Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park

Wildlife Wednesday: The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Is Helping Preserve Hisssss-tory

posted on July 16th, 2014 by Kim Sams, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Conservation Programs, The Walt Disney Company


“Happy World Snake Day!” is not something I ever imagined I would wish anyone, but after seeing first-hand the incredible work to bring one snake species back from near extinction, I am now a fan.

For 14 years, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) has supported the Antiguan Racer Project. This multi-faceted conservation program is a partnership between the Environmental Awareness Group in Antigua (in the lower Caribbean) and Fauna & Flora International.

The Antiguan Racer is a very docile reptile which had been almost completed wiped out by the mongoose, a predator actually introduced to the island to manage the rat population. Since mongooses (or mongeese) are active during the day and rats are active at night, the mongoose didn’t actually complete the work for which it was introduced to the island. As the mongoose population grew (and the Antiguan Racer population decreased), overpopulation began to upset the delicate island ecosystem, and in this case, bird populations were affected as well. The dedicated people who run the program with support from Dr. Jenny Daltry explain this much better than I, so I hope you will take a few minutes to hear their story. Afterward, I think you, too, might celebrate snakes in a whole new light.

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund is supported by guest contributions at various merchandise locations throughout Disney Parks and Resorts, as well as aboard Disney Cruise Line. One hundred percent of donations are matched by The Walt Disney Company and directed to nonprofit organizations through the conservation awards process.

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Disney Conservation Heroes Dedicated to Nature and Their Communities

posted on August 14th, 2013 by Kim Sams, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Conservation Programs, The Walt Disney Company


They live in many different parts of the world. They vary in age, language, and level of education. Sadly, one of them even lost his life doing the work he loved. They are heroes in different ways, but what they all have in common is their passion for protecting nature, and sharing their love of wildlife with others. That’s why we are recognizing these inspiring people as Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) Conservation Heroes.

Here are just a few of their stories:
“Disney

  • Nomusa Zikhali (nominated by the Africa Foundation) started what is now a model school with a gathering of children, many of them orphans, under a tree in rural South Africa. The Nkomo Full-Service School has grown to include 17 classrooms, including facilities for disabled children. Principal Zikhali has maintained a focus on connecting her students with nature at a nearby wildlife reserve and by integrating conservation education into the school’s curriculum.

“Disney

  • Felix Medina (nominated by the Wildlife Conservation Network), a farmer and hunter, has worked for 25 years for Proyecto Titi, a conservation organization in Colombia, South America, whose mission is to save the cotton-top tamarin. Mr. Medina was instrumental in conducting a census of the total population of cotton-tops, resulting in these small monkeys being declared one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates.

“Disney

  • Silver James Birungi (nominated by the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance) is a wildlife conservation educator for a chimpanzee sanctuary in Uganda. He educates kids in an area where it has been cuturally accepted to keep, sell and kill chimpanzees. Mr. Birungi has traveled across Uganda to raise awareness and help change minds, attitudes, behaviors and actions, reaching more than 11,673 students in nearly 200 schools, as well as 8,000 community members.

“Disney

  • Peter Lalampaa (nominated by the Saint Louis Zoo Association), now a senior manager for the Grevy’s Zebra Trust in Nairobi, Kenya, has grown the trust’s scout, ambassador and warrior programs. His work is enabling Grevy’s zebra to be monitored and protected over a wide area of Kenya, including remote areas where no wildlife conservation programs had existed.

“Disney

  • Jairo Mora Sandoval (nominated posthumously by the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network) monitored Moin Beach in Costa Rica, where he was responsible for protecting sea turtle nests and thousands of baby sea turtles. This 26-year-old conservationist had a passion for the wild creatures of his country and a dedication to their survival that was unshakable. This past spring, while patroling Moin Beach, Mr. Sandoval lost his life while protecting sea turtle nests. His award will be presented to his family.

Since 2004, Disney has honored 85 people around the world for their extraordinary conservation efforts. To read more about all 14 of the 2013 Disney Conservation Heroes, visit www.disney.com/conservation.

Did you know?

DWCF is funded by Disney and contributions by Disney guests. Guests help to support the fund in a variety of ways from adding a dollar or more to their purchases of food and gifts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and select resorts, to participating in special animal experiences on Disney Cruise Line and at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai’i, to purchasing reusable shopping bags and other items and at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.

Do you have a personal conservation hero—someone who has inspired you? If so, please tell us about your hero in the comments.

