USDA launches new PSAs as part of Discover the Forest campaign

WASHINGTON: The US Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and the Ad Council are launching a new set of PSAs featuring characters from an upcoming Universal feature called Dr. Seuss' The Lorax as part of the Discover the Forest campaign.

WASHINGTON: The US Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and the Ad Council are launching a new set of PSAs featuring characters from an upcoming Universal feature called Dr. Seuss' The Lorax as part of the Discover the Forest campaign.

The new TV, radio, and print PSAs are being distributed to approximately 33,000 media outlets nationwide with the hope that they will appeal to parents and children.

“Since Dr. Seuss and his books are beloved by parents and children, we wanted to leverage this opportunity to bring awareness to the importance of children getting outdoors and spending more time engaging in nature,” said Ellyn Fisher, VP of PR and social media at the Ad Council. “The ultimate goal of the campaign is to instill a lifelong love of nature in children and an interest in protecting and preserving nature.”

More than 245 million Americans live within 100 miles from a national forest or grassland. However, children in the US spend 50% less time outdoors than they did 20 years ago, according to the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

“Our nation's forests and grasslands offer kids adventure and exercise while instilling a lifelong appreciation for our great outdoors," US Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said in a statement. "We're confident that the Lorax will help bring many new faces into our forests.”

To alert the public of the new PSAs, the Ad Council distributed a multimedia press release and is conducting press outreach to all the major dailies and ad trades. It is also promoting the launch on its social media channels.

All PR outreach is being conducted by the Ad Council, Universal Studios, and the US Forest Service. DC-based Environics Communications is handling social media outreach for the effort.

The multifaceted social media effort includes Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. “We want to initiate a dialogue among parents, children, and families about the importance of getting outdoors, while giving them a forum to share their experiences,” Fisher said.

The new PSAs are an extension of the Discover the Forest campaign, which was initially launched in 2009. The new outreach efforts are budgeted at $10,000, which includes PR and social media outreach. Since the campaign's inception, media outlets have donated more than $48.6 million in time and space for the initiative.

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