The Disney Conservation Fund has awarded funding to two University of Florida research centers to continue conservation efforts for imperiled butterflies and sea turtles.
The programs will receive $350,000 each, bringing the total of Disney’s support for UF conservation programs to nearly $5.2 million since 1995.
“Saving some of the world’s most iconic species alongside dedicated scientists at the University of Florida exemplifies the type of collaboration the Disney Conservation Fund has focused on for 25 years. Our relationship extends beyond grants to meaningful engagement in conservation solutions as our teams work together to make an impact for wildlife, people and the planet.”
– Kim Sams, director of strategic philanthropy at Disney Enterprise Social Responsibility
The programs are led by two UF professors, Jaret Daniels, curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, and Karen Bjorndal, director of the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research in UF’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Daniels is spearheading the conservation of more than 40 critically imperiled species of butterflies in Florida and California, while Bjorndal leads research and recovery efforts for Florida’s wide-ranging endangered sea turtles.
The grants have also encouraged and enabled more detailed recovery and conservation planning than a typical one-to-three-year grant would, something especially important for animals like sea turtles, which can have lifespans of up to 100 years.