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Toyota Funds Audubon's TogetherGreen for Five Years

NEW YORK, New York, March 26, 2008 (ENS) – The National Audubon Society and Toyota today launched TogetherGreen, a nationwide Audubon program to fund conservation projects, train environmental leaders, and offer volunteer opportunities to benefit the environment.

TogetherGreen is supported by a five-year $20 million grant from Toyota – the largest grant Audubon says the 103-year old organization has ever received.

“TogetherGreen is about giving people the knowledge, the support and the opportunities they need to truly make a difference,” said Audubon President John Flicker. “We will engage people of all ages, from every community and all walks of life to help shape a healthier future.”

“Audubon has a long and successful history of encouraging conservation of our natural ecosystems, and we are proud to develop this initiative with them,” said Patricia Salas Pineda, group vice president of Toyota Motor North America.

“Toyota believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results,” she said, “and TogetherGreen fits perfectly with that philosophy.”

TogetherGreen will have three components – funding, training and volunteering.

Innovation Grants to fund dozens of on-the-ground projects intended to unite Audubon’s national network with environmental and community partners.

Conservation Fellowships to train and foster as many as 200 promising environmental leaders who can serve as expert guides and organizers for engaging new and diverse audiences in effective conservation action,

Volunteer Days to be offered at Audubon Centers and other locations nationwide, providing hands-on opportunities to address environmental problems and take part in restoration activities.

The whole experience is designed to encourage individual conservation actions that people can take to “independently green their lives,” the partners said.

Pineda says Toyota plans to engage its 36,000 U.S. employees and invite its business partners to join with others through TogetherGreen as conservation volunteers “to take the individual steps that will add up to significant conservation results.”

“Toyota employees have already been energized by participation in volunteer activities at Audubon’s Mitchell Lake Center in San Antonio, Texas,” said Pineda. “We’re excited by the promise of more opportunities for them to be involved in hands-on conservation efforts.”

Toyota is a long-time supporter of Audubon Centers that deliver nature experiences, conservation education and action opportunities to previously underserved groups in urban communities, she said.

“Every aspect of TogetherGreen.org, scheduled to debut later this spring, will be designed to highlight and encourage conservation action,” the partners said.

Visitors to the new site can follow the conservation efforts and achievements of TogetherGreen projects, and nominate and celebrate the work of environmental heroes and projects across the country, and challenge friends to take conservation actions of their own.

“The stakes for the future of our environment are tremendous and Toyota and Audubon share a commitment to inspire and empower Americans to make a positive difference.” said Flicker. “With our two organizations working together, we plan to see true and measurable results from TogetherGreen.”

The National Audubon Society, now headquartered in New York City, had its origin in 1900 when Frank Chapman proposed the first annual Christmas Bird Count as an alternative to the traditional Christmas side hunt in his publication of “Bird Lore,” predecessor to “Audubon Magazine.”

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