"At Toyota, we know that when it comes to building quality communities, it takes a village. And, it involves more than just donating dollars … it involves donating our time and talents, too,” said Wil James, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc.
Volunteers gathered at the wildlife education center today to recognize National Public Lands Day by helping with a variety of projects, including construction of an outdoor aviary to display hawks and owls, building a new hiking trail, landscaping, grounds maintenance and more.
The Salato Center hosts 70,000 visitors a year, including many school groups.
“Each time we volunteer at Salato, we are giving back to Kentucky in a tangible, meaningful way … we know that we can make a difference here, and we look forward to doing just that over the next several years through volunteerism," James said.
This year marks the first of a five- year commitment by the employees of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. to support the Salato Center through National Public Lands Day volunteerism. National Public Lands Day is an annual one-day volunteer event
As many as 200 company employees have volunteered at the Salato Center in years past, tackling projects such as creating the 1-mile Habitrek Trail, building a handicap-accessible boardwalk, removing invasive plants and constructing a life-sized model of an eagle’s nest.
“Thanks to all our volunteers and this long-term commitment by Toyota, I feel like we can still move forward on plans for the future, despite the economy,” said Salato Wildlife Education Center Director Laurie Davison.
Other groups represented at today’s volunteer for a day event include the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Dave Leonard Consulting Arborists, Bluegrass PRIDE and the Kentucky Division of Forestry. Employees of the Frankfort Plant Board helped prepare the raptor aviary project by setting posts and cutting them to size.
“National Public Lands Day is an outstanding example of how much we can accomplish by working together,” said Benjy Kinman, deputy commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.”We appreciate the time and talent that people donate to help wildlife education.”
The Salato Wildlife Education Center is operated by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. The center offers visitors the opportunity to see native wildlife such as bison, a bobcat, a black bear, fish, snakes, an eagle and more.
The Salato Center is located off U.S. 60, approximately 1½ miles west of Frankfort.