Longleaf pine seedling stands against mature natural forest habitat at Disney Wilderness Preserve in Central Florida.
Action! Production team onsite at Disney Wilderness Preserve films Central Florida Program Manager Zach Prusak for the PBS series. © Daniel Cole/TNC


PBS EcoSense for Living

An episode of this series airing nationwide in April features the wildlife and conservation work at our Disney Wilderness Preserve in Central Florida.

TNC's Disney Wilderness Preserve in Florida is featured in a compelling episode of the PBS series EcoSense for Living, premiering on PBS stations beginning April 2021.

Preview the Episode "Wild Things Return" features the longleaf pine ecosystem of the Disney Wilderness Preserve, along with key species that depend upon prescribed fire such as the gopher tortoise, scrub jay, red cockaded woodpecker and Eastern indigo snake.

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The "Wild Things Return" episode is now available on PBS to stream for free.

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The “Wild Things Return” episode focuses on diverse habitats from the preserve to Lakota land in South Dakota, and tracks the progress of several species whose survival depends on active conservation management, including the use of prescribed fire. From Red-cockaded woodpeckers and Indigo snakes to Black-footed ferrets and prairie dogs, it provides a sneak peek behind the scenes at what it takes to resettle animals into their native habitats.

If we weren’t protected here and looking at beautiful pine trees, you’d be looking at a subdivision.

Disney Wilderness Preserve Coordinator

The series features thought-provoking eco-topics ranging from reconnecting kids to nature, green jobs and healthy lifestyles limiting the impacts of toxins on our home and bodies. The series aims to empower viewers with practical solutions geared toward saving money, treading lighter on the planet and improving quality of life.


If you’re a plant or an animal that has evolved in a landscape that’s been exposed to frequent fire, you will evolve modifications to adapt to it, even depend on it.

Central Florida Program Manager/Fire Manager
Florida Scrub Jay
Florida Scrub Jay This endemic species to Florida thrives in the preserve's longleaf pine habitat. © David Moynahan
Gopher Tortoise
Gopher Tortoise This keystone species digs burrows that serve as shelter for 350 species. © FWC
Prescribed fire practitioner manages a fire at Disney Wilderness Preserve in Central Florida.
Prescribed Fire The episode describes the process of controlled burning at regular intervals to keep habitats healthy. © Zach Prusak/TNC
A swamp buggy tours the longleaf pine and wiregrass landscape of Disney Wilderness Preserve in Florida.
Swamp Buggy Ride Writer/Producer Suzan Satterfield tours the Disney Wilderness Preserve. © Picture Window Productions

Writer/Producer Suzan Satterfield describes her experience at the preserve capturing content for the episode in this way: “As soon as we drove into the Disney Wilderness Preserve and were greeted by a flock of wood storks, I knew we were in for a special experience. Riding atop a “swamp buggy” with our Nature Conservancy scientists, we traversed from longleaf pine/wiregrass land to tannin-rich swamps to uplands. The landscape would change so abruptly, it seemed like we must've traveled miles instead of just a few yards. It was a day filled with so much fascinating knowledge - the plants, the creatures, the critical fire management of the land. The best part of my job is to walk away with such a wealth of amazing stories. The worst part of my job is to not have time to tell them all.” 

PBS Releases Episode on April 17

This episode will be available to all PBS stations starting April 17, with airing on the following stations confirmed: New York - WNYE, San Francisco - KPJK and KRCB, Dallas - KERA, Atlanta - GPB, North Carolina - PBS NC, Denver - KBDI, Orlando - WUCF, Indianapolis - WFYI, Phoenix - KAET, Harrisburg - WITF, Maryland Public TV, Austin - KLRU, Portland - OPB, Tallahassee - WFSU and Syracuse - WCNY.

If your area isn't listed above, check your local PBS station listings for the exact air date and time.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.