When Kathy Bouchard, a member of the Save the Redwoods League Redwood Leadership Society, touches the trunk of an ancient redwood, she said she thinks about what the tree has seen in the hundreds of years it's been here.
And she treasures her time walking among them. Magical experiences like these have motivated Bouchard to support Save the Redwoods League for decades.
She said she can make gifts to protect redwoods every year when she's alive, but when she passes on, she can do even more for the giant trees she fell in love with more than 40 years ago.
That is why Bouchard recently decided to make Save the Redwoods League the beneficiary of her IRA account. She chose this type of donation partly because of its tax advantages.
"If I leave an IRA account to an individual, it's taxed at a high rate," she said. "But a charitable organization gets to keep every penny, with no taxes. So the money goes a lot farther."
Born and raised in New York City, Bouchard was once an urbanite. But at age 22 she took a fateful bus ride across the country and fell in love with California’s redwoods. "I had never seen anything so big," she said.
Today Bouchard, a paralegal, lives in Southern California and considers herself a "nature person." On her time off, she heads north to visit redwood parks.
"I love driving up through the Avenue of the Giants, finding a private little grove, and sitting there and staring at the trees," she said.
On one visit to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, Bouchard spotted a Save the Redwoods League brochure, which prompted her to start making yearly donations.
Today, Bouchard appreciates the redwoods even more than when she first saw them.
"It's so rejuvenating. I always keep wanting to come back."
Bouchard's generosity is helping ensure that others will be able to walk among the tall trees, too, for many years to come.
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