Though Judy Smith was born in New England, there's part of her that wants to call the whole country home.
Once she retired from full-time work, she and her husband bought an RV and decided to explore the open road.
From watching hot air balloons dot the desert sunrise in New Mexico to exploring the mountains and valleys of Utah, Judy enjoys the variety of landscapes that travel in the United States offers. After completing two cross-country trips, visiting many national parks and spotting more than 200 species of birds along the way, Judy can say she's been to all 50 states. And it's important to her that the natural areas she’s visited remain intact.
Judy appreciates how The Nature Conservancy helps preserve tracts of land adjacent to state and federal protected areas—places where even 10 acres can mean a safe passageway for wildlife. "It doesn't have to be a big parcel—even the smallest piece of land can make a difference," she says.
In 2000, she decided to name the Conservancy in her estate plan because it made sense—nature is where she spends most of her time.
"I have been very fortunate in my life to be able to travel and explore, and I know not everyone is in the same situation. It would be nice to think I can somehow make a bit of a difference.”
For the last 14 years, Judy has also been an active volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. She traveled to Mississippi in 2006 to help rebuilding efforts for those devastated by Hurricane Katrina. It is this keen interest in helping people that also adds to her support of the Conservancy. In addition to the wildlife preservation, Judy is impressed with the way that The Nature Conservancy works with people in developing nations to help them use their natural resources in sustainable ways, while also benefiting their livelihoods. Several years ago, when Judy traveled to Africa, she saw firsthand the effects that poverty had on the people and the land.
"It would be wonderful if I could help to not only save nature, but also benefit a specific group of people," she says.
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