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Awesome Facts About Disney’s Worldwide Conservation Fund

Disney's Worldwide Conservation Fund Feature Image Collage

Even in its earliest days, the Walt Disney Company has always been strongly committed to conservation and protecting the environment for future generations. Walt Disney himself even made the statement:

Conservation isn’t just the business of a few people. It’s a matter that concerns all of us.

It took nearly three decades after its founder and visionary’s death, but the Walt Disney Company eventually went on to establish what’s become known as Disney’s Worldwide Conservation Fund. In short, the driving initiative for Disney’s Worldwide Conservation Fund is to protect and preserve the planet and all life on it for a better tomorrow. But the great multitude of ways by which Disney Conservationists strive to do so, with such selfless dedication and devotion, is both admirable and remarkably impressive on every level. While not even 30 years old yet, the Disney Conservation Fund already has so many accomplishments to its credit, along with ongoing, forever-growing goals toward setting the stage for an even more impactful and positive future. Here are some absolutely awesome facts about Disney’s Worldwide Conservation Fund and the Walt Disney Company’s commitment to conservation in general that you may enjoy learning about in greater detail.

RELATED: The Many Conservation Efforts at Work on Walt Disney World Property

History and Establishment

Founded in 1995, Disney’s Worldwide Conservation Fund was officially established as a philanthropic concept inspired by Walt Disney and his lifelong dedication to protecting and preserving the planet, nature, and wildlife. With many greater good-oriented goals, some of the Fund’s primary objectives include helping the environment by reducing total waste contribution, developing innovative new methods for conserving natural resources like water and energy, and protecting and reestablishing wildlife and destroyed habitats worldwide. So far, within the last 28 years, the Disney Conservation Fund has already contributed more than $120 million to supporting nature and wildlife preservation globally. More than 315 million acres of habitat have already been successfully safeguarded worldwide, which in turn has amounted to helping thousands of species that call this planet home.

Ongoing efforts and support from the Fund are forever working to stabilize order in the natural world by increasing homes and living environments for at-risk creatures of all different types. From butterflies to cranes, elephants to sea turtles, and even thriving ecosystems like coral reefs, forests, jungles, and grasslands, Disney’s Conservation Fund is always broadening its efforts, goals, and visions toward “a great big beautiful tomorrow.”

Disney Conservation Fund Collage

Credit: Disney

RELATED: 25 Years of Action & Impact through the Disney Conservation Fund

Restoring Worldwide Ecosystems

Preserving life on the planet begins with protecting our current state of things while also restoring what has already been lost or is in danger of being lost for good within the natural world. And that is why the Disney Conservation Team has been active in continuous ecosystem maintenance and replenishment initiatives.

Wildlife scientists with Disney have successfully restored more than 40,000 acres of threatened coral reefs. The team continues its impacting strategies on both an international and local level. Additionally, they maintain a long-term focus on reef restoration and eventually replanting corals throughout Florida and the Bahamas.

Coral Reef Restoration Efforts

Credit: Disney

Because forests and other arboreal concentrations around the globe are crucial to sustaining all life, Disney has taken an active initiative in reforestation efforts worldwide. Not only has the Disney Conservation Fund been responsible for planting millions of trees globally, but Disney Conservationists have also been successful in assisting with safeguarding forests everywhere against further decimation. Other habitat preservation achievements on their behalf include protecting more than 65,000 acres of land throughout the African savannas and designating particular species-specific habitats around the world.

