Supporters Like You
Supporters like you are committed to conservation, moved by the wonder of our natural world, and driven to protect the future for wildlife. Here are the stories of people like you who have included WWF-Canada in their legacy plans.
CAROLYNE IS LEAVING A LEGACY FOR NATURE
Carolyne has always loved the outdoors. Following a difficult time in her life, she decided to leave a legacy to protect nature through World Wildlife Fund Canada.
FERNANDO IS INCLUDING A GIFT IN HIS WILL FOR WILDLIFE
For Fernando, taking care of his family and leaving a legacy through World Wildlife Fund Canada made sense.
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SITA’S STORY: ‘MY LIFE HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT NATURE’
For her entire life, Sita Jo-Anne Holland has always chosen nature.
Growing up, Sita had an “outdoorsy, animal kind of life.” Back home in Hudson, QC, and later Thunder Bay, ON, her dad would often tend to injured ducks and chipmunks. Sita, too, can’t resist an animal in need. “I once saw a bird that had swallowed a fishhook and helped remove it,” she says. “The bird looked at me and paused — as if to say thank you.”
Sita raised her daughter in Thunder Bay, working as an elementary school teacher. At age 40, she decided to make a career change and studied to become a registered massage therapist. Setting her own work hours gave her the freedom to spend more time with her family and in the wilderness, surrounded by the moose, otters, mink, lynx, wolves, bears and other wildlife she loves.
And if she had to choose between her car and canoe, she’d choose her canoe every time. (It’s a really good canoe!)
Some of her most heroic acts are the simplest. Now in her seventies and happily retired, when Sita was considering the legacy she wanted to create, it was an easy decision to choose nature once again by leaving a gift in her Will for WWF-Canada.
“Why not do it?” she thought, after receiving a brochure. A monthly donor since the late 1980s, Sita sees leaving a percentage of her estate to WWF-Canada as another way to give back and extend her love of nature. Though she doesn’t know how much she’ll have in the end, Sita says she trusts that WWF-Canada will put it to good use.
Sita is passing down her love of nature in more ways than one — both through a gift in her Will and by planting milkweed for monarch butterflies in her native plant garden with her grandchildren.
With a champion for nature like Sita by our side, WWF-Canada will continue to protect and restore nature — for wildlife, our climate, and so future generations can also experience an “outdoorsy, animal kind of life.”
DAVE’S STORY: ‘A LASTING GIFT TO HIS LONG LOVE’
Dave has always had a genuine awareness and concern for the environment.
Recalling the beauty of glacier-fed rivers and the sweet smell of Douglas fir trees and prairie grasses like fescue, Dave Leman of Prince George, B.C. has been passionate about wildlife and conservation for as long as he can remember.
Growing up near the Bow River in Calgary, at the time a small city of 320,000 people, Dave would play outside near his home by the escarpment over the Bow River catching leopard frogs (which he now feels bad about) and delighting in aspen trees, bobcats and deer.
Thanks to words of support and encouragement — “We need people like you,” his late father would tell him — Dave has always had a genuine awareness and concern for the environment.
With deep admiration and faith, Dave has been a financial supporter of WWF-Canada for 32 years. “We need to care about the world, both other humans and our fellow living things,” says Dave, who decided years ago to leave a gift for wildlife in his Will through WWF-Canada.
His love of wildlife and nature stretches across the globe. During one of his past trips to Tanzania, Dave recalls seeing a female elephant with a broken leg being supported by two other elephants while food was brought to her.
It was amazing to witness their intelligence, love and emotive intent as the elephants worked together to care for their injured family member, he says.
But one fond memory stands out as one of his most memorable wildlife encounters — while doing grad work in southern Alberta, Dave and a colleague were standing in a windswept shortgrass prairie searching for a den of swift foxes when a herd of wild horses came thundering towards them.
Both frightening and beautiful, this moment left them speechless and in awe of the wonders of nature.
It is wise for us to think and care not just after ourselves, Dave says, but for those coming after us. Becoming emotional, he says he can’t imagine a world without rhinos (black rhinos are his favourite mammal) and can’t bear the thought of his future grandchildren asking why he didn’t do more to save them.
Allocating a portion of his Will to WWF-Canada is his way of extending his love for wildlife beyond his lifetime and passing on a healthier planet for those who come after him.
Reversing the damage and destruction that wildlife and their habitats have endured is a monumental task, but not an impossible one. Like Dave, you too have the power to take care of your loved ones and make a difference for the causes you care about through your Will.
A tradition of philanthropy
Ross is determined to do what he can to protect wildlife and nature for the future.
Retired molecular biologist Ross Hodgetts grew up surrounded by nature at the camp his father, a keen canoeist and fisherman, founded in Georgian Bay, Ont. “[My dad] insisted we learn about our environment — the trees, insects and other animals that surrounded us,” he says. “Those were my foundational years, and they left a strong impression on me.”
