New York, November 18, 2010 - Kids around the country are gearing up for the third season of Pennies for the Planet, an environmental education and action campaign to protect wildlife and habitat. Pennies for the Planet is made possible by support from TogetherGreen, an Audubon initiative - in alliance with Toyota. This year's program focuses on how to protect migrating wildlife and the habitats they depend on.
Pennies for the Planet (www.penniesfortheplanet.org) is a powerful tool for motivating kids of all ages to learn about and become engaged in protecting biodiversity. Kids not only learn more about conservation, but also directly help protect it by raising funds and conducting environmental projects in their own communities. By teaching young people about threatened ecosystems and wildlife, Pennies for the Planet strives to connect young people and families with the environment and provide ideas about how they can help protect it.
Pennies for the Planet change collected from now through August 2011 will be divided equally among the following three conservation projects:
* Protecting habitat along Nebraska's Platte River, a critical nesting and foraging site for majestic sandhill cranes, and endangered whooping cranes, least terns and piping plovers.
* Boosting Monarch butterfly habitat in Arizona so these unique creatures can rest during winter months and reproduce in the spring; and
* Helping beach-nesting birds along Mississippi's Gulf Coast combat future breeding challenges from the effects of the recent oil spill, as well as on-going threats from beachgoers and lack of vegetation.
The school that raises the most funds will be awarded a grand prize. Last year, the highest donation came from Columbia Elementary School in Annandale, Virginia, which raised nearly 77,000 pennies. For their contribution, the school was the recipient of an Audubon BioBash, an assembly of environmental fun and learning.
"It is vital that we give children everywhere the chance to get involved in conservation?and to see how their actions can really make a difference to conserve our wild species and spaces," said Audubon President David Yarnold. "Pennies for the Planet links environmental education with environmental action, which we hope starts young people on a lifelong journey toward environmental stewardship."
Nearly $55,000 has been raised through Audubon's Pennies for the Planet in the past two years. Donations made during the 2009 school year helped support coastal wetland restoration in Louisiana, protection of Panther Island in Florida and beach habitat in California.
Over the last decade, in conjunction with several other environmental organizations, Pennies for the Planet has helped tens of thousands of young people nationwide raise thousands of dollars to support species and habitat conservation.
Pennies for the Planet materials, including a full color poster and educators guide, a newsletter for kids, and a participation form with incentives and awards are available for download from www.penniesfortheplanet.org for classroom or at-home use.