CFB: You began with Disney running the Conservation Station at Animal Kingdom; now you oversee all animal science at the resort. Any projects you're particularly proud of?
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CFB: I understand you're especially fond of gorillas. What drew you to them?
As I was getting into this field, I went to graduate school in psychology and animal behavior, and I attended Georgia Tech and did all of my research at Zoo Atlanta and then at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park — and all on gorillas. … Their social structures are so interesting; they're so much like us in so many different ways. I have spent countless, countless thousands of hours watching gorillas. So now I have this opportunity to be on the board of Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund International, which is of course a great honor and a wonderful thing.
CFB: How is Disney World faring in the company-wide effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions?
We were so excited last year that we went public with these really pretty aggressive aspirational goals, and more medium targets that are more in the five-year range, in a number of different areas. Certainly emissions, also electricity and waste. And I can tell you that Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, certainly including Walt Disney World, is making great strides in all of those areas. Within the area of emissions, it's really about finding as many efficiencies as we can, finding as many reductions as we can. We're looking at replacing our security fleet, many of the vehicles we use backstage, replacing those with hybrid vehicles, that sort of thing. Also, you've probably read about the program we've put in place as a company focused on forest conservation. This program is one way of helping to reach our emission goals. There is a lot of effort going on at Walt Disney World, as well as around all of our parks and resorts, to reach those [medium-term] targets through both cultural changes as well as by implementing new technologies, like changing out our lightbulbs from compact fluorescents to either incandescent or LEDs — that sort of thing. And from a cultural change perspective, one of the things we did this year is, across Parks and Resorts, we implemented a number of different energy policies. For the first time, we're actually turning off all of our icons in all of our parks at night after the guests leave. It was actually a big statement for us.
CFB: You're responsible for Disney's Hawaiian resort when it opens. What sort of animal work will go on there?
We are going to have great opportunities for our guests at the resort in Hawaii to get up close and personal with a variety of tropical fish. And so we're going to have opportunities for them to do some of the swim-through snorkeling, and we also are going to have educational opportunities for groups of kids.