When not in school, most of Ross’ childhood free time was spent with his brother fishing, birdwatching knee-deep in swamp muck or rambling through the countryside on their bikes. Not much has changed for Ross. The retiree still considers himself an amateur birder and has succeeded at his goal to become as good a fly fisherman as his father was.
But the changes he’s seeing at his family’s camp are quite sobering.
“It’s sad to go back to the camp now in some ways,” says Ross, who can’t help but notice the dwindling wildlife populations, from the pike to the whip-poor-wills and spotted turtles. “Supporting WWF-Canada makes me feel like I’m doing everything I can to help.”
As a member of WWF-Canada’s Legacy Circle, Ross is determined to do what he can to protect wildlife and nature for the future.
Just as his childhood was spent roaming the great outdoors, Ross raised his own kids in the country with lots of space to explore. “In many ways,” he says, “I feel that leaving a legacy gift for WWF-Canada is a chance to pass my tradition of philanthropy on to them. I hope my children and grandchildren will be inspired by the family connection to nature that started with my own father. And I hope WWF-Canada will continue to thrive beyond my years.”
Priscilla’s lifelong love of nature
In an open letter, Priscilla speaks about how since she was a child, she has felt a magical and strong relationship with nature.
We all have beloved memories from our childhood that stand out so vividly. I’m sure you can go back to a moment years ago – see it, hear the sounds and smell the smells like you’re still there. Those moments surely bring magic to our lives.
Like you, I have some cherished moments.
One of my fondest childhood memories is of skating on the creek on my family’s farm near Lake Erie. On a cold winter’s day, I’d skate alone along the perfectly smooth ice – noticing the animal tracks, breathing in the freezing air and becoming absorbed in the total silence.
Every child grows up with passions. Some love music and dance. Others love reading – and still others live for sports. I think my childhood passion was being outdoors and feeling a deep and abiding relationship with nature.
I loved to row, walk or skate by myself. I felt rooted to the land, the sky and the water. I felt related to the turtles, the deer and the birds that migrated through our skies. This connection for me was profound, soulful and joyous – and I still feel it today, some 60 years later.
After university, my first job was with the National Film Board of Canada. It was the late sixties, and I was blessed to be able to work on projects all across Eastern Canada. For a while, I was based in Montreal, and spent my weekends and vacations in the Laurentians. I learned to cross-country ski, fell in love with canoeing, was haunted by the call of loons and had my first encounters with black bears!
And, like many people my age at the time, I had the opportunity to take the train across the country in 1969. I’ll never forget discovering the endless shore of Lake Superior, the infinite prairie skies and of course, the wonder of hiking in the Rocky Mountains for the first time.
I ended up living in Vancouver – and fell in love with the mountains and the ocean. I hiked and cross-country skied in the mountains just past North Vancouver, and learned to paddle a sea kayak.
Eventually I found my true calling. I became a nurse in the early 1980s, and much of my work was with members of Indigenous communities in various parts of BC.
My work and my life led me to weave my own particular philosophy. I believe in all of us helping one another. I believe that living beings need each other – and that we’re all small parts of a wondrous and beautiful universe. I believe that a respectful relationship with the natural world brings and enhances balance in one’s life.
I had an unbelievably rewarding 35-year career in nursing that led me to live in Tofino and Nanaimo and to work with communities up and down Vancouver Island and the BC coast. I have been privileged to be present at birth, at death and everything in between – moments of great joy, distress, healing and pain.
I can’t begin to describe the intensity of the connections I’ve felt with the people, wildlife, mountains and sea that I’ve come to know over those years. In my bones, I know how richly blessed I am.
Now that I’ve passed my 70th birthday, I’m experiencing an immense desire to give back. I feel a need to repay, in some small way, all the gifts and blessings that have come to me in my life.
I have always been an environmental citizen. I’ve always known that I get so much from the natural world – and that I have a duty to protect it and give something back.
People today can’t as easily access the experiences that I had.
I want to ensure that the next generation of Canadians has the chance to respect the untouched wilds of our country. We need to protect nature so that it is there, so that it can become an integral part of their upbringing.
I want people to look up and marvel at the eagle circling above. I want them to crawl out of a tent in the early morning mist and see the wolves at the other end of the beach. I want them to respect the opportunity they have to experience their own special moments.
That’s why I began making donations to WWF-Canada decades ago. I’ve always found WWF-Canada’s work to be important, meaningful and practical. I’ve paid attention to their work – and I’m highly satisfied that they do everything possible to ensure that donated dollars achieve the biggest impact possible.
