01/17/2012 12:54 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Betty White: Born to Be Wild

Please join me in wishing Betty White a very happy birthday as she hits the incredible milestone of turning 90!


It has been so wonderful getting to know Betty, and I stand with conservationists from coast to coast in a salute of her work to protect the environment. As she explains in the latest installment of The Wilderness Society's "my wilderness" series, Betty has been exploring America's wild places since the Coolidge Administration. That's right, Betty was just four-years-old when her parents first exposed her to wilderness.

"my wilderness" is sponsored by Frontier Airlines and is a national outreach campaign dedicated to getting Americans out into wild places so they are inspired to protect them -- just like Betty.

"My happiest memories as a kid were packing into the beautiful high Sierra in California," says Betty, recalling how adventures into the wild set her spiritual clock. "To a lot of kids, it's Christmas, you know you count Christmas to Christmas. Not to me. It was summer to summer until we could take off for those wonderful mountain vacations."

Betty recounts her family's pack trips into the Rae Lakes area in Kings Canyon National Park, above Independence, Calif., and calls this still-wild expanse her "soul place." Betty's message of feeling "on top of the world" in the high Sierra rang true for me, as I'm sure it will with so many of you.

As Betty says, "I'm not the only one. We all have places like that."

Betty's lifelong appreciation for wild places shines brightly as she hits the momentous occasion of turning 90. I can't thank her enough for sharing such inspirational stories.