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Meet People Like You

Margo Earley

Margo EarleyA lifelong member, volunteer and generous donor to The Wilderness Society, Margo Earley made an indelible impact on the conservation community. Though she passed away in 2021, her legacy continues to inspire us today.
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Cindy Westerman

Cindy WestermanFor Wilderness Society member Cindy Westerman, science has been an integral part of her life. “I majored in astronomy at Wellesley and received a master’s in meteorology from Cornell,” Cindy shared. “I’ve always loved science and cared about our planet and the environment.”
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Chela Kunasz

Chela KunaszChela Kunasz learned to appreciate America’s wild places at a young age. The daughter of a Russian immigrant father and an American mother from Silver City, New Mexico, her parents used what little money they had to take their family to places such as Lake Tahoe and Mount Lassen.
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Alice and Cal Elshoff

Alice and Cal ElshoffOregon residents Alice and Cal Elshoff spent most of their careers teaching students about the wonders of science and nature. In retirement, they volunteer with and support causes dedicated to preserving wildlife and wildlands, including The Wilderness Society.
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Harry Dodson

Harry DodsonWhen Wilderness Society member Harry Dodson decided to pursue a career in landscape architecture, it was almost like a spiritual calling. “Right after college I was on a trip to the White Mountains in New Hampshire and I was so struck by the beauty and peacefulness of the landscape,” Harry recalled.
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Dr. Richard Latterell

Richard LatterellFor Dr. Richard Latterell conservation of wilderness has long been an enduring aspiration. For some seventy-five years, from youth through college, career and retirement, enjoyment and preservation of the natural world has been his major preoccupation.
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Jim Burch

Jim BurchWhen I was in high school, I was lucky enough to play the role of Henry David Thoreau in a local production of 'The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail'. During my research for the part, I purchased the book 'In Wildness is the Preservation of the World', with quotations from Henry David Thoreau and photographs by Eliot Porter. That book, and the experience of attempting to understand and portray Henry David Thoreau, helped bring my life into focus.
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James Morris

James MorrisSome days the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada range were visible while growing up in the San Joaquin Valley of California. My parents said I went "camping" in my first year. A neighbor introduced me to the wonders of backpacking on a September trip into the high Sierras. And later, there were the treks in the western United States and South America.
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Dr. Roy Holub

Roy HolubFor many years, I enjoyed spending time at my grandparents' summer home along the Fox River in Illinois. This is where I first realized how important nature and natural environments were to me. Over time, I also observed the deterioration of river quality and the concurrent change in aquatic life. These experiences set the stage for a career with a major focus on protecting and improving the quality of our water resources and for my support of conservation organizations.
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Edward Hoagland

Edward Hoagland"I just couldn't wait to get off that school bus and into the woods," author Edward Hoagland recalls of his 1940's childhood in Connecticut. A stutter made it difficult for him to talk to anyone aside from close friends, "but I was able to talk to animals. There was no pressure." His love of them led him to take a summer job with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus after his freshman year at Harvard. "I was in the menagerie, working first with creatures like giraffes and rhinos, but I aspired to take care of the lions and tigers," he says. "Once I proved myself, they let me do it, that summer and the next." Hoagland spent another summer hitchhiking across the country, fighting forest fires, and tending to the MGM lions at the World Jungle Compound in Ventura, California.
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Martin Dodge

Martin DodgeFor Martin Dodge, nature has always been a haven. Growing up in Connecticut, Dodge said, "I gravitated to the woods as often as I could. There was steep gorge nearby with a perennial stream and big trees. I would build forts and treehouses and just escape into the wilderness." Dodge's love of nature continued when he attended Colby College in Maine, where he founded and coached the school's woodsmen team as he majored in chemistry. "Had it not been for the joy and outlet that I had with the woodsmen team I doubt I could have overcome the academic challenges of my chemistry major," he remarked.
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Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to The Wilderness Society a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to The Wilderness Society, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 1801 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20006, or its successor thereto, ______________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to The Wilderness Society or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to The Wilderness Society as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to The Wilderness Society as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and The Wilderness Society where you agree to make a gift to The Wilderness Society and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.