National Geographic : 2007 Jul
LETTERS Orlando As president of a company that operates two of the theme parks author T. D. Allman found so objectionable in his article on Orlando, I feel com pelled to offer another view. His article manages to do something I would have thought impossible: find fault with a community that pro vides wholesome family enter tainment and educational experiences for millions of visitors while providing many jobs. Allman is particularly crit ical of SeaWorld, a park that with its sharks detaches "expe rience from context." I sub mit that if there were ever an animal for which detaching experience from context was prudent, it is the shark. But in addition to learning about sharks in safety, visitors to Orlando can touch a sloth at Discovery Cove without travel ing to Bolivia. They can see a beluga whale at SeaWorld without sailing into Canada's Resolute Bay. And they can experience an endangered leatherback sea turtle without diving a thousand feet beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean. These opportunities might explain why nearly six million people will visit Sea World and Discovery Cove this year alone. I should also note that contrary to Allman's asser tion, we do not "pluck" whales from the ocean. In fact, Sea World has not collected a killer whale from the wild Corrections, Clarifications March 2007: Orlando Children from nearly 200 countries attend all schools-not just two-in the Orange County school district. since the mid-1970s. The most recent of the hundreds of whales and dolphins born in our parks was a killer whale calf born March 12 at Sea World Orlando. And finally, I was left to consider what Allman would have said about Orlando had NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC truly sought to "inspire people to care about the planet." Perhaps he would have written about children who have learned to appreci ate wildlife and environmental conservation in places like SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Discovery Cove, and Disney's Animal Kingdom. Or maybe he would have focused on people like Mohammed Kamal, an immigrant from Bangla desh who came to Orlando in 1997 seeking a better life for himself and his family. Today Mr. Kamal owns a home and works as a training supervisor at SeaWorld. Perhaps your readers would have found his story as inspiring as I do. KEITH M. KASEN Busch Entertainment Corporation Clayton, Missouri I frequently travel to Orlando as part of my work and enjoyed your coverage of the non-Disney aspects of the city. The Central Florida Research Park near the University of Central Florida matches your description perfectly. The area around this high-tech Silicon Swamp offers a wide range of hotel accommodations, eateries, strip malls (some quite upscale), and just about everything else a business traveler might need. In other words, it is the perfect place not to call home. JAY BRAUN Los Angeles, California "FOR THE INCREASE AND DIFFUSION OF GEOGRAPHIC KNOWLEDGE" The National Geographic Society is chartered in Washington, D.C., as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. Since 1888 the Society has supported more than 8,000 explorations and research projects, adding to knowledge of earth, sea, and sky. JOHN M. FAHEY,JR., President and CEO EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENTS Terrence B. Adamson Linda Berkeley, President, Enterprises Terry D. Garcia, Mission Programs John Q. Griffin, President, Magazine Group Nina D. Hoffman, President, Books and School Publishing Group Betty Hudson, Communications Christopher A. Liedel, CFO BOARD OF TRUSTEES Gilbert M. Grosvenor, Chairman Reg Murphy, ViceChairman Joan Abrahamson, Michael R. Bonsignore, Roger A. Enrico, John M. Fahey, Jr., Daniel S. Goldin, John Jay Iselin, James C. Kautz, Maria E. Lagomasino, J. Willard Marriott, Jr., Floretta Dukes McKenzie, George Munoz, Patrick F. Noonan, Nathaniel P Reed, William K. 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Graf, Nancy Knowlton, Dan M. Martin, Scott E. Miller, Jan Nijman, Stuart L. Pimm, Elsa M. Redmond, Bruce D. Smith, Patricia C. Wright, Melinda A. Zeder EXPLORERS-IN-RESIDENCE Robert Ballard, Wade Davis, Jared Diamond, Sylvia Earle, J. Michael Fay, Zahi Hawass, Beverly Joubert, Dereck Joubert, Louise Leakey, Meave Leakey, Johan Reinhard, Paul Sereno, Spencer Wells MISSION PROGRAMS Vice Presidents: John M. Francis, Research, Conservation, and Exploration Jacqueline M. Hollister, Development Sarah Laskin, Public Programs Gregory A. McGruder, NG Live and the Museum Exhibits: Susan S. Norton Expeditions Council:Rebecca Martin Geography Bee: Mary Lee Elden Lectures: P.Andrew van Duym Human Resources:Thomas A. Sablo, Sr. VicePresident International: Robert W. Hernandez, Sr. Vice President Treasurer: H. Gregory Platts, Sr. Vice President NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VENTURES Dennis R. Patrick, Chairman Timothy T. Kelly, President and CEO Edward M. Prince, Jr., COO National Geographic Channel: David Haslingden, President Digital Media: Betsy Scolnik, President National Geographic Maps: FrancesA. Marshall, President; Allen Carroll, Chief Cartographer Television: Michael Rosenfeld, President Contributions to the National Geographic Society are tax deductible under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S.tax code. Copyright © 2007 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. National Geographic and Yellow Border: Registered Trademarks ® Marcas Registradas. National Geographic assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Printed in U.S .A .