OTHERS WHO'VE LEFT GIFTS IN THEIR WILLS
These people have decided that one of their lasting legacies will be to invest in a world where humans live in harmony with nature.
An enduring passionChris Farrell, Vic
"I thought, What if something happens to me? What would I like to leave behind? What would I like my life to achieve?"
When you talk to Chris Farrell you are left in absolutely no doubt about his love of wildlife. Chris is a specialist wildlife photographer who donates his imagery to WWF to further conservation efforts. Chris's legacy to WWF however, goes far beyond his photography. He has also committed to leave a donation to WWF in his Will. He describes making the decision while cycling in northern Queensland. "I thought, 'What if something happens to me? What would I like to leave behind? What would I like my life to achieve?' So I made sure that, no matter what happens to me, the things I love, the things that have framed the direction of my life, will be preserved." Chris describes himself as an animal lover first, and a photographer second. "Photography is my way of passing on some of the wonder that I see, especially to kids. I want kids to see the world as I see it and to want to protect it as much as I do. I get such a buzz when kids stand in front of one of my exhibitions, and 'see' with new eyes. Almost falling in love with a whale, or an osprey in flight...and what they love, they'll value and preserve. I want to keep on inspiring kids to become the new guardians of the nature. Leaving a bequest to WWF is my way of doing that."
"WWF has always been a part of my life"Sandy Norman, WA
"It is not enough just to look after injured animals and those in need, we have to protect their environments as well by acting respectfully towards nature."
Sandy Norman has supported the work of WWF since she was a child in Switzerland, selling the organisation's stamps each year. Now living in Australia, we asked her about her most recent gesture of support for this world and its wildlife - the decision to leave a donation in her Will to WWF-Australia. "As a child I spent all my holidays at my grandmother's place. She had hens and rabbits which I fed and cherished every day. But I soon learned that these animals were not pets. My childhood experiences led me to try to do whatever I could to help and save every single animal that crossed my way. As an adult I became a member of WWF-Switzerland and did volunteer work as well, like ensuring a safe way for frogs when they were crossing roads to reach their mating pools. Getting older I realised that it is not enough just to look after injured animals and those in need, but that we have to protect their environments as well by acting respectfully towards nature. I talked to my husband about my wish to leave my estate through my Will to WWF-Australia and he fully agreed. It is crucial for me to know that with my death I will still be able to help WWF-Australia proceed with their precious and invaluable works"
On this property, animals have right of wayFrank Peel and Jenny Savron, Vic
The older you get, the more you seem to care for what you have neglected for so many years, and see conservation in a different light.
Besides a very warm welcome, I had little idea what to expect. But meeting WWF supporters Frank and Jenny Peel in rural Victoria was a privilege that left me totally inspired. Frank and Jenny had made a donation in their Wills to WWF. I'm Christine Robinson, WWF's legacy officer and I had come to know them well through our conversations and correspondence. I wanted to meet them and thank them. And what I found was a rare thing - a couple whose lives were not driven by accumulating 'stuff', but by caring for each other and for the bush and wildlife. As you enter their driveway, the 'Wildlife Sanctuary' signs declare, in no uncertain terms, that on this property, animals have the right of way. Frank says, "That's the way it is. Jenny and I are turning our small acreage into a safe place for the creatures that are being bullied off the landscape and we expect our visitors to respect that." My visit was not long after the terrible bushfires that destroyed not only homes in their area, but also the habitat that wildlife relies on for food and shelter. That evening, I watched self-proclaimed 'hard-arse truckie' Frank and life-long wildlife protector Jenny feeding the wallabies and other animals with food bought with their own money. When I asked why they chose WWF for their legacy, they said it was easy. "The animals have no one to speak up for them. But WWF does that. And I reckon that WWF is going to keep on speaking up for our Aussie wildlife long after we are gone"
Making life count for the long termSean Triner, NSW
"It seemed natural to me to leave a bequest in my Will to WWF because they care about what I care about."
"I found this large female python with a huge gash just near her head. I took her to the local vet, and had to hold her head and neck still with two hands. This left the rest of her free to wrap around my middle..." You begin to realise that this is not an ordinary conversation with an ordinary corporate executive. What begins to show is Sean's love for the amazing creatures and places that make this planet such a beautiful place. "I have always given to charities, but my decision to leave a donation in my Will to WWF is about making my life count for the long-term. It seemed natural to me because WWF care about what I care about. I like the way they identify environmental problems and ask the fundamental question: How are we going to fix this? And then they get on and do it." Sean tells of a visit to a WWF anti-poaching project in Vietnam and how it helped confirm his appreciation of the way WWF handles things. "They had a well thought out plan involving local people at all levels, training rangers, redirecting community aspirations...not just a quick fix, but solid workable plans...that's important to me." And the python? Well, "Every time the vet did something to cause her discomfort - stitching or whatever - she would let me know in no uncertain terms by tightening her squeeze around my middle." Who knows, it may just have been a thank you hug from a grateful creature to a committed WWF supporter.
The greatest gift I can give themNick Heath, QLD
" Through my Bequest to WWF I can give my children the greatest gift of all - the hope of clean air, fresh water and a healthy planet"
"My connection to the Great Barrier Reef was formed at a very early age. My dad was a dive boat captain so our days were spent steaming between the reefs and coral islands between Mackay and Cooktown. I grew up, left home and went off to find a career. Years passed and when I finally returned to the Reef for a visit, I was shocked at how much it had changed in less than a decade...and not for the better. It was terrible, truly heartbreaking to see what I saw then. It was then that I vowed to devote my working life to conserving what was left. I joined the WWF team in 2006 and now work to protect the Reef from farm pollution, fisheries and other impacts. While I have seen many wins over the years I have also come to realise that my lifetime will not be enough. The natural places we love will always be prey to exploitation. I chose to leave a donation in my Will to WWF to fight for the Great Barrier Reef when I am no longer around to fight for it myself. As the father of two young children, the protection of our natural world is more important to me than ever before. Through my bequest I can give my children the greatest gift of all - the hope of clean air, fresh water and a healthy planet"
Share one of life's chocolate momentsDr. DeDee Woodside, Former WWF-Australia Board Member (currently a WWF governor and member of WWF Eminent Scientists' Group)
"It's not a line in a Will; it's the privilege of bestowing an endowment of care on the magnificent creatures that share this planet with us"
"It was what I like to call one of life's 'chocolate moments'; one of those occasions when the rest of life is suspended, and you find yourself totally absorbed in something wonderful that flavours your life forever. I was sitting on the soggy ground in the forest home of the mountain gorillas, enveloped in the legendary mist, and in that moment, there was just no other world but theirs. And I was part of their world. They would drop out of a nearby tree in curiosity...how privileged are moments like that? I think that moment encapsulates everything that makes me want to leave behind a legacy. It's not a line in a Will; it's the privilege of bestowing an endowment of care on the magnificent creatures that share this planet with us. If, like me, you have bequeathed a gift to the wildlife of the world, then raise your glass. You are creating a future that will be a little more kind to the 'creatures great and small' who have suffered so much through the unseemly destruction of their habitats. If you haven't yet made that decision to leave a donation in your Will, then please join us. Become one of a special group whose love of nature will long outlive them. I think a bequest is our way of giving back"