24 Mar 2011

Spoony wins hearts and votes from Disney’s Friends for Change

By Martin Fowlie
‘Saving Spoony’s Chinese Wetlands’, BirdLife’s project to save two key resting and feeding sites used by Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpipers in China, has been selected to receive a $100,000 grant by The Walt Disney Company, through Disney’s Friends for Change. 'Saving Spoony’s Chinese Wetlands' was among five programmes chosen for their environmental efforts. Children worldwide had the opportunity to help Disney distribute the grants by voting for their favourite project on the Friends for Change website. The amounts awarded were determined by the number of votes each project received. Each was assured at least $25,000, but higher sums were available for those receiving more votes. The odd and appealing little wader –now down to its last 400 individuals- emerged as the children’s favourite, and was awarded the highest grant. BirdLife’s China Programme, BirdLife Partner Designate the Hong Kong Birdwatching Society and other friends in China, including the Wild Bird Society of Shanghai and the Fujian Bird Watching Society, will use the $100,000 for their work at two wetlands near Shanghai, where Spoon-billed Sandpipers stop on their way round China’s coast. Gathering information about all the waterbirds that use these two wetlands will help us protect them better. “We were thrilled to receive the news that our Spoon-billed Sandpiper project had received such a generous grant from Disney’s Friends for Change initiative”, said Richard Grimmett, BirdLife’s Director of Conservation. “We are also very excited that so many children are now aware of Spoony and his plight, and were moved to vote for him. Raising awareness in this way is another important contribution to making sure that the Spoon-billed Sandpiper will not be allowed to slip into extinction.” To learn more about the programmes Friends for Change has supported, visit Spoony’s award is part of Disney’s $1 million annual contribution to environmental and conservation programs made in the course of a year. Encourage the kids in your life to join and pledge to take simple everyday actions that help the planet. Spoon-billed Sandpiper is one of the species benefitting from the BrirdLife Preventing Extinction Programme. Find out more at About Disney’s Friends for Change Disney's Friends for Change is a multiplatform initiative that helps inspire kids and families to join together and make a positive impact on their world (and the people and animals that live there).  Through the program, kids can learn practical ways to help the environment, get their friends involved, track their collective impact and have the opportunity to help Disney decide how $1 million in contributions to environmental causes will be made each year. To date, Friends for Change has funded over 41 projects that help the planet ranging from educational & community programs to species & habitat protection.  Friends for Change currently has over 3 million actions taking place from kids in 33 countries throughout Europe, Latin America, Japan, India, and China.  To learn more visit,