A legacy gift to support a lasting impact

A side profile of a woman in a russet-colored turtleneck and white bag. She looks up with her eyes closed.

“The BTC is more than just a hiking trail for us. It’s about all the land around the Trail and the protection of the Niagara Escarpment.”

Nicole & Michael Martin, Bruce Trail Conservancy Donors

Like many of the Bruce Trail Conservancy’s donors, Nicole and Michael had a desire to do something positive for climate and conservation. It was shaped by a number of their experiences with nature.

Growing up, both Nicole and Michael enjoyed outdoor adventures with their families; Nicole explored the Bruce Trail on day trips, while Michael enjoyed family outings in Donautal, an area in his homeland of Germany known for many walking paths. Michael’s parents picked Ontario as their destination when they emigrated because its landscape reminded them of home. Nicole and Michael eventually met and married. As newlyweds living in Hamilton, Nicole introduced Michael to the Bruce Trail. Today, they consider themselves more gardeners than hikers, often helping out Nicole’s parents at their property in the former township of Sydenham (now part of Meaford).

“When you’re in nature a lot and working with the land, you see up close the impact of climate change on the environment. Fifty years ago, frost was a real concern before May 24 and past Labour Day, but now the growing season is much longer. We’ve also noticed fewer songbirds, and a decline in Monarch butterflies, something we used to see in large numbers. There are also so many wild turkeys, but the once prolific groundhogs seem to have disappeared!”

Nicole and Michael made their first gift to the Bruce Trail Conservancy in 2012, and a few years later signed up as monthly donors.

“Supporting the Bruce Trail Conservancy is empowering, because you feel like you’re doing something positive for the planet, for biodiversity, and you’re helping to give people a permanent and beautiful place where they can relax and breathe fresh air.

“The BTC is more than just a hiking trail for us. It’s about all the land around the Trail and the protection of the Niagara Escarpment. We especially appreciate the effort to create a continuous swath of land; this green space known as the ribbon of wilderness, and all the work being done to restore the habitat and make it natural again. That, for us, is so incredible.”

In 2022, Nicole and Michael updated their wills and decided to include a gift to the Bruce Trail Conservancy.

When we sat down to do our wills, we took into consideration our children, as well as the charities that we support. A gift to the Bruce Trail Conservancy was an easy choice for us. Securing land and making it accessible to everyone has a tangible and lasting impact. It is our hope that our future gift will help the BTC continue to grow the ribbon of wilderness. And of course, this is something we can help preserve for our children and maybe inspire them to give as well.

For resources and to learn more about leaving a gift in your will, please visit our Planned Giving page.

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