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 have demonstrated their passion for ecology by remembering BES in their Will. Their legacy lives on in the work that their gifts have made possible.

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. For some it was a life changing experience.

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

By remembering ecology in your Will you are helping to give the next generation of ecologists the support that they deserve.

Making or Changing Your Will

The only way to ensure that your wishes are carried out is to make a Will.  If you do not make a Will any property, shares or money you own will be governed by the statutory intestacy rules and not by your wishes.  We do not  offer legal advice or recommend law firms.  The only advice that we do offer is that you should always take the advice of a full qualified legal professional when making  or changing a Will. 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

If you live outside of the United Kingdom, you can still leave us a gift and a Will made in the UK may be still be valid  for assests held outside of the UK in some cases. However, you should seek advice from a legal professional who specialises in this area because issues such as domicile and forced heirship can affect how you leave gifts in your Will.

We have created a simple codicil  with supporting notes which you can  attach to your Will.   You can download the codicil in the  ‘Useful Documentation’ section at the end of this page.  If you do complete a codicil please inform your solictor and let them have a copy.

If you have included, or intend to include BES  in your Will, we would be grateful if you would let us know by completing  our pledge form which you can access by going to the  ‘Useful Documentation’ section at the end of this page and email it to BES Development and Fundaising Manager Paul Bower at

Providing us with this information will assist with our long term planning and ensure that we are able to thank you and, if you wish, publicly recognise, your support.

Any pledge you make on this form is entirely non-binding and does not commit you to a particular course of action. It is intended solely as a way of providing us with an indication of your plans. We understand that circumstances change, and there may be a time where you need to take BES out of your Will.

How Will Spend Your Money Wisely

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 note that we do not employ the services of external fundraising agencies. All Wills and legacies activity is delivered by the BES team as part of the work of our membership team.  No part of any gift or bequest you make to the BES will be paid in commission to a fundraiser.

Small contribution – big impact

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 grants 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 understand  that your family and loved ones come first.  With that in mind,  you might consider leaving  1%  of of your estate to support ecology in the future. This gift would only be released after your family and loved ones had received their  99% share.  This is normally called a Residuary Will.  Alternatively you might leave a fixed ammount,  normally called a Percuniary Will.  Howver, the real value of fixed ammount gifts is likely to decline with inflation.

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.

Our legacy promise

Making a Will is one of the most important events of anyone’s life. We understand that if you decide to remember BES in your Will that your privacy must be respected at all times in a process that you control.  No one from BES will ever call you unless you request it or ask about your private affairs.

This is our promise to you.

We hope that you will consider remembering ecology in your Will.

Thank you.