31 May 2012

So many curious and exciting creatures

Walt Disney had a passion for the animal world, as is evident in his creation of the True Life Adventure Series. When EPCOT Center unveiled The Living Seas and, later, when the fourth gate of Walt Disney World was opened, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it was clear that these vast landscapes of earth and sea were guided by the love Walt had for the natural world. The creation of a conservation fund to spread education and preservation worldwide also had the touch of Walt in it. This week, several environmental events around Walt Disney World were announced, and once again you can see the guiding hand of Walt.
Here is the upcoming schedule:
June 6 – Pollinator Day (Rafiki’s Planet Watch – Disney’s Animal Kingdom)
June 8 – World Oceans Day (The Seas – Epcot)
August 1-31Cotton-Top Tamarin Month (Disney’s Animal Kingdom)
August 1Celebrating Primates (Disney’s Animal Kingdom)
September 5International Vulture Awareness Day (Disney’s Animal Kingdom)
September 7 – International Manatee Day (The Seas – Epcot)
September 26Elephant Awareness Day (Disney’s Animal Kingdom)
October 31Bat Day (Disney’s Animal Kingdom)
With Pollinator Day, guests of all ages can learn about how pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, assist in the cultivation of plants used in everything from medicine and fibers to delicious sweets and spices. Not only will guests be able to see pollinators in action, they can also gather the tools needed to create their own pollinator garden.

As if there weren’t enough happenings taking place in The Seas on a daily basis, on World Oceans Day sharks, marine mammals, ocean play, sea turtles, and coral reefs are each going to be given a special spotlight.

As an educator, I understand the value of learning through paly and the creation, or stumbling upon of, teachable moments. Walt Disney understood these ideals and crafted worlds of edutainment, or the combination of education and entertainment. The same principles built EPCOT Center and are the foundation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. For any event focusing in on the natural world, like those coming down the line in the next several months, the lessons have to be injected with a bit of wonder and a pinch of mirth in order to seal that connection and make the message stick. From the looks of things, that is precisely what the wonderful animal ambassadors at Walt Disney World are doing!

Walt Disney can make no new speeches or appeals to the world from the corner of his desk, beckoning us to come along with him and help shape a brighter tomorrow for all of the creatures of our planet. The good news is he doesn’t have to. The ideals he left us with his legacy continue on and have found new paths to exploration and education. I think he would be excited to see the happenings taking place at Walt Disney World between now and October, I know I sure am!

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