Leaving a Legacy for Land and Water

Judy and David Berg at their home in Eugene, Oregon

Local couple Judy and David Berg have always had a passion for the natural world. As a teenager, Judy realized that her life’s dream was to make a contribution. How that would manifest itself became clear only years later when she followed a graduate professor’s invitation to study African elephant behavior in atypical captivity. From African elephants to river otters and beavers, Judy spent forty years researching endangered species, and writing two creative non-fiction books on the natural history of these animals.

“Seeing my first otter emerge from a hole in the ice was one of the most exciting moments of my life.” Judy’s dream was being realized. Her passion was contagious, and upon retirement, David began a volunteer career developing conservation project databases that would extend over 11,000 hours over 15 years.”

Having contributed to conservation efforts across the globe, Judy and David knew that they wanted to give back. “Freshwater systems are essential to the entire range of biodiverse wildlife species – microorganisms, mollusks, fish, amphibians, birds, and mammals – that call them home. Rivers became especially important to us during Judy’s field research on river otters and beavers in the upper Colorado River watershed. That importance never waned,” shares David. “When we moved to Oregon twenty years ago, we were thrilled to find that the vision of McKenzie River Trust to protect and care for this precious resource aligned with ours. We were happy to dedicate a portion of our estate to their care through the Confluence Legacy Club with the satisfaction that our vision would be realized and Judy’s dream fulfilled.”

When asked why Judy and David have chosen to invest locally through McKenzie River Trust, David shares that “Biodiversity extinction and climate change are the most severe threats facing the planet today. By preserving freshwater systems through projects like Green Island, the Willamette Confluence, Waite Ranch, and North Fork Marsh – and even marine systems like Cape Foulweather – McKenzie River Trust flexes its arm in the fight against extinction by providing habitat for the diverse wildlife that call these places home. Efforts funded by our – and others’ – gifts to the Confluence Legacy Club provide the income to support these projects and ultimately fulfill the dream of wildlife conservation.”

Learn more about the Confluence Legacy Club

Regardless of how much money you have, planning ahead can allow you to continue to support the causes you care about after you are gone. There are many ways to leave a legacy gift to McKenzie River Trust. You can name McKenzie River Trust as a beneficiary of all or a portion of your estate. 

Here are a few of the most common ways to make a legacy gift.

  • Bequest: Allocate a specific amount, percentage, or remainder of your estate or trust or designate specific assets (like real estate, stock, accounts, etc.) to McKenzie River Trust in your will.
  • Retirement Plan Designation: Make McKenzie River Trust a beneficiary of your IRA or other retirement plan. (And, if you are over 70½, you can already direct Qualified Charitable Distributions from your IRA.) 
  • Life Insurance Policy: Designate a specific amount or percentage of your life insurance policy to McKenzie River Trust.