Bertie Beaver turns 65 this year.
The cartoon beaver character is Alberta's answer to Smokey Bear; a wildfire prevention mascot who teaches kids the importance of preserving our forests.
It may come as a surprise to hear that his origins start with Walt Disney.
During the 1950s, Walt Disney Productions filmed several nature documentaries in Alberta, including White Wilderness and Nikki: Wild Dog of the North.
In 1958, Walt Disney gifted Bertie to the Alberta Wildfire as a thank-you for their assistance in the productions, and he's served as a steward for Alberta's forests ever since.
The costumed mascot version of Bertie might be more familiar to Albertans, as he's made countless public appearances in his 65 years.
This version was also photographed alongside Disney himself at the 1965 Calgary Stampede.
Bertie Beaver turns 65 this year! He was created just for us in 1958 by Walt Disney after the government assisted with Disney’s wildlife documentaries in Kananaskis Country #BertieBeaver pic.twitter.com/Q2HnyvdjP4— Alberta Wildfire (@AlbertaWildfire) April 28, 2023
Over the weekend, the Government of Alberta held a media conference to celebrate Bertie's birthday, as well as National Forest Week.
"Throughout Bertie's years of service, he has marched in countless community parades, visited hundreds of schools, and has been hugged and high-fived by tens of thousands of children and adults, and although Bertie has reached an age where many would consider retiring, he's not even close to hanging up his hat. He loves his job, and it is fitting that Bertie's birthday celebration falls during National Forest Week. I can't imagine a better time to recognize the important legacy of one of our province's longest-serving wildfire prevention officers," said Forestry and Parks Minister Todd Loewen.