Today may be the last day of April, but we’ll continue to celebrate and protect our planet beyond Earth Month here at Disney. As we wrap up this series on Disney Post, we thought it would be fun to give you an overview of the work we do with the National Park Foundation.
For several years, Disney has collaborated with the organization to support parks across the country and the wildlife that call them “home.” We spoke to National Park Foundation President and CEO Neil Mulholland about our most recent project, Bears, and how Disney has helped make a difference for national parks in the United States.
What was so unique about Disney and National Park Foundation’s collaboration? Can you talk to us about your experience with the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund?
Both Disney and the National Park Foundation share a deep commitment to amazing places— and the stories that make them great. We were proud of the story that Disneynature brought forth with Bears, which was filmed on park lands, and with it, the important need to support and protect the critical habitat and wild spaces these and countless other magnificent creatures call home—the national parks. Thanks to Disneynature and our collaboration with the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, the National Park Foundation can fund critical work across the country to restore precious habitats, fund vital research, aid endangered and threatened species and educate and empower countless students and park visitors.
How has Disney helped further the goals and mission of National Park Foundation over the years?
The national parks have often been called “America’s Best Idea.” However, that idea is only realized when great partners like Disney help us realize the true power of the parks. Thanks to the Company’s support, the National Park Foundation has introduced thousands of young people to their national parks—many for the first time—through our “Ticket to Ride” program. These experiences shape lives and also strengthen our parks. In an era of shrinking education budgets, Disney’s funding allows our young people to learn firsthand the powerful lessons of history, science, math and more, as well as institute a love for our nation’s treasured places. That collective experience pays dividends for us and for them in ways we cannot even imagine into the future.
What initiatives do Disney and National Park Foundation tackle together to engage youth through nature experiences inside and outside of national parks?
Building on our past success, thanks to Disney’s generous support, we are very excited to dramatically increase the impact our youth-focused programs have across the National Park System. We provide life-changing opportunities for kids who might not otherwise have a chance to experience a national park. Disney’s recent contribution, will help more than 100,000 kids experience a national park, whether it’s through a science class field trip or learning about an outdoor recreational activity, such as hiking or kayaking. With Disney’s support, we hope to reach our overall goal to get one million kids in our national parks by 2016—the centennial of the National Park Service!