At the kick-off in Washington, D.C., renowned marine artist Wyland will join Gray, Nancy Stoner, acting assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and representatives from Toyota, National League of Cities, CH2M Hill WaterMatch, DC Water and the U.S. Forest Service to discuss the importance of sustainability and environmental stewardship. Pete Dominick, longtime SiriusXM host, stand-up comic and CNN contributor, will also speak at the kick-off as the official spokesperson of Comics for Conservation, a series of public service announcements by well-known comics in support of the environment. During the event, Wyland will create a five-by-ten foot conservation-themed mural that will be awarded to one of the Mayor’s Challenge winning cities.
“There has never been a more important time to make a commitment to conserving water in the District of Columbia and across the country,” noted Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “I proudly stand with the Wyland Foundation, Toyota and mayors from across the country to urge residents to conserve this important natural resource and build a more sustainable future.”
The challenge divides cities into five population categories: 5,000 – 30,000 residents, 30,000 – 100,000 residents, 100,000 – 300,000 residents, 300,000 – 600,000 residents, and cities with more than 600,000 residents.One winning city will be determined in each of the five population categories. The grand prize of a Toyota Prius c will be awarded to one participant from a winning city by random drawing. A second prize drawing for a $1,000 Lowe’s shopping spree will be held among all challenge entries, regardless if a city is among the five winning cities. Participating mayors and elected officials can earn additional prizes for their residents if their cities win.
In addition to Gray, other mayors who will encourage their residents to participate in the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation include:
- Mayor Michael B. Coleman, Columbus, Ohio
- Mayor David Coss, Santa Fe, N.M.
- Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver, Colo.
- Mayor Mike McGinn, Seattle, Wash.
- Mayor Kasim Reed, Atlanta, Ga.
- Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Tucson, Ariz.
Presented nationally by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, with support from the National League of Cities, CH2M Hill WaterMatch, Rain Bird Corporation, Lowe's home improvement stores, the EPA, and the U.S. Forest Service, the challenge also provides residents with local resources to take their commitments of conservation even further. Regional water and energy resources to cost-saving tips at home are available at www.mywaterpledge.com. Organizers are currently leading an eight-state U.S. educational tour, visiting schools and community events to prime cities for the Earth Month initiative in which thousands of residents nationwide are expected to participate.
“Building awareness around the importance of reducing waste will show that we can all do our part to help contribute to the long-term preservation of our environment,” said artist Wyland. “Understanding the responsibility we all have is the first step in realizing a sustainable future.”
Toyota’s support of the Wyland Foundation is part of the automobile company’s long-standing commitment to sustainability.
“This year’s challenge features a broad outreach to us all to preserve our natural resources,” said Michael Rouse, vice president of diversity, philanthropy, and community affairs for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “Since protecting the environment is a priority woven into all aspects of our business at Toyota, we are proud to support an effort that develops conservation advocates and leaders throughout our communities.”
In last year’s challenge, residents from 1,000 cities in all 50 states made online pledges to save a total of 4.7 billion gallons of water over the next year, with a potential cost savings of $11.6 million. Residents further pledged to reduce their use of single-use plastic water bottles by 1.1 million bottles and eliminate 60,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering watersheds.
To take the pledge or learn more about the National Mayor’s Challenge, visit www.mywaterpledge.com. For tips on how to save water every day and to learn about water-efficient products for the home, visit www.epa.gov/watersense.