Leslie Schratz – Bequest

"I think growing up in the Pacific Northwest is where I first fell in love with wildlife and our country's stunning wilderness areas," says longtime Defenders' member Leslie Schratz. "I have wonderful memories of traveling from Seattle to Alaska with my father, and of summer visits to Montana's Glacier National Park with my grandfather." It was in Glacier where Leslie saw her first bear and where her parents and grandfather instilled in her the respect and love for all wildlife that she carries with her today.

Many years later, having completed college in Boston and relocated to Fairfax County outside Washington, D.C., Leslie attended her first Defenders-sponsored event. During an evening devoted to wolf education and outreach, the audience was asked to sit perfectly still while a wildlife rescue facility staffer walked one of its wolves up and down the aisle. "Honestly," says Leslie, "that beautiful animal stopped right next to my chair for what seemed like minutes, but was probably seconds. Looking into its eyes was unforgettable, unbelievable."

Asked why she chose to include a legacy bequest to Defenders in her will, Leslie doesn't hesitate: "Many organizations say what they think we want to hear," she says, "Defenders actually performs. When I see the magnificent face of a gray wolf, or watch a bear forage for food, the sheer beauty of this world astounds me. Without Defenders that beauty might not survive."

In addition to her generous support of Defenders, Leslie volunteers at both her local hospital and church. She has also been showing dogs for more than a decade, first her German Shepherd, and now Sam, her Belgian Malinois. She and Sam are working toward Sam's search-and-rescue certification, just one more way Leslie hopes to make the world a better place.

Let Us Know


Let Us Know

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?