August 18, 2023 • News Announcements
Oceanic Society staff and board were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend Nancy Wotkyns of Eaton Rapids, Michigan, a sea turtle activist and conservationist who has traveled with us for more than two decades. Nancy’s love for sea turtles and her dedication to supporting local communities left a lasting mark in Suriname, Mexico, and elsewhere. As we mourn her loss, we are also filled with gratitude for the surprising bequest she donated for the pursuit of our mission.
Wayne Sentman, Oceanic Society’s director of conservation travel, commented “Nancy was a no-nonsense, passionate, fiercely independent individual dedicated to protecting sea turtles, connecting people to nature, and exploring the wild and remote corners of the world. For many years, we were fortunate to have her as a volunteer on our leatherback project in Suriname. Frequently the first on the beach at dusk and the last one off at dawn, her boundless enthusiasm was a driving force for all the project staff and volunteers. Nancy made deep and personal connections with the local communities in the places she visited, never failing to bring multiple suitcases of gifts and essential items to leave behind and only a small carry-on for herself.”
Nancy’s posthumous gift to Oceanic Society matched her generous spirit and lifelong desire to have a positive impact on sea turtles and other wildlife. Oceanic Society president Roderic Mast, who kept in touch with Nancy over the years, said, “Nancy always apologized that she was unable to give more to Oceanic Society’s sea turtle conservation work during her lifetime. She’d tell me she was ‘saving up’ to make a big difference one day.” She took advantage of retirement savings incentives to make incremental contributions throughout her life as part of a planned giving strategy that allowed her to make a big impact after her passing.
Planned giving refers to charitable contributions designated through one’s estate, will, or trust. It costs nothing during one’s lifetime, but can reap large benefits later on, sometimes spanning generations. Though Nancy lived frugally during her life, her decision to include Oceanic Society in her will serves as a powerful reminder of the outsized impact that one can have through legacy giving. Nancy’s bequest to Oceanic Society has already funded critical conservation programming in areas that were important to her, including global sea turtle conservation. All of us at Oceanic Society pledge to make Nancy Wotkyns’ inspiring vision, passion, and commitment work towards a brighter and more sustainable future for our oceans and the incredible species that call them home. Thank you, Nancy, for helping us build a lasting Oceanic Society!
Your bequest can also be a powerful force for lasting change. If you’re inspired by Nancy’s story, please consider joining the “Oceanic Legacy Society” by including Oceanic Society in your will. If you have any questions or need assistance in planned giving, please reach out to us at email@example.com. And if you already have us in your will, please let us know! We would love to feature you and share your legacy story.