Leaving a Green Legacy

It’s Wills Week, when we encourage everyone to consider their legacy to their children and grandchildren – and to nature. The Edmonton and Area Land Trust (EALT) would not have achieved so much today without the support of our donors, who help make conservation happen.

It is therefore very appropriate that we acknowledge and honour one of our long-time supporters, Ursula Matthews, a generous EALT donor, who left a green legacy to this region in the form of a charitable bequest to EALT.

Ursula Matthews 1924 – 2015  

Ursula Matthews 1924 – 2015 

Ursula was tremendously supportive of EALT, from the time she was introduced to our conservation work by Patsy Cotterill, another friend of EALT. Her generosity is helping EALT in its important work conserving natural places for biodiversity, wildlife and people.

Pam Wight, EALT’s Executive Director, remembers her first contact with Ursula years ago: ‘She called me from her residence at the General Hospital. She essentially said “while you have a great organization, you’re not letting people know about it at the General Hospital; you should leave some brochures at the Seniors’ Centre here!” I immediately left brochures at the General, and of course visited Ursula too. In every subsequent visit, I found her very interested in EALT’s work, conservation issues, and engaged with the latest news. She had great spunk!’

Ursula’s brother-in-law, Ieuan Roach, described Ursula’s old home in Essex, which during her 30 years there, looked out over a well-tended lawn with flowered borders. He said she had tremendous character and attention to detail: “who else would, over a period of hours, attack and remove dandelions from a large lawn by hand with a kitchen knife… and enjoy it!”

Her friend, Gayle Simonson, said “Ursula was a strong believer in justice and in the protection of the environment. She was always willing to work for something she believed in, and to support it as best she could. She had a heart of gold and … until she had the stroke, she was alert and always appreciated a wildlife or geographic magazine to read. She was a generous donor to many organizations that worked to promote a better world.”

Her executor and friend, Eugene Bourassa, said “Ursula lived her life - always standing up and fighting for social justice – in words, speech, action and financial support.”Eugene said Ursula kept notes on a daily basis, over many years. Just one of these, shows her caring for nature and the outdoors:

“I often wish I could still run over the prairie and cross country ski in the company of animals and birds in the nature preserves.”

It is clear that Ursula valued the environment and nature, as she certainly provided financial support for this important area in her Will.

EALT’s purpose is to conserve natural areas for the benefit of nature and for people. Our conservation lands signify our donors’ commitment to ensuring a green legacy for our children and grandchildren. It is through the support of donors, such as Ursula Matthews, that EALT is producing tangible results we can walk on.

Why don’t you, too, remember EALT in your Will?