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The Smurfs part of U.S. Forest Service ads, contest encouraging kids to get into the forest

The Smurfs appear in U.S. Forest Service public

The Smurfs appear in U.S. Forest Service public service advertisements.

Smurf characters and film footage from “The Smurfs 2” appear in U.S. Forest Service public service advertisements for a “Discover the Forest” campaign encouraging children and families to get outside and experience nature.

An online promotion continuing through July encourages families to visit a forest, take photos of something blue and submit them via social media to enter for a chance to win a Smurfs prize. For rules, visit “The Smurfs 2” movie opens July 31.

The Smurfs, of course, live in the forest, and the PSAs, created pro bono by Sony Pictures, show them frolicking. “The Smurfs are classic characters adored by generations and they’re also inhabitants of the forest who know firsthand the many benefits the forest has to offer,” said Peggy Conlon, president and chief executive of the Ad Council, in a press release about the joint effort.

According to the Forest Service, more than 245 million Americans live within 100 miles of a National Forest or National Grassland. Research has shown 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, according to the Forest Service.

The PSAs encourage children and their parents to visit, where they can find ideas for outdoor activities and an interactive map tool — powered by Google and Nature Find — that enables users to search for nearby forests and parks.

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