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Smokey the Bear - Classroom Play Script, 1945 Illustration

Forestry Special
Classroom Play

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A Playlet written by Mrs. Francis Doud, Halsey, Nebraska
United States Department of Agriculture
FOREST SERVICE
Washington, D.C.
1945

Cast of Characters

Ranger Goodsense

Sensible Sam

Five Tree Spoilers:

  • "Careless Picnicker"

  • "Initial Carver"

  • "Souvenir Hunter"

  • "Fire Builder"

  • "Thoughtless Smoker"

A Tree Imp -- "Fire"

Four Safety Spokes in the Steering Wheel:

  • "Put-Out-Your-Fire"

  • "Save the Birds"

  • "Be-Sure-Your-Match-Is-Out"

  • "Don't Injure Trees"

Two Picnickers

Passengers

Scene (Optional)

A decorated motor truck, bus, or automobile may be used
as the "Forestry Special" if the playlet is presented outdoors.

RANGER:

This is the FORESTRY SPECIAL,

I am the Ranger, you know;

We guard the woods from danger

And see that the trees can grow.

We are bound on an adventure

For a cause both great and good.

We go to look to the welfare

Of the country's wealth of wood -

Pine, oak, and hemlock, are our friends

And many more besides;

And nothing that harms our forests

On the FORESTRY SPECIAL rides.

My name is Ranger Goodsense,

My helper is Sensible Sam;

We guard our woods from danger,

And steer though any jam.

SAM: Yes, Sir!

RANGER: Sam, who's going to the woods today? Are all the passengers aboard?

SAM: Not yet, Sir.

RANGER: We leave for the woods in fifteen minutes.

SAM: Yes, Sir! (Calls through cupped hands) All aboard that are coming to the woods. All aboard for a trip to the woods.

(FIVE TREE SPOILERS APPEAR, EACH WEARING PLACARD BEARING HIS NAME - SEE CAST OF CHARACTERS. THEY LINE UP, AND SING OR SAY THE FOLLOWING - )

SPOILERS:

"Five little, mean little tree spoilers are we,

Just as mean as we can be.

We're easily found,

We're always around,

The traces of our meanness you can see."

RANGERS: Tree Spoilers, hey? Well, in what way? State your aims and occupations.

SPOILERS: We are five little tree spoilers. Beware of us! You won't like us when you know us.

FIRST Tree Spoiler: I am the first little tree spoiler. I go along with the picnickers. I love to follow them. I see that there is plenty of garbage and paper left around in the woods. I see that the gates are left open, so that the cows and horses can get out. I'm so happy when I see tin cans lying under the trees. The only way picnickers can get rid of me is by cleaning up, but they seldom do, so I'm safe.

SECOND Tree Spoiler: I am the second little tree spoiler. Sometimes I'm the companion of the first, so we're pals. I live in the pocket of the person who loves to carry a knife to carve his initials. I love to see them carved on tree trunks. They make rough places and doors through which insects can enter the living wood, and how I love to hurt a tree. The more initials I see carved in a day, the happier I am. It is said of such initial carvers, "Fools names like their faces are often seen in public places," but they're the kind of people I like. Long live the initial carver!

THIRD Tree Spoiler: I am the third little tree spoiler. I lead the souvenir hunter. I make him see bright leaves on the tip-top branches. I force him to climb the tree for a bird's nest. The limb breaks sometimes, but that only makes me laugh. I see that he pulls the flowers by the roots and strips the bark from the trees. Sometimes I see that he chops down a whole tree just for fun. That makes me happier than anything.

FOURTH Tree Spoiler: I am the fourth little tree spoiler. I go with the camper. I watch closely while he builds a camp-fire. Then, when he leaves, I make him forget to put it out. I fan the sparks into flames and the forest is destroyed. How I love to see the trees turned to horrible black stumps. Ah! Sometimes my work stretches for miles. It's great fun!

FIFTH Tree Spoiler: I am the fifth little tree spoiler. I'm the one who goes with the careless smoker. I'm quite a close friend of the Fourth Tree Spoiler. We get along well together. I make him drop burning cigarette stubs near dry grass or fallen twigs, and when the fire starts I jump up and down and laugh. I'm really fond of the fool who throws away a cigarette stub without seeing that it's out. He helps me in my work.

