by Dr. Mark Penning, Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks
When I was a young boy in South Africa, the magic of nature was evident each time I stepped outside. My love of nature inspired my career and made me much of who I am today. Research shows that children who are exposed to nature are healthier and happier, and it’s widely believed that these outdoor experiences provide the foundation for kids to care about the planet as they grow older.
To give children more opportunities to enjoy nature, to focus our efforts on some of our most threatened animal species, the Disney Conservation Fund is launching a new initiative – “Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time.”
To date, the Disney Conservation Fund has provided more than $40 million to support conservation projects in 115 countries helping protect more than 400 animal species. DCF will continue to award its annual grants, help animals during emergencies and natural disasters through the Rapid-Response Fund and honor Conservation Heroes each year.
We expect to have an even greater conservation impact as we focus on 10 critical animal groups in the wild: African elephants, butterflies, coral reefs, tamarin monkeys, great apes, sea turtles, sharks and rays, migratory birds, rhinos and tigers.
We also will work with organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, National 4-H Council and the Jane Goodall Institute to provide more access to national parks, summer camps, environmental service learning projects and more.
We will share much more information about our plans and how you can help during the next few months. In the meantime, you can take simple actions in and around your home, volunteer, or share your conservation knowledge with friends and family to make a difference. With Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time, we hope to contribute to a healthy, thriving planet and inspire the environmental leaders of tomorrow.
To read more about DCF’s invaluable contributions and view stunning photography from around the world, check out the new book “The Disney Conservation Fund: Carrying Forward a Conservation Legacy.” For more information about DCF, visit Disney.com/Conservation, and for more fun facts about the animals we are working to save, visit Disneyanimals.com.
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