U.S. Department of the InteriorOffice of the Secretary - U.S. Department of the Interior - www.doi.gov - Media Advisory
For Immediate Release:
Date: September 29, 2008
Contact: Ron Tull (202) 208-5089
Rick Hesterberg (502) 868-2135

Take Pride in America Heartland Voluntour and
Toyota Celebrate National Public Lands Day

Frankfort, Ky - The Take Pride in America® Voluntour Across America, Heartland Voluntour arrived at the Salato Wildlife Education Center Saturday, Sept. 27 to join employees from Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Georgetown, Ky. for their National Public Lands Day event.

More than 200 employees, many arriving after their overnight shifts, were joined by volunteers from Franklin County High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC and football team, as well as 17 international students from Kentucky State University, to pick up litter, build trails, and pull invasive weeds.

The efforts added to the education center’s Toyota sponsored “Habitrek” trail and a lot of sweat went into clearing invasive honeysuckle, winter creeper vine and privet bushes that were taking over the area behind the black bear exhibit. That required muscle and something called a weed wrench to remove the thick roots. On the hill in front of the exhibit, another team was digging deep holes for rain ponds and building a berm to keep rains from flooding the bear exhibit.

Toyota, sponsor of Voluntour Across America, has a corporate philosophy of giving back to the community, according to one of the plants vice presidents, Takao Gonno. “The concept is called Shakai Koken which translates meaning social contribution,” Gonno said.

The big event in Kentucky marked the end of the 2008 Voluntour Across America and the “Heartland Voluntour” which covered more than 2,900 miles and six states recognizing and participating in volunteer events on public lands. Take Pride in America staff traveled in a Toyota Highlander to wildlife refuges, schools, and state parks and then blogged about their travels on the Take Pride in America website at www.TakePride.gov.

Earlier this year, the Voluntour Across America logged more than 5,200 miles, as Take Pride in America staff traveled through the West Coast and the Southeast in a Toyota hybrid participating in a wide range of events to promote volunteerism on public lands.

About Take Pride:
Take Pride in America® is a national partnership program administered by the Department of the Interior and authorized by Congress to promote the appreciation and stewardship of public lands. Take Pride in America is active in all 50 states, has partnerships with public, private, and nonprofit organizations, and features Clint Eastwood as national spokesman. Citizen stewards know and count on Take Pride in America for the most comprehensive online portal of public lands volunteer opportunities and for showcasing the most outstanding public lands stewardship activities through the annual national award ceremony. For more information, visit www.TakePride.gov.

About Toyota:
Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus and Scion in the United States, marketing products and services through a network of 1,427 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers in 49 states. Established in 1957, TMS and its subsidiaries also are involved in distribution logistics, motorsports, and research and development. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyota.com.

— DOI —