June is Leave a Legacy Month, and the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center wanted to take the opportunity to thank the members of our Wise Owl Society for their inclusion of the Nature Center in their planned giving. Launched in 2014, the Wise Owl Society now includes more than 25 members, all of whom have included the Nature Center in their estate planning.

We asked some Wise Owls to talk with us about their connections to the Nature Center, and their reasons for including the Nature Center in their planned giving.

Laurel Butler of Mystic has been a Nature Center member since 1985, and is a past Board of Trustees

Laurel Butler
Laurel Butler

member and Chair. “I believe in the mission, preserving open space and teaching about the outdoors, developing a personal environmental ethic,” she told us. “Nothing can replace the restorative, healing power of being outdoors throughout the seasons. We need to preserve and teach about our local wild places.

Bill and Betty Smith of Groton have been very involved Nature Center members for about four years, although their connection runs back to their childhood. “Fond memories of childhood visits to the Nature Center in addition to our support of environmental education, open space and the opportunity for people to connect with nature are primary reasons why we joined the Nature Center,” they said.

“We included the Nature Center in our planned giving because we feel the opportunity for tomorrow’s children to experience a strong connection to nature is critical, and the best way for us to help ensure this future is through our on-going and planned giving.”

For Harry and Liz White of Stonington, Nature Center members for the last five years, their involvement “goes to the things we value most – community, nature, history and education. Visiting Pequotsepos Road and Coogan Farm, we can see these values in action every day. As members, we also get to share and promote these values with others. We especially enjoy trail-walking, adult education programs, new friends and seeing the wonder and excitement of kids who visit the Nature Center. These kids are the future and, as members, we can be part of it.”

Harry White was a leader in the Campaign to Save Coogan Farm, and has remained active in the Nature Center’s development and advancement activities since the campaign concluded. He says, “Planned giving will likely be our largest gift. It reflects deeply held values and optimism about the future of today’s children and their children. To conserve natural and historic resources and to join people in community- what better legacies can we ever hope to leave? Thank you, Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, for giving us in perpetuity a capstone to values we hold most closely.”

Jeffrey Ackley

Binti & John Ackley of Stonington have been members for more than 30 years, and their involvement runs the gamut from volunteering to Binti serving on the Board of Trustees and running the gift shop when it first got going. Perhaps their most important connection comes through their son Jeffrey.

“Our son Jeffrey grew up at the nature center and absorbed it all!” they told us. “The result: He’s now a herpetologist (all those snakes, lizards and frogs). He just received his PhD in Biology from Arizona State University. Thank you DPNC!”

Actually, to all our Wise Owls and all our supportive members and donors, thank YOU!

For more information about how you can include the Nature Center in your planned giving, please call Nature Center Executive Director Maggie Jones at 860-536-1216, ext. 11.