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Walmart Helps Launch Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps

$150,000 donation to help students with green job training in Chicago

Chicago, Ill., July 23, 2009 – Today, the Walmart Foundation and the Student Conservation Association (SCA), together with the Friends of the Forest Preserves, launched an innovative Conservation Leadership Corps to engage 60 local high school students in conservation service, environmental education, and green jobs training in the city of Chicago and throughout Cook County.

Funded through a $150,000 donation from the Walmart Foundation, the seven week program is designed to provide participants with green career skills and green job training, and to identify and develop conservation leaders among Chicago’s young people.

“SCA is about empowering young people, connecting them to nature, and practicing lifelong stewardship,” says SCA President Dale Penny. “Here in Chicago, our members will provide hands-on conservation service while performing trail building and restoration, invasive plant removal, revegetation projects, and construction.” Penny notes, “Participating students, who were recruited from local schools, organizations, and churches, will also engage in weekly environmental education activities.”

“Walmart is focused on environmental sustainability at every level. The Walmart Foundation, in particular, is proud to partner with SCA and others who share our commitment to protecting the environment for future generations,” said John Bisio, Walmart public affairs. “SCA plays an important and unique role in building the next generation of conservation leaders. We’re excited they’ve chosen to work with the young people here in Chicago to inspire a life-long commitment to community through environmental stewardship.”

Across the nation, thousands of SCA members annually protect and restore national parks, marine sanctuaries, cultural landmarks and community green spaces in all 50 states. In addition to today’s event, this summer’s SCA Chicago program will take students to River Trails Nature Center, Camp Sagawau Environmental Education Center, Little Red School House Nature Center, and Sand Ridge Nature Center for work on everything from restoring aquatic habitats to trail restoration and planting of trees.

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www.chicago.walmartcommunity.com

 

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on creating opportunities in education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From February 1, 2008 through January 31, 2009, Walmart – and its domestic and international foundations – gave more than $423 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.

About the Student Conservation Association
SCA is a nationwide conservation force of college and high school students who protect and restore America's parks, forests, refuges, seashores and communities. For more than 50 years, SCA's active, hands-on practice of conservation service has helped to develop a new generation of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save the planet. SCA is a non-profit headquartered in Charlestown, New Hampshire. For further information, visit www.thesca.org.

About Friends of the Forest Preserves
Friends of the Forest Preserves is the only organization solely dedicated to protecting the Cook County Forest Preserves’ 68,000 acres of land through advocacy, education and hands-on restoration projects. Through a coalition of local residents, volunteer stewards, non-profit organizations, county commissioners and Forest Preserve District staff, Friends helps to restore a variety of habitats to natural health by identifying and responding to ecological threats on the ground level. Speaking on behalf of the forest preserves and their supporters in Cook County, Friends advocates for responsible management by local government. For more, go to www.fotfp.org.