Toyota Donation to Support Environmental Leadership at Yosemite National Park and UC Merced

$600,000 and five Prius donated by Toyota to Yosemite National Park

Toyota Gift Yosemite National Park, Calif. - Toyota is providing more than $600,000 and five hybrid vehicles to Yosemite National Park to support a number of environmental education programs at Yosemite and the University of California, Merced, it was announced today.

"The development of environmental education programs is key to preserving our majestic national parks for future generations," said Bill Duff, Corporate Manager, Environmental Office, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "Toyota is proud to be part of this endeavor through our donation to The Yosemite Fund and Yosemite National Park."

The donation was facilitated through the park's nonprofit fundraising partner, The Yosemite Fund. The park will use Toyota's contribution to support the Yosemite Leadership Program (YLP), a partnership between Yosemite, UC Merced and California State Parks. The internship program provides students with work experience in a park, wilderness education, a living stipend and the opportunity for possible future employment with the park. In addition, Toyota funds are being used to refurbish cabins in the park to be used as dorms for the interns.

"We are grateful for Toyota's generous support of these key educational programs in Yosemite," said Mike Tollefson, Yosemite National Park Superintendent. "Toyota's grants, received through our partnership with the Yosemite Fund, ensure that parks and wild places remain relevant to future generations by providing access to higher learning and residential internships in one of America's flagship parks."

The Wilderness Center on the campus of UC Merced was established in part with funds from the Toyota donation. As the home base of the Yosemite Leadership Program, the Wilderness Center fosters a wilderness ethic among students, as well as assists students and faculty with planning for trips to Yosemite and other national parks and forests. Students staffing the center are also paid through a fund developed with Toyota's grant.

"Working as partners with the National Park Service, institutions of higher learning and nonprofits, Toyota's generous contribution advances leadership and education opportunities to protect and preserve Yosemite National Park," said Bob Hansen, president, The Yosemite Fund. "The breadth of their contributions provides the resources to inspire new generations to develop an interest in conservation, environmental management and a passion for the outdoors."

Toyota's donation will also be used to establish a two-week Executive Leadership Seminar in 2009 designed specifically for experienced professionals in park and protected area land management. Leaders from government, corporate, and non-profit sectors will focus on proactive approaches and strategic leadership for use in complex, real-world land management challenges. This course draws on the University of California's academic leadership, and pairs it with the unparalleled opportunity for field study and experiential learning in Yosemite National Park.

In addition to the monetary donation, Yosemite will receive five Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles, which will be used to support Yosemite's air quality, bear management, wilderness education, search and rescue and visitor services.

The donation to Yosemite National Park is part of a $5 million contribution from Toyota in support of five National Parks and the National Park Foundation to enhance environmental leadership and educational programs at parks around the country. The company is also donating 23 vehicles in total to the national parks.

# # #





Media Contact