Nature has always been a big part of Kurt Weppler’s life. As a kid, he’d regularly spot owls, porcupines and foxes on his family’s acreage just north of Calgary. If he wasn’t outside in his rubber boots trying to catch frogs, odds are you’d find him on the couch flipping through National Geographic or watching a David Attenborough documentary.
Today, the computer engineer still lives in Calgary — and nature still plays a big part in his life. A perfect day might mean trekking into the mountains. Or trail riding through the green rolling hills of Kananaskis with his seven-year-old horse-obsessed daughter. Or simply observing the bumblebees that visit the lavender and other wildflowers he’s planted outside his door.
“There’s always dozens of bees out there on a good warm day,” he says. “And I enjoy just sitting there and watching them do their thing.” He’s passed that passion for pollinators along to her daughter. Although it’s usually hard to hold her attention, she’s completely entranced each time they visit the butterfly exhibit at the Calgary Zoo.
But Kurt can’t help worrying that the natural world she inherits will be a little more impoverished. He points to the impacts of climate change, how few grasslands remain in Canada, and the scourge of plastic pollution in our oceans.
He feels fortunate that we still have so much wilderness across the country — far more than most parts of the world. But he understands how easily it can be degraded and how quickly it can disappear if we take it for granted. “I want to do what I can in the time I can,” he says.
Making solutions possible
That’s why Kurt became a monthly donor to WWF-Canada in 2014. Despite all the damage to nature that human have inflicted, he knows we have the power to turn things around.
Just look at Chile’s Patagonia region, he says, where vast swaths of interconnected wilderness corridors have been protected. And he believes involving Indigenous groups in that process is crucial. It’s something he appreciates about WWF’s approach to conservation — especially since his wife and daughter are Indigenous.
“You can’t just go in and forcibly set aside land, even if you’re well intentioned,” he says. “You still need to consult with the local people… it’s working with them and not just coming in and saying, hey, we have all the answers.”
Leaving an enduring gift
Last year, Kurt took his support a step further by including a bequest for WWF-Canada in his Will. He’s not concerned about having his name live on. Instead, he believes a true legacy means leaving the world in a better place than he found it.
He wants to make sure iconic animals like elephants and rhinos are still around for his daughter to marvel at. He wants to make sure bumblebees and butterflies are still doing their vital pollination work. And he wants to make sure Canada still has the incredible richness of natural spaces that we’re privileged to enjoy today.
By leaving a legacy gift, Kurt is entrusting WWF-Canada to create a brighter, more sustainable future for his daughter and other generations to come — and continuing to contribute to a cause that means so much.
“[It’s] one more little bit of doing good in the world that I can do,” he says.
Choosing to remember WWF-Canada with a gift in your will is the perfect way to let your care and compassion for nature endure. To learn more, visit wwf.ca/legacy.