Hello readers of the ECHO blog! My name is Erin Murphy and I’m the new Marketing and Communications intern at ECHO as of three weeks ago. ...

Farewell Smokey, Hello Blog!

Hello readers of the ECHO blog! My name is Erin Murphy and I’m the new Marketing and Communications intern at ECHO as of three weeks ago.
Though they appeared at ECHO before I did, I feel like I got to know Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl pretty well over the past couple of weeks. Each time I was on the floor during their stay, I caught snippets of families’ conversations about the exhibit and heard the front desk staff raving about it to newcomers. I even had the pleasure of attending the last summer visit from the Burlington Fire Department - I checked out Engine 3 and meet all the great fire men and women who were so happy to be at ECHO.
Even with all this hype, I still hadn’t spent much time in the exhibit, so last Friday I went down to visit before Smokey and Woodsy left this past Sunday.
From the moment I walked in, I could tell why everyone loves the exhibit so much. It feels like you’re actually in the forest, hanging out in a campground. All around there are nature sounds, trees covered in faux moss, and leaves that seem almost real. I love how all of the educational pieces--like how wind moves leaves or what bird footprints look like--blend in rather than stand out. It makes it seem more like play than learning (though both at the same time are the best).
(Photo: Erin Murphy/ECHO)
Though I had fun wandering through the entire exhibit (and I spent a considerable amount of time poking around), I loved two specific things most. For starters, the camping site area was extremely well done. Under a beautifully constructed tree there was a real tent and some Adirondack chairs around an imitation campfire. The whole scene was so peaceful that I probably could have hung out there all day. If only the s’mores had been real.

(Photo: Erin Murphy/ECHO)
I also loved how the whole exhibit fit right in with ECHO and Vermont as a whole.  Burlington is known for being home to a bunch of outdoorsy people, and Smokey and Woodsy seem like the perfect way to introduce a new generation of campers to safe and fun ways to enjoy the forest. Throughout the exhibit you can find out everything from how to put out a campfire to how to identify certain plants and animals. There’s something new and cool for everyone to learn--even me!

Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl exhibit were a great introduction to how exhibits work at ECHO, and I know they’ll be missed by staff and guests alike! What was your favorite part of Home Sweet Home?

Woodsy waves goodbye to his new pals in Burlington!
(Photo:Erin Murphy/ECHO)

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