The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia
Sunday, 26 November 2023 15:06

Grayson Subaru Selects Ijams Nature Center as Hometown Charity for 2023 Subaru Share the Love Event

Girl_Climbing_Log_Steps_at_Ijams_Nature_Playscape_by_Cindy_Hassil.jpgIjams Nature Preschool students were the first to explore the Ijams Nature Playscape at Grayson Subaru Preserve before it opened to the public in May 2022. Customers who purchase or lease a new Subaru from Grayson Subaru Nov. 6, 2023-Jan. 2, 2024, can choose to have Subaru of America, Inc., donate $250 to Ijams as part of the 2023 Subaru Share the Love Event. Donations will be used to expand this natural play area as well as improve the Mead’s Quarry swim area.  Cindy Hassil.

Starting in mid-November, getting a new car from Grayson Subaru could mean new places to play and learn at Ijams Nature Center.

Grayson Subaru has chosen the nonprofit nature center as its hometown charity for Subaru of America, Inc.’s annual Subaru Share the Love Event.

“Grayson Subaru and Ijams have partnered to make our community a more vibrant place to enjoy, appreciate and learn about nature for many years,” Subaru Sales Manager JC Marguardt said. “Subaru really is more than a car company. Subaru and local retailers work to make this world a better place by supporting causes that champion the environment, health, education, pets and the community, and Ijams Nature Center aligns perfectly with what we — and our customers — care about.”

From Nov. 15, 2023 to Jan. 2, 2024, Subaru will donate $250 for every new Subaru vehicle purchased or leased at more than 628 of its retailers nationwide to several national charities and a hometown charity chosen by each retailer. Subaru of America has donated more than $256 million to charity through the Subaru Share the Love Event. Together, Grayson Subaru and Subaru of America have donated $484,064 to make East Tennessee a better place to live, work and play.

Grayson Subaru customers may choose from Ijams Nature Center or one of the following national charities: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Make-A-Wish, Meals on Wheels, and National Park Foundation.

Ijams Executive Director Amber Parker said being a hometown charity allows Ijams to start Phase 2 of the Ijams Nature Playscape at Grayson Subaru Preserve as well as make improvements to the swim area of Mead’s Quarry lake.

“We’re so grateful to be part of this year’s Subaru Share the Love Event,” Parker said. “Grayson Subaru and Subaru of America made it possible to create Phase 1 of the playscape, which has been explored by hundreds of children and their parents since it opened in May 2022.”

Parker said Ijams has just begun the discovery period of Phase 2, which includes cutting in a new loop trail and clearing invasive plants on the upper portion of the 13.5-acre property.

“Once the invasive species have been removed, the staff will evaluate the space for new elements,” she said. “We hope to have multiple areas for quiet play as well as spaces that encourage children to explore and move with ease and confidence throughout nature. The new trail also will give better access to existing phenological plots for citizen science and create other spaces for more people to participate in these activities.”

Grayson Subaru is part of Grayson Automotive, which offers the Subaru, Hyundai, BMW, Genesis, and Mini brands. Grayson Automotive is celebrating its 45th anniversary of serving customers in the Knoxville, Maryville, and Sevierville area.

Subaru of America, Inc. is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Subaru Corporation of Japan. Headquartered at a zero-landfill office in Camden, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts, and accessories through a network of more than 630 retailers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill plants.

Ijams Nature Center is a nonprofit, 318-acre educational nature center for all ages, abilities and walks of life. Ijams’ mission is to encourage stewardship of the natural world by providing an urban greenspace for people to learn about and enjoy the outdoors through engaging experiences. Located just three miles from downtown Knoxville, Ijams features 14 miles of hiking and mixed-use trails, a public access river dock, swimming, boating, biking and more. The center offers hundreds of educational programs annually, from day camps and school field trips to outdoor and classroom education programs for all ages. The Ijams grounds and trails are open every day from 8 a.m. until dusk. For more information, visit or call 865-577-4717.