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The donors: Anne Lambert and Tom Welch

The gift: Co-founding the International Conservation Fund of Canada

The reason: To help preserve nature and biodiversity in the tropics

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Anne Lambert has been worrying about the impact of humans on the planet ever since she was a teenager growing up in Toronto.

Now in her 60s, Ms. Lambert spent much of her career as a biologist, working in wildlife protection and research. Her husband, Tom Welch, shared the same interest and together they began looking for causes to support. They particularly wanted to do something to help conservation efforts in tropical regions because those areas contain the most natural diversity. When they couldn’t find an organization in Canada doing that kind of work, they decided to set up their own charity.

That led to the creation of the International Conservation Fund of Canada (ICFC) in 2007 in Chester, N.S., where the couple live. The ICFC works with organizations around the world to help protect nature reserves, wildlife and ecosystems. Some of the projects have included helping protect elephants in Mali, conserving a large part of the Brazilian rainforest and ending destructive fishing practices in Cambodia. So far, the charity has raised $18-million in total which has funded more than 40 conservation programs in 27 countries. “Canada only represents about 5 per cent of all biodiversity,” said Mr. Welch, 71, who is a retired businessman. “We can have single project in the tropics that would have the same amount of biodiversity as Canada.”

The couple work on the charity as volunteers and Ms. Lambert said that while at times it can be overwhelming, they have a great sense of satisfaction. “I really feel like I’m doing what I’ve wanted to do all my life. We’re making a difference.”

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