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LI girl gets Clinton letter for Gulf fundraising

Olivia Bouler, the 11-year-old Islip girl who launched

Olivia Bouler, the 11-year-old Islip girl who launched a national fundraising campaign for the birds of the Gulf Coast, holds a letter from former President Bill Clinton at her home in Islip, NY. (July 23, 2010) Photo Credit: Newsday/Ed Betz

Olivia Bouler's fan mail collection - a colorful array of children's drawings and bird-themed toys - has received a very special addition: a letter bearing the golden image of a bald eagle and the signature of President William Jefferson Clinton.

"I read about your efforts to help the Audubon Society clean up the Gulf of Mexico, and I want you to know how impressed I am by your hard work," Clinton wrote to Olivia, who shortly before her 11th birthday launched a national campaign by offering her bird illustrations to donors. So far, she has raised some $165,000.

When the letter arrived at Olivia's Islip home, she gingerly slid her finger under the seal and pulled the letter out.

"You've shown how one person with a caring heart and determination can make a difference," the former president wrote in the letter, dated July 12. "Over the past two months, you've certainly demonstrated that you have both, and I bet that your parents are very proud of you - I know I am."

He also noted their shared love of a certain instrument.

"Keep up the great work, and don't give up on the saxophone either!" he wrote.

Olivia, who did research on the Clintons this year for a fifth-grade biography project in which she spoke in character as Hillary Rodham Clinton, gushed about the letter this week.

It was a highlight in a summer of triumphs, most recently a whirlwind tour of Capitol Hill, where she and her family met with three congressmen, two senators and the secretary of the interior to discuss clean energy policy.

"Bill Clinton knew I liked the saxophone!" she said. "It's crazy! He's Bill Clinton!"

She has already sent him a reply, matching his bird - the presidential coat of arms - with one of her own, a hand-painted watercolor of an osprey.

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