Audubon and Toyota Award $765,000 to 39 Environmentalists Through Toyota TogetherGreen

Toyota TogetherGreen, a conservation initiative of the National Audubon Society and Toyota, today announced new awards of $765,000 to 39 innovative and diverse conservation projects nationwide. Audubon and Toyota founded Toyota TogetherGreen in 2008 to foster and invest in conservation pioneers and ideas that impact the environment on a national scale. Now in its seventh year, the program has invested $25.4 million in community-based conservation, engaging more than 455,000 people in 300 cities and all 50 states.

“Toyota believes that the key to solving the complex conservation challenges that face communities across our country can be found in bringing together smart, creative partners to share ideas,” said Toyota Motor North America Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, Latondra Newton. “That’s why we are so excited to partner with Audubon for the seventh year to support the innovative solutions of the Toyota TogetherGreen grantees and fellows.”

This year, Audubon and Toyota are awarding $565,000 in Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grants to 19 cutting-edge conservation projects that involve communities traditionally underrepresented in the conservation movement. The awards will be used to develop innovative approaches that address pressing environmental problems with a focus on energy, water and habitat preservation.

In addition, 20 promising and proven individuals are being awarded Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowships to help them advance their environmental work and leadership skills. Each fellowship includes a $10,000 grant to develop and execute a community conservation action project with measurable outcomes.

“Audubon and Toyota share a commitment to the environmental health of our world,” said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold (@david_yarnold) “In hundreds of communities in every state, Toyota TogetherGreen is changing the face of the conservation movement in America. We want to see all this work continue and expand to greater heights in the years to come.”

Since 2008, Audubon’s Toyota TogetherGreen fellows and grantees have been tackling tough problems with creativity, originality and a diverse array of perspectives. In hundreds of communities, the program helps tens of thousands of people take conservation action, including a congregation that hosts organic farmers markets for residents with little access to healthy food, veterans who are healing war wounds through ecological restoration, and prisoners who help restore habitat for threatened wildlife.

The program has built the capacity of over 695 environmental leaders who worked with communities to improve 33,255 acres of habitat, conserve 15.75 million gallons of water and log $11.4 million worth of volunteer time. Toyota TogetherGreen fellows and grantees have partnered with more than 3,000 organizations across the country—from Native American tribes to schools to corporations— and have leveraged their funding to raise an additional $10.6 million to support conservation.

In order by state, the recipients of the 2014 Toyota TogetherGreen grants and fellowships are:


  • AZ (Phoenix): Steven Prager, of Audubon Arizona, will work with a local brewery and artists to expand knowledge and awareness of the once common Western Yellow-Billed cuckoo. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • AZ (Tucson): Andrew Bennett, of Tucson Audubon Society, will engage students in conservation actions to harvest rainwater and begin restoring habitat on 10 acres of denuded urban land. Innovation Grant: $24,950.
  • CA (Chico): Melinda Teves, of Altacal Audubon Society,will partner with a local water company, businesses, nonprofits and experts to help residents convert unused lawns to native landscape. Innovation Grant: $7,725.
  • CA (Los Angeles): Natasha Kerrof Environment for the Americas, will connect monolingual Spanish speaking immigrant youth and adults to migratory bird conservation. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • CA (San Francisco): Andreas Karelas, of RE-volv, plans to expand his program by training college students to organize crowdfunding campaigns for solar energy projects in their communities. Innovation Grant: $53,534.
  • CT (Greenwich): Katherine Blake, of Audubon Connecticut, will use the arts to engage new and diverse audiences in conservation action that will restore urban habitats across public parks, schoolyards, vacant lots and yards. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • CT (Greenwich): Katherine Levenduski, of Audubon Connecticut, will partner with New Haven schools to create outdoor classrooms at parks and schools to raise awareness about the value of urban habitat for wildlife and water quality. Innovation Grant: $40,000.
  • DC (Washington): Marjani Dele, of Groundwork Anacostia River D.C., will involve high school students from underserved communities in planting botanical sanctuaries. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • FL (Maitland): Deborah Green, of Orange Audubon Society, will implement a behavioral and technology-based residential energy efficiency program with low-income Winter Park residents. Innovation Grant: $64,398.
  • FL (Miami): Chelle King, of Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, will work with college students to create a coastal habitat restoration prototype exhibit to interpret citizen science to museum visitors. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • GA (Atlanta): Jennifer Cruse-Sanders, of Atlanta Botanical Garden, plans to train student interns from local schools to restore plant habitat and enhance pollinator health. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • IA (Ames): Angie Carter,of Women, Food and Agriculture Network,  will create a mentor group of non-operator farmland owners to sustain collaborative conservation and awareness efforts in Iowa's Raccoon River watershed. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • ID (McCall): Courtney Fisher, of Payette Children’s Forest, will engage the local community in efforts to restore urban woodlands across two 10-acre preserves.  Innovation Grant: $24,350.
  • IL (Glencoe): Rachel Goad, of Chicago Botanic Garden, will engage an underrepresented community in conservation and botanical citizen science to help reduce threats to rare species habitats. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • IL (Lake Forest): Susan Hoffman,of Lake Forest Open Land, aims to help prepare future conservation leaders fromstruggling communities for careers in the conservation field. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • LA (Baton Rouge): Erik Johnson, of Audubon Louisiana, will provide an urban oasis in New Orleans for birds and people and show how urban agriculture can be physically and culturally joined with environmental stewardship. Innovation Grant: $28,866.
  • MD (Easton): Krysta Hougen, of Pickering Creek Audubon Center, will use classroom lessons, outdoor family activities and habitat creation in schoolyards and neighborhoods to engage young children in conservation. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • ME (Bremen): Paula Shannon, Audubon Seabird Restoration Program, will engage the local lobster community in cleaning up fishing gear and trash from important seabird nesting habitat on 5 Maine islands. Innovation Grant: $65,000.
  • MO (West Alton): Lane Richter, of the Audubon Center at Riverlands, aims to restore two habitats within the city of St. Louis and mitigate a water quality issue together with civic, church and school community leaders. Innovation Grant: $20,600.
  • NC (Chapel Hill): Kim Brand,of Audubon North Carolina, is mobilizing local networks and faith communities to expand its campaign regarding climate change’s alarming impacts on N.C.’s birds. Innovation Grant: $43,750.
  • NC (Chapel Hill): Laura Fieselman, of Conservation Trust of North Carolina, plans to use documentary fieldwork of multi-generational African Americans to involve the local public in conserving land, water, and energy resources. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • NC (Raleigh): John I. Connors,of Wake Audubon Society, aims to create a pipeline for careers in natural resources for middle school students in underserved communities by engaging them in the environmental health of their neighborhoods. Innovation Grant: $4,850.
  • NC (Raleigh): David Grace, of Western Boulevard Presbyterian Church, will work with youth conservation leaders within faith communities to install nuthatch nesting boxes and other bird-friendly projects. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • NJ (Port Murray): Amanda Mahaffey, of Audubon New Jersey, aims to work with landowners and foresters to encourage informed decision making that will increase the quality of habitat. Innovation Grant: $5,000.
  • NM (Santa Fe): Sharon Wirth,of Audubon New Mexico, will develop a statewide program to improve streamflows through private leases in the San Acacia reach of the Rio Grande. Innovation Grant: $49,490.
  • NY (Brooklyn): Chanda Bennett,of Wildlife Conservation Society - New York Aquarium, will prompt high school students in the legendary Coney Island amusement district to use their voices and passions to advocate for a healthier ocean. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • NY (Brooklyn):  Nim Lee, of Wildlife Conservation Society, plans to develop outreach materials to promote science literacy and improve the conservation status of skates in the Atlantic Ocean. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • NY (Brooktondale): Miguel Berrios, of Friends of Stewart Park, aims to restore local forest ecology by building public conservation activities and environmental literacy within the Ithaca community. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • NY (New York): Tara Mei Smith,of Extra Terrestrial Projects, aims to get food-obsessed New Yorkers acquainted with native habitat through a series of events. Innovation Grant: $16,775.
  • NY (Syracuse): Amy Samuels, of Onondaga Environmental Institute, will engage youth in reducing stormwater runoff and combined sewage overflows to Onondaga Lake. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • OR (Roseburg): Matthew Hunter, of Umpqua Valley Audubon Society, plans to work with local municipalities and merchants to promote birding as a significant economic activity in stressed communities. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • PA (Audubon): Amy Weidensaul,of Audubon Pennsylvania, aims to inspire student ownership of a bird-friendly campus by involving troubled youth from the Glen Mills Schools in improving habitat on campus. Innovation Grant: $22,730.
  • PA (Philadelphia): Marie Eve P. Harris, of Philadelphia Zoo, plans tocreate fun family bonding experiences through hands-on activities that encourage action for climate change.  Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • SC (Aiken): Shannon Unger, of Ruth Patrick Science Education Center, will help abused children receive therapeutic benefits from urban gardening and habitat restoration.  Innovation Grant: $16,270.
  • VA (Wallops Island): Charnell Mcmullen Bushman, of Chincoteague Bay Field Station, will implement education and conservation projects that increase student awareness about their place in the local watershed. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.
  • VT (Shelburne): Noah Perlut,of University of New England, will engage local land owners and managers in ways they can balance farming and the needs of grassland birds. Innovation Grant: $36,712.
  • WA (Bellingham): Jen Watkins, of Conservation Northwest, will provide on-the-ground strategies that combine cultural and economic values with the need to sustain healthy habitat for wildlife in the Okanogan Valley. Innovation Grant: $5,000.
  • WA (Puyallup): Melissa Buckingham,of Pierce Conservation District, will use a diverse community driven process to remove 5,000 square feet of impervious asphalt contributing to water impairment in the Puyallup Watershed. Innovation Grant: $35,000.
  • WA (Seattle): Robyn Takamine,of Seward Park Audubon Center, will work with schools to monitor hummingbird activity and habitat needs in south Seattle. Fellowship Grant: $10,000.

For more details about the 2014 Audubon and Toyota TogetherGreen projects, visit:

About Toyota

Toyota established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants and has a network of nearly 1,500 dealerships. The company 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, and has contributed over half-a-billion dollars to philanthropic programs in the U.S. since 1991.

For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit or