By Claire Martin, Senior Manager, Strategic Philanthropy, Disney Corporate Social Responsibility
During our 25th anniversary year, the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) team is honored to continue providing critical support to community-led conservation efforts globally. As many organizations struggle with unexpected challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, support from the DCF will help provide groups key resources to carry forward efforts to bolster communities and to protect wildlife around the world when they need it the most.
This year, we are proud to support 50 conservation organizations working to protect more than 100 species through the Inspiring Action Conservation Grants Program, including the following initiatives:
- Beneath the Waves (BTW): Shark Survival Inside Protected Areas – BTW plans to conduct a series of scientific research expeditions in The Bahamas, aimed at monitoring the behavior of sharks to understand the value that Marine Protected Areas play in their survival. This research is key for demonstrating that long-term habitat protections can benefit wildlife and people. The program also will engage local schools to ensure kids are inspired to protect sharks and the ocean habitats where they live.
- Conservation Fusion (CF): Inspiring Leaders, Protecting Lemurs in Madagascar – CF is connecting people to the science of lemur and forest conservation through education, research, and leadership skills development. Madagascar is home to 112 species of lemurs, and sadly, 94 percent of all lemurs are threatened with extinction. CF is working to address the threats lemurs face by working with local communities to highlight tangible benefits of eco-tourism, empower youth and restore critical habitat by planting more than 60,000 trees each year.
- Global Penguin Society (GPS): Penguins, People and the Planet – GPS has already had great success protecting penguins and their habitats, leading an effort to establish 32 million acres of terrestrial and marine protected areas in South America. This project will help support the conservation of Magellanic penguins in Argentina, expanding research to help protect penguins and working to address the threats they face, from marine plastic pollution to climate change.
- University of Central Florida (UCF) Research Foundation – Oysters, Endangered Birds, and Children: The UCF Research Foundation is helping advance science and engage communities in the restoration of oyster reefs in the Indian River Lagoon in Florida, supporting other species like wading birds. The program also works with Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida engaging kids as citizen-scientists, having them help to identify birds from remote wildlife cameras.
In addition, we are continuing to advance conservation collaborations through our Saving Wildlife work, whichdrives comprehensive strategies aimed at reversing the decline of butterflies, coral reefs, cranes, elephants, gorillas, monkeys, rhinos, sea turtles, sharks and rays, as well as tigers. These programs are helping to bring back species by addressing threats and empowering communities in important ecosystems from California to Brazil and Kenya to China, among other regions.
We are grateful for the communities that continue to help ensure a future for wildlife around the world, including the many Disney Guests who have helped contribute to the Disney Conservation Fund. Together we can protect the magic of nature and ensure a world of wonder for future generations to enjoy.
A complete list of our 2020 grantees can be found on our website www.disney.com/conservation. And more highlights and stories featuring the #MagicOfNature continue to be shared on Facebook and Instagram @DisneyConservation, and from @DisneyConserves on Twitter.