Toyota International Teacher Program Sends U.S. Teachers to Galapagos Islands

September 04, 2007

September 4, 2007 – Torrance, CA - Twenty-four U.S. teachers, chosen as educational ambassadors through the Toyota International Teacher Program, will explore the rich environment of the Galapagos Islands, a designated World Heritage site off the coast of Ecuador, October 2-12, 2007.

The teachers will visit prominent sites on the islands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. They will observe environmental projects, talk with experts and community leaders, and participate in activities that encourage global awareness about environmental conservation.

A key component of the program is a joint, two-day forum of American and Galapagueno teachers. The selected teachers from both countries will share innovative approaches to teaching environmental stewardship across all subjects and disciplines.

Open to educators in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the first time this year, the Toyota International Teacher Program strives to expose educators of all disciplines to the diversity of peoples and ecosystems worldwide in an effort to inspire the creative teaching of international, cultural and environmental themes in U.S. schools and communities.

"We're proud to provide teachers from around the country an opportunity to explore the Galapagos Islands—home to one of the world's richest ecosystems and a place where conservation and sustainability are critical to the survival of future generations," said Michael Rouse, corporate manager, philanthropy and community affairs at Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. "The global perspective teachers will gain from this experience and take back to their classroom and communities will help teach lessons in environmental responsibility that will last a lifetime."

The teacher program is just one area of Toyota's involvement with the Galapagos Islands. Working cooperatively with the World Wildlife Fund, Toyota has been helping to conserve the unique ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands since 2001. Using its expertise in efficiency, waste minimization, energy use, recycling and lifecycle and systems thinking, Toyota has supported and/or funded many projects and programs in the Galapagos Islands, including a redesign of the main fuel-handling facility, renewable energy teacher education workshops and oil and municipal recycling programs. Community education and outreach have been key components of all projects.

Funded through a $1.2 million annual grant from TMS, the Toyota International Teacher Program is the only one of its kind sponsored by a major U.S. corporation. To date, nearly 500 teachers nationwide have participated.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) in Washington, D.C., the nation's most experienced nonprofit educational exchange organization, administers the program. "Studying nature and its conservation first hand and in a setting beyond our borders will teach key lessons about globalization and the world we share," said IIE President and CEO Dr. Allan E. Goodman.

The study tour to the Galapagos Islands is just one of three international professional development programs for teachers that Toyota sponsors each year. The next study visit will be to Costa Rica in February 2008, and the selection process for this program is currently underway. In June 2008, another international opportunity will be offered to Japan. Applications will be available October 2007. Visit

The 24 educators traveling to the Galapagos Islands this fall teach a variety of subjects and were selected based on their professional and leadership qualifications, as well as their plans to incorporate their experiences and research into their curriculum. To be eligible, applicants must be a U.S. citizen, employed full-time as a secondary classroom teacher (grades 7-12) and have a minimum of three years of classroom experience. The teachers selected to participate in the 2007 Galapagos Islands study tour are:

Chasidy Miroff		  Brookwood Middle School			Vance
Eric Freund		  Cholla High School				Tucson
Beverly Koopman-Miller	  Connolly Middle School			Tempe	
Michael Wing		  Sir Francis Drake High School			San Anselmo
Mary Robertson		  Fort Meyers High School		   	Fort Meyers
Joe Green		  Pope High School			  	Marietta		
Peggy Deichstetter	  St. Edward High School		   	Elgin
Pam Zipfel		  Maize High School				Maize
Dana Crosby		  Hingham High School	   		 	Hingham
Donald Johnson	        Cass Technical High School			Detroit
Jon Dicus		  The Blake School		   		Minneapolis
Joseph Catron		  Billings West High School	   		Billings

Kevin Witte		  Kearney High School	   			Kearney
New Jersey	
Maureen Barrett	       Harrington Middle School                 Mt. Laurel
New Mexico
Kerri Lathrop		  East Mountain High School			Sandia Park	
New York
Myriam Ibarra		  Nottingham High School			Syracuse
Kelli Ramer   	       New York State School for the Deaf  Rome	
Autumn Obremski	       R.A. Brown Middle School	   		        Hillsboro
Regina Jones		  Big Beaver Falls Area Middle School		Beaver Falls	
South Carolina	
J. Preston Lewis	  South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind	Spartanburg
Shannon Hill		  The John Cooper School			The Woodlands	
Karen Alexander	        Montpelier High School                  Montpelier
Kathy Hoof		  Manchester High School			Midlothian	
West Virginia			
Joyce Duvall		  Parkersburg High School			Parkersburg

About Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus and Scion in the United States, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Established in 1957, TMS markets products and services through a network of more than 1,400 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers. Toyota sold more than 2.5 million vehicles in 2006 in the United States.

About Toyota's Education Programs
In addition to sponsoring a number of nonprofit educational organizations, Toyota offers three major programs that support teachers with grants and students with scholarships; Toyota TAPESTRY, the largest K-12 science teacher grant program of its kind in the U.S.; Toyota Community Scholars, which provides 100 scholarships to high school seniors based on academics and community service and the Toyota International Teacher Program.

Toyota also supports scholarships through the Hispanic Scholarship Fund; United Negro College Fund; Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation; National FFA and the American Indian College Fund. In 2006, Toyota USA contributed $40 million to U.S. philanthropic programs, with a majority of funding supporting education. For more information, visit or contact

About the Institute of International Education
An independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1919, the Institute is the world's most experienced global higher education and professional exchange organization.

IIE designs and implements over 250 programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government and private sources. IIE also conducts policy research and provides advice and counseling on international educational opportunities abroad. The Institute of International Education has a network of 15 offices worldwide, over 800 college and university members and more than 5,000 volunteers. Information about IIE can be obtained from IIE's Web site:, or by contacting Mike McCartt at



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