The Nature Conservancy announces a $100,000 grant from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) for the Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) Program. Today LEAF received the grant at the Walt Disney World Resort as a part of a three-day Disney Kids and Nature Celebration event to inspire lifelong conservation leadership and to recognize and reward over one hundred kids and five organizations for their work conserving nature. To date, DWCF has invested almost $20 million to support conservation programs in more than half the countries in the world.
“At Disney, kids and conservation are important to who we are as a company,” said Dr. Beth Stevens, senior vice president of Corporate Citizenship, Environment & Conservation at Disney. “We have great confidence that the LEAF program will continue this commitment into the future. We know that the experiences they are helping to create for kids in nature are critical to inspiring the next generation of conservation leaders.”
Nature Conservancy leadership and four exceptional student ambassadors are attending the Disney Kids and Nature Celebration and participating in many events including: the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Awards Ceremony; Disney Friends for Change (FFC) Youth Summit and recognition ceremony for the classroom winners of the Friends for Change in-school program, Disney Planet Challenge; and the world premiere of Disneynature’s Chimpanzee. The four attending youth ambassadors and their inspirational stories are detailed below:
The Nature Conservancy and The Walt Disney Company have been partners in conservation for more than two decades, beginning with establishment of the Disney Wilderness Preserve in the early 1990s and continuing with marketing, philanthropic and other corporate support benefiting Conservancy programs across the country and around the world.
LEAF’s mission is to engage urban youth in conservation activities to encourage them to become future stewards for our planet. The program provides paid, residential career internships for students on nature preserves around the country and enriches these experiences in the classroom by providing professional development opportunities to educators from partner high schools. Nationally, only 6% of students receive bachelors’ degrees in the life science fields. According to a recent alumni survey of LEAF participants, 34% have gone on to major in life science fields in college and 21% of those majored in environmental studies. Approximately 33% of LEAF alumni have secured budding careers in related fields.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.