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Disney Magic of Flight Helps Injured Bald Eagles, Our National Emblem, Return to the Sky

posted on July 3rd, 2013 by Kim Sams, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Conservation Programs, The Walt Disney Company


Wildlife Wednesdays: Disney Magic Helps Injured Bald Eagles, Our National Emblem, Return to the Sky

Just in time for Independence Day, the public can get a behind-the-scenes look at the rehabilitation of injured bald eagles through the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey website. Called “Eagle Eyes on the Environment,” the sneak peek, supported in part by Disney to help inspire kids and families to connect with nature, included the installation of two video monitoring cameras in the Disney Magic of Flight 100-foot-long flight barn. Click here and see if you can spot an eagle testing its wings. Disney sponsored the building of the flight barn in 2001 and has been an ongoing supporter of the center, including regular visits by Disney VoluntEARS.

The eagles are recovering from a variety of ailments, according to the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey staff. The most common injuries they treat are vehicle collisions, electrocution due to collisions with overhead power lines, young eagles falling from their nests, and territory fights. The center cares for more than 50 injured bald eagles each year.

The flight barn, which houses high perches, a pond and food platforms enables the birds undergoing rehabilitation to regain muscle strength and rebuild stamina before being released back into the wild. Over the years, it has helped thousands of birds literally try out their wings in preparation for returning to their natural habitats. Getting flight time enables eagles to return to the wild sooner, giving the center more room to treat even more injured birds.

The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey located in Maitland, Fla., has been supported through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) since the fund’s inception in 1995. For example, the fund provided support to the Audubon EagleWatch program for 8 years through its annual grants program. With more than 1,400 nesting pairs, Florida has one of the largest populations of bald eagles in the United States, excluding Alaska. Audubon EagleWatch helps in the conservation of bald eagles, recording information about the eagles, active nest locations, and potential disturbances or threats to nesting activities, and educating the public and key stakeholders about threats to bald eagles with the goal of engaging them in eagle conservation.

Did you know?

  • Guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom can see a bald eagle and a variety of other magnificent birds at the Flights of Wonder show.
  • The bald eagle is one of the mascots of the new Wilderness Explorers experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The next time you visit, pick up a handbook (you’ll see a bald eagle and a bear on the cover) at the Wilderness Explorers headquarters on the bridge connecting the Oasis and Discovery Island. It’s fun for the whole family!
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Wildlife Wednesdays: Earth Day, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Have a Lot in Common

posted on April 3rd, 2013 by Kim Sams, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Conservation Programs, The Walt Disney Company


We’ve always believed that it’s absolutely perfect that Earth Day, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom share the same anniversary day, April 22, even though the years are different. All three have a lot in common, with a shared mission to inspire people to make the world a better place for all its inhabitants.
Erin Wallace, Dr. Jane Goodall, and Joe Rohde Unveil the New Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Look in 2008

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) was established in 1995 on Earth Day, and since then, it has awarded more than $20 million to programs in 112 countries. In 1998, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, opened. It’s hard to believe that it was five years ago on Earth Day, as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, that we introduced a new name and look for what was originally known as the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund. The addition of “Worldwide” more accurately conveys the fund’s mission to support wildlife, including both ecosystems and community conservation, around the globe. The new DWCF look was unveiled in front of the Tree of Life by Erin Wallace, executive vice president, Segment Operations Integration, WDPR, accompanied by world-renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall, and Joe Rohde, senior vice president, WDI Creative.

As we celebrate Earth Day this year, we’re proud to share a new DWCF video in a series we’re calling “stories from the field.” Through representatives of the organizations, you’ll hear about endangered chimpanzees in Africa and cranes in Africa and China that we are helping conserve.

 
Those of you who have supported the DWCF know that it plays a vital role in our efforts to protect the planet for future generations and help kids develop lifelong conservation values – and that’s truly something to celebrate this Earth Day. To learn more, visit www.Disney.com/conservation.

Did you know? The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and The Walt Disney Company Foundation have contributed more than:

  • $5.6 million to protect birds
  • $2 million to conserve primates, including chimpanzees and gorillas
  • $1.4 million to study lions, tigers, leopards and other cats
  • $1.2 million to research and protect elephants
  • $1.1 million to conserve sea turtles
  • $1 million to protect rhinos

 
Read on for more “Wildlife Wednesdays”:

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Helps Rescue Animals from Hurricane Sandy and Other Disasters

posted on November 28th, 2012 by Kim Sams, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Conservation Programs, The Walt Disney Company


“Disney
In this season of giving, it seems especially fitting to give thanks for the people who tirelessly work to help animals every day. If you have contributed to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF), you have joined Disney in supporting their noble efforts. The DWCF, with your help, has enabled wildlife conservation projects around the world, but it has also aided animals (and people) in need right here in the US.

