Bob Ross, who rose to fame as the irrepressibly upbeat painter of landscapes on the public television series The Joy of Painting, passed away in 1995. But his fondness for "happy little trees" lives on. Bob Ross Inc. has partnered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to place 1000 trees in the state.
According to the Detroit Free Press, a 13-year-old program that allows inmates to grow trees so they can be planted in state parks will now be endorsed by the Ross brand, with signs proclaiming "Happy Little Trees Ahead" and featuring a likeness of the artist.
Though the signs will appear in just a handful of the state parks, 21 areas are due to receive the trees. Approximately 30 to 40 prisoners from the Ionia, Muskegon, and Jackson correctional facilities will grow the trees—including white cedar, paper birch, sugar maple, and black cherry—and then pass them off to be planted in the parks beginning in May. Volunteers who assist in the planting will receive a Happy Little Trees t-shirt.
Based in Herndon, Virginia, Bob Ross Inc. handles the licensing agreements for the Ross brand, including a recent Funko Pop! of the painter that's become one of the most popular items bearing his name.
[h/t Detroit Free Press]