Take Pride in America® Voluntour Across America
Recognizes Cochran and Fountain City FFA
Washington, D.C. – Take Pride in America® Voluntour Across America, “the Heartland,” headed north Thursday to recognize the efforts of the Cochran and Fountain City Future Farmers of America and their impact on the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge.
Class seniors took a boat to the recently built islands in the Spring Lake portion of the refuge where the FFA planted 700 trees last spring, just one of many projects they’ve taken on to nurture the island habitats. Take Pride in America representative Lisa Young was on hand to award them Take Pride in America volunteer certificates and T-shirts, giving national recognition to their efforts.
The islands were built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2006 and seeded with native prairie plants but were quickly being taken over by Purple Loosestrife, an invasive species of plant whose seed swirls around in the waters of the Mississippi River. The Cochran and Fountain City Future Farmers of America began eradication efforts last year, pulling every weed they could find and then releasing Galerucella beetles they raised to keep the weed from returning.
“The estimate we got to have a contractor do this kind of work came
to nearly $250, 000,” said Mary Stefanski, Refuge District Manager. “This
great group of kids worked so hard and with so much enthusiasm too.”
The Heartland Voluntour, sponsored by Toyota, features Take Pride in America staff traveling in a Toyota Highlander through six states over 15 days and participating in ten events and visiting schools and other places to recognize volunteers and their efforts. The tour’s final stop will be in Erlanger, Ky. for a National Public Lands Day event.
This year, the Voluntour Across America has already logged more than 5,200 miles, as Take Pride in America staff traveled through the Southeast and West Coast in a Toyota hybrid participating in a wide range of events.
“At Toyota, we operate under a company-created global earth charter that promotes environmental responsibility throughout our entire company,” said Michael Rouse, Toyota corporate manager of philanthropy and community affairs. “We are also committed to preserving the environment through strong partnerships with organizations like Take Pride in America.”
Monday, September 15, 2008 - Johnston, Iowa
Saylorville Lake Visit
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 - West Des Moines, Iowa
Take Pride in America School Visit with Dowling Catholic High School
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 - Prairie City, Iowa
Environmental Education Program at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
Thursday, September 18, 2008 - Winona, Minnesota
Site visit with Cochran-Fountain City Future Farmers of America at the Upper Mississippi Refuge
Saturday, September 20, 2008 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Kids in Nature Family Hike of the Ice Age Trail
Saturday, September 20, 2008 - Madison, Wisconsin
Brooklyn State Wildlife Area Volunteer Event
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - Columbus, Ohio
Keep Columbus Beautiful Ohio State University Event
Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - Oak Harbor, Ohio
Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Visit
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.
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.