October 20, 2008 - Torrance, CA - Thirty U.S. teachers have been selected to participate in an environmental study tour to the Galápagos Islands, a designated World Heritage site off the coast of Ecuador, as part of the Toyota International Teacher Program. The program takes place November 22 – December 6, 2008.
Now in its 10th year, the Toyota International Teacher Program is an international study tour for secondary teachers of all disciplines focused on promoting environmental conservation and sustainability, as well as global understanding. This year's participants were selected from nearly 1,000 applications received from educators across the U.S.
"Today, we recognize how mutually dependent we all are on the Earth's resources. The Toyota International Teacher Program seeks to provide teachers the tools they need to prepare and educate students as stewards of our global community," said Jim Lentz, president, Toyota Motor Sales (TMS).
For the first time, Toyota is partnering with the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management's graduate program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The Bren School plays a leading role in researching environmental issues, training environmental management professionals and identifying and solving environmental problems around the world. Through this partnership, participating teachers will be eligible for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from the university. Arturo A. Keller, professor of environmental biogeochemistry in the Bren School, will serve as the tour's official study leader.
"It is very exciting to be part of this program," said Professor Keller. "To be able to think about sustainability, environmental stewardship, biodiversity and conservation while in the Galápagos will be a wonderful experience for all of us involved in this adventure."
Representing 25 states, the 30 teachers were selected through a competitive, merit-based process administered by the Institute of International Education in Washington, D.C., the nation's most experienced nonprofit educational exchange organization. Selection criteria include professional qualifications, evidence of interest in international education, and feasibility of incorporating the environmental study experience into the curriculum.
Prior to departure, teachers will gather at Everglades National Park in Miami for a brief orientation and exploration of the Everglades biosphere, which is similar to that of the Galapagos Islands. Earlier this year, Everglades National Park was one of five national parks designated for support under Toyota's LEAF program, which entailed a donation of $5 million and 23 vehicles in support of environmental education programs at these parks.
While in Galapagos, this year the American teachers will be joined by Galápagueno teachers on a three-day study cruise. Together they will explore the remote islands of Espanola, Floreana and Fernandina. Based on their discoveries and shared teaching strategies, the educators will develop joint environmental projects that later will be exhibited at a high school open house on Santa Cruz Island.
The American teachers will spend time on the main islands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. They will observe environmental projects, exchange ideas with experts and community leaders, and participate in activities that encourage global environmental conservation and protection.
Toyota's involvement with the Galápagos Islands began in 2001, when the company partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to help conserve the Islands' unique ecosystem. Toyota has since supported and/or funded many projects and programs in the Galápagos Islands. These include a redesign of the main fuel-handling facility on Baltra, renewable- energy teacher education workshops, and oil and municipal recycling programs. Community education and outreach have been key components of all projects.
The Institute of International Education 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 next Toyota International Teacher Program will take place in Costa Rica April 18 – May 2, 2009. In Costa Rica, a country dedicated to protecting its natural resources, local area experts will educate teachers on local development, agronomy and conservation practices. Other activities include researching methods in sustainable agriculture at EARTH University
and interacting with ecological thought leaders at La Selva Biological Station, one of the most studied tropical areas in the world. Applications for this tour are currently being accepted.
The Toyota International Teacher Program is open to teachers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, employed full-time as a secondary classroom teacher or teacher-librarian (grades 6-12) and have a minimum of three years
teaching experience. Application information can be found at www.iie.org/toyota.
Funded through an annual $1.3 million grant from TMS, the Toyota International Teacher Program is the only one of its kind sponsored by a major U.S. corporation. To date, more than 500 teachers nationwide have participated.
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. Established in 1957, TMS markets products and services through a network of more than 1,400 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers. Toyota directly employs over 36,000 people in the U.S. and sold more than 2.6 million vehicles in 2007. For more information about our company, please visit http://www.toyota.com/, http://www.lexus.com/ and http://www.scion.com/.
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 2007, Toyota USA contributed $57 million to U.S. philanthropic programs, with a majority of funding supporting education. For more information, visit www.toyota.com/community or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Bren School
The Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is home to an interdisciplinary graduate program focused on environmental problem solving through the integration of science, management, law, economics and policy. Offering both a professional Master of Environmental Science and Management degree and a PhD track, the School's mission is to play a leading role in researching environmental issues, training scientists and environmental management professionals, and identifying and solving environmental problems around the world. It is ranked among the top programs of its kind in the nation and is the only such program in the western United States. For more information, go to www.bren.ucsb.edu.
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. IIE has a network of 15 offices worldwide, over 800 college and university members and more than 5,000 volunteers. For more information, visit www.iie.org/toyota or contact Mike McCartt at email@example.com.
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