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Nature Builders Stories

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Nature Builders: Building Hope for the Future

Jack and Mary Gingrich, Nature Builders

Jack and Mary Gingrich may have been the first to donate to Nature Canada.

In 1970, Mary was often the first to get up at dawn and collect littered bottles and cans on Georgian Bay’s Cawaja Beach, where the family rented a cottage.

“Collecting the bottles got me out in the morning,” explains Mary, “It was found money. Why not give it to a good cause?”

At the inaugural meeting of the Canadian Nature Federation (now Nature Canada), the couple wrote a cheque for the amount raised from Mary’s summer bottle collecting activity and donated it. For the next 16 summers, Mary continued her beach clean up, donating the proceeds to environmental causes.

“It’s important to preserve nature,” explains Jack. “Species that are endangered are dying out. Habitat is being lost.” Mary adds, “With global warming, if we don’t take action, we’re in trouble.”

Actions like reducing car use. Jack, an electrical engineer, always preferred to take public transit to work. But when a transit workers’ strike began in 1973, Jack started biking the 19 km round trip to his office. He donated the saved transit fares to the Canadian Nature Foundation (Nature Canada). Another tradition was born. He enjoyed commuting by bike so much that he continued to do so for 17 years, donating the money he saved in transit fares each year, to protect nature.

Avid birdwatchers, Jack and Mary have been working to preserve nature for over 50 years and it’s one of the reasons they give to Nature Canada.

“I like that Nature Canada is a national organization,” explains Jack. “They can keep tabs on upcoming legislation and advocate for better protection for the environment.”

Jack and Mary Gingrich now have the distinction of being among the first to belong to Nature Builders, a Nature Canada program specially designed for supporters who give $500 or more each year.

To find out how you can become a Nature Builder, contact Jodi Joy at 1-800-267-4088 ext. 239

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