TORRANCE, Calif., June 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Wyland Foundation and Toyota today announced that Laguna Beach, Calif. resident Nika Shalala is the grand prize winner of the National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation, an online competition created by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota to encourage residents in all 50 states to conserve water, save energy and reduce pollution during Earth Month. As the grand prize winner, Shalala will receive a brand new Toyota Prius c Hybrid.
Shalala became eligible for the grand prize drawing after Laguna Beach was named among the 12 winning cities for the 2012 National Mayor's Challenge. Nearly 20,000 people from 1,000 cities in all 50 states made online pledges at www.mywaterpledge.com in the second annual National Mayor's Challenge to save a total of 4.7 billion gallons of water over the next year, with a potential cost savings of $11.6 million. Residents further pledged to reduce their use of single-use plastic water bottles by 1.1 million bottles and eliminate 60,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering watersheds. The Challenge ran from March 30 to April 30 to honor the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, and 50 mayors signed on with "official" signed declarations in cities that included Atlanta, San Francisco, Houston, Tucson, Honolulu, Miami Beach, Torrance, Calif. and Denver.
"We congratulate Nika for being this year's grand prize winner," said artist and environmentalist Wyland, who spearheaded the initiative. "To have participants from more than 1,000 cities, especially in every state, is outstanding and a testament to how simple, everyday actions can promote environmental change."
In addition to the Grand Prize of a Toyota Prius c Hybrid, participants in the winning cities were eligible for prizes that included custom-designed sprinkler systems from Rain Bird, Eco-Flow Showerheads from WaterPik, water-saving toilets from STERLING Plumbing, and 1,000 gift cards for Lowe's Home Improvement Stores. More than $50,000 in prizes was awarded.
"Toyota commends all Challenge participants, including the mayors who showed great enthusiasm for rallying their residents to make an environmental impact," said Michael Rouse, vice president of diversity, philanthropy and community affairs for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. "The Challenge was a great example of people working together to support and enact environmental change, and we look forward to continuing this significant program with the Wyland Foundation."
Organizations also involved in spearheading the Challenge included the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water, U.S. Forest Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, WaterPik, Rain Bird, Lowe's, STERLING Plumbing, PADI and Project AWARE.
Toyota's support of the Wyland Foundation is part of the automobile company's long-standing commitment to sustainability. Toyota engages the public through a variety of environmental initiatives as part of the company's commitment to impactful environmental stewardship. To learn more about how Toyota supports sustainability, please visit www.toyota.com/about/environment.
Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. Toyota directly employs over 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 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/philanthropy.
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