Richard Denman has an eye for value. He’ll tell you that’s what led him to the Great Salt Lake, why he works to preserve natural places, and why he supports The Nature Conservancy.
Devoting time to conservation helped him refocus his life after his first wife passed away. Growing up in Colorado, Idaho, Montana and California, he had always admired the West’s rugged beauty. Now living in Utah, he wanted to help save the dramatic landscapes there – but he needed to find the right organization.
As a certified public accountant, he began to analyze his options. It didn’t take long for him to choose the Conservancy. “I was impressed with how they use their resources, whether people or donations,” he says.
“The Conservancy matches my personal goals and attitudes. They walk quietly on the land, so they accomplish far more. They want to conserve the land, but they also want people to use it.”
Richard is a trustee for the Utah chapter; he has included the Conservancy in his will; and he is Utah’s first Legacy Club ambassador, encouraging other trustees to make a lasting gift.
His respect for the Great Salt Lake has helped inspire yet another legacy: He has established the Denman Internship at the University of Utah, his alma mater and employer for 27 years. By sponsoring a student each semester to work on a Conservancy project, he is supporting today’s preservation initiatives while helping form the next generation of conservationists. The first interns were stationed at the lake, helping map the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve and refine educational programs.
“Most people don’t realize the importance of the Great Salt Lake,” he says. “Migratory birds depend on it for habitat and food – the brine shrimp that grow there are exported as far away as the Far East. Even the lake’s moisture helps create the powdery ski snow that falls in our mountains,” he says.
He and his current wife, Gayle enjoy spotting the visiting bald eagles, snow geese, raptors, and Richard’s favorite – sandhill cranes. “When I hear they’re here, I get out to the lake pretty quickly,” he says.
“Our grandfathers’ motto was to leave a mark on the land. Ours is to turn it back to the way it was ... and to find out how to manage it, not destroy it.”
Partnering with the Conservancy, he knows his contributions will endure. “I was thrilled to find them – one could spend a lifetime looking for an organization that matches their philosophy and not find it.”
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