BURBANK, Calif., April 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures has arranged with The Nature Conservancy to plant 2.7 million trees in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, one of the planet's most endangered rainforests, it was announced by Dick Cook, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. In keeping with the Disneynature EARTH's themes of protecting the planet and its wildlife, Walt Disney Studios volunteered to plant a tree in honor of every moviegoer who saw the film during its first week of release. The motion picture grossed an impressive $16.1 million at the box office during week one and broke an opening day record as well as an opening weekend record for a nature documentary. The film also garnered the highest praise from critics and moviegoers alike.
Through its campaign to Plant a Billion Trees (www.plantabillion.org), The Nature Conservancy, one of the world's leading international conservation organizations and its local partners are working to reforest 2.5 million acres of land and re-connect more than 12 million acres in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, one of the planet's most endangered and ecologically significant rainforests. This restoration effort will allow hundreds of plants and animals to re-colonize their former habitats and will protect vital watersheds.
Commenting on the announcement, Cook said, "We're proud to be working with The Nature Conservancy, one of the world's most effective conservation organizations, in planting trees in the endangered Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Through the Conservancy's Plant a Billion Trees campaign, we have an opportunity to honor those who supported 'EARTH' by making a tangible and lasting contribution to conserving globally-significant wildlife habitat. Our goal with Disneynature is to entertain and inform moviegoers about the wonders of our planet, and encourage them to learn more about what they can do to conserve nature."
"Disney has created a spectacular portrait of our planet with Disneynature's 'EARTH' and demonstrated their commitment to the planet by supporting our ambitious, large-scale reforestation effort to restore and preserve the magnificent Atlantic Forest," said Mark Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. "We applaud Disney for their contribution to our effort to plant and restore one billion trees by 2015 in the Atlantic Forest, a global conservation priority area of rich biodiversity."
Beth Stevens, senior vice president, Environmental Affairs, The Walt Disney Company, added, "We are thrilled that through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund that we were able to expand a long relationship between Disney and The Nature Conservancy. The fund was established to support the study and protection of the world's wildlife and ecosystems, and 'EARTH' presented the perfect opportunity to give back to our planet in this tremendous way."
Where the Atlantic Forest survives, it presents some of the most spectacular landscapes on Earth. The region is home to more than 200 bird species and 60 percent of all Brazil's endangered species. And, on fewer than two and a half acres, scientists have identified more than 450 tree species - more species than are found on the entire eastern seaboard of the United States. The forest also is important because it is the source of clean drinking water for 120 million people. Today, however, only 7 percent of the original Atlantic Forest remains in well-preserved but isolated fragments. The Nature Conservancy's initiative in the Atlantic Forest contributes to the global effort by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to plant at least one billion trees worldwide each year, with a cumulative goal for 2009 of planting 7 billion trees worldwide.
Narrated by James Earl Jones, "EARTH" tells the remarkable story of three animal families and their amazing journeys across the planet we call home. "EARTH" combines rare action, unimaginable scale and impossible locations by capturing the most intimate moments of our planet's wildest and most elusive creatures. Directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, the acclaimed creative team behind the Emmy Award(R)-winning "Planet Earth," combine forces again to bring this epic adventure to the big screen.
Disneynature, the first new Disney-branded film label from The Walt Disney Studios in over 60 years, was launched in April 2008 to bring the world's top nature filmmakers together to share a wide variety of wildlife subjects and stories with theatrical audiences. Earth, the first film to premiere domestically under the new label on Earth Day 2009, garnered a record-breaking opening weekend for a nature documentary. Walt Disney was a pioneer in wildlife documentary filmmaking, producing 13 True-Life Adventure motion pictures between 1949 and 1960, winning 8 Academy Awards (R). For more information about Disneynature, go to: www.disney.com/nature
About The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy at: www.nature.org
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