Introducing Forest Ranger Betty White

Tuesday, Nov 9, 2010  |  Updated 7:05 PM EDT
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Smokey the Bear, that is.  The actress was named an honorary forest ranger by the <a title=U.S. Forest Service at an event in D.C." />

Smokey the Bear, that is. The actress was named an honorary forest ranger by the U.S. Forest Service at an event in D.C.

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Betty White is so hot lately, she's even landed her dream job.

The actress known for her roles on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "The Golden Girls" -- and more recently a Facebook campaign for her to host "Saturday Night Live," which led to an Emmy Award for that appearance -- was made an honorary forest ranger by the U.S. Forest Service in a ceremony at the Kennedy Center Tuesday.

White embraced Smokey the Bear as she was honored.

White has said that as a young girl she wanted to be a forest ranger, but women weren't allowed to have the job, the Associated Press reported.

The Forest Service began in 1905, but very few women were employed during the early years. The first woman to serve as a fire lookout was Hallie Daggett, who was hired in 1913 to spot fires in California's Klamath National Forest. Today women are 38 percent of the Forest Service's work force.

White held back tears as she spoke of how she and her parents spent three weeks of every summer camping in the High Sierra or Yellowstone National Park.

"We'd stay in there three weeks and never see anybody and I loved it," she said. "Yellowstone Park became my second home. Finally, my teachers at school would say, "Well, write another essay but could you write about something besides Yellowstone National Park?'"

White said her parents would have been "over the moon" about the honor.

She is in Washington to appear in Tuesday night's Kennedy Center program honoring Mark Twain Prize recipient Tina Fey.

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