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Wildlife Wednesdays: Bringing Children and Wildlife Together

posted on February 23rd, 2011 by Kathy Lehnhardt, Curator of Education, Disney’s Animal Programs


“Come on over and try out a cool wildlife activity!”

This hook, used by our Education Presenter team, encourages families to stop by the Kids’ Discovery Clubs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We have six fun Club sites in each land of the Park for children 5-8 years old, but like most Disney activities, everyone in the family participates.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Brings Children and Wildlife Together

At each Club location, children try out different activities. They match dinosaur jaws to the correct skull, feel and guess items found in a fallen log, see like a bug, find animals in a backyard, look for animal clues, identify animal calls and introduce the important insects and spiders to guests at the Main Entrance.

The ultimate goal of this top Disney guest team is to share actions that guests can take to help wildlife and wild places. What can children do to help animals? Lots! Try creating a backyard habitat for local wildlife by hanging a bird house, filling a birdbath or planting trees as food sources and nesting sites. Some children enjoy doing homework projects on their favorite animal and then sharing what they learned with classmates. Others may like to join a river or beach clean-up to ensure clean and healthy habitats for wildlife or go on a neighborhood hike to observe wildlife in the area.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Brings Children and Wildlife Together

But other Disney’s Animal Programs teams join with the Presenter team to share great conservation messages about wildlife at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot and in our local Orlando community. In total, Animal Programs teams combined shared 4,746,271 conservation actions with guests in 2010 which is a 20% increase in interactions from the previous year. This number reflects a commitment to the Animal Programs mission statement of inspiring our guests to conservation action.

In today’s high-technology world, we’re trying to encourage children to go outdoors and explore nature. But the competition is tough…video games, computers and TV all compete for children’s time and attention.

Why is spending time outdoors important? Because we know that only if children spend time in nature can they learn to appreciate it and ultimately care enough to save the environment as adults. An interesting quote from the Richard Louv book, Last Child in the Woods, is from a 4th grader who says: “I like spending time indoors because that’s where all the electrical outlets are.” Although I’m not opposed to electrical outlets, nature and technology should have equal weight.

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

3 Comments

1

patrick on February 23rd, 2011 at 10:05 am

the kids have fun lerning with out knowing it,its the best way to teach

2

Lori from NJ on February 23rd, 2011 at 10:09 am

what about the older kids that still enjoy these programs? my 14 yr old is too big for these and too small for adult programs…

3

eileen on February 23rd, 2011 at 10:52 am

This was great! My kids were very little at the time, and they were very excited. (2 and 5)

3 Comments