Happy Father’s Day!

Not only to my own wonderful dad but to all the other dad’s out there, even the wild ones!

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Photo credit: Lionpenguin, chimpanzee, sea horses

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The Great American Road Trip!

Today is the day we set off on our long drive across the country from Florida to northern California. While it is going to be long, I think it should also prove to be a very interesting and rewarding move. While traveling, posts to my blog may be few and far between, but I do plan to update as much as possibles with stories of where we go and pictures of what we see. We will drive two days to Missouri, and then after staying there with our families a few days, we will drive three days to California. Stay tuned for tales from our journey!

Weird Wildlife Wednesday: the Vaquita

The Vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is this weeks Weird Wildlife Wednesday species. This is the smallest member of the cetaceans, toping out at around 4.9 feet long and is also the most critically endangered with populations potentially fewer than two-hundred individuals.  Unlike some other more well known cetacean species, these guys tend to be more solitary, typically in groups no larger than four individuals. Little is known about the life history of these animals because of their low numbers and illusiveness. This is also the reason why there are so few pictures of them alive.

A Vaquita entangled in fishing net Source Link

A Vaquita entangled in fishing net
Source Link

One of this biggest threats currently for this little cetacean is entanglement in fishing gear. Being endemic to and only found in the Gulf of California, Mexico, it is thought that pesticides flowing from the Colorado River may be posing a threat to Vaquitas as well.

Source: http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/cetaceans/about/vaquita/

A Force for Conservation: Disney

As if classics like The Lion King and Tarzan or parks like Disney World (Orlando, FL) and Disney Land (Anaheim, CA) weren’t enough to make us love Disney, they also devote a major part of their company to conservation and environmental efforts.

Those who have been to Animal Kingdom in Disney World Orlando have likely experienced the Kilimanjaro Safari ride which takes you in a large vehicle through their preserve where you can see animals like giraffes, elephants, hippos, lions, and more. These animals aren’t just for show, they are studied by Disney’s conservation research scientists. If you pay a little extra, you can even go on a more behind the scenes tour called the Wild Africa Trek. I did this a couple of years ago and you are led by a wildlife biologist guide who can answer all of your questions about the animals and the research efforts. At the end of the trek, we were able to select a conservation organization for a portion of our tour fee to be donated too. It was a really fun experience.

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In Epcot (where I celebrated my birthday yesterday), there is an aquarium called The Seas with Nemo & Friends. At The Seas, there is a Finding Nemo ride, and the ride exits into the aquarium where you can see fish, dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, and more. These animals are also part of research and they even have educational displays about these animals throughout the building.

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In Epcot, there is also a ride called Living With The Land that takes you through a little educational display about the history of agriculture and some of the environmental damage some practices may have caused. You then go through Disney’s greenhouse where you learn about new farming techniques they are studying with the USDA to find more efficient and less environmentally detrimental ways to farm. You even learn that a lot of the fruits and vegetables served throughout the park are grown on Disney grounds in their greenhouse.

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Epcot is also home to one of my favorite rides starring Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye the Science Guy called Ellen’s Energy Adventure. On this ride, you travel into Ellen’s dream and go back to when the dinosaurs walked the earth to learn about where our fossil fuels come from and then Bill Bye teaches her about the future of alternate energy sources like wind and solar power.

On top of the environmentally educational attractions in the parks, Disney also funds and collaborates on a lot of conservation projects through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and through their Disneynature documentaries.

The Disneynature documentaries come out every year on Earth Day and always give you great information and glimpses into the lives of living things. Favorites of mine have been African Cats, Chimpanzee, and Oceans. The film that will be coming out on Earth Day 2014 is to be called BEARS.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFl6guPcHvg]

Disney does so much in the way of conservation and education and teaching the next generation about conserving the world around them. It’s no wonder I love Disney so much. I feel like there are probably a lot of people out there who may not realize all that Disney does.

Epcot: The Seas With Nemo & Friends

Some pictures from my birthday trip to Epcot today. They have some really cool animals at the Seas With Nemo & Friends (and Animal Kingdom, but we didn’t go there today).

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