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Gifts to benefit Ohio River & old mine site

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .

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Greed is only part of the corporate equation. There’s still green in the greenback.

Case in point: Toyota is behind the National Audubon Society’s TogetherGreen project to enable local conservation projects.

It has granted $78,000 to two Pittsburgh projects — $33,000 to The Keystone Center to launch Students for Sustainable Cities, which it describes as “a program grounded in scientific investigation and aligned with National Education Standards that will help middle school teachers and their students explore the ways environmental health, social well being, and economic vitality are interconnected.

“Students taking part in the program will work with community leaders to explore the issues affecting the river and the city, and then commit to taking action on a specific community issue of their choice.”

An estimated 80 percent of the threatened fish species and many amphibian species of concern in Pennsylvania are found in the Ohio River drainage system.

The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is getting $45,000 to restore a former mine site about 20 minutes west of the city. (The photo above, by George Thomas Mendel, was taken in the Appalachian Plateau Woodlands near Settler's Cabin State Park, a remediation site that is connected to the larger project.)

With TogetherGreen funding, the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden “will transform 15 acres of the site into a native woodland habitat garden. Through a partnership with Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania and the fifty-year-old social services organization Auberle, up to 100 neglected kids will get to be part of the transformation, visiting the site on field trips, learning about native woodlands, and helping with the reclamation and restoration.

“They’re using green practices and processes from start to finish: recycling all of the metal waste found on the site, using solar power for irrigation, treating the acid mine drainage, and restoring native ecosystems to their former grandeur. In the coming years, Pittsburghers will be able to enjoy a beautiful botanic garden – the only one ever to be created on an abandoned mine site.”

You can find out how great the sweep and scope of this program is nationally by visiting this site.

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