“Disney
We are proud to share that the DWCF recently awarded $250,000 to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), whose animal rescue team rushed to join the effort to save animals after Hurricane Sandy. This grant helped equip a disaster response trailer used by IFAW responders and it will continue to provide immediate resources for disaster response as well as help IFAW to plan for the future by providing training sessions for disaster preparedness globally. The funding for this Animal Rescue and Readiness initiative was provided through DWCF and a collaborative effort with Disney Friends for Change to help the planet by directing the proceeds from the iTunes downloads of several of their popular anthems, including “Rise” and “Send it On.”

“Disney
Our colleagues at IFAW shared that their Hurricane Sandy rescue team members found that, time and time again, families affected by the storm were more concerned about their pets than they were about themselves — and that they were overwhelmed with relief knowing that their pets were going to be safe thanks to the animal agencies responding to provide care and housing for pets. Thank you, IFAW. It is good to know that animals affected by the disaster are receiving care while impacted families can focus on rebuilding and recovery.

The DWCF has supported IFAW’s efforts for more than 10 years, including the rescue of 20,000 endangered penguins from an oil spill in South Africa in 2000, and support for the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina, the Asian tsunami and the Haiti earthquake.

Check out the posts below for more from the “Wildlife Wednesday” series:

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Play Disney’s ‘Where’s My Water?’ and Help Protect Fresh Water for People and Animals Around the World

posted on January 18th, 2012 by Kim Sams, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Conservation Programs, The Walt Disney Company


Disney Friends for Change and the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) invite you to join us in helping to protect fresh water for people and animals around the world. As part of the Every Duck Counts campaign, Disney Friends for Change and DWCF are donating $50,000 to Conservation International’s freshwater efforts and encouraging “Where’s My Water?” players to collect as many ducks as possible in the game to raise awareness about the importance of clean water.

Play Disney's 'Where's My Water' to Help Raise Awareness About the Importance of Clean Water

Between now through the end of February, anyone playing the free online or mobile versions of “Where’s My Water?” will learn freshwater facts, what all of us can do to save water, and about species that depend on fresh water in Conservation International’s project areas. Conservation International’s freshwater initiative strives to protect and restore freshwater sources that support some 126,000 animal species and more than 500 million people.

“Where’s My Water?” is a fun, simple – yet challenging – physics-based puzzle game featuring Swampy the Alligator and his quest to access clean water so he can take a shower.

DWCF is funded by Disney and contributions by Disney guests. Guests help to support the fund in a variety of ways from adding a dollar or more to their purchases of food and gifts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and select resorts, to participating in special animal experiences on Disney Cruise Line and at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai’i, to purchasing reusable shopping bags and other items and at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Guests Help Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Set Record

posted on September 21st, 2011 by Kim Sams, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Conservation Programs, The Walt Disney Company


It’s my honor to announce today that, with help from our guests, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) is awarding $2 million to conservation projects around the globe—the highest amount we’ve ever contributed in a single year.

Wildlife Wednesdays: Guests Help Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Set Record

The National Audubon Society, the Jane Goodall Institute, the World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy are among the more than 70 nonprofit organizations to benefit from the largest DWCF annual grants distribution to date. These organizations are helping to preserve habitats, protect endangered species, foster children and family’s connections to nature, and ensure that future generations can enjoy wildlife and wild places.

I’d like to add my heartfelt appreciation to that of Dr. Beth Stevens, Senior Vice President, Disney Corporate Citizenship, Environment & Conservation, who said about this accomplishment, “We are grateful to the many scientists, educators and community conservationists who devote their lives to conservation and are very proud to work with our guests, fans, employees and cast members to help ensure a better future for our planet.”

DWCF is funded by Disney and contributions by Disney guests. Guests help to support the fund in a variety of ways from adding a dollar or more to their purchases of food and gifts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and select resorts, to participating in special animal experiences on Disney Cruise Line and at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot and Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii, to purchasing reusable shopping bags and other items and at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.

Highlights of the nearly 100 projects supported in 2011 include:

National Audubon Society “Shorebird Conservation in The Bahamas”: Working with local communities in The Bahamas on environmental education about the importance of conserving one of the most critical sites for migratory shorebird nesting.

The Jane Goodall Institute “Release of Wild Born Mandrills”: Re-introducing mandrills into the wild in the Republic of Congo to study and track the species.

The Nature Conservancy “Establishment of the New RCW population”: Increasing population of the red-cockaded woodpecker in Florida.

World Wildlife Fund “Chimpanzee Conservation Goes to School”: Organizing education and outreach activities among local communities in West Africa to protect chimpanzees.

International Crane Foundation “Safeguarding Poyang Cranes and Wetlands”: Conducting research to support science-based conservation strategies for the Siberian crane, a critically endangered bird.

