Kids around the country are gearing up for the third season 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 how to protect migrating wildlife and the habitats they depend on.
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 help protect it.
Pennies for the Planet change collected from now through August 2011 will be divided equally among the following three conservation projects:
- Protecting habitat along Nebraska's Platte River, a critical nesting and foraging site for majestic sandhill cranes, and endangered whooping cranes, least terns and piping plovers.
- Boosting Monarch butterfly habitat in Arizona so these unique creatures can rest during winter months and reproduce in the spring; and
- Helping beach-nesting birds along Mississippi's Gulf Coast combat future breeding challenges from the effects of the recent oil spill, as well as on-going threats from beachgoers and lack of vegetation.
The school that raises the most funds will be awarded a grand prize. Last year, the highest donation came from Columbia Elementary School in Annandale, Virginia, which raised nearly 77,000 pennies. For their contribution, the school was the recipient of an Audubon BioBash, an assembly of environmental fun and learning.
'It is vital that we give children everywhere the chance to get involved in conservation - and to see how their actions can really make a difference to conserve our wild species and spaces,' said Audubon President David Yarnold. 'Pennies for the Planet links environmental education with environmental action, which we hope starts young people on a lifelong journey toward environmental stewardship.'
Nearly $55,000 has been raised through Audubon's Pennies for the Planet in the past two years. Donations made during the 2009 school year helped support coastal wetland restoration in Louisiana, protection of Panther Island in Florida and beach habitat in California.
Over the last decade, in conjunction with several other environmental organizations, Pennies for the Planet has helped tens of thousands of young people nationwide raise thousands of dollars to support species and habitat conservation.
Pennies for the Planet materials, including a full color poster and educators guide, a newsletter for kids, and a participation form with incentives and awards are available for download from 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 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.