General Motors dealers are getting their feet wet in environmental science as a part of the company’s growing watershed education program.
Employees from Ingersoll Auto of Danbury, the largest retailer of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles in Connecticut, mentored students from Reed Intermediate School in nearby Newtown last week as they conducted water quality testing in local streams. The activity is part of the GM Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN), the longest-running conservation education program by any automaker.
Through GM GREEN, GM employees partner with local schools and conservation groups to mentor students through water-monitoring events, classroom visits and student-driven watershed improvement projects. Students retrieve, test and analyze water samples, then channel findings into a sustainable action plan addressing local water quality issues.
GM is now including dealers in the program to further spread the impact. Ingersoll is the first GM dealer to serve as a GM GREEN mentor. Dealership employees were joined by Chevrolet regional sales and marketing leaders during the event.
“Our dealers’ customer relationships extend far beyond the showroom,” said Dan Adamcheck, Northeast regional director of Chevrolet sales and marketing. “Our Green Dealer Program recognizes their efforts to improve the local environment and engage the community.”
GM introduced the Green Dealer Program in January to its dealerships across the U.S. that have proven environmental track records in energy efficiency, recycling, renewable energy use and community outreach, among other areas. GM GREEN is one example of a community outreach event that factors into earning the Green Dealer designation.
“Participating in GM GREEN was a great experience and an opportunity to leave a lasting, positive impact on our community, our watershed and, most importantly, our local youth,” said Todd Ingersoll, owner of Ingersoll Auto.
The nonprofit Earth Force provides training, resources and coordination to the networks of GM GREEN partners. More than 3,200 mentors have engaged 150,000 young people through hands-on learning since GM GREEN’s inception in 1989. The initiative comprises 50 GM facilities, including all of the company’s U.S. and Canadian manufacturing plants.
In addition to volunteers, GM and the GM Foundation provide financial support to the national and local programs, contributing more than $170,000 in funding to GM GREEN partners in 2014 alone.