Disney Parks Releases 2009 Conservation Report

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2009 Disney Conservation ReportJust in time for Earth Day, Disney Parks and Resorts released its 2009 Conservation Report earlier today. The report, which highlights various programs, activities and educational initiatives Disney Conservation has parktaken over the past year, can be found here.

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Disney Store Expands ‘Earth Day’ Collection in Honor of ‘Friends for Change’ and OCEANS; Free Hat Offer

Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi at Disney Store Times Square In addition to the limited-time only ‘Save the Planet’ merchandise featuring the Alien from Toy Story 3, Disney Store has expanded its Earth Day 2010 merchandise to include merchandise inspired by Disney Channel’s Friends for Change ‘Project Green’ and the new anthem Make a Wave by Joe Jonas and and Demi Lovato which also serves as the end title song for Disneynature’s OCEANS.

In honor of OCEANS, guests who bring six plastic bottles or aluminum cans to their local Disney Store on Earth Day, April 22, will receive a free Friends for Change and OCEANS co-branded baseball cap made from six recycled plastic bottles itself.

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DisneyStore.com Launches ‘Earth Day Boutique’ With Toy Story, Muppets, DWCF and Make-A-Wish Items

Alien Tree Planting Kit from DisneyStore.comA few days ago, we revealed some of the new Earth Day limited-time-only merchandise from the Disney Store featuring the Alien from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 with the tag line SAVE PLANET EARTH. Today, DisneyStore.com launched its Earth Day Boutique and although you won’t find any of that merchandise online, you will find dozens of other eco-friendly merchandise including Alien tees, a tree planting kit (pictured), a Muppets water bottle and re-useable tote and more eco-friendly merchandise.

Other items of special interest in the store include merchandise supporting the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund and a special re-useable tote from Make-A-Wish in honor of its first annual World Wish Day on April 29 with proceeds going to charity.

To see all of the items now available for purchase, click the special link below.

DisneyStore.com Earth Day Boutique. Shop Now!

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National Audubon Society to Recognize Disney Conservationist Dr. Beth Stevens

Dr. Beth Stevens. Photo courtesy DisneyOn May 18, Dr. Beth Stevens, Senior Vice President of Environmental Affairs for The Walt Disney Company, will be one of four women recognized by the National Audubon Society in a ceremony in New York City as one of the leading women in the field of American conservation.

Dr. Stevens will be awarded the Rachel Carson Award named for Rachel Carson, whose landmark book Silent Spring opened the world’s eyes to the damage inflicted by the indiscriminate use of pesticides such as DDT. Before Congress, Rachel Carson’s testimony called for an environmental regulatory department which came to life several years later with the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Donates $20,000 in Aid to Animals in Haiti

Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) mobile animal clinic in Haiti. (Photo by Tomas Stargardter)Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) is proud to support International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to provide veterinary care and vaccinations for animals in the wake of a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti. IFAW and the World Society for the Protection of Animals are jointly leading the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH), working with more than a dozen of the world’s leading animal protection organizations to aid as many animals as possible.

Funding will provide the ARCH team with medical supplies and equip a “mobile clinic” that is delivering emergency care for injured animals and administering vaccinations to prevent outbreaks of diseases such as rabies. Click here to watch a short video about IFAW’s relief efforts.

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Disney Animal Experts Say Farewell to Flippered and Furry Friends

Key Largo Woodrat. Photo courtesy of DisneyBreaking up is hard to do – especially before Valentine’s Day. But for a team of animal care experts from Disney’s Animal Programs, saying goodbye often means a new beginning for the wildlife they’ve taken under their wing.

During the next few weeks, animal managers, veterinarians and behaviorists will wish farewell to dozens of endangered animals that will return to their native Florida habitat after spending weeks, months or even years with members of the Disney team. The animals range from a tiny, 11-ounce endangered rodent to a recently rehabilitated four-pound sea turtle to an eight-foot, 828-pound manatee. Whether flippers or feet, the common thread is that each one has received top-notch care as a reflection of Disney’s commitment to animal conservation and wildlife rehabilitation.

