GreenWorks! Environmental Grant from Project Learning Tree and Esurance Awarded to HandsOn Greater Phoenix
Phoenix, AZ — April 16, 2009
Project Learning Tree® (PLT), the environmental education program of the American Forest Foundation, and Esurance, the direct-to-consumer auto insurance company, announced today that HandsOn Greater Phoenix, a community service organization, will receive a GreenWorks! Grant to undertake a service-learning project focusing on the environment.
Begun in 1992, GreenWorks! Grants give youths a chance to apply classroom learning to community projects in conjunction with environmental education training and materials that PLT provides to teachers through professional development workshops. Esurance has partnered with PLT since 2007 to bring these grants to schools in communities near their local offices.
"This grant helps youths work with their community to improve their lives and their neighborhood," said Karen Schedler, Arizona PLT coordinator. "This is the second year that Esurance has funded GreenWorks! in Phoenix, and we are very excited by their continued support of worthwhile projects that may not have been able to go forward otherwise."
Young people from an evening detention center operated in the Glendale YMCA will design, build, and sustain a community garden made from recycled materials. The 12- to 18-year-olds will be involved in all phases of project planning and implementation. They will decide which plants and crops to cultivate in the garden, and study topics such as rainwater collection and solar technology. On April 25, 2009, the youth will lead community volunteers in building a shed, laying out major sections of the garden, and using earthen blocks to make outside walls for the garden.
An Arizona State University student came up with the initial garden design for a class on sustainability. The YMCA secured space for the garden, equipment, and the services of a landscaping consultant through an ongoing partnership with the Thunderbird School of Global Management, an international global business school. HandsOn Greater Phoenix will recruit and manage skilled volunteers and community partners and provide service-learning and youth-project-leader training.
"Each community partner has come together to give these youths an opportunity to invest themselves in a positive learning experience while taking action on an environmental issue," said Duane Shearer, director of community programs for HandsOn Phoenix. "The ultimate goal of this garden is much more than the health of the plants within it."
Concluded Esurance CEO Gary Tolman, "American children need more science education to stay competitive in the global economy and more environmental education to help protect our natural resources. Through the GreenWorks! Environmental Grants program, children get a hands-on learning opportunity that yields environmental benefits now and a lesson in environmental stewardship that will last far into the future. We are very proud to work with Project Learning Tree to make this opportunity available in a few of the communities where Esurance has offices and customers."
Esurance, a subsidiary of White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd. (NYSE: WTM), provides personal auto insurance direct to consumers online and through select online agents. Because of Esurance's virtually paperless online customer experience, Esurance policyholders have saved thousands of trees since the company's inception. As of first quarter 2009, Esurance has also helped plant and maintain approximately 70,000 trees by supporting a variety of urban reforestation programs. Esurance is committed to safeguarding the environment through its own operational practices, including a hybrid claims fleet and carbon offset programs for its office locations. Esurance also supports a variety of environmental organizations across the U.S. For more information about Esurance's environmental initiatives, visit www.esurance.com/environment.