The Stephens family of Vancouver, Canada chose a life path that led them from a berry farm to opening Canada’s first vegetarian restaurant, then to founding North America’s first certified organic cereal processing plant and finally Nature’s Path Organic Foods, which produces healthy cereals and snacks now sold in 40 countries. Their commitment to supporting a sustainable environment through their business also led them to dedicate one percent of sales from their children’s product line EnviroKidz to non-profit organizations that support endangered species, habitat conservation and environmental education for children – a natural fit with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.
In 2001 Nature’s Path gave the Fossey Fund a small gift and began to feature the gorilla adoption program on EnviroKidZ “Gorilla Munch” cereal boxes. Almost $100,000 has been raised for gorilla conservation by giving their customers an easy way to adopt a gorilla. Nature’s Path’s corporate commitment has grown over the years with EnviroKidz giving the Fossey Fund a Giving Back Award of $35,000 in 2009.
“We were thrilled to be recognized by EnviroKidz,” says Fossey Fund President and CEO Clare Richardson. “The funds will help us continue to provide conservation education to the communities in the areas where we protect gorillas. The people who share the gorillas’ ecosystem are key to creating a healthy environment and a better future for all species.”
The 2009 award supported the revival of environment clubs at six schools near Volcanoes National Park. The Fossey Fund’s Karisoke Research Center staff trained one teacher and one student from each school to lead the clubs to take action in their communities. The clubs have since launched projects to manage solid waste, grow fruits and vegetables and plant trees. The funds also supported internships at Karisoke for fourth-year biology students from the National University of Rwanda, and programs offered by the community-based Tayna Center for Conservation Biology in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“We are committed to leaving the world a better place than we found it by supporting organizations like the Fossey Fund,” says Arran Stephens, president and founder of Nature’s Path. “We are extremely proud to be able to give back to this dedicated and hard-working group and are grateful to the consumers who have supported our EnviroKidz line and made this possible.” For more information visit www.naturespath.com or www.envirokidz.com.