Forty promising conservation leaders will advance their environmental vision and leadership skills as recipients of the 2012 Audubon & Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowships. Hailing from all across the nation, this year’s TogetherGreen fellows will tackle environmental projects as diverse as the populations they serve – from building a solar garden with Illinois high school students, to protecting the ecologically sensitive Bering Strait in Alaska.
TogetherGreen, a conservation initiative of the National Audubon Society and Toyota, selects 40 high-potential local leaders annually to receive a $10,000 fellows grant. With the funds, TogetherGreen Fellows conduct community projects to engage diverse audiences in habitat, water or energy conservation. In addition to receiving support launching their conservation initiatives, the Fellows also benefit from specialized training and the opportunity to become part of an exciting alumni network of conservation professionals.
“These are heroes. They help people engage with nature. They look like America; diverse, passionate and patriotic,” said Audubon President David Yarnold. “They are leaders and we’re proud to give them a chance to invent the future.”
Sample fellowship projects that will receive 2012 funding include:
- Habitat: In Illinois, Iraq War veteran Benjamin Haberthur (Forest Preserve District of Kane County) will help military veterans to overcome symptoms of PTSD by engaging them in hands-on restoration of local wetlands.
- Water: In New York, David Brown (Finger Lakes Institute) will shoot underwater video of Finger Lakes watersheds to document its condition prior to inevitable deterioration caused by gas drilling and invasive species. This video footage will be made available for free to regional non-profits fighting to stop gas extraction activities, and used by any organizations involved in watershed awareness efforts.
- Energy: In Ohio, Mark Rembert (Energize Clinton County) will launch Dropoly, an online energy reduction game that allows users to weigh various strategies and improvements based on their monetary and CO2 savings in order to help people make more informed decisions on decreasing their energy usage.
- Engaging diverse audiences in conservation: Off the coast of South Carolina, in the Gullah/Geechee Nation, Queen Quet Marquetta Goodwine will develop a multigenerational project to educate citizens of her nation about the endangered species that share their shores.
“For the fourth year in a row, Toyota is proud to support such an impressive and diverse group of conservation leaders,” said Patricia Salas Pineda, group vice president of Philanthropy for Toyota Motor North America. “We know this new group will continue the great legacy of TogetherGreen Fellows by being catalysts for environmental change in communities across the country and engaging people of all walks of life along the way.”
The TogetherGreen Fellowship Program invests in high-potential individuals from all backgrounds, providing them with resources, visibility, and a growing peer network to help them lead communities nationwide to a healthier environmental future. To date, 200 environmental leaders from across the country have been awarded TogetherGreen fellowships. These leaders have worked with nearly 500 organizations and engaged over 100,000 people in community-based conservation action, achieving results in habitat, water, and energy.
A complete list of the 2012 TogetherGreen Fellows and details about their conservation projects can be found at www.TogetherGreen.org/fellows.
Audubon and Toyota launched the TogetherGreen initiative in 2008 to foster diverse environmental leadership and innovative conservation ideas. TogetherGreen funding recipients have helped protect 250 species of birds and other wildlife, improved 10,000 acres of habitat, mobilized 220,000 individuals, collected two million pounds of recyclables and captured $5 million worth of volunteer time. For more information, visit www.togethergreen.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.