Major Milestone -- This year marked the 20th in a row that Toyota had partnered with the National Environmental Education Foundation on National Public Lands Day. Above are some measures of the cumulative impact of that collaboration.
Starting in September and continuing into October, more than 200,000 volunteers turned out at parks, beaches, rivers and other public spaces throughout the country in observance of the 25th annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD).
Toyota has been a long-time sponsor of this effort through monetary donations but also — more importantly — in the form of hands-on participation. In fact, over the past few weeks, more than 3,000 team members representing 43 Toyota affiliates came together at 50 sites nationwide in support of NPLD.
What follows is a small sampling of this groundswell of volunteer action to help restore and rejuvenate some of the country’s most treasured natural resources.
Work and Play -- Team members from Bodine's Troy, Missouri, plant gather at the 6,400-acre Cuivre River State Park to spread mulch at two playgrounds and help remove invasive plant species. The Toyota folk joined up with Boy Scouts from local troops as well as members of an equestrian club to assemble a workforce of some 40 volunteers.
Beach Party -- Team members from Toyota de Puerto Rico pick up trash along the beach near San Cristobal Castle in San Juan. The amount of debris that washed up along Puerto Rico's 272 miles of coastline surged significantly in the wake of the back-to-back hits of Hurricane Irma and Hurrican Maria last year.
On the Beam -- Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana team members join forces with community members to help construct Mickey's Kingdom. The playground aims to promote active play and stimulate the imagination and will be accessible to all children regardless of physical ability. TMMI also awarded Mickey's Kingdom a $50,000 grant toward the construction of a wheelchair swing.
Elephant Food -- Two of the 45 volunteers representing the Portland Region bundle and load "browse," vegetation cleared at Chinook Landing Marine Park that will be fed to animals -- including elephants -- at the Oregon Zoo. Team members also spread bark mulch in rings around 96 trees, stained and sealed wooden structures (including an overlook of the Columbia River) and collected 50 pounds of micro-trash, such as cigarette butts and plastic and glass litter.
Happy Haulers -- Toyota Motor Manufacturing, West Virginia team members remove dilapidated items as part of their efforts to help restore Camp Appalachia. In all, more than 30 volunteers from the plant also painted fences and cabin floors, repaired benches and sports activity areas and cleared brush. The 157-acre camp's mission is to reach out to at-risk youth and families dealing with drug addiction, foster care and learning disabilities.
Friendship Garden -- Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky team members and their families help spruce up Yuko-En on the Elkhorn, the official Kentucky-Japan Friendship Garden located in Georgetown, Kentucky, on the north fork of Elkhorn Creek.
Back to Nature -- Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama team members help build out an education pavilion at the nearby Hayes Nature Preserve. Other projects included work on a monarch butterfly waystation and construction of an animal footprint trail. Oh, and TMMAL also made a $15,000 donation to the preserve.
Tree Trunk Trail -- Team members from Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi help revitalize one of the main hiking paths at Tombigbee State Park. Other projects included restoring a disc golf course, planting native vegetation, installing 2,400 feet of split rail fence and upgrading a pavilion with new electrical, paint, benches flooring and roof. This is the fourth year of TMMMS' five-year commitment to the park. Each year, the plant donates $50,000 in addition to the manual labor.
By Dan Miller