COVID-19 has reminded us all of the importance of nature not just for us, but for all the animals and wildlife that depend on it.  We are very grateful to the people who have prepared their wills and included a philanthropic gift in support of nature during this time.

At The Nature Trust of BC, we call these people our visionaries. Two of these special people are Heidi and Michael Rodway. I recently had the pleasure of working with them on their wills.

Heidi and Michael understood the importance of writing a will. They wanted to make their own choice about what happened to their estate. They didn’t want to waste part of the estate on the legal process if a will was not present and they didn’t want to burden family members. “People you care about may already have a lot to deal with. We didn’t want our last impacts to be negative or frustrating if we could avoid it.”

Michael and Heidi had been wanting to write their wills for many years, but the difficulties associated with choosing an executor and researching beneficiaries resulted in procrastination.  However, they did know that they wanted to support charities devoted to wilderness, wildlife and animal welfare.

From childhood, Michael and Heidi enjoyed the outdoors with family and friends. “We’ve had an innate love of nature, animals and wildlife from an early age.” This led both of them to pursue careers as professional wildlife biologists.

Marmot | photo by William Burdock

Heidi and Michael selected a number of charities to receive gifts from their estate. When asked why they supported The Nature Trust of BC, Heidi said that “given continuous human expansion, it is clear that the future of wildlife and wild places on our planet is in great peril. We want to help provide protection for wildlife and wild places in BC into the future. We want to do this not because conservation will benefit humanity (although it will) but because wildlife and their habitats have intrinsic value and are as deserving of existence as we are. The Nature Trust will use the funds we leave to them directly for the protection of ecosystems and wildlife. Leaving funds to a charity also has financial benefits but we consider this to be a bonus rather than a decisive factor.”

Considerable thought went into selecting an executor, as well.  With no children, Heidi and Michael didn’t want to burden family members with the task of executor. Also, most suitable family members were of a similar age. “Thus with a long time frame in mind and not wanting to rewrite our wills, we chose a trust company to be our executor.”

I am honoured to help people like Heidi and Michael with their wills.  It is gratifying to say thank you today for a gift tomorrow.

  • If you are interested in hearing more about becoming a Nature Trust Visionary, contact Deb Kennedy.