Pollinators put food on our tables. One out of every three bites we eat comes to us courtesy of pollinators such as bees, butterflies, moths, flower flies, beetles and bats. About 75% of crop plants require or benefit from pollination and ecosystems would seriously decline or go extinct without pollinators.
To support these important species, Toyota is donating $400,000 to the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) and the Pollinator Partnership (P2) that will be used to enhance 26,000 acres of pollinator habitat across North America over the next five years.
The nonprofit NEEF will administer the 2022 Biodiversity Conservation Grant Program. The 2022 grantees, the Catalina Island Conservancy in Avalon, California, and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden in Ohio, will create, improve and protect habitats for butterflies, bees, bats and others. The organization will manage the payments and work with the grantees during the life of their projects. NEEF will also be responsible for evaluating and reporting back to Toyota on the projects and their impacts.
P2 is working with the support of Toyota to launch the Pollinator Friendly Places initiative. Through this program, P2 will help Toyota create, enhance and protect thousands of acres of habitat for pollinators, increase landowner education, increase the implementation of best management practices, provide education and volunteer opportunities to Toyota staff and the public, and ultimately support the health of pollinators across North America.
P2 will distribute native wildflower seeds to qualified applicants to plant in prairies, meadows, gardens or other habitats that already have flowering vegetation. Recipients of the seeds include private landowners, nonprofits and local, state and federal government agencies. Thus far, P2 has supported 76 project sites across 13 states, Mexico and Canada totaling 1,547 acres.
P2 is also working with Pollinator Partnership Canada (P2C) to support habitat restoration on smaller parcels in British Columbia that will be used for community education and engagement. And in Mexico, P2 is partnering with the World Wildlife Fund Mexico to support their ongoing reforestation work in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (MBBR), located on the border of the central Mexico states of Michoacan and Estado de Mexico. Funding from this program is being used to support the production of 40,000 tree seedlings, including 20,000 oyamel firs and 20,000 Mexican pines, which monarchs use for their overwintering ground. These trees will be used to reforest around 100 acres of land.