April 25, 2002

87 Canadian schools to receive grants from Toyota and Evergreen

Toronto, Ontario – 87 grants of up to $1,000 each are being distributed to Canadian schools to start or expand school ground naturalization projects. The grants are part of the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds program, a national program that helps Canadian schools bring nature to their play grounds. As well, six schools earned a new Award of Excellence worth $5,000 each.

“Many of our schools offer students cold, concrete school yards with chain link fences that make schools look more like prisons,” says Geoff Cape, executive director, Evergreen. “By transforming the school ground to include nature, the learning opportunities literally come alive. These grants are key to helping schools redesign their play space to provide students with a healthy and safe place to play, learn, and develop a genuine respect for nature and each other.”

Toyota’s partnership makes it possible for Evergreen to extend such a large grant pool to all 16,000 schools across Canada for the first time. This year, Evergreen received a record 278 applications; a 42.3 per cent increase from 2001. Toyota is committed to enabling Evergreen to distribute grants again in 2003.

“Toyota is proud to help provide Canadian children with school yards that are not only safer and healthier, but which allow them to develop a hands-on relationship with the natural world,” said Yoshio Nakatani, Chairman of Toyota Canada Inc. “Much, much more than a beautification program, Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds encourages students to take responsibility for the environment. It is a lesson we hope they will carry with them long past graduation.”

Evergreen is a national non-profit environmental organization with a mandate to bring nature to our cities through naturalization projects.

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