Wings Over Indy
A Critical Conservation Project in Indiana Receives
TogetherGreen Innovation Grant Funding
Nearly $28,000 from nationwideAudubon/Toyota conservation initiative will create critical wildlife habitat with help from local communities
New York, NY, November 23, 2010 – Amos Butler Audubon, and its partners, are the recipient of a national Innovation Grants that will support critical habitat projects in Indianapolis for Chimney Swifts and Common Nighthawks. Indianapolis schoolchildren will receive hands-on conservation knowledge as part of the Wings Over Indy project.
TogetherGreen Innovation Grants, provided through an alliance between National Audubon Society and Toyota, provide seed money for projects that use innovative approaches and technologies to engage new and diverse audiences in conservation action. Innovation Grants enable awardees and their partner organizations to inspire, equip, and engage people to tackle environmental problems and improve the health of their communities.
One of two TogetherGreen Innovation Grant projects taking place in Indiana is Wings Over Indy:
- “Wings Over Indy” (Indianapolis). The Amos Butler Audubon Society, along with a coalition of partners that includes Indianapolis Public Schools, Indy Parks and Recreation, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Central Indiana Land Trust, Butler University, and Marian University, received a $27,725 Innovation Grant to work with schoolchildren to build a series of nesting towers and rooftop gravel pads for lesser-known Indianapolis inhabitants: Chimney Swifts and Common Nighthawks . These bird species call the city home but are running out of safe places to live. Through hands-on projects, elementary students from predominantly minority, Title 1 schools will learn about these birds and help construct nesting habitats for them in the form of nesting towers and rooftop gravel pads. They’ll install the towers and gravel pads in key places around the city to serve as community outreach tools. In the end, these urban birds will have new nesting locations, young people will receive hands-on conservation experience, and the city of Indianapolis will learn more about some of their lesser-known neighbors.
“We are excited to be working with a broad coalition of partners to benefit both birds and students,” said Amos Butler Audubon president, Don Gorney. “Wings Over Indy will be a win for two declining, urban bird species and a win for Indianapolis Public School students. Students will gain a deeper appreciation of birds and the environment, while realizing that they have the ability to make a difference through hands-on conservation efforts."
The nearly $50,000 in total Indiana Innovation Grants are part of almost $1.1 million awarded by the TogetherGreen initiative this year. Now in its third cycle, the TogetherGreen Innovation Grants program has awarded more than $3.5 million to over 130 environmental projects nationwide. Forty three awardees in 27 states will receive grants ranging from $5,000 - $66,100. Funds are awarded to partnerships between Audubon groups (local Chapters or programs of Audubon’s large national network) and organizations in their communities—with more than 125 partner organizations involved in Innovation Grant projects in the coming year. Most of the projects involve audiences previously underserved or not engaged in environmental action, from urban youth to ranchers.
“The conservation solutions pioneered by TogetherGreen Innovation Grant winners are inspiring models of both ingenuity and conservation commitment,” said Audubon President David Yarnold. “Each project represents an investment in our shared environment and future – and an opportunity for many of our nation’s most creative and dedicated individuals and communities to transform their dreams into effective conservation action. As our alliance with Toyota shows, when organizations work together, they can magnify conservation results."
In addition to financial support, Innovation Grantees receive opportunities for professional development, including a multi-day workshop held at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife’s National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and web-based training throughout the year. They also receive communications support, which leads to more public recognition at the local, state, and national level, and they are networked with other grantees to share best practices and learn from others..
For complete details about the 2010 TogetherGreen Innovation Grants projects, please visit: www.togethergreen.org/grants.
Audubon and Toyota launched the five-year TogetherGreen initiative in 2008 to fund innovative conservation projects, support conservation leadership, and offer volunteer opportunities that significantly benefit the environment and reach new audiences.To date, TogetherGreen has supported 130 Innovation Grants projects, 120 Conservation Fellows, and over 750 Volunteer Days events nationwide. For more information, visit www.togethergreen.org.
Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world. Visit Audubon online at www.audubon.org.
Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants, including one under construction. Toyota directly employs nearly 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 more than $500 million to philanthropic programs in the U.S.
For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/community.
Lights Out Indy
During 2008, the Amos Butler Audubon Society awarded a $1,500 grant to the Lights Out Indy initiative. The purpose of the program is to reduce the amount of lighting in downtown Indianapolis during critical migration months to reduce bird mortality. Excess lighting causes birds to become confused and once trapped in a highly developed area they frequently collide with buildings. According to the USFWS, building collisions result in the death of at least 100 million birds each year. In addition to a reduction in bird mortality, Lights Out Indy will result in cost savings to participating building owners and managers through a decrease in the amount of energy consumed. In other words, everyone wins!
In Spring 2009, a committee of volunteers began work on making Lights Out Indy a reality. The City of Indianapolis is a partner in the initiative and will help promote the program. More details and contact information can be found on the Lights Out Indy website at www.lightsoutindy.org.
Audubon's Important Bird Areas Program
Audubon's Important Bird Areas Program Habitat loss and fragmentation are the most serious threats facing bird populations across America and around the world. BirdLife International, a global coalition of more than 100 conservation organizations, initiated the Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program in Europe in the 1980's to combat these pressures. This key conservation effort has grown into an international endeavor; to date, IBAs have been identified in 156 countries around the globe. As the United States Partner of BirdLife International, Audubon has been administering the program since 1995 via statewide initiatives.
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