First Lady Laura Bush was in Battery Park yesterday to help the National Park Foundation launch First Bloom, a program to encourage children in urban centers to learn about the environment and what they can do for their parks and neighborhoods.

First Lady planted some flowers and other plants with members of the Boys Club of New York and the Lower East Side Girls Club. She said, "When people think of New York City, national parks probably are not the first thing that comes to mind. But in fact there are 10 national parks in New York City and northern New Jersey." (And Battery Park's Castle Clinton is a national monument.) As Lady Bird Johnson said, "The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become."

Besides NYC, First Bloom is being piloted in Austin, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. And the First Lady and her daughter Jenna are in town to promote their children's book, Read All About It!--Laura Bush is even co-hosting the third hour of the Today Show! (She and Jenna were just interviewed by Ann Curry--it was painful!).