April 9th Ceremony at Cochran Elementary School Highlights Month-Long City Challenge Across U.S.; Wyland Foundation, Toyota Focus Efforts on Much Needed Water Conservation
DALLAS, April 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Last year, the city of Dallas, encouraged by Mayor Mike Rawlings’ concern for conserving water, won the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation ( mywaterpledge.com). The program, now in its fourth year, is a far-reaching community service initiative to promote smart water use in all 50 states.
To celebrate Dallas’ leadership in promoting water conservation, Toyota – the national presenting sponsor – and the Wyland Foundation, will break ground on a water-efficient outdoor classroom and student garden at Cochran Elementary School, a Title I school in Dallas, on Thursday, April 9. Others who have provided additional support for the project include the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Toro Company, Texas Land Care, WaterSmart Software, Bytelaunch and the National League of Cities.
Joining Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Mayor Rawlings at the event will be internationally renowned artist and conservationist Wyland, Toyota Chief Environmental Officer Kevin Butt, Dallas ISD Assistant Superintendent Desiree Arias and students and staff from Cochran Elementary School.
The landscape makeover highlights new water-efficiency techniques and native plants to show how simple inexpensive changes can beautify the landscape in the North Texas region with minimal water usage.
Mayor Rawlings, EPA Administrator McCarthy, Butt and Wyland will break ground, along with Cochran students, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. CST Thursday, April 9, in the courtyard of Cochran Elementary School, 6000 Keeneland Parkway, in Dallas.
The Cochran Elementary School project will create an outdoor environment within the school’s 25,000-square-foot courtyard that uses Texas native trees, plants and grasses, decomposed granite pathways, low-cost water efficient irrigation and weather sensors, and student gardens for each grade. The plants for each garden were chosen last year by each grade as a group project. Toyota and Wyland are providing landscape design, installation, labor and soils. The project creates a more-useable space for the school with minimal water requirements. In comparison, a traditionally landscaped property of similar size would use up to 500,000 gallons of water a year.
The day will include a special presentation about this critical water saving project from McCarthy, the nation’s top environmentalist, who is touring the nation to promote the economic necessity of clean water and conservation in our communities.
During the event, Mayor Rawlings will challenge mayors across the nation to participate in this year’s initiative. The Challenge, which drew participation from residents in more than 3,600 cities across the country last year, encourages residents to rethink how they use water at home, at work and in the community by making a series of simple pledges online. Participating residents from cities who make the most water conservation pledges qualify to win hundreds of eco-friendly prizes, including the grand prize: a Toyota Prius v. Last year, more than 3,700 Dallas residents made pledges to reduce water waste by 18 million gallons.
Other prizes for cities include the WaterSmart Software tools to reduce water usage by 5 percent and a water-efficient landscape makeover.
About the Wyland Foundation and the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation
Founded in 1993 by environmental artist Wyland (best known for his series of 100 monumental marine life murals), the Wyland Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, is actively engaged in teaching millions of students around the county about our ocean, rivers, lakes streams, and wetlands. As one of its signature programs, the 4th Annual National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, April 1-30 is a friendly, community based competition between cities across the nation to see who can be the most water wise. Mayors and civic leaders challenge resident to conserve water, energy, and other natural resources on behalf of their city through a series of easy to use online pledges at mywaterpledge.com. Participating residents from winning cities are rewarded with over $50,000 in eco-friendly and water saving prizes, including customized lawn and garden irrigation, water saving home fixtures, home improvement gift cards, and the Grand Prize 2015 Toyota Prius v. For more information please see www.wylandfoundation.org
Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world’s top automaker and creator of the Prius and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we’ve built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 42,000 people (more than 33,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.67 million cars and trucks (more than 2.35 million in the U.S.) in 2014 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.
Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country, with a focus on education, safety and the environment. As part of this commitment, we share the company’s extensive know-how garnered from building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.