Inspiration from a Young Edmontonian

Luke Nelson is a fifteen year old member of the Edmonton Nature Club. Last year he donated his birthday money to the Endowment Fund at the Edmonton Community Foundation, which goes to EALT. We interviewed him about his contribution to environmental conservation and wanted to thank him for his donation. Luke is a remarkable young man whose contribution has the power to inspire and motivate others, to help protect the beauty of nature and our natural landscapes.

Luke has always been very interested in nature and became a member of the Edmonton Nature Club, after his sixth grade teacher, who was an avid bird watcher, inspired him. His teacher got Luke and his friends interested in bird watching, told them about his experiences and gave them tips on great places to go. Luke and his family have been members of the Edmonton Nature Club ever since and continue to go on many outings in and around the city. 

Luke spends a lot of his time outdoors and really enjoys nature. He has done lots of bird watching in the Edmonton Region, but also abroad. Many of Luke’s favorite nature memories he experienced on Edmonton’s River Valley Nature Trail. While bird watching, he remembers seeing many species including owls, gold finches, pelicans and even bald eagles tending to their young. Luke likes numerous aquatic, terrestrial and avian wildlife species, with the great grey owl being one of his most favorite in Alberta. Next to his passion for birds he also enjoys watching fish and loves to go snorkeling and scuba diving. He has been to reefs in Australia, Costa Rica and Florida. His dream is to become a marine biologist one day.

Great Grey Owl by Gordon Court

Great Grey Owl by Gordon Court

Luke had no particular wishes for his fourteenth birthday and wanted to donate his money. He had read about Edmonton and Area Land trust in the Edmonton Naturalist Magazine and decided it would be a great organization to donate his money to. When Luke sent out birthday invitations to his friends, he asked them to donate money instead of getting him presents. Luke ended up donating all of his birthday money to environmental conservation and even donated the tax receipt he got for his donations – a remarkable, selfless contribution to a good cause, especially for a person his age! It was the first time he had donated money to charity and he could definitely imagine doing it again.

When we asked him about his donation he gave us a remarkable and powerful answer, many of us should think about.

“Getting presents might give you enjoyment for a short period of time, but on the long run it doesn’t make you feel any better than you did before you got it.”

Having made a donation to environmental protection Luke feels like he has helped a good cause substantially and contributed to one of our society’s most important goals – preserving natural landscapes of the Edmonton Region. He hopes to visit EALT’s properties in future and continue to help the organization by also volunteering.

Luke shows us that environmental protection has no age restrictions and absolutely everybody can get involved. It is because of people like him, that we are able to make a change!

Thank you Luke!

By Robert Brundage, EALT's Volunteer Conservation Intern