The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
February 28, 2007

Mrs. Bush's Remarks with Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne at a Junior Ranger Event
Balboa Gifted/High Ability Magnet Elementary
Northridge, California


3:00 P.M. PST

MRS. BUSH: Well, I just want to tell you, again, how important I think our parks are, and how I'm glad that you all are learning about your closest park, and all the different people who lived here before you. It's interesting to know what our history is, and California happens to be a really lucky state with 24 national parks, more parks than any other state has. And you have fabulous natural landscapes like Yosemite or Sequoia or Redwood national parks, and then you have very interesting historical sites, as well, including Alcatraz. Do you know what Alcatraz is? Up in San Francisco and part of Golden Gate Park?

So I hope you learn first about your 24 national parks, and when you do, you'll learn a whole lot about your state. You'll learn about the science of your state and the archaeology of your state and the culture of your state, which is what you're learning about here, and the history of your state.

Secretary Kempthorne is the Secretary of the Interior, so he has all the national parks -- the national seashores -- what else are all a part of it?

SECRETARY KEMPTHORNE: All the public land.

MRS. BUSH: All the public land are a part of his department in the government. And so he's going to be the one who's going to actually say the Ranger pledge with you, if you want to say it. Do you want to do it?

SECRETARY KEMPTHORNE: Well, may I just add a couple comments, and say that this is really a very special and fun day for me. It's always special when you get to be with the First Lady, Laura Bush, of the United States of America. She's a wonderful lady. She's fun to be with. And she certainly loves kids, and our national parks.

And I've just been very impressed with Balboa Magnet School. When I saw your campus, you have ponderosa pine trees right out here, flowers that you've planted. It reminds me of a park. And it shows you that while we think about our national parks and how we take care of them, we can take care of our schools and our yards right here. And that's part of being a Junior Ranger, is looking out for each other and realizing that the outdoors is a very special place for very special people.

How many of you would like to become a Junior Ranger? And didn't the Rangers do a great job with you today?


SECRETARY KEMPTHORNE: Yes, they were awesome. So, I tell you what.

MRS. BUSH: Let's give an applause to the Rangers. (Applause.)

SECRETARY KEMPTHORNE: If you would all just quietly stand up, and perhaps we could have this table and this table, why don't you come right in here and fill in a little bit. Okay, you ready?

(Junior Rangers are sworn in.)

Well, ladies and gentlemen, you are the newest Junior Rangers. Congratulations. (Applause.)

END 3:05 P.M. PST

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