Bee at Ferrier property (Photo by Brent Calver)

Bee at Ferrier property (Photo by Brent Calver)

Sadie's birthday donation

Sadie Reichelt Leggatt in NCC's Calgary office (Photo by NCC)

Sadie Reichelt Leggatt in NCC's Calgary office (Photo by NCC)

Sadie Reichelt Leggatt is five years old and lives in Calgary, Alberta. Her favourite animal (this week) is the cheetah, but she also likes birds, foxes, dogs, horses and cats. For her fifth birthday, Sadie did something incredible: she decided to donate to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).

"Sadie has plenty of toys, so we talked about doing something different," said her mother, Renee.

Sadie invited her friends plus all 28 kids in her kindergarten class to attend her party because she didn't want anyone to feel left out. Instead of asking for toys as presents, Sadie requested her guests bring cash envelopes.

Half of the money she raised at this party was used to purchase herself a birthday present, and the other half she donated to a charity of her choice. In the end, her mom and dad matched half of the birthday money so that she could donate all of the money she received.

"I asked Sadie what kind of charity she would like to help," said Renee. "She wanted to help animals."

Together, Sadie and Renee researched local charities that protect animals. They learned about NCC, and Sadie decided to donate her birthday money to the land trust because she liked the work they did.

"Sadie thinks that NCC is like three charities in one because you help animals, people and the environment," said Renee.

Not only does Sadie love animals, she also loves nature. Her family often goes into Kananaskis Provincial Park, where she likes to hike in the forests and climb on rocks. Even at her young age, Sadie knows the importance of keeping nature pristine. She often picks up garbage that other people have discarded on the side of the trail, a habit she learned from her dad, Craig, who always carries out more than he brought in.

Her mother contacted NCC to ask if Sadie could come into the office to make the donation in person to make it as impactful as possible.

On March 9, NCC's Calgary team welcomed Sadie and Renee to their office. To make the day extra special for the five-year-old, the NCC team gave Sadie a birthday gift to take home, including a stuffed rabbit wearing some NCC swag.

The future of conservation depends on our ability to teach our children about the importance of nature and wild spaces. Children like Sadie, who care about animals and the natural world, are proof that today's youth will grow up to be tomorrow's conservationists.

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Atlantic puffins (Photo by Bill Caulfield-Browne)