In fact, my trust in WWF-Canada has grown to the point where I’ve decided to remember the cause with a gift in my Will. When I’m gone from this Earth, I want WWF-Canada to use my modest material wealth to protect the wildlife and the habitat that is our birthright and our greatest gift.
I look at Canada today – and today’s Canadians – and what I see worries me. So many kids today are growing up in big cities away from nature. So many new Canadians come to urban areas like Toronto and Vancouver never getting the chance to experience wild places.
Will the next generation of Canadians get the same chance to know our natural world? Will it even be there for them to know if we don’t conserve it?
I want every Canadian to have the opportunity to see salmon spawn. To see seals sunning themselves on a rocky beach. To see a black bear fishing in a stream.
I’ve shared my story with you in the hope that your feelings and values are like mine. And if they are, perhaps you would be willing to consider a similar course of action. By choosing to remember World Wildlife Fund Canada in your Will, you can help shape the future for Canada’s wildlife and wilderness. Even a modest percentage of your estate could accomplish so much for so many.
I’m grateful for the life I’ve been given. The gift I’ve written into my Will for WWF-Canada is intended to show my appreciation for the good, honest and peaceful life I’ve lived here in Canada. And I’m proud to be among a community of respectful supporters like you, who care enough to give back to our natural world. For that, I thank you most humbly.
P.S. I guess most people would call what I’ve done ‘a charitable bequest’ or a ‘gift in my Will.’ Most people would see a gift like this as a transaction of money from a person to a charity.
I don’t see it quite that way.
I’m giving the gift of the brilliance of the stars on a clear night. I’m giving the gift of a beaver lodge on a quiet lake. I’m giving the gift of a herd of caribou as they migrate back north. I’m giving the mud and mosquitoes, cold and wet weather, sunburn, blisters, sore muscles, dust and grit of my own outdoor adventures. I’m giving the sights, the sounds, the smells and experiences of nature to those who will walk this earth after I am gone.
My gift is one of gratitude. Conserving nature through a gift in my Will is the most meaningful and beautiful gift I will likely ever give.
A legacy of action for the environment
Ian and June have been activists for more than 30 years, and their legacy gift ensures that their commitment will continue.
Ian and June Robertson are forces of nature and forces for nature. Regular monthly supporters since 1988, Ian and June are also CN Tower climbers, loyal petition signers, and advocates for wildlife.
On top of all they’ve done, they have included a gift to wildlife in their Will to WWF-Canada.
Ian and June are avid gardeners who’ve turned their small garden into a wildlife wonderland. And they’re intrepid bird watchers.
Ian, now retired, was a school teacher. In every school he worked, he championed the environment — which, early in his career, involved him in the basics of recycling and energy conservation programs. In his later years, he inspired his schools to climb the CN Tower.
“It’s nothing special,” Ian and June say, “We’re not scientists or biologists. We have simply loved nature all our lives and want to do what we can to pass a beautiful world on.”
Shaping the world for my children
Fernando wants to make sure that he leaves a healthy world behind for his kids and grandkids.
It was Fernando Spigarelli’s Northern Ontario upbringing that first brought him close to nature. Canoeing throughout the province, he developed an insatiable appetite for the natural sciences that led him to pursue geography and environmental studies in university.
He translated this passion into education, teaching for over 30 years. Although he always promoted environmental awareness within his classroom, Fernando wanted to do more. He became a WWF-Canada supporter.
Following his retirement, Fernando has continued to raise awareness of climate change and other environmental issues. It only made sense to translate his passion for nature into a lasting charitable gift.
So when it came time to write his Will, Fernando and his wife were in agreement. Making sure their children were cared for was equally important as supporting the causes that they were passionate about.
By remembering WWF-Canada in his Will, Fernando knows he is leaving behind a sustainable legacy for future generations.
An avid climber reaches new height in conservation
Elaine’s legacy ensures beautiful memories for future generations.
Elaine Lindo has a deep love for the natural world. An entrepreneur and hiker, her favorite activity is visiting Algonquin Park and seeing the extraordinary wild species there.
In the 80’s, she had the great fortune to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and experience the splendor of the national park. Recently, she was shocked to see photos from a friend’s climb, which confirmed that the glaciers are gone, the mountain is lower and garbage litters the trails. Similar declines in wildlife at home sparked her support of WWF-Canada.
Elaine has been a passionate donor for over 20 years and avidly volunteers to further WWF-Canada’s mission. She has also climbed the CN Tower twice (once, in under 25 minutes!) to show her dedication to nature. After many years of support, Elaine decided to grow her commitment to preserving wildlife with a gift in her Will to WWF-Canada.
With this gift, Elaine is seeing to it that future generations can create the same memories she holds so dearly: Seeing the whale migration and icebergs at Gros Morne, staring up through a clear night sky at the Northern Lights in Yellowknife, or coming across a moose wading through the shallows of a lake at Algonquin Park.
