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Off to the Woods!

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Offtothewoods
Written by Ellen Weiss
Illustrator Joe Ewers
Published 1993
Publisher Western Publishing
Series A Golden Little Super Shape Book
ISBN 0307105539

In Off to the Woods!, Robin and the Frog Scouts go on a camping trip to Misty Mountain with their pack leader Kermit. The scouts take a bus for the long ride into the mountains and sing songs all the way. When they arrive they set up camp and quickly begin to gather wood for a campfire.

Marvin finds a small tree in a clearing that he figures would be good to use for their fire. With the help of Mary Lou and the other scouts, they begin to break branches off of the tree when Kermit appears. He regrets that he forgot to tell them that they should leave everything as they find it, including trees. He explains that it hurts a tree if you break off its branches, and that they wouldn't have been good to use for a campfire anyway. The little frogs feel sad and respond that they didn't mean to hurt the tree. Instead, Kermit helps them find dead, dry branches and small logs on the ground that can be used.

Later that night, the troupe has made dinner over a nice big campfire, around which they tell scary stories. Before going to bed, they put the fire out with a pot of water. In the morning, Marvin says that they've cleaned up the campsite so well that no one would even know they were there.

A month later, the group returns for another camping trip, but this time the scouts have a surprise for Kermit. Since their last camping trip, they had returned with Marvin's mother to plant a new tree in place of the one they'd damaged before. They all feel a sense of pride that the tree would be there for generations to come, and that when each of them grew up and brought their own Frog Scouts camping, it would serve as an example of how the forest should be kept the way it's been found.

The book ends with a message from Kermit to the reader, suggesting ways that forests can be kept healthy. These include taking all your trash with you when you leave a camping site, putting out campfires with water to be sure that they're fully extinguished, and leaving trees and flowers as they're found, collecting interesting rocks instead.

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