WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 6, 2011) – Today, at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Kodak American Greenways Program presented four awards to individuals and organizations for exemplary leadership in the enhancement of our nation’s outdoor heritage.
The Kodak American Greenways Program is the nation’s longest-running community-based grants program that expands and enhances our nation’s network of greenways, blueways, trails and natural areas. Since the program’s inception, nearly $900,000 has been granted to over 700 organizations in all 50 states. The program is a partnership between Eastman Kodak Company, National Geographic Society and The Conservation Fund.
“Supporting local community grassroots initiatives in preserving our nation’s great outdoor heritage is a privilege, and we are honored to be a participant in such a successful endeavor,” said Charles Ruffing, Kodak’s director of Health, Safety, Environment and Sustainability. “These local initiatives and individuals recognized in the Kodak American Greenways Awards are a credit to all who diligently steward this country’s unparalleled system of greenways.”
“Greenways not only improve the nation’s ecological health, these natural corridors provide vital opportunities for all Americans to get out, exercise and improve their physical health,” said Gilbert M. Grosvenor, chairman emeritus of the National Geographic Society. “With the help of companies like Kodak, the greenways network has linked city streets to parklands and other open spaces. The program still enjoys robust growth as we celebrate 22 years of cooperation.”
This year’s award recipients are:
–Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison, United States senator for Texas and a staunch leader over the past 15 years for the conservation of the state’s finest natural assets both for their ecological value as well as their potential to generate an economic return. Her support for the protection of critical forest watershed lands, sustainably managed working forests and the state’s cultural heritage has enhanced various iconic landscapes, including the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge, the Texas Pineywoods region and El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail.
–Karl Dean, mayor of the city of Nashville and Davidson County, Tenn., who has embarked upon an ambitious and comprehensive open space plan that will better connect residents from city, suburb and rural areas to their natural and cultural assets. The greenway linkages recommended in the Nashville Open Space Plan are key elements to improving public safety, encouraging physical activity and promoting a high quality of life.
–Michael A. Nutter, mayor of the city of Philadelphia, whose bold vision to transform Philadelphia into the greenest city in the United States was initiated with the launch of Greenworks Philadelphia in 2009. Under Mayor Nutter’s leadership, the city is moving to use its green infrastructure approach not only to improve water quality but also to connect residents to parks and green spaces and drive economic redevelopment in some of the city’s most distressed neighborhoods.
–Potomac Conservancy, an instrumental force for the stewardship and conservation of the Potomac River, often referred to as “The Nation’s River.” In the face of relentless regional development and population growth over the last two decades, the Potomac Conservancy has been an effective voice for protecting and extending the Potomac River’s green and natural shorelines. Through voluntary land protection and restoration, hands-on education on land and water resource stewardship, and community engagement programs, the Conservancy is bringing home the message and means for the region’s residents to take effective action.
In addition, 21 local nonprofits and public agencies received grants to support local trail and open space projects that not only enhance greenways but also create economic benefits for their communities. The grant recipients include:
- The Manchester Downtown Development Authority, for the construction of a pedestrian bridge over the historic River Raisin Mill Pond, which will link Manchester’s commercial downtown with two miles of walking and biking trails, built on former NYCRR rail bed.
- The San Diego River Park Foundation, for a Mission Valley River trail map focused on the most urban portion of the San Diego River watershed, highlighting the crucial recreational benefits available to members of these communities.
- The East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, for a study to determine the impact of the Seminole County trail systems on consumer spending and job creation.
“Winding through cities, parks and woods, bordering rivers and lakes, and reusing abandoned rail lines, greenways are a vital part of our national green infrastructure. These emerald corridors not only give wildlife a home and provide clean air and water but they also improve our quality of life with close-to-home outdoor recreation and increased economic activity,” said Larry Selzer, president and CEO of The Conservation Fund. “I thank Kodak and National Geographic for their tremendous dedication to this program, and I congratulate the outstanding recipients of this year’s awards and grants. Together we are making a difference that will endure.”
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About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected nearly 7 million acres across America. www.conservationfund.org
About the National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society’s mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 400 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 9,600 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.