A love for wildlife and making a difference
Julian uses life insurance to multiple his gift 10 times.
Julian loves wildlife. He spends every minute he can experiencing the majesty of the natural world. He donates monthly to WWF-Canada, but after recently being inspired by nature, Julian wondered if he could make an even greater impact.
He jumped into action and researched the best ways to make a significant difference for wildlife and wild places. He’s only 27 years old, but is a respected Investment Professional in the financial industry. Inspired by an article he read regarding life insurance as a gifting option, he decided this was the best way for him to make a significant contribution to wildlife and wild places. This philanthropic strategy allows Julian to leverage his annual support and make a larger gift. The numbers surprised even him.
In just 10 years, through paying premiums on his insurance plan, Julian will have created a $55,000 gift to WWF-Canada. He couldn’t believe how easy it was to leave such a substantial legacy to restore the natural world that gives him so much joy!
Now Julian’s passion for wildlife is his living legacy. He hopes that his story will inspire others to consider how they can ensure a nature-filled life for future generations.
105-year-old Beatrice gives to keep birds singing
At WWF-Canada, we have donors of all ages. In fact, some of our supporters have been around for more than a century!
Beatrice with her symbolically adopted plushes in support of WWF-Canada.
105-year-old Beatrice Weaver grew up in Petitcodiac, N.B. As a young girl, she and her mother wanted to learn more about birds in the area – specifically Canadian geese that were becoming problematic for local farmers — and travelled by train to Moncton to hear a lecture about them. This sparked a lifelong love of birds and other wildlife for Beatrice. Following that lecture, she learned how to identify bird calls and began to keep an eye out for other local species, like foxes. She also became very interested in local flora and learned to identify trees and flowers. During a drought when she was just 10, Beatrice mentioned to her mother (also a wildlife lover) that she was very concerned about robins, and her mother suggested that she save some worms for them. Beatrice still keeps a bird feeder near her window so that she can view the beautiful bird species that she wants to protect.
Why does Beatrice support WWF-Canada? Over the past few years, she has noticed a significant decline in the number of ospreys and other birds in her community. She frequently adopts species from WWF-Canada for her five children and grandchildren (along with herself!) and hopes that we can work together to ensure that habitats are secured for all wildlife. She is also a member of WWF-Canada’s Legacy Circle, through which she will be able to support nature for generations to come.
Protecting Nature for Generations to Come
For Gillian Sernich, a member of WWF-Canada’s Legacy Circle, nature has always been important.
For Gillian Sernich, a member of WWF-Canada’s Legacy Circle, nature has always been important. “I spent most of my preschool years playing outside,” Gillian says. “We had some farm animals and I noticed things like the smell of meltwater, the sounds of birds and the yipping of coyotes. My dad also had a deep respect for wildlife.” She fondly recalls a stoat (a type of weasel) that moved beneath the floorboards of her family’s old log house, and how thrilled she felt that the stoat “chose” their home.
Years later, Gillian’s late husband, who intimately knew the Roche Percee Valley, expanded this appreciation by introducing her to wildlife of the southern prairie. “When I retired from teaching, I bought a little farm so I could have my animals and be a lot closer to nature.”
This appreciation also inspired Gillian to safeguard species — now and in the future. “I’ve noticed there are fewer varieties of butterflies than I remember as a child; there were always bees bumbling around people’s gardens, and now a bee is something to be remarked on.” By choosing to leave a gift in her Will, Gillian’s supporting programs for wildlife and protecting nature for generations to come.
A legacy shows a life passion
Harold and Rita’s deep love for each other, and nature, will live on for generations to come.
Harold and Rita McDonald had a deep love for each other. Their 45 years together was a testament to that. Throughout their marriage, they found that travel and bird-watching became a long-time hobby.
Spending their winters in warm and tropical Costa Rica, the pair would strike out in search of unspoiled nature and beautiful birds, all the while enjoying each other’s company. Their devotion to each other and to wildlife led them to include WWF-Canada and the Nature Conservancy Canada in their Will to preserve what they had grown to love.
Their niece, Nancy, remembers them fondly. “They believed strongly in the work the organization was doing”. She says, “I believe that a person’s Estate reflects what they’ve worked for their whole life”.
Like Harold and Rita, it’s easy to make your lifelong passion, devotion and love for a cause that’s important to you part of a legacy that lasts for years to come. With WWF-Canada, the McDonald’s were able to do just that through a gift in their Will.
Do you have a story to share? We’d love to hear from you.
Join the Legacy Circle
Together we can do so much. Join a community of people who share your passion for wildlife and nature by becoming a member of our Legacy Circle.