Photos: Bear Hug

Sorrow and horror show in kids’ faces, lower left, as they watch a film telling Smokey Bear’s story: He was created in 1944, and now Smokey and his current motto — “Only you can prevent wildfires” — are recognized by 95 percent of Americans. The first living symbol of Smokey was a cub rescued in 1950 from a wildfire in New Mexico.

Smokey himself appeared on Monday, a day off from school for Columbus Day, and gave a big hug to a girl who had his portrait painted on her cheek, center. He exchanged high fives with a boy as a ranger looked on, below.

The annual event was hosted by the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center to teach visitors about wildfire prevention and the use of prescribed fire as a management tool in the Pine Bush Preserve. The day included races, games, and crafts — as the boy, at top, carefully colors a bookmark.

Photographs by Michael Koff

More Regional News

BERNE — Jayne Fresina of Berne has had a total of 15 historical romance novels published to date,

This weekend, artists and groups with musical traditions spanning the globe will converge on the fairgrounds in Altamont, for the 35th annual Old Songs Festival.

Rosemary Centi has worked as Guilderland's town clerk and David Cardona has been a village trustee and a chief court clerk.