TogetherGreen Innovation Grants Kick-Start Local, Solutions-Based Environmental Projects Nationwide
New York, August 2, 2012 – Toyota and the National Audubon Society today awarded over $1 million in TogetherGreen Innovation Grants funding to 41 innovative environmental projects nationwide. This year’s winning projects involve more than 150 conservation, environmental justice and community organizations working collaboratively on habitat, water and energy conservation. Many of the projects focus on engaging audiences that have traditionally been underrepresented in the conservation movement, from landowners to religious communities to inner-city students.
“Groups that won Innovation Grants this year have ingenuity and creativity on full display. And that’s what it takes to tackle the environmental challenges we face today,” said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold. “I’m proud to partner with these innovators in creative approaches to achieve healthier communities and big conservation results.”
Sample projects that will receive 2012 funding include:
- Habitat: In Connecticut, Audubon Connecticut and the Connecticut Student Conservation Association will create Audubon WildLife Guards, a Coastal Stewardship and Youth Conservation Training Program in Bridgeport, Conn. The program will provide green job training, mentoring and employment opportunities for high school students who will work to protect threatened beach nesting birds on Pleasure Beach, the largest intact barrier beach in the state.
- Water: In Kansas, Friends of the Kaw, Inc., along with the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Topeka Audubon Society and Jayhawk Audubon Society will launch the “Save Soldier Creek” campaign to minimize stormwater runoff in the rural Soldier Creek watershed – reducing pollution and improving water quality and bird habitat).
- Energy: In Arizona, Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center and Arizona Interfaith Power & Light will broaden its Footprints of Faith campaign to African American and Latino churches in Phoenix and Tucson promoting steps congregations can take to reduce their carbon footprints.
- Engaging diverse audiences in conservation: In North Carolina, Wild South and its partners North Carolina Audubon Society, High Country Audubon Society, National Forests of NC and the Western North Carolina Alliance will reach out to military servicemen and women and nearby Asheville residents to involve them in controlling non-native invasive plants, monitoring bird populations, and educating the public on environmental issues. The goal of the project is to preserve the wilderness character and rare species habitat of the Linville Gorge Wilderness, one of the most rugged and scenic areas in the East.
“Toyota and Audubon really share in the belief that environmental change starts at the grassroots level,” said Patricia Salas Pineda, group vice president of national philanthropy and the Toyota USA Foundation. “We’re so proud to support this year’s Innovation Grants, which embody TogetherGreen’s commitment to conservation, innovation and diversity.”
Audubon and Toyota launched the TogetherGreen
initiative in 2008 to foster diverse environmental leadership and fund innovative conservation ideas. Over US$5.5 million in TogetherGreen
Innovation Grants funding has been awarded to more than 200 environmental projects nationwide. TogetherGreen
funding recipients have helped protect 250 species of birds and other wildlife, improved 13,000 acres of habitat, mobilized 300,000 individuals, collected two million pounds of recyclables, and captured $5 million worth of volunteer time. For more information, visit www.togethergreen.org
Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world. Visit Audubon online at www.audubon.org
Toyota established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants and has a network of nearly 1,500 dealerships. Toyota directly employs over 30,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design
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. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed over half-a-billion dollars to philanthropic programs in the U.S.