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Audubon View

Imagine if every American acted to improve the health of our natural world. Think what we could accomplish. We could protect and restore the habitats so critical to imperiled birds and other wildlife—and to people. We could reduce our demand for energy and the outsized U.S. contribution to the climate-altering pollution that threatens ecosystems worldwide. We could improve the quality of our air and water, and of life in our communities.

Regrettably, we can’t engage everyone. But with environmental problems making headlines and individuals seeking new ways to respond, we can dramatically expand the numbers, the diversity, and the commitment of those who take conservation action. As this issue went to press, Audubon was finalizing details—two years in the making—of a new alliance with Toyota to drive this expansion.

Thanks to a five-year, $20 million Toyota grant, Audubon’s new TogetherGreen initiative will annually identify and fund dozens of innovative on-the-ground projects to produce tangible benefits for land, water, wildlife, and energy conservation. Audubon will select and train promising Conservation Fellows to become community role models today and urgently needed conservation leaders tomorrow. Working with Audubon Chapters and Audubon Centers, TogetherGreen will sponsor local volunteer days, providing opportunities for people to participate in hands-on conservation and restoration projects.

Audubon’s powerful grassroots presence allows us to plant hearty seeds of engagement that will start small but grow and spread rapidly. TogetherGreen innovation grants will require recipients to work cooperatively with other community and environmental groups, drawing in new audiences. Conservation Fellows will be chosen in part for their ability to lead diverse communities in efforts with local support and broad impact. And Toyota’s huge workforce promises a new source of volunteers and eventual models of what motivated individuals can achieve.

Skeptics may wonder whether a big corporation and a conservation group can successfully work together. Don’t we disagree on some things? Of course. But there is so much more on which we agree. By building on this common ground, we will spark real conservation engagement and outcomes.

Toyota is already a longtime supporter of Audubon Centers that deliver nature experiences and education—plus the chance to take personal action—to previously underserved groups in urban communities. TogetherGreen expands such efforts to a whole new level, reaching an even wider audience and spurring even greater involvement. Its value will be determined by the people we engage and the places we protect. We look forward to reporting those outcomes.

Meanwhile, we invite everyone to explore the first phases of, our new website. It offers a wide variety of individual actions visitors can take to green their daily lives; many go beyond reducing their carbon footprint to deliver broader benefits. Visitors can nominate outstanding heroes and initiatives to be celebrated. They can challenge friends to heed the call. And ultimately, they will find many ways to volunteer, and to tally their own efforts. As TogetherGreen projects unfold, the site will regularly offer new opportunities to become involved and then showcase the results.

We’re confident that TogetherGreen will be an important addition to the growing array of groups and initiatives intended to mobilize conservation forces across the country. But whatever the motivation, we must all work together to ensure a greener, healthier future. Simply put, we must act today to shape tomorrow.
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United, We Conserve
Pat Pineda, Group Vice President at Toyota Motor North America, Inc., shares more on the TogetherGreen initiative.

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