43 Environmental Projects Receive TogetherGreen Innovation Grants

43 Environmental Projects Receive TogetherGreen Innovation Grants

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Nearly $1.1 Million in Funding from Audubon and Toyota’s Conservation Initiative to Support Local, Solutions-based Environmental Projects Nationwide
New York, December 9, 2010 – 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 Projects Funded
Total Funding
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 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 improvement.
  1. Promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy in a rural Arizonan community through six demonstration projects, an energy fair, and 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 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 Park.
  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 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 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 conference, and two camps.
Creating a wildlife management plan for a neglected nature preserve outside Boise.
  1. Hands-on educational programs and the creation of nesting habitat for nighthawks and chimney 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 neighborhoods.
Working with community-members to plant wild grasses to provide wildlife habitat in Goshen, Kentucky’s only public green space — a nature center.
  1. Expanding the successful GreenKids Schoolyard Habitat program in Montgomery County, a program designed to build enduring environmental learning 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 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 tribal lands.
  2. Working with building owners, managers, designers and architects to promote understanding about (and implementation of) bird-safe design strategies.
  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 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 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 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 associated with the river. 
Conducting a year-long series of hands-on and educational events restoring sagebrush habitat on the Yomba-Shoshone reservation.
  1. Hands-on conservation internships, camps, and jobs training for kids from underserved schools in 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 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 techniques.
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 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 with a “Bird City” designation.
Restoring native habitat, reintroducing Columbian frogs, and protecting native vegetation from 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 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 to spend time in.
Working to connect Wyoming landowners with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) funding to support conservation and restoration efforts on 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.
Brenda Timm (Audubon)
212-979-3198/ [email protected] 
Javier Moreno (Toyota)
212-715-7469/[email protected]

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