43 Environmental Projects Receive TogetherGreen Innovation Grants

December 9, 2010

Nearly $1.1 Million in Funding from Audubon and Toyota’s Conservation Initiative to Support Local, Solutions-based Environmental Projects Nationwide

NEW YORK, Dec. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Restoration of a wildlife sanctuary damaged by the Gulf oil spill, conservation internships for urban teenagers, and promotion of sustainable ranching are only three of the 43 projects in 27 states that will receive a total of nearly $1.1 million in the latest round of TogetherGreen Innovation Grants. This will mark the third year of TogetherGreen funding to facilitate people-powered conservation action in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Projects are selected for innovation, potential gains in habitat, water, and energy conservation, and opportunities to engage new audiences in helping the environment. TogetherGreen is funded by a $20 million grant from Toyota over five years.

TogetherGreen Innovation Grants provide seed money for projects that use innovative approaches and technologies to engage new and diverse audiences in conservation and tackle pressing conservation problems. Innovation Grants enable awardees and their partner organizations to inspire, equip, and engage people to tackle environmental concerns and improve the health of their communities.

“The conservation solutions pioneered by TogetherGreen Innovation Grant winners are inspiring models of both ingenuity and conservation commitment,” said Audubon President David Yarnold. “Each project represents an investment in our shared environment and future – and an opportunity for many of our nation’s most creative and dedicated individuals and communities to transform their dreams into effective conservation action. As our alliance with Toyota shows, when organizations work together, they can magnify conservation results.”

Since 2008, the TogetherGreen Innovation Grants program has awarded over $3.5 million to more than 130 environmental projects nationwide. The 2010 awardees are receiving grants ranging from $5,000 – $66,100. Funds were awarded to partnerships between Audubon groups (local Chapters or programs of Audubon’s large national network) and organizations in their communities – with more than 125 partner organizations involved in Innovation Grant projects in the coming year. Most of the projects involve audiences previously underserved or not engaged in environmental action, from urban youth to rural ranchers.

The Innovation Grants program not only supports innovation in communities across the country; it also strives to build the capacity of conservation professionals. In addition to financial support, grantees receive opportunities for professional development, including a multi-day workshop held at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and online trainings. Audubon staff provides further support, including communications assistance, which leads to more public recognition at the local, state, and national level, and grantees are networked with each other so that they can share best practices and learn from others.

Audubon’s partner groups benefit considerably from Innovation Grants, too. As Teola Brady, Environmental Director for the Yomba Shoshone Tribe, said, “We are pleased to be partners with Audubon Nevada Important Bird Area Program in participating in the Sagebrush Celebration Project. We see this project as an excellent opportunity to help expand the way that tribal families experience, understand and participate in the conservation of sagebrush habitats. It will also expose them to the various ways that the Upper Reese River Valley – which is right in their backyard – is important to their lives and the fabric of their local community and culture.”

2009 Innovation Grantees helped tens of thousands of people take conservation action in their communities, including Los Angeles kids who cultivated and planted native species in degraded coastal habitat, Denver students who assessed and reduced their schools’ electricity bills, and Dayton businesses that improved water quality in Ohio’s rivers. Grant recipients leveraged their grants by over four million dollars through matching and in-kind support, allowing them to reach more people and deliver even greater conservation results.

“Toyota has a long history of utilizing technical innovation to preserve natural resources, reduce waste, and improve sustainability,” said Patricia Salas Pineda, Toyota’s group vice president of national philanthropy and the Toyota USA Foundation. “We are so proud of the TogetherGreen program and the incredible results it has produced in communities across the U.S. We know this latest group of Innovation Grants will continue to have a tremendous positive impact.”

For complete details about the 2010 TogetherGreen Innovation Grants projects, please visit: www.togethergreen.org/grants. Below is a list of the 2010 Innovation Grants projects by state:

                  # of
      State     Funded    Total Funding
        AL             1     $20,000.00
        AR             1     $25,000.00
        AZ             2     $20,000.00
        CA             5     $88,000.00
        CO             3     $83,589.00
      CT/VT            1     $60,990.00
        GA             1     $34,348.00
        ID             1      $7,000.00
        IN             2     $47,725.00
        KY             1     $20,000.00
        MD             2     $38,628.00
        ME             2      $5,000.00
        MN             2     $67,565.00
        MO             2     $29,000.00
        MT             1     $25,000.00
        ND             1      $5,000.00
        NM             1     $22,000.00
        NV             1     $35,231.00
        NY             4    $177,828.00
        OH             2    $100,000.00
        OR             1      $5,000.00
        PA             1     $40,000.00
        UT             1     $15,000.00
        WI             2     $36,700.00
        WV             1     $25,384.00
        WY             1     $45,000.00

                      43  $1,078,988.00

      State                     Project Summaries
                Restoration of Dauphin Island, a critical sanctuary
                for wildlife affected by the oil spill off the
                coast of Alabama. Volunteers will work to remove
                invasive species from the island so that native
                species can thrive and provide food and habitat
        AL      for threatened wildlife.
                Training college students in Science, Technology,
                Engineering and Math (STEM) education that focuses
                on conservation of habitat, water and energy, then
                working with the students during their internships
                to conduct projects with middle and high school
                students focused on energy reduction, habitat
                protection and monitoring, and water quality
        AR      improvement.
                1. Promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy
                in a rural Arizonan community through six
                demonstration projects, an energy fair, and
        AZ      educational programs.
                2. Community development of a conservation project
                to protect the Agua Fria.
                1. Working with 650 students from underserved
                schools to restore 5 acres of critical lagoon
        CA      habitat along the coast in Monterey County.
                2. High school kids will restore five acres of
                critical riverside habitat on a farm abutting the
                Sacramento River.
                3. High school students propagating and planting
                native plants and restoring native habitat in Debs
                4. Restoring native marshland habitat and educating
                local kids in Grand Terrace.
                5. Providing students at Dorsey High School in Los
                Angeles with "greenhouse" and "restoration"
                internships, in which they learn how to propagate
                native plants and restore dwindling sagebrush
                habitat, then educate community members and
                younger students from Leo Politi Elementary School
                about the importance of conservation.
                1. High school students from Denver and rural
                schools in Weld County will conduct energy audits
                of their schools and implementing energy use
        CO      reduction programs.
                2. Working with youth from the Southwest
                Conservation Corps and volunteers from the
                community to create trails that prevent further
                degradation of important habitats in along the
                Piedra River. Educational programming will be
                provided for all volunteers.
                3. Creating wildlife habitat demonstration gardens
                with students from underserved schools in Denver.
                Developing relationships with owners of large
                tracts of forest land, to help them manage their
      CT/VT     land for wildlife.
                In partnership with the Latin American Association
                of Atlanta, providing environmental education
                programming to Latino kids through schools, an
                after-school program for at-risk kids, a youth
        GA      conference, and two camps.
                Creating a wildlife management plan for a neglected
        ID      nature preserve outside Boise.
                1. Hands-on educational programs and the creation
                of nesting habitat for nighthawks and chimney
        IN      swifts at Title 1 schools in Indianapolis.
                2. Restoring habitat along a popular urban greenway
                in Muncie-Delaware County with kids who attend
                youth organizations serving low-income
                Working with community-members to plant wild
                grasses to provide wildlife habitat in Goshen,
                Kentucky's only public green space -- a nature
        KY      center.
                1. Expanding the successful GreenKids Schoolyard
                Habitat program in Montgomery County, a program
                designed to build enduring environmental learning
        MD      and stewardship experiences for students.
                2. Working with doctors in the Baltimore Medical
                System to "prescribe" time in nature (through
                programs at Patterson Park Audubon Center) for
                kids suffering from obesity, diabetes, asthma, and
                behavior problems like AD/HD. Kids with
                prescriptions will be involved in activities like
                tree-planting in Patterson Park.
                1. Educating owners of very large tracts of land
                around the state about how they can manage it
        ME      sustainably.
                2. Training educators from underserved schools in
                service learning projects that address habitat,
                water and energy issues.