Aerial View of a Forest with Monkey in the Tree

Credit: Disney

Establishing Homes and Habitats on Disney Property

Disney’s Worldwide Conservation Fund has successfully aided in the establishment of numerous designated natural wildlife preserves and protected areas on a much broader, global level. In some instances, Disney has partnered with independent but otherwise unaffiliated groups and organizations. Other times such establishments have been formed directly on designated Disney Property in more remote, otherwise obscure regions. That’s right, Disney owns affiliated property in so many different places that most people don’t even know about! Still, some of their greatest handiwork in home-away-from-home habitat establishments can be found on location at one of the most well-known Disney destinations of all—the one and only Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Fish at the Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion

Credit: Disney

More than 8,000 acres of Walt Disney World land have been permanently set aside exclusively for wildlife conservation-related activities and initiatives. And the Resort’s most notable callouts to wildlife conservation, in particular, are Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park and the Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion over in EPCOT. While the former is primarily land-focused and the latter is more marine-based, both locations offer resident creatures the care they need in safely confined yet authentically recreated natural living habitats where they can thrive.

African Painted Dogs at Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

RELATED: Meet The Cast Members Behind Disney’s Conservation Fund

The Birds, the Bees, and the Butterflies

Disney’s all about protecting creatures great and small. In fact, it’s oftentimes the smallest creatures that can leave the greatest impact on the world, particularly those winged creatures that serve as pollinators.

For many years now, Disney Conservationists have been supporting migratory bird populations worldwide by monitoring flight patterns, protecting (and sometimes providing for) their nesting habitats, and doing whatever else may be crucial for the well-being of a particular bird species. Support from Disney’s Conservation Fund has even aided critically endangered Siberian crane populations via monitoring and protecting vital stopover routes along the way of their 3,000-mile migrations. They’ve also established an ongoing partnership with nonprofits dedicated to protecting and preserving purple martins during their yearly migrations between Brazil and Florida. Nesting sites can even be found directly on location at Walt Disney World.

Purple Martin Nesting at Disney World

Credit: Disney

Disney also knows that providing for butterflies is absolutely crucial for the planet and has therefore led more than 25 projects across North America directly dedicated to saving these winged beauties. Members of Disney Conservation Team Wildlife, along with Disney VoluntEARS have successfully led more than 800 Disney employees and other folks worldwide to create special pollinator gardens and backyard habitats where Monarchs and other butterflies can thrive in abundance. Walt Disney World Resort alone is home to around 70 different butterfly species. And they even garner special attention during the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival.

Butterflies at Disney World

Credit: Disney

Protecting the world’s bee population is also high on the Disney Conservation Fund’s must-do list, especially given the global decline in natural habitat loss. Again, pollinator gardens on Disney World property and worldwide have helped considerably. In addition to Disney World’s 270-acre solar power facility and their massive pollinator garden components, local bees even get to feast on discarded gingerbread houses following the holiday season.

Side by Side Images Showing Old Gingerbread Houses and the Bees "Recycling" Them

Credit: Disney

The Disney Conservation Fund’s construction of beehive fences in 22 countries throughout Africa and Asia has also served a mutually beneficial purpose for both bees and elephants. The beehives obviously fulfill a habitual need for these notable pollinators while also helping to naturally deter elephants from trespassing onto farmland where they risk coming into conflict with humans. Furthermore, there is a very real threat from poachers that trespassing elephants face. Therefore, installing beehive fences in certain areas prevents elephants from entering into more perilous territory. What a win-win for everyone!

Beehive Fences by Disney

Credit: Elephants and Bees Project

Salvation for Sea Turtles

Disney Conservation’s support for sea turtle populations has included protecting natural habitats, monitoring nesting sites, educating people and communities where turtles are abundant, and even partnering with conservationists worldwide. Disney’s Vero Beach Resort on the Florida Coast has been particularly big in surveying and monitoring nesting sites for loggerhead, leatherback, and green sea turtles.

A Baby Sea Turtle on Vero Beach

Credit: Disney

EPCOT’s Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion in Disney World plays temporary host to rehabilitated sea turtles and more than 50 other species of marine animals via its impressive 5.7-million-gallon saltwater aquarium and residential coral reef.

Sea Turtles Swimming at EPCOT

Credit: Disney

Saving Animals on the Brink of Extinction

More than 35 threatened and endangered animal species have been conserved through the Fund’s participation in formulating working survival plans in partnership with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park is a sanctuary for many endangered species, including black rhinos, Sumatran tigers, and Guam kingfishers. Ongoing breeding programs in the Park have met with great success in helping to restore and replenish various populations among so many different species.

