|Ted Eliot, Jr.--birding. Photo by Nancy Gamble/PRBO|
So says Ted Eliot, Jr., when stating the primary reason why he strongly supports our organization's work. A past board member, whose term spanned nine years, including two years as chair, Ted remains actively involved with birding, conservation and PRBO. He has served most recently as a member of the Lasting Legacy Campaign Committee.
With his wife Pat, Ted makes his home in the town of Sonoma, California. The Eliots are parents of four adult children and grandparents of nine. They clearly have a vested interest in the future health of our environment--and the preservation of vital ecological services, which intact natural systems provide.
Ted himself discovered a love of nature --and birds--early in life. His father and uncle were lifelong birders, and on many a family outing, Ted, Sr. transmitted a passion for winged creatures (memorably, the Cape May Warbler) to young Ted.
As a career diplomat, whose posts included ambassador to Afghanistan from 1978 to 1985, Ted had chances to learn about birds of the world. He still counts Kenya as among his favorite birding destinations--along with Point Reyes and Bodega Bay!
Ted walks his talk when it comes to conservation. Having served on the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District Advisory Committee for 15 years, he now co-chairs the group campaigning to perpetuate the district. "We have protected 70,000 acres in Sonoma County," says Ted, "which is 7% of the county's area. The district is supported by a 25-cent sales tax, which was passed in 1990. And we are going on the ballot this November to renew that sales tax. It takes a two-thirds vote to do that."
From local and regional, to national, international and global, Ted foresees the need for renewed dedication. Regarding PRBO's future, Ted calls for ever greater efforts. "The challenges to conservationists are growing," he says, "and PRBO will have to continue to grow to meet those challenges."
One way to make this possible is through estate gifts, as Ted knows well. When he was Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, planned gifts permitted the school to start new academic programs.
"Planned gifts provide for long-term needs, including endowments," notes Ted. He adds that "Planned gifts are usually unrestricted, which is very important. PRBO Conservation Science is able to dedicate this kind of support where it is needed most."
Ted Eliot, Jr., reflects: "Over the years that I've been involved, PRBO has seen tremendous growth in programs, supported by tremendous growth in revenues and budget and number of scientists. I am very proud of PRBO."