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What will you remembered for? By leaving a legacy to BirdLife, you can help us secure a future for birds, nature and the environment. Discover some of the conservation successes that were made possible through the generous support of our donors.

Whether it’s an increasing concern for the planet, an accompanying awareness of the importance of nature in supporting our children’s future, or purely a love of birds and birdwatching, more people are looking at leaving a legacy to environmental conservation.

By supporting BirdLife, you are already making efforts to protect the future of life on Earth. As a reader of this magazine you probably love birds, and as such are worried about their prospects. Globally, many bird species continue to decline and face a greater threat of being lost, with dire consequences for entire ecosystems.

At least 40% of bird species worldwide have declining populations, with over 200 species categorised as Critically Endangered, meaning they face an extremely high risk of extinction. Like you, we at BirdLife want to stop this. We are widely recognised as the world leader in bird conservation and our actions provide practical and sustainable solutions that significantly benefit nature and people.

It is because of BirdLife’s proven history of providing effective conservation that Hans Swegen chose to leave a legacy to BirdLife – one of the most powerful ways you can join us in our mission to protect birds and their habitats.

A legacy to protect threatened forest

Hans wanted to see for himself the positive effects his donation could have for conservation, so he donated a sum of money to help BirdLife purchase and protect forest land – the now-called Swegen Forest of the Tekoha Guasu in Paraguay and Bosque Swegen in the Dominican Republic.  

With support from Hans Swegen and other donors, Guyra Paraguay (BirdLife Partner) was able to secure ownership of 6,900 hectares of pristine Atlantic Forest and Pampas habitat, transformed into the Guyra Reta Reserve Complex for conservation in perpetuity. The Reserve acts as a core conservation area for protecting biodiversity, as well as a base for a wide range of initiatives.

Over the past five years, Guyra Paraguay has developed a sustainable yerba mate initiative based at the reserve, together with members of the local community, which have achieved Fair Trade and USDA Organic certification. By selling the crop to a premium sustainable market, the programme provides a more forest-friendly economic option to the region. This support created the foundation for a greener future for San Rafael’s people, as well as its nature.

His wife, Jacky Swegen, told us: “My husband, Hans, was fascinated by wildlife from an early age, and as a young adult he became passionate about conservation. This led in later years to a desire to take action against the destruction of the forests that are so vital to the life of the planet. He began to research the possibility of buying threatened areas of forest land. Thanks to BirdLife, his efforts culminated in the purchase of precious areas of forest. The achievement of these long-pursued goals made him very happy.”

After building a fruitful relationship with BirdLife and seeing the impressive results of his donation, Hans decided to leave a further gift in his will – an amazing way to leave a mark on a cause he cared about. Any gift left to BirdLife in your will, no matter how large or small, will support our work where it is most needed.

“With a gift in your will to BirdLife, you can leave a legacy that helps to secure the future of birds and their habitats across the world, We will use your gift where it is most urgently needed.”

Richard Grimmett, Director of Conservation, BirdLife International

Wandering Albatrosses breed on sub-Antarctic islands and usually mate for life © MZPHOTO.CZ / Shutterstock

A legacy to save the albatross

BirdLife works in over 120 countries worldwide, and it was because of the intrepid travels of the late Lady Jean Gilbert and her husband, the late Lord John Gilbert, that they made the decision to leave a gift to BirdLife in their will. Both passionate supporters of conservation, they were especially committed to the protection of endangered species, having seen first-hand the threats in Antarctica.

The plight of the albatross was of particular concern and they decided that they should leave a major legacy to BirdLife and its work to save the albatross. The friends and family of Lady Gilbert, who died in 2019, know they would be proud that this legacy will make a significant difference to the future of the albatross and other marine life.

Here at BirdLife we understand that writing your will is an important thing to do to ensure that the people and causes close to your heart are provided for after you are gone. Leaving a gift in your will is something that does not have to cost you anything now but will protect what you care about in the future. What will you be remembered for?

There are many ways you can choose to leave a legacy to BirdLife. For more information, contact us or read our legacies brochure here.

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