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14 National Parks Receive Impact Grants Thanks to Disneynature's "Bears"

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SOURCE National Park Foundation

NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION PROGRAM WILL ENHANCE AND IMPROVE AMERICA'S NATIONAL PARKS

WASHINGTON, June 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, has awarded Disneynature Impact Grants to 14 national parks thanks to the significant support generated during opening week of Disneynature's "Bears." These grants provide critical financial support needed to transform innovative, yet underfunded, ideas into successful in-park programs and initiatives.

National Park Foundation

Disneynature pledged to make a contribution to the National Park Foundation through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund for each person who saw Disneynature's "Bears" during opening week.

"Thanks to Disneynature's support and commitment to preserving and protecting America's national parks, we are able to fund much-needed conservation projects like studying and protecting endangered species, restoring more than 400,000 acres of national park land, and much more," said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. "We are thankful for our relationship with Disney and the profound impact we are making together in our national parks."

Ranging in size and scope, each of the selected parks demonstrated a clear need in which funding would make a profound difference in the areas of habitat restoration, wildlife protection, and/or conservation research.  Programs made possible through the 2014 Impact Grants include:

  • Black Bear Research at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
    This project will examine black bear movement and habitat use in and surrounding Bryce Canyon National Park by radio-collaring black bears. The park will also develop educational outreach programs for real-time interpretation of black bear movement and conservation challenges as well as curricula for schools.
  • Habitat Restoration at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee
    Wetlands are uncommon in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, yet provide critical habitat for diverse native plants and animals, some found nowhere else in the park. Bears, bobcats, foxes, birds, amphibians, and fish call wetlands home, but these habitats are severely impacted by invasive plant species. This project will allow for invasive plant removal, seed collection, propagation and planting of native species, and educational outreach.
  • Frog Conservation at Yosemite National Park, California
    The Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierrae) was once the most abundant vertebrate in the mountains of California, but steep population declines during the past century have pushed this species to the brink of extinction. The park will tag and radio-track frogs to identify critical habitats and movement corridors. These efforts will improve the effectiveness of conservation actions undertaken to recover this frog.

The entire list of the 2014 Impact Grants recipients, receiving funding thanks to Disneynature's support, includes:

  • Bryce Canyon National Park (UT)
  • Capitol Reef National Park (UT)
  • Congaree National Park (SC)
  • Coronado National Memorial (AZ)
  • Cumberland Gap National Historical Park (KY,TN,VA)
  • Dinosaur National Monument (CO,UT)
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NC,TN)
  • Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park (HI)
  • Little River Canyon National Preserve (AL)
  • Mammoth Cave National Park (KY)
  • National Park Service RTCA Florida Field Office (FL)
  • Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
  • Wupatki National Monument (AZ)
  • Yosemite National Park (CA)

A listing of these parks and their project descriptions can be found on the National Park Foundation website.

For more information on the National Park Foundation and how to support and protect America's national parks, please visit www.nationalparks.org.  

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION 
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America's national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service.  Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards.  Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.

ABOUT "BEARS"
In an epic story of breathtaking scale, Disneynature's True Life Adventure "Bears" showcases a year in the life of a bear family as two impressionable young cubs are taught life's most important lessons. Set against a majestic Alaskan backdrop teeming with life, their journey begins as winter comes to an end and the bears emerge from hibernation to face the bitter cold. The world outside is exciting--but risky--as the cubs' playful descent down the mountain carries with it a looming threat of avalanches. As the season changes from spring to summer, the brown bears must work hard to find food--ultimately feasting at a plentiful salmon run--while staying safe from rival male bears and predators, including an ever-present wolf pack. "Bears" captures the fast-moving action and suspense of life in one of the planet's last great wildernesses--Alaska! Directed by Alastair Fothergill ("Earth," "African Cats" and "Chimpanzee") and Keith Scholey ("African Cats").

ABOUT DISNEYNATURE
Disneynature was launched in April 2008. Its mission is to bring the world's top nature filmmakers together to share a wide variety of wildlife stories on the big screen in order to engage, inspire and educate theatrical audiences everywhere. Walt Disney was a pioneer in wildlife filmmaking, producing 13 True-Life Adventure motion pictures between 1948 and 1960, which earned eight Academy Awards(R). The first four Disneynature films, "Earth," "Oceans," "African Cats" and "Chimpanzee," are four of the top five highest overall grossing feature-length nature films to date, with "Chimpanzee" garnering a record-breaking opening weekend for the genre. Disney's commitment to conservation is a key pillar of the label and Disneynature films empower the audience to help make a difference. Through donations tied to opening-week attendance for all four films, Disneynature, through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, has planted three million trees in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, established 40,000 acres of marine protected area in The Bahamas, protected 65,000 acres of savanna in Kenya, protected nearly 130,000 acres of wild chimpanzee habitat, educated 60,000 school children about chimpanzee conservation and cared for chimpanzees. For more information about Disneynature, like us on Facebook: facebook.com/Disneynature and follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/Disneynature.

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140324/DC89075LOGO

MEDIA CONTACT : Alanna Sobel 
202-354-6486
asobel@nationalparks.org

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