TORRANCE, Calif., April 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Toyota and the Wyland Foundation are proud to congratulate the winners of the 2012 Earth Month Heroes, a Southern California program created by the organizations to annually recognize 30 exemplary citizens who find ground-breaking ways to work toward sustaining a healthy planet. The Wyland Foundation, Toyota and regional broadcast partner KCBS / KCAL will make donations of $250 on behalf of the Earth Month Heroes to deserving organizations in Southern California, with a $1,000 grand prize donation, to support local conservation efforts. For the full list of Earth Month Heroes, visit http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/earth-month-heroes/.
This is the second year of Earth Month Heroes in Southern California. Individuals of all ages from the areas of Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura counties, north San Diego County and the Inland Empire were selected by the Wyland Foundation after an open nomination process by neighbors, colleagues and peers throughout February and March for their environmental achievements. The 2012 grand prize winner is Dency Nelson, an early local organizer of activities during the first Earth Day in 1970. Nelson was chosen for his lifetime efforts to raise the profile of sustainable living in urban environments, and is a founding member of Plug In America, a non-profit public charity that promotes emissions-free driving.
"Toyota is honored to support the 2012 Earth Month Heroes, all of whom are demonstrating how one person truly can make a difference to help our planet," said Michael Rouse, vice president of philanthropy and community affairs for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. "We salute their efforts, and encourage others to follow their lead by finding impactful ways to preserve our environment and natural resources."
"We received so many incredible nominees for the Earth Month Heroes program this year, it was difficult to select 30," said artist Wyland. "We're delighted to celebrate their environmental spirit by making donations in their names, and also thank Toyota and KCBS/KCAL for their support – their contributions have helped us generate awareness about the importance of conservation to protect our environment both for today and the future."
Toyota's support of the Wyland Foundation, a non-profit founded by renowned environmental, marine artist Wyland, is part of the automobile company's long-standing commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. This year, Toyota also supported the Wyland Foundation in hosting the National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation, March 30 – April 30, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. With support from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the campaign challenged mayors nationwide to inspire their residents to conserve natural resources by taking a free, online pledge to save water. Participants in the city that registers the most pledges within the Challenge dates will be eligible to win a variety of prizes, including the new Toyota Prius c, which has an EPA-estimated city fuel economy rating of 53 miles per gallon. To take the free online pledge, visit www.mywaterpledge.com.
In addition to its support of the Wyland Foundation, Toyota engages the public through a variety of environmental initiatives and activities as part of the company's commitment to impactful environmental stewardship. One of Toyota's key environmental initiatives is TogetherGreen™, a five-year program funded by a $20 million Toyota grant to the National Audubon Society that aims to inspire people to take action to improve the health of the environment. For the past 14 years Toyota has also partnered with the National Environmental and Education Foundation (NEEF) to support National Public Lands Day (NPLD), held annually in September, and is the largest, hands-on volunteer event to improve and enhance public lands. Recently the partnership expanded to include "Every Day" grants to community-based organizations.
Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants in eight states. 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 facilities. Toyota's annual purchasing of parts, materials, goods and services from U.S. suppliers totals more than $23 billion.
Toyota is deeply committed to being a great community partner and is focused on supporting programs in ways that achieve long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, with a particular concentration on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed more than half a billion dollars to philanthropic programs across the U.S.
For more information on Toyota, please visit www.toyota.com.
About the Wyland Foundation
Founded in 1993 by environmental artist Wyland (best known for his series of 100 monumental marine life murals), the Wyland Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, is actively engaged in teaching millions of students around the county about our ocean, rivers, lakes streams, and wetlands. The foundation's latest project, FOCUS (Forests, Oceans, Climate – and us) brings together the U.S. Forest Service, NOAA, and numerous non-profits to teach young people about the future of our water supplies, climate, and global health. www.wylandfoundation.org
GolinHarris for Toyota