The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has named Ken Nedimyer, founder of Key Largo–based Coral Restoration Foundation, a Disney Conservation Hero for his pioneering efforts to develop techniques to preserve coral reefs and motivate public assistance that attracts environmentally conscious vacationers.
The honor recognizes citizens for their tireless efforts to save wildlife, protect habitats and educate communities.
Recipients were nominated by nonprofit environmental organizations, and each honoree and the nominating organization are to share a $1,500 award from DWCF.
“I’m very honored to be recognized by Disney for our work trying to save and restore coral reefs,” Nedimyer said. “I think Disney understands thinking big, so they don’t shy away from someone like me who has a seemingly outrageous dream.”
Nedimyer began coral restoration research efforts more than a decade ago after being involved in tropical fish collecting and aquaculture careers.
The goal of Nedimyer and his small, impassioned staff of marine scientists is to cultivate and plant staghorn and elkhorn corals, and hopefully reverse their endangered status.
CRF’s 1-acre coral nursery off Key Largo in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is possibly the world’s largest, with more than 25,000 clippings. Clippings eventually are transplanted to nearby reefs to grow and become independent structures serving as habitat for a variety of tropical fish and to subsequently reproduce to add further reef growth on the ocean floor.
The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund focuses on protecting wildlife and connecting kids and families with nature. Since 2004 Disney has honored more than 100 leaders around the world for their extraordinary conservation efforts. To learn more, visit www.disney.com/conservation.