THE DISNEY CONSERVATION FUND - IT IS COMMON KNOWLEDGE that Walt Disney had atransformative and lasting impact on our culture through thepioneering and perfecting of animation, family entertainment,and theme parks. Among Disneys less obvious legacies, however, is his support of nature and habitat conservation.Disney first touched on the conservation theme in 1942 with the release of Bambi, in which animals and nature are the heroes. Despite the films exquisite artistry and years of meticulous background research by the staff working on the movie (which included studying and filming the movements of live animals in the studio), Bambi was not a huge box office success. However, it always did draw lavish praise from conservationists.But more important, the animal footage compiled by Disney staff during the making of Bambi gave Walt an idea for a new project. Beginning in the late 1940s, he sent film crews to remote locations across America andeventually around the world to capture dramatic footage of unencumbered wildlife. The result was the groundbreaking and immensely popular True-Life Adventures series, which won eight Academy Awards overits twelve-year life span (19481960) and created the template for the modern nature documentary.By the 1950s, Disney was beginning to reach such a vast movie andtelevision audience that the entertaining and informative depiction ofanimals and nature in the True-Life Adventures series kindled a spiritofconservation in millions of Americans.opposite:A Disney nature photographer working on the film The African Lion, March 1953.