation’s forests and grasslands offer kids adventure and exercise while instilling a lifelong appreciation for our great outdoors. We’re confident that the Lorax will help bring many new faces into our forest.”
All of the PSAs encourage children and their parents to visit www.DiscoverTheForest.org (or www.DescubreElBosque.org) where they can find ideas for outdoor activities, an interactive map tool — powered by Google and Nature Find™ — that enables users to search for nearby forests and parks, as well as downloadable activities for them to print and take with them when they visit.
“These new PSAs and campaign materials are a wonderful extension of our efforts with the U.S. Forest Service to motivate children to spend more time outdoors,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “We are grateful to Universal Pictures for partnering with us on this clever and fun campaign to encourage children and families to discover the joys of nature.”
The Ad Council and the Forest Service will promote the new PSAs through a multifaceted social media effort on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Visit the campaign’s online communities at facebook.com/DiscoverTheForest, YouTube.com/DiscoverTheForest and twitter.com/cheecker.
The new PSAs are in addition to the campaign’s current parent-targeted ads, which encourage families to “un-plug” and experience the forest, and are being distributed to approximately 33,000 media outlets nationwide. Per the Ad Council’s model, all of the ads will air and run in advertising time and space donated by the media. Since the campaign’s inception, media outlets have donated more than $48.6 million in time and space for the campaign.
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is an adaptation of the classic tale of a forest creature who shares the enduring power of hope. The animated adventure follows the journey of a 12-year-old as he discovers the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world. Danny DeVito lends his vocal talents to the iconic title character of the Lorax, while Ed Helms voices the enigmatic Once-ler. Also bringing their talents to the film are Zac Efron as Ted, the idealistic youth who searches for the Lorax, and Taylor Swift as Audrey, the girl of Ted’s dreams.