Black Rhinos at Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

RELATED: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Celebrates the Birth of a Critically Endangered Animal

Awarding Grants and Partnering with Nonprofits

The Disney Conservation Fund understands the importance of working together as a team. And that’s why partnering with and providing necessary financial support to nonprofit organizations set on bringing about positive and impactful changes is crucial to the overarching mission of creating a better tomorrow for future generations. Just within the last year alone, the Disney Conservation Fund awarded grants to 43 nonprofit organizations working with communities across 25 countries to protect more than 60 species.

Annual Grant Graphic Displays

Credit: Disney

RELATED: Disney’s Conservation Fund Sends Support to 60 More Non-Profits

Recognizing Conservation Heroes

Because good deeds should never go unnoticed, the Disney Conservation Fund officially recognizes individuals worldwide who stand out as true “conservation heroes” for their enduring hard work, dedication to saving wildlife, and devotion to a particular cause (or causes). These individuals go above and beyond, engaging and educating their communities while developing innovative conservation-based methods and solutions.

Conservation Hero nominations are considered from any organization previously receiving a Disney Conservation Fund grant. Disney has recognized more than 220 Conservation Heroes to date, with the assurance that there will be many more to come.

Disney-Conservation-Hero

Credit: Disney

Educating the Public

Disney knows that educating the public on how our current actions can significantly impact the future well-being of life on this planet is of the utmost importance. And they do so by using innovative, creative methods like storytelling and hands-on engagement opportunities to captivate and inspire people of all ages and walks of life. For instance, the personalized animal narratives presented in Disneynature films do wonders in uplifting spectators while making them aware of the current state of things and what life is like for these remarkable creatures. And you can’t deny that these films motivate audiences to want to play a proactive active role in helping out.

Collage Showing Three Disneynature Films

Credit: D23

Anyone who visits Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park in Disney World knows that it is far more than just a “theme park” but rather an accredited zoological park with knowledgeable professionals working onsite 24/7 to help provide for the vast and versatile species that live here. Moreover, many of the presented attractions here, like Conservation Station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Kilimanjaro Safaris, are as educational as they are entertaining and engaging.

A Cast Member at Animal Kingdom Teaching Child

Credit: Disney

Garnering Support Through Proceeds

Did you know that making certain purchases onsite at Disney Parks or through Disney websites can benefit Disney’s Worldwide Conservation Fund directly? Even buying a ticket to select Disney movies can assist in the fabulous work they do. Certain Disney Company purchases you make in lieu of a direct monetary donation still contribute to Disney’s Conservation Fund, as the Walt Disney Company matches each amount 100%. Merchant locations where your purchases directly benefit the Disney Conservation Fund are found worldwide throughout various Disney destinations. Well-known Disney World locations include Animal Kingdom Park the Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion in EPCOT, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Old Key West, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Other Disney Resorts elsewhere include Disney’s Aulani Resort, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. You can also donate at certain merchant locations or Guest Services via Disney Cruise Lines.

Peruvian Coffee Purchases Support Alto Mayo

The Worldwide Disney Conservation Fund, and by extension, the Walt Disney Company in general, has already exceeded in doing so much to help the people, animals, and thriving ecosystems that encompass this planet. But the ongoing initiative remains a work in progress, with plenty of room for growth. Disney has already set the bar higher for future goals to work toward going forward, including achieving a Company-wide zero-waste landfill initiative by 2030.

Even the smallest actions and commitments matter. Click here to learn more about Disney’s Worldwide  Conservation Fund and all the wonderful ways in which you can do your part in making a positive and impactful difference the Disney way.

About Laura

Laura Catherine aka “LC” is a writer who resides in Maryland with her family and several pets. She visits Walt Disney World whenever she can. Additionally, she is a published author of three novels, a children’s book, and has a passion for gardening.