May 6, 2008 - Homestead, Fl. - Toyota today announced a contribution of more than $1 million dollars and five vehicles to Everglades National Park to support environmental education programs. The donation will benefit more than 10,000 students annually via a number of initiatives including day program field trips and camping trips for grade school students; the K-12 Miccosukee Indian School program; in-park teacher workshops for day and camping programs; in-park special programs for other school groups and student organizations; and in-school teacher workshops.
This donation is part of a recently announced $5 million contribution from Toyota in support of five National Parks and the National Park Foundation to enhance environmental leadership and educational programs at parks around the country. The company is also donating 23 vehicles to the National Parks.
"The partnership with Everglades National Park is a great opportunity for Toyota to extend its environmental and educational community-based programs," said Dian Ogilvie, senior vice president of Toyota Motor North America. "Toyota is proud to support the amazing work that the Everglades is doing with local schools and America's youth."
Over the next three years, Everglades National Park will use Toyota's contribution to continue to provide high quality curriculum-based education programs to local communities that surround and depend on the Everglades ecosystem. The funding supports six seasonal rangers, three year-round staff members and four volunteers. In addition to personnel, funding sustains core educational programs such as day program field trips for students in grades 4 – 6, camping program for grades 5 and 6, the Miccosukee Indian School program and in-park teacher workshops for day and camping programs. Special in-park programs for school groups and student organizations, as well as and new projects and programs such as Teacher Appreciation Day, Weekend Family Camping program, Kids Day at Camp and media and curriculum development, will also be funded with this donation.
"This is a proud day for Everglades National Park and for our neighboring communities," said Superintendent Dan Kimball. "This generous donation from Toyota will allow the park to enhance our environmental education program, improve the skills of our staff, and expand programs to reach thousands of students and teachers who haven't been able to experience and learn from this amazing natural resource before."
Toyota's gift to Everglades National Park is being made through the South Florida National Parks Trust, the principal fund-raising organization for South Florida's national parks.
"Toyota's gift will sustain an education program that turns Everglades National Park into an outdoor classroom and changes children's lives in the process," said Trust Chairman Carlos Arazoza.
Toyota's contributions are among the first corporate contributions to be matched by the Department of the Interior's Centennial Initiative. The Centennial Initiative calls for $1 billion over 10 years to strengthen basic park operations via a public-private funding vehicle for new projects and programs. Qualified corporate-funded programs at national parks across the country are eligible for some level of government matching. Not only will the funds provided help to sustain and improve the education programs offered in 2008, the results achieved should ensure the park a place in the competition for similar grants for years to come.
Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants, with another under construction in Mississippi. Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Through its corporate initiatives, manufacturing operations and philanthropy, Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. In 2007, Toyota contributed more than $56 million to philanthropic programs in the U.S. For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit www.toyota.com/community.
About Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park is one of the largest in the National Park system at 1.5 million acres stretching from Naples to Miami and south into the Florida Keys. It is the largest subtropical wilderness in North America and the hydrologic connection that links central Florida's freshwater ecosystem and the marine systems of Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The park contains vast and varied ecosystems, including freshwater marshes, tropical hardwoods, pine rockland, extensive Mangrove estuaries, and sea grasses, which support a diverse mixture of tropical and temperate plants and animals. It is the only place in the US jointly designated an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site and a Wetland of National Importance. Truly a very special place set aside for American citizens to experience and protect for generations to come.
About South Florida National Parks Trust
The South Florida National Parks Trust is the principal fund-raising organization for South Florida's national parks. For more information about the Trust, visit www.southfloridaparks.org
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