The Nature Conservancy’s Arizona Forest Restoration Project and the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Phoenix District Youth Initiative today received a Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant for $25,000 and $24,097, respectively. Both organizations were selected from among 54 environmental nonprofits to receive grant dollars totaling $3 million from the 2014 Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program, which supports projects focused on land and water conservation, energy efficiency, infrastructure, and educational outreach in communities across America.
The Nature Conservancy’s Restoring Arizona’s Forests Program uses science-based solutions to restore Arizona’s Ponderosa Pine forest and conserve the lands and water on which all life depends. Forests are critical to Arizona’s rural economies, rivers and wildlife habitat, and our water supplies. The grant will help accelerate forest thinning – which is a natural solution to protect forests from long-term drought conditions and the risk of mega-fires.
“We are thrilled to partner with Wells Fargo on this project to help solve one of the toughest problems affecting Arizonans and nature,” stated Rob Marshall, Director of the Center for Science & Public Policy, The Nature Conservancy. “Accelerating forest thinning is urgently needed to improve forest conditions and protect our communities and water supplies.”
The Bureau of Land Management Phoenix District Youth Initiative Program’s grant will help build about 1,000 feet of new hiking trails around Phoenix; rebuild 1,300 feet of existing trails; improve deer habitat by removing 3,350 feet of fence; enhance the BLM Sonoran Desert National Monument by clearing debris; conduct official bird surveys; and collect data along the Agua Fria River and Burro Creek.
“We are thrilled to provide youth with an experience that will last a lifetime. We hope that the skills learned and experiences they have will inspire them to make public lands and natural resources a part of their lives both in work and play” said BLM Phoenix District Manager Mary D’Aversa. “We are honored that the BLM Arizona is a grant recipient. We are leveraging grant funds to educate and employ urban youth through our Arizona Youth Initiative,” added BLM Arizona State Director Raymond Suazo.
The Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program began in 2012 as part of Wells Fargo’s commitment to provide $100 million to environmentally-focused nonprofits and universities by 2020. It is funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation with a
$15 million, five-year commitment to promote environmental stewardship across the country.
The program funds proposals in select cities/regions (see full list) that help address the most pressing environmental issues identified by each participating community. Some examples of past grant projects include: helping Camp Pollack in Sacramento, Calif., prepare for teaching local students; working with the Sea Turtle Conservancy along the Florida coast to keep endangered animals safe; and restoring the landmark Levi Carter Pavilion with the city of Omaha, Neb.
Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the 2013 Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grants collectively helped reduce more than
3 million pounds of CO2, which is the equivalent to averting consumption of 8,535 barrels of oil1. The program also planted 132,709 trees and restored more than 1,600 acres of habitat. These projects have trained 150 people in “green” jobs, while engaging more than 689,000 community members in the supported environmental grant programs.
“We believe that helping our communities become more resilient and better stewards of the environment will improve the long-term quality of life of our customers and team members,” said Mary Wenzel, head of Wells Fargo Environmental Affairs. “We’re proud to support both the Nature Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management with both grant dollars and support from our local employees, who volunteer their time and efforts through our 70 Green Teams.”
“Through our collaboration with Wells Fargo and their commitment to community-based efforts, this investment will support a total of 54 projects, and conservation efforts will take place in cities and towns across America,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of NFWF. “The experience will be an opportunity for participants in these communities to personally contribute to a more sustainable future, which would not be possible without
Wells Fargo’s long-term commitment to the Environmental Solutions for Communities program.”
The full list of 2014 winners can be found at http://blogs.wellsfargo.com/environment/.
Details of the program and a link to the 2015 application (available in September 2014) can be found at the NFWF application website: http://www.nfwf.org/environmentalsolutions.
Projects benefiting underserved communities and encouraging volunteerism are given priority consideration.