WASHINGTON – Laura Bush (search) says her husband's proposed budget will include $10 million to help communities preserve historic and cultural sites.
The proposed grants would help states, Indian tribes (search) and communities "demonstrate sustainable uses of their historic and cultural sites and the economic and educational opportunities related to heritage tourism," the first lady said.
As part of a White House initiative she got under way last year, Mrs. Bush also designated eight areas for their "commitment to protect the historic heritage of their hometowns."
The first eight "Preserve America" communities to win the designation are Augusta, Ga.; Castroville, Texas; Delaware, Ohio; Dorchester County, Md.; Key West, Fla.; Putnam County, N.Y.; Steamboat Springs, Colo.; and Versailles, Ky.
"An understanding and an appreciation of history makes every American a more engaged citizen," Mrs. Bush said at an East Room ceremony.
Preserve America (search), the initiative she launched in March 2003, tries to encourage local efforts to preserve "our priceless cultural and natural heritage."
Mrs. Bush also established new awards honoring the "Preserve America History Teacher of the Year." A finalist from each state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories will receive $1,000 and an archive of history materials for his or her school library. A panel of experts will choose a "National Preserve America History Teacher of the Year" from among the finalists.