By Steffanie Martinez |Staff Writer|
On Earth Day in 1995, Disney’s Conservation Fund was established to accomplish a meaningful mission to protect wildlife, wild places, and connect people with nature.
Now, 20 years since it started, the fund has contributed $40 million in forms of grants to support hundreds of nonprofit organizations, according to Disney’s newsletter.
This has resulted in them being able to protect more than 400 different species.
In celebrating the 20th anniversary, they are unveiling a new initiative to protect the planet.
“We are working with leading conservation organizations on this effort to develop and implement a comprehensive, measurable strategic plan to reverse the decline in critical animal populations around the world,” stated Dr. Beth Stevens, senior vice president of environment and conservation.
It is admirable in Disney’s part, knowing the impact they have on the life of adults and children of all ages.
Their ultimate goal is to inspire children by informing them in what ways they can help, and maybe encourage them to become environmentalists in the future.
A huge part in making this effort happen is having children experience the Animal Kingdom.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the fourth of four theme parks built at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Not only as a cast member but also as a guest, I am impressed with all the park has to offer.
According to Disney Parks journalist Jackie Ogden, Disney’s Animal Kingdom was granted official accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Only the zoos and aquariums that meet the highest standards in animal management and care receive accreditation.
Disney’s goal with Animal Kingdom is to maintain a strong focus on animals, nature and conservation.
There is a different world within the parks guests can travel throughout, and in each they can be educated about different animals and wildlife.
Many things happen within the park to create long-term effects; one of the things I found most interesting was the little thing they do that also makes a big impact.
Considering the Florida heat, one of the first things I did when I arrived to the park was purchase a drink, the drink was given to me with no lid and a paper straw.
After my confusion, a cast member explained to me the park does not offer any plastic lids or straws in the park because it’s more environmentally friendly and it avoids plastic from reaching the animal’s habitat.
That was something that wouldn’t have crossed my mind, but it made sense once it was put into perspective.
The park also recycles, has veterinary care for their animals, and most importantly, educates guests all throughout the park on how they can do their part in conservation efforts.This park has been my favorite part of Walt Disney World.
There are music performances that vary throughout the park from acrobatics, dances and instrumental.
By visiting their Kilimanjaro Safari I was able to see wildlife closer than I ever have before. The tour guide also makes the trip fun while also giving information on each animal.
A guest favorite is also The Lion King show, which is as close to Broadway as I’ve gotten, it is one of the best productions I’ve had the chance to watch at any Disney park.
Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom has a lot to offer; it will keep getting better as of this month.
For the first time, it will stay open later to introduce their new Rivers of Light Show and a nighttime safari.