Since 1995, DWCF has awarded nearly $18 million to support conservation programs in 111 countries. For a complete list of grant recipients and to view The Walt Disney Company’s most recent Conservation Report, visit www.disney.com/conservation. Learn more about Disney’s citizenship efforts at www.disney.com/citizenship

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Now You Can Take a World Tour with Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund

posted on June 8th, 2011 by Kim Sams, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Conservation Programs, The Walt Disney Company


Want to find out why scientists are creating “vulture restaurants” to combat the decline of these birds in Nepal? Or perhaps you want to explore the Atlantic forests of Brazil and the tapir —a fascinating pig-like creature that actually is related to the horse and rhino? Or would you rather go fishing to understand the approach to helping Nassau grouper make a comeback?

Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund’s Google Earth Site

Now you’re one step closer to these fascinating conservation projects with the new Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund’s (DWCF) Google Earth site, which enables you to take a virtual tour of places around the globe where DWCF is helping to protect wildlife and wild places.

Visitors to the DWCF Facebook page can click on “Discover DWCF” and search by animal type, organization or year funded to “fly” over conservation efforts supported by the DWCF annual grant program www.disney.com/conservation.

On the map, click a project icon and you see a snapshot summary of the project, a photo, and links to videos, websites, and social media sites, if available. You even could be the first to “like” your favorite project, and the story will appear on your Facebook Newsfeed with a link back to the Google Earth site.

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has contributed more than $15.6 million to non-profit organizations since its inception in 1995 to support everything from training for gorilla patrols in Africa, to satellite support to monitor sea turtles, to a bush camp for children in Zimbabwe to learn about their native African wildlife.

Disney guests support the fund in a variety of ways, from adding a dollar or more to their purchases of food and gifts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and select resorts, to participating in special animal experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot, to purchasing reusable shopping bags and other items on Disney Cruise Line and at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.

This past Sunday (June 5) was a day of global recognition for World Environment Day. What better time to take a tour around the world, visiting projects that are making a difference for people and nature? And while you’re exploring the DWCF Google Earth site, why not become a fan of the DWCF on Facebook so you can stay up to date on the people and projects the fund supports.

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Special Guests to Join Renowned Primatologist Jane Goodall for Safari VIP Weekend

posted on January 11th, 2011 by Kim Sams, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Conservation Programs, The Walt Disney Company


Disney and the Jane Goodall Institute have worked together on a variety of conservation programs over the years, and we’ve been thrilled that Dr. Jane has been able to take time out of her extremely busy schedule to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom from the park’s earliest days, including being an honored guest on opening day in 1998.

Dr. Jane Goodall Visits a Carving of David Greybeard at the Tree of Life

Here, Dr. Jane visits a carving of David Greybeard, a chimpanzee that holds a very special place in her heart, at The Tree of Life. In 2006, it was our pleasure to honor Dr. Jane with a Conservation Legacy Award from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.

As Disney’s Animal Kingdom celebrated its 10th anniversary, Dr. Jane and 100 young people from 28 countries participating in the 2008 Jane Goodall Global Youth Summit at the Walt Disney World Resort took time out to join the festivities. The young people were representatives from Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, a program that engages hundreds of thousands of children and teens in almost 120 countries to make positive change happen for communities, animals and the environment.

Next month, Dr. Jane will be hosting a Walt Disney World Safari VIP Weekend, a fund-raising event for the Jane Goodall Institute. She will be meeting with her Guests during this special trip. More details about joining Dr. Jane February 18-21 are available at http://www.janegoodall.org/travelwithjgi.

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Saluting Disney Conservation Heroes

posted on September 15th, 2010 by Kim Sams, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Conservation Programs, The Walt Disney Company


It’s a very exciting week for the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF). We are proud to announce the 2010 recipients of the “Disney Conservation Heroes” awards at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) conference in Houston where more than 2,000 professionals from zoos and aquariums across North America are gathered. You might know already that Disney’s Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo & Friends are accredited by AZA.

Disney Conservation Heroes

Our six honorees this year are men and women who have made great personal sacrifice. Some of them are self-taught conservationists — one is even a reformed poacher. All have gone to extraordinary lengths for wildlife. They’ve saved chimpanzees from wildfires, protected sea turtles from poachers and reintroduced a rare species into an area where it had disappeared. Our own Dr. Jackie Ogden, Vice President, Animal Programs and Environmental Initiatives, Disney Parks, who is being recognized herself this week for years of service supporting AZA’s commitment to conservation, called them “extraordinary individuals who are passionate about protecting animals and habitats.”

In fact we ALL have the power to make a difference for wildlife and wild places – through volunteerism — through gifts of time or money — and through personal or professional commitment. I encourage you to read our Conservation Heroes’ stories at www.disney.com/conservation. I couldn’t help but be inspired by their dedication and accomplishments. I know you will be too.

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