How Far Will You Take It?

Teacher drives the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid on nationwide national parks road trip
by Kaitlin Pennell
Nov/Dec 2016
How Far Will You Take It?
Before the Epic Journey
Environmental educator James Maloney returned from the ultimate road trip to more than 20 national parks in a 2016 RAV4 Hybrid provided by Team Toyota of Langhorne and CAT. Next step? Students create ecological strategies to benefit their community.
A dream came true this summer for a passionate Philadelphia AP Environmental Science teacher. And a 2016 RAV4 Hybrid from Team Toyota of Langhorne made it possible.

Central Atlantic Toyota (CAT) and the Pennsylvania dealership loaned Neshaminy High School’s James Maloney the hybrid to embark on a coast-to-coast tour de national parks. It’s something they believe will positively affect both the local community and Neshaminy’s students.

But how did this dream come to fruition? With a few letters. Actually, 70 to be exact.

Maloney wrote to all major car companies asking for a new car for his summer road trip. Most brands were quick to say, “Forget about it.”

But not Toyota.

“Our interest was piqued by the educational link,” says Brad Heagy, CAT vehicle operations manager. “He came to us and said ’I teach my students about ecology all over the world and the country, but I haven’t been to these places, so I want to be able to understand them from a firsthand standpoint and relate my experiences to students.’”

“This summer road trip really captures the spirit of the RAV4,” says Ash Hack of Toyota Marketing, “especially with the tagline, ‘How far will you take it?’ And the fact that the car is a hybrid, he’s going to go farther in between fueling up.”

Maloney visited more than 20 national parks during his 49-day, nearly 13,000-mile journey with girlfriend Lea Della Vecchia, a teacher at the Pocono Environmental Education Center. Throughout the road trip, Maloney journaled about his travel experiences on his blog and Facebook page.

But it’s the second part of the journey that has Toyota even more excited. Maloney received the RAV4 on the condition that he use the knowledge gained on his trip to challenge his students.

So, during the first month of the school year, Maloney asked his students to come up with ecological strategies to benefit their community. CAT has pledged a $10,000 grant to help those proposals come to life.

“It turned out to be amazing,” Heagy says. “We didn’t enter this partnership for a return on our investment. We did this because James is an educator with a passion.”
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