TogetherGreen Fellows were chosen for leadership potential, skills and commitment to engaging communities in conservation action. Each receives a $10,000 stipend and assistance in launching local projects to educate a wide range of communities about the environment and engage them in efforts to conserve land, water and/or energy. Fellows also receive specialized training in conservation planning and execution, the chance to work with experienced environmental professionals, and assistance with project outreach and evaluation.
"Each of our TogetherGreen Fellows demonstrates exceptional environmental understanding and commitment, combined with tremendous potential to inspire and lead others. They are the talented leadership the environmental community will need to tackle the huge challenges and opportunities confronting us now and in the years to come," said Audubon President John Flicker. "These are amazing people who can help us all shape a better future."
Recipients include professors and Ph.D. candidates, an artist, ecologists, professional conservation practitioners and representatives of wide-ranging community organizations. Half the Fellows were selected from within Audubon's network of nearly 500 local Chapters, Centers and State organizations. The rest earned their credentials with other groups that help to broaden the reach of TogetherGreen conservation efforts.
One of the goals of TogetherGreen is to foster diverse leaders and serve communities who have not previously been engaged in conservation activities. The first year of TogetherGreen Fellowship projects include mentoring youth in Los Angeles Latino neighborhoods; an urban forestry program for African Americans in Gainesville, Florida; and a conflict management workshop in conservation networks in Appalachia.
Other projects range from helping urban students save energy by installing solar panels in their school to mobilizing rural ranchers to protect water quality. In all, efforts will aid people and wildlife around 39 cities in 24 different states—a full list can be found at http://www.togethergreen.org/People/Default.aspx. Along the way, the TogetherGreen Fellows will develop new and expanded abilities to forge conservation progress in the future.
"Toyota believes in the power of grassroots efforts to develop the environmental leaders of tomorrow," added Patricia Salas Pineda, Group Vice President, Toyota Motor North America. "These 40 TogetherGreen Fellows will receive invaluable training for the future while immediately making a difference today with on-the-ground community projects."
Audubon and Toyota launched the five-year TogetherGreen initiative earlier this year to fund conservation projects, train environmental leaders, and offer volunteer and individual action opportunities that significantly benefit the environment. To date, TogetherGreen volunteers in 40 communities have donated more than 15,000 volunteer hours to community conservation efforts. Funding totaling $1.4 million was recently awarded for the first year of innovative conservation projects nationwide, while www.TogetherGreen.org helps users take individual conservation action and share and celebrate success stories. The TogetherGreen initiative and grants programs are funded by a $20 million Toyota gift to Audubon, the largest in the conservation group's long history.