Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Announces 2012 Grant Recipients

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Sept.18 – The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) released its 2012 annual grants, awarding more than $1.8 million to 75 conservation projects around the globe including $130,000 to Florida based projects.

Since its beginnings in 1995 DWCF has donated nearly $4 million benefiting 257 programs from 59 organizations in Florida. This year, six projects supporting the conservation of Florida wildlife were selected, including:

–The Sea Turtle Conservancy
–The University of Florida
–Marine Resources Council of East Florida
–The Wildlife Foundation of Florida
–The Coral Restoration Foundation
–The Ecostudies Institute

“Disney’s commitment to protect the planet and help create connections between kids and nature around the world in 40 countries is amazing,” said Dr. Beth Stevens, Senior Vice President, Disney Corporate Citizenship, Environment & Conservation. “We are grateful to the many scientists, educators and community conservationists who devote their lives to conservation and are very proud to work with our guests, fans, employees and cast members to help ensure a better future for our planet.”

Through its grants program, DWCF is helping to preserve habitats, protect endangered species, foster kids’ connections to nature and ensure future generations can enjoy wildlife and wild places.

Highlights of the six Florida-based projects include:

–The Coral Restoration Foundation has developed a project dedicated to restoring coral reefs in the Florida Keys through an offshore nursery.
–The Sea Turtle Conservancy combines educational workshops with hands-on activities, to encourage awareness of a vital sea turtle nesting site located on Florida’s East Coast.
–The Ecostudies Institute has designed a program to raise awareness about the ecosystems in South Florida and promote the conservation of the Mangrove Cuckoo, a species whose populations have shrunk by up to 95% in recent years.
–The Wildlife Foundation of Florida explores water temperatures in Florida to determine the best habitat-rebuilding sight to promote manatee recovery.

Globally, DWCF has awarded $20 million to support conservation programs in 112 countries on six continents since 1995. For a complete list of grant recipients and to view The Walt Disney Company’s most recent Conservation Report, visit www.disney.com/conservation

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Debra Martin Koma wrote about food, travel and lifestyle issues for a number of local and national publications before she fell in love with Walt Disney World on her first visit — when she was 34! She's returned to her Laughing Place more times than she can count in the ensuing years, and enthusiastically shares her passion with readers of AllEars.Net and AllEars®. Deb also co-authored (along with Deb Wills) PassPorter's Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line, a travel guide designed for all travelers to Walt Disney World who may require special attention, from special diets to mobility issues.

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