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Celebrating a Natural Legacy

They have walked among grizzly bears in Alaska, watched a lion kill a warthog in Tanzania, and visited their adopted chimp in Uganda. John Maginess and Connie Lintz are passionate about seeing the natural world – and helping protect it.

Their interest in conservation came gradually. John taught biology in New Jersey and worked for PBS in Denver. Connie, a Michigan native, is a retired Air Force colonel. The two met in Colorado, where it’s “impossible not to be interested in nature,” declares Connie.

“I’ve been a member for 20 years,” says Connie. “I joined up at work during a Combined Federal Campaign – I chose the Conservancy because they were the ones who preserved land.” The couple also appreciates the Conservancy’s landscape approach. “You can’t save a species out of context – polar bears, chimpanzees, wolves or cheetahs. You have to save their environment,” says John.

When the couple retired, they decided to combine touring and volunteering; expanding their support for the Conservancy is part of their plan. They started by volunteering at the Conservancy in Colorado; on a trip to Central America, they visited the Panama and Honduras offices. “The Honduras director, Julio Carcamo, treated us like family,” says Connie.

“When we got back, we saw an article quoting him and describing the work,” says John. “We thought, ‘Hey, we know that place.’ The Conservancy connects you with the world.”

An Understanding in Uganda

We like how the Conservancy works with others – they don’t reinvent the wheel,” says John. He mentions the Conservancy’s partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute, another organization which he and Connie support. They have been elected to the Explorer’s Club, the prestigious club for leaders in exploration and science, for participating in Jane Goodall’s groundbreaking projects.

It was while teaching conservation to schoolchildren for JGI, living in a thatched-roof hut in Uganda, that the couple decided to become Legacy Club members. “We were traveling so much, we realized we’d better get our finances in order,” says John.

“It was time to decide where we could feel good about our money going,” says Connie “The Conservancy was the place. They’re still saving the land.”

They established a charitable remainder trust in 2006. “We don’t have capital gains tax, and meanwhile the Conservancy knows that someday the money is there,” says John.

Their recent adventures include unearthing dinosaur remains on a paleontology dig with the Utah Geologic Survey; their next adventure will be a Southeast Asia tour – and a volunteer stop at the Conservancy in Borneo. “We want to be part of the solution. People say, ‘I’m one person; what can I do?’ says John. “Anything you do, if it’s positive, will help.” 


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