CRACKING THE CODE ON WOODRAT LOVE
Most recently, the animal care team collaborated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Lowry Park Zoo on the first-ever reintroduction of 14 Key Largo woodrats to the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in South Florida. The woodrats were bred at both Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa as part of a recovery plan to augment the existing population found only in Key Largo. Scientists estimate that this native species has dwindled to about 500 after years of habitat loss, drought and the invasion of non-native animal species, such as the Burmese python.

“Although small in size, the Key Largo woodrat plays a larger role in the circle of life,” according to Anne Savage, senior conservation biologist at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. “Through diligent study, we may be able to link these tiny rodents to the distribution of essential sources of food for other animals. That activity could facilitate the growth of fungus, trees and other fauna. That’s an important reason to be concerned about saving them.”

Prior to their release at Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, the Key Largo woodrats were placed in individual enclosures with nest structures designed and built by refuge volunteers.  Supplemental food was provided for nearly a week while conservation biologists observed the animals in their new environment and felt comfortable removing the animals’ protective enclosures. Each animal has been fitted with radio-collared transmitter which will help scientists track their movements once released.

Breeding this elusive species was a challenge since scientists had very little information about social structure, reproductive biology or ecology. Through diligent research, Disney animal experts studied the behavior of this nocturnal animal and found ways to successfully breed 30 of the native species. Since June 2006, 18 litters have been born in Disney’s colony with litter size ranging from one to three pups.

Aside from scientific discovery, researchers develop special attachments to many of the Key Largo woodrats. “It feels similar to sending children off to college,” said Savage. “As scientists, we hope the woodrats have cultivated the skills to survive on their own and they will be successful in their natural habitat. It’s exciting to be part of this conservation effort and see them move on to their next chapter.”

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

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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Disney Channel Stars’ Anthem ‘Send it On’ to Debut on Radio Disney 8/7, iTunes; Television Special on 8/28

Disney's Friends for Change“Send it On,” the inspiring anthem for Disney’s “Friends for Change: Project Green,” performed by Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, will debut FRIDAY, AUGUST 7 on Radio Disney and will be available TUESDAY, AUGUST 11 on iTunes, itunes.com/disneyfriendsforchange, for .99 cents, with all proceeds benefitting environmental charities through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. The “Send it On” music video premieres FRIDAY, AUGUST 14 on Disney Channel, and SATURDAY, AUGUST 15 on Disney.com and the ABC Television Network.

A half-hour special programming event, “Lights, Camera, Take Action! Backstage with Disney’s Friends for Change,” taking viewers behind the scenes during production of the campaign, will premiere FRIDAY, AUGUST 28 immediately following “Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie” (8:00 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel.

Twenty-nine Disney stars are featured in the Friends for Change messages on Disney Channel, Disney XD, Radio Disney and Disney.com, inviting young people to join together and make a difference. They are: Moises Arias, Miley Cyrus, Jason Earles, Mitchel Musso and Emily Osment (“Hannah Montana”), Jason Dolley (“Hatching Pete” and the upcoming “Good Luck Charlie”), Nicole Anderson, Kevin Jonas, Joe Jonas, Nick Jonas, Chelsea Staub (“JONAS”), Allisyn Ashley Arm, Doug Brochu, Sterling Knight, Demi Lovato, Brandon Mychal Smith and Tiffany Thornton (“Sonny With A Chance”), Cole Sprouse, Dylan Sprouse, Debby Ryan, Larramie “Doc” Shaw and Brenda Song (“The Suite Life on Deck”), Jake T. Austin, Selena Gomez, David Henrie and Jennifer Stone (“Wizards of Waverly Place”), Hutch Dano, Adam Hicks and Daniel Curtis Lee (of Disney XD’s “Zeke and Luther”).

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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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Sea Turtles Get a Boost from Guests at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort (Video)

Sea TurtleLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., July 2, 2009 — With sea turtle nesting season in full swing, Disney’s Animal Program’s experts are keeping busy at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort where hundreds of female sea turtles will come ashore through September to complete a pilgrimage they do every few years – lay eggs. Approximately 50,000 sea turtles come ashore in Florida each year, making it one of the most fertile nesting areas in the United States.

While not easy, the process of establishing a nest starts with the female dragging her heavy body out of the water to the sand dunes. Using her back flippers, she digs a hole to deposit approximately one hundred rubbery eggs, each the size of a golf ball. The turtle hides the nest by covering the hole with sand and heads back to the ocean.

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