If you thought you couldn’t love Betty White any more, Outsiders, then prepare to be proven wrong in the best of ways with her latest statement.
This priceless photo of Smokey presenting White with a commemorative Smokey Bear of her own comes from November 9 of that year. It was on that day that the U.S. Forest Service would make Betty White an honorary Forest Ranger at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
In the more than two decades since, White has become one of the most outspoken allies of our Forest Service. She’s proving it again Wednesday with her latest public statement, too.
“As an honorary forest ranger and friend of @smokey_bear, I am so excited @forestservice has partnered with @WOWaquarium & @edisonintl to spread Smokey’s wildfire prevention message across the U.S. Play the Smokey Bear 2.0 Mission today!” the living legend posts to her official Twitter Sept. 29.
Within, the honorary forest ranger is helping spread the word for Smokey Bear 2.0 – an updated fire education initiative with one of America’s most iconic and beloved mascots.
The update is largely centered on the education and school system, with a new game kids can play to educate themselves on forest fire prevention while helping Smokey Bear himself. For more details on that, click here.
As for Betty White herself, she’s as true a conservation icon as they’ll ever be – just like her furry pal.
Betty White: A True Conservation Icon
“Back when I started, girls couldn’t be forest rangers. But now they made me an honorary one, made it very official, and [it is a deep honor]. As far as a zookeeper, I have been such a zoo nut all my life that I am practically a zookeeper!” White told Smithsonian Magazine in a 2012 interview.
As the institution cites of the 99-year-old actress, “White has also served as a trustee of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association” for well over five decades now. “She is a devoted advocate of the work that zoos do, educating the public and helping to conserve endangered species in the wild,” the institution lauds of just a fraction of her conservation work.
Indeed, some of Betty White’s latest books focus entirely on her conservation and zoological work. Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo, in particular, is a “polished scrapbook of her favorite animals, with photographs and anecdotes,” Smithsonian further notes.
From pets to wildlife, her love of animals of all kinds makes her a perfect fit for helping the Forest Service prevent wildfires.
“Oh, it is so embedded in me,” White continues. “The first time [I felt connected to animals] must have happened long before my memory started. Both my mother and father were tremendous animal lovers. They imbued in me the fact that, to me, there isn’t an animal on the planet that I don’t find fascinating and want to learn more about.”
The moral of the story? As always: Be more like Betty White.