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Planned Gift Supports Intermountain Bird Observatory

Planned Gift Supports Intermountain Bird Observatory

Adam Bradley's relationship with Boise State University's Intermountain Bird Observatory began nearly five years ago when research biologist Jeremy Halka hired him to help monitor bird populations utilizing avian point counts. Now, Adam and his wife Shelly Culbertson have made the lauded program part of their end-of-life arrangements.

"I have 100% faith in how IBO does research, public outreach, the Diane Moore Nature Center, Lucky Peak – there's a full circle of excellence there," Bradley said.

Bradley and Culbertson are passionate about nature and the environment. Culbertson works at the socially and environmentally active outdoor apparel company Patagonia, where Bradley also used to work. Through a Patagonia environmental internship program he became involved with avian science, and today he travels the Intermountain West collecting data on songbirds, woodpeckers and raptors.

That data, its relevance and application to management practices, and the IBO staff's professionalism are why the couple chose to support the organization. Though neither attended Boise State, they sought to make an estate gift that would have a powerful impact on an effective and well-run institution that fit their interests. They were attracted to how the IBO collects relevant data and ensures that data are used responsibly. The couple said, "We can learn a lot from our research about the changing environment; where we are succeeding and where we are failing."

"We have a personal relationship with IBO we can really trust," Culbertson said. "It's an effort we're supporting, and ideally for us, what we're able to leave will be able to make a difference to the organization."

The Intermountain Bird Observatory is a world-renowned avian science learning center and research hub with multiple research stations across the Intermountain West. It also operates the Diane Moore Nature Center, where thousands of Idaho students go every year to learn about the natural world and participate in actual research. While Bradley's connection to the IBO is through fieldwork, he and Culbertson said they are also attracted to its educational activities, hoping they inspire students to engage with science.

Planned gifts are a powerful tool many donors and philanthropists use to maximize their giving. For Bradley and Culbertson, it was a way to organize their affairs while contributing to a program that is meaningful to them and one they know will put that money to good use.

"We're just being realistic about who we are, what our needs are, what our plans are, and the fact that time passes, and a time will come when what we have we won't need anymore," Culbertson said.

Added Bradley, "It's a relief. I feel like we'e done our due diligence. Now, we can get on with our lives now that it's taken care of."