Five Tree Spoilers in Unison: We are five little tree spoilers. Beware of us! You will not like us when you know us! (All attempt to enter FORESTRY SPECIAL.)

RANGER: You wicked rascals, boasting of the evil you do. Sam, what shall we do with them?

SAM: Throw them out, Sir.

RANGER: Very good. (Sam and two picnickers throw them out.)

RANGER:

I am the Forest Ranger!

My helper is Sam!

We guard our woods from danger,

And steer through any jam.

SAM: Yes, Sir!

RANGER: Are all the passengers aboard, Sam?

SAM: Not yet, Sir!

RANGER: We leave for the woods in ten minutes.

SAM: Yes, Sir! All aboard that are coming. All aboard for a trip to the woods.

(TREE IMP COMES UP, AND ATTEMPTS TO GET IN "FORESTRY SPECIAL")

TREE IMP: I am a tree imp, beware of me. You won't like mewhen you know me. Hello, Mr. Forester! You know me, and I know you, for many a heated chase have we given each other. I am the worst little imp known to the forest - I AM FOREST FIRE. True, I can not get loose unless Careless Man or Angry Nature sets me free by kindling fire or dropping a match. But, when I do get started it is hard to catch and kill me. I do a lot of damage in the woods each year, and if it were not for the Forest Ranger, I should wave my red flag over all green trees and turn the land all black and bare. Gee, what a good time I should have! (Attempts to enter FORESTRY SPECIAL.)

RANGER: You vile little mischief-maker! How dare you brag about your wicked deeds! Sam, what shall we do with him?

SAM: Throw him out, Sir!

RANGER: Very good. (Sam and picnickers throw - casting the fire imp out with particular gusto.)

RANGER:

I am the Forest Ranger!

My helper is Sam!

We guard our woods from danger,

And steer through any jam.

RANGER: Are all the passengers aboard?

SAM: Not yet, Sir.

RANGER: We leave for the woods in five minutes.

SAM: Yes, Sir! All aboard that are coming! All aboard for a big trip to the woods!

(ENTER STEERING WHEEL SAFETY SPOKES, EACH CARRYING PLACARD BEARING HIS NAME - SEE CAST OF CHARACTERS.)

SAFETY Spokes:

Four little safety spokes are we,

Sent by Mother Nature. See!

If you will obey us;

You'll not have to pray us

To spot the imps that harm the tree.

SAFETY Spokes: Oh, Forest Ranger! Mother Nature knows that you steer the FORESTRY SPECIAL. She has sent you this steering wheel so that your trip may be safe and your outing successful.

(RANGER PUTS WHEEL IN PLACE)

FIRST Safety Spoke:

At our camp I built a fire,

And I built it in the wood,

The trees all said: "He will not burn us

At putting camp fires out he's good."

SECOND Safety Spoke:

Once a mean boy took his rifle,

And the birds all flew away,

For the thought that he would trifle

With the lives, the usual way.

But I know that birds have uses,

To their habits I'm not strange,

I know they check insect abuses

That in trees make such sad change.

THIRD Safety Spoke:

I'm the one who's wise and plucky,

I cause never a fire, 'tis true.

When my match has done its duty

I break it carefully in two.

FOURTH Safety Spoke:

If your conscience does your guiding,

And Dame Nature you would please;

If you're thoughtful, law-abiding,

You'll not strip or girdle trees.

RANGER: Thank you! Thank you all! Now I know that our trip will be successful. Sam, give the last call for passengers.

SAM: Yes, Sir! All aboard. All aboard for the big trip to the woods.

RANGER: All ready?

SAM: Yes, Sir!

RANGER: Let's GO!

(ALL PICNICKERS ENTER "FORESTRY SPECIAL" AND SING THE FOLLOWING TO THE TUNE OF "SAILING")

Chorus:

Riding, Riding, into the wood so deep,

And many and many a mile we'll ride, e'er we come home to sleep.

Riding, Riding, to the forested slope and peak,

Riding to keep the forest safe; the wealth of the woods we seek.