Lindsay Webb, NHFG Landowner Relations: (603) 271-1137
Gail Huntting, Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire: (603) 496-2778; firstname.lastname@example.org
June 20, 2018
CONCORD, NH — The Wildlife Heritage Foundation of NH has received a substantial gift from the estate of Robert Wescott Durant. Mr. Durant, who lived in Lancaster, NH since 1969, was a teacher, avid outdoorsman, naturalist, writer and accomplished wildlife photographer.
His very generous gift of $635,000 will be used to support youth educational programs over the next ten years, providing opportunities for children in New Hampshire to understand and appreciate the interdependence of all species and the need for their conservation and the stewardship of our natural world. Educating our next generation was vitally important to Mr. Durant, who said, “Children need to be educated on how important nature is in their lives.”
The Wildlife Heritage Foundation of NH will use the gift to provide grants to the NH Fish and Game Department each year for programs targeted to educating children about the joys of our great outdoors. Initial grants totaling $48,250 have recently been awarded by the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of NH for ten youth educational projects at NH Fish and Game. This year’s grants include a Creature Feature exhibit at Great Bay Discovery Center, updates and repairs to the Discovery Room at Fish and Game Headquarters, a Wildlife Viewing Area Kiosk to Dixville Notch, Schoolyard Wildlife Action Grants, Wild Times for Kids publication, Wonders of Wildlife Program, Wildlife Education Curriculum Kits, Project WILD, and a Winter Severity Index Data Collection Program in schools.
Robert Durant Legacy exhibits are also in the works to be displayed at NHFG Headquarters building and at the North Country Resource Center in Lancaster, so that staff and visitors can remember this kind and generous man. Mr. Durant’s diaries, photographs, books and sketches will be used to further the education and enjoyment of fellow nature enthusiasts.
Robert Durant frequented the Israel River in Lancaster, a special place where he became enchanted with the many plants, animals and insects that inhabited the river and its banks. For 30 years, in all weather, he made a daily walk of a two mile stretch along the river near his home, recording field notes and taking photographs all the living things that called the river their home. NHFG also tagged along with Robert Durant in 2015 as he walked his favorite hiking route, explaining his passion for documenting wildlife and educating youth.
He was also a contributing writer for local area newspapers and published five photographic books on the Lancaster area and its beautiful remote wilderness.
In addition to this funding, Durant also gifted a 10-acre parcel in Jefferson, NH in July of 2016. The Robert Durant Natural Area borders both the Israel River and Stalbird Brook and has excellent shore angling access as well as opportunities for wildlife watching.
The Wildlife Heritage Foundation of NH is grateful for such an important legacy gift, furthering its mission of preserving the wild places and wild things of New Hampshire for future generations. As the non-profit partner of NH Fish and Game Department, the Foundation works to support the education, wildlife, fisheries, conservation, and law enforcement programs of NH Fish and Game, critical to sustaining New Hampshire’s fish and wildlife resources and habitats.