Kids around the country are gearing up for another year of Pennies for the Planet, an environmental education and action campaign to protect wildlife and habitat. Pennies for the Planet is made possible by support from TogetherGreen, an Audubon initiative in alliance with Toyota. This year's program focuses on three unique and vital wildlife habitats—spanning special places from the Atlantic to the Arctic Oceans—that are in critical need of protection.
Pennies for the Planet (www.penniesfortheplanet.org) is a powerful tool for motivating kids of all ages to learn about and become engaged in protecting biodiversity. Kids not only learn more about conservation, but also directly help protect it by raising funds and conducting environmental projects in their own communities. By teaching young people about threatened ecosystems and wildlife, Pennies for the Planet strives to connect young people and families with the environment and provide ideas about how they can make a conservation difference.
Pennies for the Planet donations collected from September 1, 2011 through August 31, 2012 will be divided equally among the following three conservation projects:
- Restore Texas' one-of-a-kind Sabal Palm Forest by replacing invasive plants with native species, providing necessary habitat for local wildlife such as ocelots, buff-bellied hummingbirds, and green jays. The forest is home to many species of plants and animals that do not occur elsewhere in the U.S.
- Preserve North Carolina's Lea-Hutaff Barrier Islandby protecting habitat for the island's threatened and endangered species. These islands provide a natural protection from extreme weather and play host to a variety of species, including beach nesting birds such as piping plovers and least terns, as well as the endangered loggerhead sea turtle.
- Protect the Alaskan Arctic Ocean by supporting scientists working to learn more about the Beaufort and Chukchi seas and the unique species that call this remote area home, including whales, ivory gulls, eiders, and polar bears.
The group that raises the most funds (postmarked by the May 5, 2012 deadline) will be awarded an Audubon BioBash, a fun environmental educational assembly led by Audubon educators. Last year, the largest donation came from the Hermitage School District in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, which raised over 163,470 pennies.
'Kids are our future conservationists,' said Audubon President David Yarnold. 'This program gives young people a chance to learn more and be empowered by seeing results from their actions. We hope that this year's conservation projects inspire them to get involved and realize that they can make a meaningful difference in protecting our planet.'
Since receiving support from Audubon and Toyota's TogetherGreen initiative, Pennies for the Planet has raised more than $90,000. Donations made during 2010-2011 helped restore crane habitat along the Platte River in Nebraska, created monarch butterfly habitat in Arizona, and helped protect beach nesting birds along Mississippi's Gulf Coast, which is still recovering from last year's oil spill.
Over the past decade, in conjunction with several environmental organizations, Pennies for the Planet has helped tens of thousands of young people nationwide raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to support species and habitat conservation.
Pennies for the Planet materials, including a full color poster and educators' guide, and a participation form with incentives and awards are available for download at www.penniesfortheplanet.org for classroom or at-home use.
Audubon and Toyota launched the five-year TogetherGreen initiative in 2008 to build the promise of a greener, healthier future through innovation, leadership and volunteerism. For more information, visit www.togethergreen.org.
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.
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 people 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.
For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/community.
Contact: Elizabeth Sorrell (Audubon)
212-979-3185 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoe Zeigler (Toyota)
212-715-7492 / email@example.com
SOURCE National Audubon Society