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Kodak, National Geographic and The Conservation Fund Honor Kodak American Greenways Champions


WASHINGTON, D.C., -- 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 in 1989, $843,000 has been granted to 710 organizations in all 50 states. The program is a partnership between Eastman Kodak Company, National Geographic Society and The Conservation Fund.

“Kodak values and is pleased to support local community grassroots initiatives in preserving our nation’s great outdoor heritage,” 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 visible, valuable and never more vital.”

“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 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 21 years of cooperation.”

This year’s award recipients are:

* David Hartwell, president and founder of Minneapolis-based Bellcomb Technologies Incorporated and the driving force behind a citizen campaign to establish dedicated funding for land and water conservation in Minnesota, resulting in the passage of the Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy constitutional amendment in 2008, which will provide more than $6 billion for conservation in the state over the next 25 years;
* Richard (Dick) Steffes, a 36-year veteran of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, who directed the acquisition of more than 700,000 acres of state parks, forests and wildlife habitat, including expansions to the Chippewa Flowage, the Mountain Bay State Trail and the Straight Lake Wilderness State Park and Wildlife Area;
* Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), a unique, voter-approved program that has used nearly $600 million in state lottery funds since 1994 to protect more than 800,000 acres of open space, including the creation and expansion of more than a thousand parks and the construction and restoration of nearly 80 miles of trails;
* The High Line Park, a public park built atop an abandoned railroad viaduct elevated above the streets on the west side of Manhattan. Since the first section of the High Line opened in the spring of 2009, more than three million people have visited the park. When the next section of the High Line opens in the spring of 2011, the park will double in size, creating more public open space in one of the most densely populated cities. The High Line is maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line, a non-profit conservancy, under a license agreement with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

In addition, 19 local nonprofits and public agencies received grants to support local trail and open space projects. The grant recipients include:

* Trees Atlanta, for the purchase of goats to manage the kudzu and other non-native invasive species along the Atlanta Belt Line, a more effective form of control that also cuts down the amount of chemicals used;
* Passaic River Coalition, for the restoration of small historic sheds along the Highlands Meadow Trail, which serves both as an introduction to farm life at the beginning of the 20th century and a gateway into the rich natural area in the hills of the New Jersey highlands;
* Esperanza Community Housing Organization, to build urban street-side gardens throughout downtown Los Angeles, creating ribbons of green and flowers throughout a community in which the natural environment is constructed primarily of steel and concrete.

“Winding through cities, parks and woods, and alongside rivers, lakes and abandoned rail lines, greenways are a vital part of any city’s infrastructure. These pathways preserve wildlife habitat, enhance water quality and provide opportunities for close-to-home outdoor recreation and sustainable economic development,” said Larry Selzer, president and CEO of The Conservation Fund. “I thank Kodak and National Geographic for their tremendous dedication to this program for 21 years, and I congratulate the outstanding recipients of this year’s awards and grants. Together we are preserving lifelines that link neighborhoods, parks and people.”

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About The Conservation Fund

The Conservation Fund is dedicated to advancing America’s land and water legacy. With our partners, we conserve land, train leaders and invest in conservation at home. Since 1985, we have helped protect more than 6.5 million acres, sustaining wild havens, working lands and vibrant communities. We’re a top-ranked conservation organization, effective and efficient.


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