Bob and Harriet Jakovina – Bequest

Bob and Harriet Jakovina live in San Jose, California with their two Belgian sheepdogs Voodoo and Raven. Both retired teachers, Bob and Harriet have been married for 44 years and have supported Defenders of Wildlife since the early 1970s.

In addition to their philanthropic support, the Jakovinas had a hands-on role in restoring wolves to the greater Yellowstone area, one of Defenders' greatest accomplishments. They recall camping in Yellowstone National Park when brochures were first being circulated seeking comments on wolf reintroduction to the Director of the Park Service. After completing their form at one campground, they were shocked to find the brochures were not available at another campground. In fact, the host responded: "The only thing to do with a wolf is to shoot, shovel and shut up." Outraged, they traveled back to the previous campground, collected 100 or so forms and returned to hand them out to everyone at the new location.

Since those early days, the Jakovinas have participated in many Defenders of Wildlife programs and have had the chance to see wolves in the wild during one of their several trips to Yellowstone. As environmental scientists, both Bob and Harriet appreciate Defenders' commitment to supporting keystone species like the wolf. According to Bob, "When you reintroduce wolves to Yellowstone, you are taking care of the Aspen trees, the trout, the elk and the whole ecosystem."

When Bob and Harriet sat down to write their will, it was Defenders' strong focus on endangered species that lead them to designate the organization to receive a percentage of their estate. Harriet says, "Our love of animals brought us together and it has been an important part of our lives. It's good to know our bequest will help support wildlife for years to come."

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Bequests left to Defenders are crucial to our ability to protect imperiled species and their habitats for generations to come. Have you included Defenders in your will or other estate plans?