In 1967, Gerald and Laurette Maisel traveled to Africa for the first time and were “blown away” by the birds they saw there.
That trip fueled a passion for birding that has lasted for more than 40 years.
The Southern California couple quickly became avid bird watchers. In the 1970s they traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada in search of “life birds”—a term birders use to describe the first time one sees a species of bird in their lifetime. They have seen almost every species of bird found in North America. Among their favorite foreign birding destinations are East and South Africa, the Galapagos Islands, Antarctica, Japan, Australia, and such “exotica” as garbage dumps and sewage ponds, which are favorite hang-outs for hungry foraging birds.
“We take great pleasure in forest birding,” Gerald says. “In dense vegetation, the birds may be difficult to see, but it is fun to identify them by their songs.”
Over the years, the Maisels say they’ve seen great changes in the land and the habitats of the birds and animals they love. Where sanderlings (tiny shorebirds) used to dot the coastal shore by the hundreds, skipping in and out of the surf, Gerald says it is now rather unusual to find them in numbers as before. Laurette adds that she’s seen development, logging, and deforestation destroy many of our finest natural habitats.
The couple discovered that by establishing a charitable gift annuity with The Nature Conservancy, they could contribute to an organization they believe in while receiving savings on their taxes and a fixed annual income paid by the Conservancy for life.
“It’s a very secure investment, and we are very happy with it,” Gerald says.
Their gift will help preserve the natural habitats of wildlife—a goal of the Conservancy that is very important to them.
“It’s where our heart is,” adds Laurette. “And that’s why we do everything we can to support this organization.”
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You can protect wetlands and other natural places by making a planned gift with The Nature Conservancy. Contact us today.March 11, 2013