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Friendship and Support That Last Longer Than a Lifetime

Dorothy Hunt Honored PRBO with a $1.7 Million Bequest


Dorothy Hunt and Ellie M. Cohen in 2007. Photo by Nancy Gamble/PRBO.
Dorothy Hunt, a founding member of PRBO and a generous supporter for more than 40 years, passed away on November 27, 2008, at the age of 98, leaving PRBO Conservation Science a $1.7 million bequest, the largest planned gift PRBO has ever received.

President and CEO Ellie M. Cohen observes,"Dorothy would be so glad that her gift has come at an important time in the history of PRBO Conservation Science. She loved birds, she loved PRBO scientists, and she often recounted her early days with PRBO with great fondness and detail. We will always remember Dorothy Hunt's immeasurable contributions to PRBO and her vibrant appreciation for life. She will truly be missed."

At PRBO's 40th anniversary celebration in 2005, Dorothy Hunt was honored with a Founders Award. Coincidentally, the other recipient of the PRBO Founders Award that year was Rich Stallcup. The two had become friends well before PRBO came into being!

A co-founder of PRBO and an outstanding naturalist and teacher, Rich Stallcup recollects: "In the 1950s and early '60s, there were not many members of the northern California chapter of Western Bird Banding Association, but they all tried to attend every meeting. I was very young and was wild about birds, and it was terribly exciting for me to come to these gathering—to be with the people who were there and to hear the words they spoke. But I would always look first for Dorothy Hunt. She was relatively quiet but consistently kind and smiling; she talked lovingly about birds; and she usually brought cookies! There have been many moons since that time, but I will never forget the early WBBA or my friend Dorothy."

In 1965, that same WBBA chapter, led by Dr. Richard Mewaldt, set up a bird study station on Point Reyes Peninsula—the origin of PRBO Conservation Science. Forty years later, Dorothy Hunt said, "We had no idea when PRBO started that it would become so large and influential. It's wonderful to see how PRBO has developed over the years!"

Intensely loyal to PRBO from the very beginning, when she gave initial support of $100 (a large amount at the time!), Dorothy Hunt kept PRBO at the forefront of her charitable giving. Her love of birds and research also led Dorothy to volunteer for PRBO: she assisted Research Associates John and Ricky (Jane) Warriner in their study of Snowy Plovers in the Monterey Bay region, near Dorothy's long-time home.

Remembering her early help in this project (which led to federal protection for western Snowy Plovers), John Warriner says: "Dorothy Hunt always found ways to make a difference! In the pre-computer days, Dorothy did a lot of typing, voluntarily transcribing our records of sightings in the field—and she was fast! She also participated for many years in the Moss Landing Christmas Bird Count: even after she stopped counting (due to poor eyesight), Dorothy would send a check to cover any shortfall in the fees people pay for that event."

Thoughtful, vibrant, humorous and devoted to PRBO, birds and conservation: this was a great friend who found lasting ways "to make a difference." Says CEO Ellie Cohen, "Dorothy Hunt's lifelong generosity will continue to enable PRBO to contribute exciting and important new knowledge about birds and the ecosystems we share."