Bequest Stories

If you want to protect the lands and waters you care about, but cannot make a gift today, you can still leave a legacy that reflects your individual values by including The Nature Conservancy in your will or estate plan. It is easy to make a charitable bequest. And bequests let you retain control of your assets during your lifetime. They may also provide estate tax savings.

John Schneider wanted to leave a gift that would have a lasting impact on the natural world that he cares so deeply about, so he took the simple steps to include The Nature Conservancy in his will. Like John, when you make a gift through your estate to The Nature Conservancy, and let us know about your gift, you become a member of The Legacy Club—a special group of visionary supporters who have chosen to stand up for the future of the natural world.

Legacy Leader

Growing up in lean times during World War II, John Schneider recalled that “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”—the three Rs of resource conservation—was more than just a slogan—it was, he says, “a way of life.” The son of newly settled immigrants, he and his six siblings learned to reduce consumption of food and fuel, recycle cooking oil and even reuse tea leaves to make the most of what was available.

“It was a matter of survival,” he remembered. “We wasted nothing and used resources with wisdom and prudence.”

This early adherence to a basic conservation philosophy fundamentally shaped John into the thoughtful person he was and underpins his strong connection to nature. He lived in a farmhouse near southern Colorado’s high desert, John was close to the outdoors from a young age. Cottonwood groves surrounded his family’s farm and coyotes and jackrabbits roamed everywhere. Nature was always his source of comfort and solace.

“I still need to get out in nature to reboot my system,” he said. Thanks to his adventurous spirit, he has managed to get himself out there quite a bit, camping and hiking the canyons and deserts of Utah and Colorado. His greatest pleasure comes from just being in beautiful natural places, and capturing them through photographs. Even when he traveled around the world as an engineer for NASA and other organizations, he always had a camera in hand. He published four books of his photography and was working on a fifth.

Years ago, when he was looking to support a conservation organization, he heeded the advice of a friend who said the Conservancy “had the people who get the job done.” He was a member ever since. He particularly appreciated the Conservancy’s integrated approach of protecting whole ecosystems and working with people and partners to be most effective. He also formed close relationships with several different staff members, all of whom, he said, shared his “fervor and passion” for preserving nature.

“I see so many dedicated people at the Conservancy, and I just resonate with them,” he said. “It’s why I know that my bequest will be used wisely and for the betterment of all life on Earth.”

In his typically philosophical take on the world, John suggested additional Rs for us all to consider: “Remediate to correct past errors, Restore to bring nature back to a more pristine state, and Return the bounty of the Earth to create a sustainable world.” They are certainly words he lives by. Most tellingly, he added a final one—to Remember our children’s future.

“I want my gift to be a lasting one that is good for my children and grandchildren,” he said. “It is my investment in the future quality of life of our descendants.” John has since passed on in 2013.

Information that may interest you ...

Learn more about making a bequest to the Conservancy.

Learn how to include the Conservancy in your estate plan.

Have you left the Conservancy in your estate plans? If so, let us know. We want to thank you and welcome you to The Legacy Club.

You can protect rainforests and other natural places by making a planned gift with The Nature Conservancy. Contact us today.