                1. Hooking people on nature and conservation
                through creation of chimney swift towers,
                educational programs, and monitoring of swifts at
                suburban parks outside the Twin Cities and on
        MN      tribal lands.
                2. Working with building owners, managers,
                designers and architects to promote understanding
                about (and implementation of) bird-safe design
                1. Continued funding for the highly successful
                summer program, GLADE, which helps students from
                underserved rural communities in Taney County take
                part in hands-on habitat restoration and learn
        MO      scientific skills.
                2. Presenting on energy use and conservation to the
                roughly 8,000 attendees at the annual Home
                Builders Association Fair; hosting an energy fair
                in Joplin for community-members.
                Following on from a successful planning grant last
                year, promoting beef from a sustainably managed
                ranch to nature-lovers; demonstrating to other
                ranchers that a premium price can be sought for
                beef raised sustainably and encouraging them to
                change their ranching practices to be more
        MT      sustainable.
                Educating lawmakers and landowners about the
                economic and environmental benefits of using
                wetlands to mitigate floods instead of structural
                "solutions" such as levees, which cost a fortune
        ND      and push the problem downstream.
                Following on from a successful planning grant
                received last year, conducting educational
                programs for Santa Clara Pueblo kids and their
                families focused on the Rio Grande and its
                conservation. As part of the program, a local
                nature guide will be translated into Tewa to
                preserve cultural traditions and practices
        NM      associated with the river.
                Conducting a year-long series of hands-on and
                educational events restoring sagebrush habitat on
        NV      the Yomba-Shoshone reservation.
                1. Hands-on conservation internships, camps, and
                jobs training for kids from underserved schools in
        NY      New York City.
                2. Working with members of faith communities to
                clean-up beaches and monitor wildlife in New York
                City to demonstrate the impact of the clean-ups.
                3. Working with farmers and landowners in the St.
                Lawrence Valley to improve wildlife habitat in an
                important migratory stopover area.
                4. Working with dozens of partners across New York
                state to get kids, families, and others to create,
                install, and monitor next boxes to protect
                American kestrels.
                1. College interns from a historically black
                college working with Aullwood Audubon to restore
        OH      prairie in and around Dayton.
                2. Working with community members in downtown
                Columbus to remove invasive Amur honeysuckle from
                their properties; training students from the
                community in GIS/GPS and habitat restoration
                Based on the results of an "equity atlas," which
                highlights areas of Portland with limited access
                to greenspace, working with community groups to
                develop a plan to create a park in their
        OR      neighborhood.
                Encouraging Pennsylvanian municipalities to improve
                and conserve bird habitat (and, by extension,
                habitat for all kinds of wildlife) through a
                program that rewards cities going the distance
        PA      with a "Bird City" designation.
                Restoring native habitat, reintroducing Columbian
                frogs, and protecting native vegetation from
        UT      beavers in the Jordan River Wildlife Refuge.
                1. Following on from a successful planning grant
                received last year, rolling out the new "Bird City
                Wisconsin" program. Cities will qualify as "bird
                cities" if they meet certain criteria related to
                wildlife habitat, water use, pesticide and
        WI      herbicide use, feral cat presence, and so on.
                2. Developing a plan to save energy and resources
                by recycling wood waste in the Appleton area.
                Working with community members in Ranson to create
                a "natural" park at the headwaters of Flowing
                Springs Run, to protect water quality in the
                stream; provide wildlife habitat; and provide
                community-members with an inspiring natural space
        WV      to spend time in.
                Working to connect Wyoming landowners with Natural
                Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) funding to
                support conservation and restoration efforts on
        WY      their land.

About TogetherGreen

Audubon and Toyota launched the five-year TogetherGreen initiative in 2008 to fund conservation projects, train environmental leaders, and offer volunteer opportunities to significantly benefit the environment. To date, TogetherGreen has supported 130 Innovation Grants projects, 120 Conservation Fellows, and over 750 Volunteer Days events nationwide. For more information, visit www.togethergreen.org.

About Audubon

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.

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants, including one under construction. Toyota directly employs nearly 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 more than $500 million to philanthropic programs in the U.S.

For more information on Toyota’s commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/community.

CONTACT: Brenda Timm of the National Audubon Society, +1-212-979-3198, btimm@audubon.org, or Javier Moreno of Toyota, +1-212-715-7469, Jmoreno@tma.toyota.com

SOURCE National Audubon Society

Source: newswire

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