Toyota TogetherGreen, a conservation program of the National Audubon Society has announced its 2013 recipients of the Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grant. Audubon North Carolina (ANC)has been awarded $40,000 to expand a Bird-Friendly Communities (BFC) program across North Carolina. With the Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grant from Audubon, ANC is expanding its conservation efforts for birds and people, educating N.C. residents on how they can make an impact in their own backyards and neighborhoods, and giving them the tools to do so.
“Organizations that won Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grants this year have ingenuity and creativity on full display. And that’s what it takes to tackle the environmental challenges we face today,” said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold (@david_yarnold). “I’m proud to partner with these innovators in creative approaches to achieve healthier communities and big conservation results.”
This will be the first time ANC has organized a statewide conservation program that seeks to engage the public in their backyards and communities. The BFC Program has already engaged a leadership group comprised of 16 conservation and municipal organizations to promote and implement the vision that bird-friendly communities give birds more opportunities to succeed and thrive. The BFC plan is designed to create a link in citizen’s minds between everyday actions and the well being of birds they commonly see in their backyards and neighborhoods. The plan will initially focus on planting native plants that benefit birds, minimizing threats posed by urban environments through expanding its Lights Out North Carolina program, and engaging people of all ages and backgrounds to become environmental stewards.
“With population and urbanization in North Carolina rapidly increasing, this project will address an array of conservation issues on a statewide scale, with a specific focus on threatened migratory birds, the declining Brown-headed Nuthatch and other priority species,” says Director of Land Bird Conservation Curtis Smalling. “By restoring sustainable habitats and food sources, and reducing urban obstacles, the Bird-Friendly Communities program will help citizens and decision-makers reduce the challenges that will in-turn allow birds to thrive.”
In order to help increase bird populations, the BFC team will approach the project with three goals in mind:
1. Encouraging building owners and architects to create a more bird-friendly built environments through training, and implementing a Lights Out North Carolina program targeting commercial buildings
2. Educating landscape architects and homeowners to plant native foliage that provide important food sources for birds
3. Engaging citizens to install 10,000 Brown-headed Nuthatch nest boxes by 2015
Toyota TogetherGreen, a national conservation program of the National Audubon Society and Toyota, invests in conservation initiatives that use innovative approaches and technologies to engage new and diverse audiences in addressing pressing environmental problems. Since 2008, Audubon and Toyota have awarded more than $5.5 million in Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grants to more than 240 conservation projects nationwide.
Curtis Smalling was named a 2011 Audubon Toyota TogetherGreen Fellow, coordinating an initiative engaging private landowners to improve young forest habitat for Golden-winged Warblers. To learn more about Bird-Friendly Communities in North Carolina visit http://nc.audubon.org/bird-friendly-communities.
About Audubon North Carolina
With a century of conservation history in North Carolina, Audubon strives to conserve and restore the habitats we share with all wildlife, focusing on the needs of birds. Audubon North Carolina achieves its mission through a blend of science-based research and conservation, education and outreach, and advocacy. Audubon North Carolina has offices in Corolla, Boone, Wilmington and Chapel Hill.
About Toyota TogetherGreen
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Toyota and the National Audubon Society launched the Toyota TogetherGreen initiative in 2008 to foster diverse environmental leadership and invest in innovative conservation ideas. Toyota TogetherGreen funding recipients have improved more than 30,000 acres of habitat, mobilized 420,000 individuals, conserved 15 million gallons of water and leveraged $10.5 million in volunteer hours. For more information, visit www.togethergreen.org.