The Walt Disney Company Announces $7M Investment in Forest Protection Projects

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BURBANK, Calif. — The Walt Disney Company announced today a $7 million investment in forest projects that will build on its long history of conservation and environmental stewardship. The projects will protect forests in the Amazon, the Congo and the United States safeguarding ecosystems that benefit climate and quality of life on the planet.

The investment is being made in partnership with leading non-governmental organizations Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and The Conservation Fund that, like Disney, put great emphasis on science and technical excellence.

Forest protection is one of the most effective ways to combat climate change, improve the livelihood of local communities and protect threatened wildlife. Healthy forests provide food, shelter and income to millions of people around the world. The projects supported by Disney will also benefit species ranging from gorillas in Africa to North American songbirds.

Support for these projects, using a variety of conservation strategies including avoided deforestation, reforestation, and improved forest management, supplement Disney’s companywide efforts to combat climate change by reducing fossil fuel use and switching to cleaner forms of energy.

“Disney has always been a conservation leader,” said Disney President and CEO Robert A. Iger. “Now, more than ever, it’s essential to take swift action to preserve our most vulnerable natural environments for future generations and to be innovative in achieving that goal.”

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Photo Call: Tinker Bell, Cast and Crew and Friends at United Nations Ceremony

Recently we told you about the United Nations applauding Tinker Bell’s commitment to the environment by making her an ‘Honorary Ambassador of Green’ in a ceremony this past Sunday.

Below is a series of photos of Tink, the cast and crew of Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure who were in attendance of the event as well as a few other guests.

All photos by Alex J. Berliner © Berliner Studio/BEImages. All rights reserved. Courtesy of Disney.

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UPDATE: Tinker Bell Named ‘Honorary Ambassador of Green’ by United Nations

(L-R) Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure Producer Sean Lurie and Director Klay Hall show Tinker Bell her new plaque that designates her United Nations Honorary Ambassador of Green presented by United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Kiyo Akasaka. Photo © Berliner Studio/BEImages

(L-R) Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure Producer Sean Lurie and Director Klay Hall show Tinker Bell presented by United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Kiyo Akasaka. Photo © Berliner Studio/BEImages

In a step to help provide environmental awareness (and perhaps a tad of promotion), the United Nations named Tinker Bell the ‘Honorary Ambassador of Green’ early Sunday.

‘We’re delighted Tinker Bell has agreed to be our Honorary Ambassador of Green,’ said Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. ‘This beloved animated character can help us inspire kids and their parents to nurture nature and do what they can to take care of the environment.’

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Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Announces Recipients of 2009 ‘Heroes’ Award

BURBANK, Calif. (Oct. 21, 2009) – Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has announced the recipients of the “Disney Conservation Heroes” award for 2009. The award program recognizes heroes who have made a positive impact on the environment and their communities.

Eight award recipients from around the globe were nominated by non-profit environmental organizations for their tireless efforts to save wildlife, protect habitats and educate communities.

“Disney recognizes that these heroes are role models who hold the keys to successful conservation initiatives in areas of critical concern,” said Dr. Beth Stevens, Senior Vice President for Disney’s Environmental Affairs. “Conservation efforts around globe and in our own back yard rely substantially on support from the local community and direct involvement of people like our Disney Conservation Heroes.”

Each award recipient and their nominating organization will share a $1,000 award from the DWCF. This year’s recipients include:

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Disneyland Resort Wins California’s Top Environmental Leadership Award

ANAHEIM, Calif., Oct. 20  — Disneyland Resort has won the 2009 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), California’s highest and most prestigious environmental honor. The award recognizes individuals, organizations and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership for voluntary achievements in conserving California’s resources, protecting and enhancing the environment and building public-private partnerships. Governor Schwarzenegger recognized Disneyland Resort and 14 other GEELA recipients at a reception at the Governors’ Global Climate Summit 2 in Los Angeles on September 30.

“I applaud the Disneyland Resort for their wonderful commitment to our state’s commerce and environment. They are an inspiration to many and I thank them for their outstanding leadership,” said Governor Schwarzenegger.

