Remember Ecology in your will

Legacies have played a major role in supporting the advancement of ecological science. Over the years we have benefited from the generosity of people who during their lifetime were passionate about ecology. Their legacy lives on in the scientific work that their gifts have made possible.

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How legacies have helped support ecologists

The Jackson Legacy helped build accommodation in the Serengeti National Park for African ecologists undertaking long term field work. The Parkyn Legacy paid the travel expenses of 42 early career  ecologists from the developing world enabling them to attend the Intecol conference in London present their research and further their careers.

I could not have attended INTECOL without the help of the Parkyn travel bursary which enabled me to present my first paper at an international meeting as an early PhD student. It helped me make new connections, access other funding and network with some brilliant people. The bursary made a tremendous impact on my research and had a transformative impact on my scientific career. Thank you to BES and of course thank you to Dr Parkyn .

Dr. Priyadarshini Chakrabarti
University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India

Many of our current members have followed the example of Dr  James Parkyn and Dr George Jackson and remembered the British Ecological Society (BES) in their Will. We hope that you will join them. By remembering ecology in your Will you are helping to give the next generation of ecologists the support that they deserve.

How your money will be spent

You can make an unrestricted gift which would mean that BES Council (ecological scientists who serve as our trustees) would decide where your gift is most effectively spent.  All gifts will be used  to help us achieve our mission to, ‘generate, communicate and promote ecological knowledge and solutions.

Alternatively, you can designate your gift to support a specific area of our work. We have created three giving options. We believe  that they reflect the priorities of our membership and the wider ecological community.

Ecology –  The Next Generation. Supporting initiatives designed to attract the best talent. The aim is to increase the diversity of people studying and working in ecology.

Ecology in Africa.   Supporting our research, capacity building and training work with local partners in Africa including the successful but over subscribed Ecologists in Africa grants programme.

Bridging the Gap. Supporting early career ecologists in the difficult period when funding has ended and they are looking to secure their first position in the profession.

Please bear in mind that you can leave a small proportion of your estate to support ecology in the future.  For example, someone might leave 2% of their of their estate to support ecology and this would only be released after their families and friends had received their share of the estate. This is normally called a Residuary Will.  Alternatively others might leave a percuniary gift or fixed ammount, but it should be noted that the real value of such percuniary gifts is likely to decline with inflation. 

Every gift in every Will, however large or small will make a difference. Demand for all our programmes always exceeds supply. For example, only 6% of applicants to our Ecologists in Africa programme receive funding, even though 20% of them score above 80% in their assessment. BES travel grants designed to help early career ecologists attend meetings and symposia are often exhausted a few days after we open for applications.

We also appreciate that making a Will is one of the most important events of anyone’s life. We absolutely recognise that your family and friends come first.  We almso understand that your privacy must be respected at all points in a process that you control. This is our promise to you. 

What if you have a specific capital project in mind?

Substantial bequests can be dedicated to the building of new facilities dedicated to the furtherance of ecological science. However, we can only consider this option when:

  • in partnership with local agencies, we have established that a real need exists
  • the person leaving the legacy or their executors have identified a partner in advance who would commit to cover all running costs of  the facility after it is built.

Major decisions on capital projects are made by BES Council.

What If I Do Not Have a Solicitor?

We don’t offer legal advice or recommend legal practices. However, you can take advantage of the Law Society of England and Wales’ free Find a Solicitor Guide at   A similar service is offered for people resident in Scotland by the Law Society of Scotland at  BES members resident in Northern Ireland can take advantage of the service offered by the Law Society of Northern Ireland at

The only advice we do offer is that you should always take the advice of a full qualified legal professional when making a Will.

Please note that the BES does not employ the services of external fundraising agencies. All Wills and legacies activity is delivered in-house. No part of any gift or bequest you make to the BES will be paid in commission to a fundraiser.

We hope that you will remember ecology in your Will. Thank you.