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Family passes up millions for their property and does something remarkable with it: 'It's very difficult to find'

These decisions highlight a commendable trend.

These decisions highlight a commendable trend.

Photo Credit: Getty

In an inspiring act of environmental generosity, a Waterloo family has made the landmark decision to donate more than 200 acres of pristine natural land to the rare Charitable Research Reserve in Waterloo Region. This significant gesture, amounting to "several millions of dollars" worth of property, reflects a deep commitment to conservation and community welfare.

As reported by the Waterloo Region Record, this picturesque land, nestled on the Waterloo moraine near Carmel-Koch Road, is a haven of trees, wetlands, and meadows bursting with wildflowers. It has long been a cherished sanctuary for the Schneider family, especially the matriarch, 93-year-old Jane Schneider. The land, beloved for its walking trails and cross-country skiing opportunities, is also a thriving habitat for birds, deer, coyotes, and many other wildlife species.

The Schneider family's connection to this land dates back to 1967. Over the years, the family expanded their holdings, planted thousands of trees, and established their home on the property in 1988. Post-retirement, Frederick Schneider, a noted environmentalist, and his wife and children reveled in the land's natural beauty, often indulging in walks and cross-country skiing.

The donation to the Cambridge-based environmental institute is set to be finalized by the end of this year. Rare is renowned for its commitment to protecting sensitive lands across the region. 

Stephanie Sobek-Swant, rare's executive director, hailed the donation. "I think this will probably single-handedly be one of the most important land donations for conservation that will ever be made in Waterloo Region," she said in an interview with the Record, "because it's very difficult to find, in this area, large continuous pieces of land that are not built over or slated for future development." 

Echoing the Schneider family's conservation efforts in Waterloo, Ronnie and Terry Urbanczyk in Texas also chose environmental stewardship over financial gain by selling 750 acres of their land to become part of a state park instead of developing it into a lucrative housing subdivision. Early this year, a lottery winner used his $217 million windfall to establish Anyama, an environmental charity focused on forest protection and biodiversity.

These decisions highlight a commendable trend in which individuals prioritize the preservation of natural habitats over their self-interest. These stories inspire and exemplify the significant impact that private landowners can have in safeguarding our planet's diverse ecosystems for future generations.

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