Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds: One million champions for environmental stewardship

TOYOTA CANADA - It started twelve years ago with an idea: "How can we make things better for the environment?" Today, Toyota Canada Inc. and Evergreen celebrated an important milestone for their award-winning partnership, The Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds Program. This year, the program will help instill lifelong environmental awareness in its one millionth Canadian child.

"From the centre of Canada's largest cities to its far-flung rural communities, the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds Program has provided funding, expertise and a helping hand to transform concrete and asphalt school yards into living laboratories and naturalized play spaces for our children," said Sandy Di Felice, Director External Affairs, Toyota Canada Inc. "We're thrilled that Canadian schools have been so enthusiastic about this program, with thousands of schools across the country benefitting from it. This has given us a remarkable opportunity to give back to the communities that our customers, dealers and associates call home."At a ceremony today, Toyota and Evergreen toured a project at Frenchman's Bay Public School in Pickering, Ontario where nature is making its way back into the schoolyard. The Grade four students showed visitors the three naturalized areas where they play and learn, – including a shady grove and two outdoor classrooms which were built with two-year funding support from the local dealership, Pickering Toyota.

"Our efforts to get children outside, active and engaged in nature is a challenge in the increasingly indoor world of modern childhood," said Cam Collyer, program director Evergreen. "Being here today reminds us all of the power and potential of this interaction."The Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds Program offers schools access to landscape design expertise and to a resource library featuring how-to guides and information on native plants. It also provides interactive workshops for teachers and others to help make the most of their new outdoor classroom showing them how they can weave curriculum into the natural space. Toyota dealerships and associates get involved directly, contributing money and practical assistance to transform the school grounds.Frenchman's Bay Public School is one of six schools in Durham Region to benefit from The Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds Program in the 2011/2012 school year. Nationally, the program has committed more than $190,000 to 99 schools this year – and more than $ 2.5 million  to approximately 3,000 schools since Toyota Canada and Evergreen launched the program in 2000.

For more information about the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds Program, visit: http://www.evergreen.ca/en/programs/schools/