NC Beautiful Receives Water Conservation Grant from Philip Morris USA

Funds will help educate state’s youngest citizens in areas hardest hit by drought

RALEIGH, NC, April 22, 2008 – NC Beautiful has announced that the organization has received a $40,000 Grant from Philip Morris USA (PM USA). The grant will be used to develop a water conservation program directed at 5th grade students in the Yadkin Pee-Dee River watershed. The program will empower teachers, through merit-based grants of $1,500 each, to allow students to experience scientific discoveries while instilling in them a sense of commitment to the environment and the community. NC Beautiful will target the 21 counties hardest hit by North Carolina’s recent drought and that make up some of the largest water consuming communities in the Piedmont.

The Yadkin PeeDee River Basin represents 1.4 million people in 91 municipalities, which embody all walks of life, including the employees and facilities of the Philip Morris USA plant in Cabarrus County, NC. Gary Ruth, General Manager & Vice President for Cabarrus Manufacturing Operations, said that the grant is consistent with PM USA’s efforts to conserve environmental resources. “Through our business practices and philanthropy, PM USA has implemented policies and programs to reduce the environmental impact of our business and promote the sustainability of the natural resources on which we depend,” Ruth said.

NC Beautiful Executive Director, Steve Vacendak, says that NC Beautiful has always addressed the environment through education, and the drought presented an opportunity to bring water conservation to the forefront. “Now is the ideal time to educate our young citizens on the importance of responsible water use,” says Vacendak. “We specifically targeted fifth graders for our grant since they are old enough to participate in real science and to influence their families in a positive manner, but young enough to absorb a lifelong passion for the natural beauty of their state.”

NC Beautiful plans to administer its water conservation grant in four parts: Part One is a classroom section, which will include a talk about local water sources and concerns; Part Two is hands-on study and analysis of a local creek, stream, or any local water source; Part Three requires the students to take what they have learned home “on assignment” and provide their family with ways to better conserve water; and Part Four involves a report prepared by the teachers, with their students, about the impacts of their project. Results of these reports will be shared with NC Beautiful sponsors, other North Carolina schools, PTA, and community groups in hopes of spreading this program throughout the state.

For more information about this or other environmental education opportunities sponsored by NC Beautiful, call  (919) 828-3190 .

About NC Beautiful

NC Beautiful has been part of the state’s environmental preservation community for 40 years, supporting awareness, education and beautification efforts that affect our quality of life. Today, we concentrate on hands-on and merit-based programs designed to empower our citizens to preserve the natural beauty of the state of North Carolina. Whether it’s a school children building outdoor classrooms, graduate students developing cutting edge research, or a Boy Scout troop planting azaleas at an elder care facility, we make it possible for North Carolinians to keep NC Beautiful. For more information, visit

Media Contacts

Steve Vacendak, Executive Director
NC Beautiful
(919) 828-3190
[email protected]

Louise Carey, Programs Manager
NC Beautiful
(919) 828-3190
[email protected]

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