Toyota and the National Audubon Society today announced that 2013 Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowships would be awarded to Prescott College Ph.D. candidates Chiara D’Amore and Clare Hintz. After a competitive nationwide selection process, Chiara and Clare were both selected for the yearlong fellowship program and each will receive a $10,000 grant.
Audubon and Toyota select 40 high-potential conservation leaders to receive Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowships each year. With their $10,000 grants, Toyota TogetherGreenFellows conduct community projects to engage diverse audiences in habitat, water, or energy conservation. In addition to receiving support to help launch their conservation initiatives, Toyota TogetherGreen Fellows also benefit from specialized training and membership in a diverse national network of conservation professionals.
Chiara will launch the Columbia Families in Nature (CFIN) project, providing fun, community oriented opportunities two to three times a month for busy families to take the time to be together in nature in Columbia, Maryland. According to Chiara, time in nature facilitates parent-child connection and sensitive interactions as the parent and child share appreciation of nature’s simple wonders. By connecting families with nearby nature, the goal of CFIN is to: help foster a greater sense of place and connection with the community; enhance environmental awareness and action with a focus on habitat, water, and energy conservation; promote the health and wellbeing of participants; and help strengthen family bonds.
Clare will launch a project to identify, capture, and share the stories of 12 to 20 women farmers in the Upper Midwest whose practices provide role models of sound agroecology, civic engagement, and economic viability; in other words what is referred to as “regenerative agriculture.” The stories will form the basis of a traveling arts exhibit, website, public talks, and new curriculum for conservation-based agriculture education. According to Clare, women farmers are more likely to practice conservation than their male counterparts. She sees a huge opportunity in the study of agriculture, explaining that while agriculture is a global contributor to biodiversity loss and climate change, it also provides a massive opportunity to protect native habitats and species and to sequester greenhouse gases.
“Toyota TogetherGreen Fellows help people engage with nature. They look like America: diverse, passionate and patriotic,” said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold. “They are environmental heroes and we’re excited to give them a chance to invent the future.”
In 2012, Jeremy Solin, was the first Prescott Ph.D. student to be awarded an Audubon Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowship. He created the Faces & Places of Northern Wisconsin project to help develop a biocultural identity in the region. The ongoing project includes video interviews with community leaders and a youth art contest. These videos are posted on the Northern Tier Commonwealth website and are being shared on the Faces & Places of Northern Wisconsin Facebook page as well. The youth art contest is continuing into its second year encouraging youth to develop and express their connection to the natural and human communities in Northern Wisconsin.
“It is quite impressive that three of the people chosen for this award in the past two years are students in our sustainability education doctoral program,” says Graduate Faculty Chairperson Denise Mitten. “Of course, the fact that ours is a hybrid distance program means that we draw students from all over the country, and world.
“Key benefits, aside from the results of the actual projects our students carry out, are the connections they will build and for others to see possibilities in what they accomplish. Sustainability at all levels and in all areas is sustained through connections.”
The Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowship Program invests in conservation leaders of all backgrounds, providing them with resources, visibility and a growing peer network to help them lead communities nationwide to a healthier environmental future. Since 2008, 240 conservation leaders from across the country have been awarded Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowships. They have engaged nearly 150,000 people in a wide variety of conservation efforts nationwide.
A complete list of 2013 Toyota TogetherGreen Fellows and details about their conservation projects can be found at www.togethergreen.org/fellows.
About Prescott College:
Prescott College is nationally-acclaimed, offering competency based programs in the liberal arts and professional disciplines with a focus on interdisciplinary and experiential education in six general areas: Environmental Studies, Human Development and Psychology, Education, Arts and Letters, Adventure Education, and Cultural and Regional Studies. A private, non-profit, four-year college, Prescott College offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in an on-campus and limited residency format. www.prescott.edu.
About Toyota TogetherGreen
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.