Dr. H. Robert Krear – Charitable Gift Annuity

Listening to Dr. Krear talk about his life and career is like reading a thrilling outdoor adventure memoir. His stories are rich with exploration, discovery, achievement and passion. But his deep reverence for wildlife—which has taken him to far-reaching lands and seas—began simply in the forests of the Pennsylvania Appalachia.

"In retrospect, I can see that I was different from the other boys, even in elementary school," says Krear. "During recess, when the other kids were playing softball, I was in the woods next to the school, absorbing what I could about the forest and the stream."

Inspired by his early interest in the outdoors, Krear enrolled in the Pennsylvania State University's School of Forestry in 1942, intending to pursue a career in the logging industry. His plans changed, though, when an unusual opportunity arose to join a newly-developed division of the U.S. Army.

"At the end of my freshman year, I was inducted in the Service, where I volunteered for the 10th Mountain Infantry Division (Alpine)." Previously a member of the Penn State ski team, Krear became a platoon sergeant in the Division and served in the Apennine Mountains and Southern Alps of Italy during World War II. "I met men working and training in the field of wildlife research, and realized I didn't want to grow trees for lumber. I wanted to work with the wildlife in the forest."

After returning from the war, Krear completed his education and began his accomplished career as a wildlife behaviorist, working for the National Park Service as a naturalist in eight national parks, serving as a member of four arctic and subarctic research expeditions, collaborating with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on research projects and teaching at four universities as a professor of biology.

Krear's resume is studded with accomplishments, but he says his most gratifying achievement was the part he played in a 1956 exploration to Alaska. "I was invited to join Olaus and Mardy Murie—a husband and wife team whose groundbreaking research inspired the modern conservation movement—on the Murie Arctic Brooks Range Expedition to northeast arctic Alaska. The results of that expedition laid the groundwork for the creation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the nation's largest wildlife refuge and the last pristine arctic wilderness remaining in North America."

Having dedicated his life and career to conservation, one might think Dr. Krear has 'given enough' to the protection of wildlife. But as a dedicated Defenders member, who recently established a charitable gift annuity with the organization, Krear doesn't feel that way. "For me, the wild animals that share our world are fascinating, and I like that Defenders fights for wildlife. Creating a gift annuity with Defenders is a way for me to make a significant gift to benefit wildlife and conservation. Knowing my money will assist Defenders in its efforts to preserve wildlife is a source of pleasure to me."

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