Why I Give: To Leave a Legacy

Why do you give to The Nature Conservancy? "Because TNC is effective, science-driven, community-minded and global in scale."

Dr. Jean Kenyon
USFWS Coral Reef Ecologist

Each contributor to The Nature Conservancy has a story about why they give back to nature. Two of our Legacy Club members share their perspectives.

For Dr. Jean Kenyon, a U.S. Fish & Wildlife coral reef ecologist, it’s to ensure that the world’s coral reefs will survive and thrive. For Brenda, her spiritual connection to nature inspires her to pass on her values to the next generation.

Please read their stories below and then share your own story to inspire others.


Q: Why do you give to The Nature Conservancy?

Jean: Because TNC is effective, science-driven, community-minded and global in scale.

Brenda: I give because nature is my place of worship. If I’m ever out of balance, I go into nature. I feel a deep spiritual connection there. Nature sustains me. If humans are to survive, we must put nature first.

Q: What is your favorite place in nature?

Jean: Coral reefs. Palau, in particular, is a very special place to me.

Brenda: I feel such joy and gratitude when I’m in nature, so every current moment in nature is my favorite. I’m a very focused person, so when I go into nature, there is no past and future, just the present. I have all my senses open. I feel so connected to it.

Q: Tell us about your favorite memory or experience in nature?

Jean: I was in graduate school at the University of Guam in 1992, doing doctoral work in their marine lab. Being so focused on my work collecting corals, I didn’t have time to explore and appreciate the larger ecosystem in which I was working. When I was done with my project, I treated myself to a trip to Palau for recreational diving. It was my first time there. I went to Blue Corner, a popular dive site at the edge of the reef with a mix of shallow and deep water species. Now that I was finally free to look around, what I experienced was an explosion of life. I was so overwhelmed emotionally at the vibrancy of it all, I was literally crying tears of joy into my mask!

Brenda: My favorite memory in nature was the first time I saw the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, when I was a child growing up in Northern Canada. I felt like God was speaking to me. It was an overwhelming experience. I just thought, what in the world is that?

Q: What is your holiday wish for nature?

Jean: I hope that corals and coral reefs will be resilient enough to survive the effects of climate change well into the future.

Brenda: My wish is for all humans to give nature complete respect. We’re a long way from that; the answer is our children – they are the future. It’s everyone’s responsibility to teach children about how to appreciate and care for nature.

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