“This honor recognizes Disneyland Resort’s ongoing commitment to developing socially responsible and environmentally friendly practices that promote environmental protection and economic growth,” said Frank Dela Vara, director of environmental affairs and conservation at Disneyland Resort. “We are proud of our commitment to exploring and implementing new technologies and practices that further the environmental legacy left by Walt Disney.”

Award recipients are chosen in 10 different categories based on their strength in eight specific areas including results, transferability, environmental impact, resource conservation, economic progress, innovation and uniqueness, pollution prevention and environmental justice. Disneyland received the award for several sustainable practices implemented at the Resort, including the environmentally conscientious efforts to refill the Paradise Bay at Disney’s California Adventure; the use of the Resort’s processed cooking oil to fuel its steam train locomotives; and the water and energy conservation features incorporated in the Resort’s new central bakery.

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Welcomes Two Giraffes to the World

Week-old Bolo appears with his mother, Big Girl. Photo courtesy of Disney.LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Oct. 19, 2009 — Walt Disney World Resort recently welcomed two male calves to the giraffe herd at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Weighing 153 pounds, Bolo was born Oct. 12 to second-time mother Big Girl, who first birthed a female calf in November 2005. On Oct. 5, the Disney’s Animal Programs team helped to deliver 166-pound calf Bruehler from third-time mother Aibuni. As newborns, both male calves stand nearly six feet tall and could grow to be as tall as 15 – 18 feet as adults.

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Disney’s Key Largo Woodrat Recovery Program Receives Prestigious Award

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Sept. 23, 2009 – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) recently recognized Disney’s Animal Programs for conservation efforts to help protect the endangered Key Largo woodrat. During the AZA’s annual conference, the team received the Edward H. Bean Significant Achievement Award, which recognizes programs that contribute to the reproductive success of a species.

Since 2005, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has been assisting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in developing and implementing a recovery plan for the Key Largo woodrat, which is threatened by habitat loss along with an invasion of non-native animal species, such as the Burmese python.

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Say ‘Hello’ and ‘Bon Voyage’ to Dory, Disney’s Entry in the Tour de Turtles

Dory Enters the Tour de TurtlesVERO BEACH, Fla., Aug. 6, 2009 – With nearly 200 encouraging fans, a loggerhead sea turtle named Dory returned to the Atlantic Ocean after successfully laying eggs near the shores of Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.

Dory is one of 10 sea turtles participating in Tour de Turtles: A Sea Turtle Migration Marathon hosted by the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC). The program is designed to spotlight the challenges facing sea turtles, with each participant representing a “cause” or threat to sea turtle survival.

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International Veterinary Team Helps Swaziland Save Habitat and Help Control Elephant Population

Veterinarians Perform an Elephant Vasectomy

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Aug. 5, 2009 – Led by Disney’s Animal Programs, an international coalition of veterinarians from conservation groups, zoos, universities and private industry have returned from Africa after effectively sterilizing seven bull elephants in Swaziland’s Big Game Parks.

As a result of this effort, Swaziland wildlife officials will be able to better manage the elephant population in wildlife parks and reserves over the next decade.

Elephant overpopulation in wildlife parks and reserves in Swaziland and other southern Africa countries is a growing concern that can have devastating effects on the natural habitat as well as other animal species that live there. Wildlife officials in several countries are considering culling elephants in order to control the population growth. One of the ways to address this concern is with an innovative population management tool developed by an international veterinary team to help save habitat without harming elephants.

“Surgical vasectomy helps reduce elephant birth rates, while maintaining normal hormone levels and common elephant social behaviors,” according to veterinarian Dr. Mark Stetter, director of Animal Health at Disney’s Animal Programs. ”With this procedure, we’re pleased to help wildlife officials in Africa balance the need to provide quality elephant care with an eye toward sustaining the ecosystem for other native animals.”

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Now Offers Vero Beach’s Adopt-A-Nest Program for Sea Turtle Conservation

As if the reasons for visiting Rafiki’s Planet Watch weren’t numerous enough, Out of the Wild, the area’s gift shop is now offering Adopt-A-Nest packages from Disney’s Vero Beach resort.

Up until now, the offer has been available exclusively at the Vero Beach Resort, but now guests at Walt Disney World have the opportunity to adopt their own sea turtle nest while benefitting sea turtle conservation through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF).

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