Natural Champions for Parks
Twenty years of family memories are at the heart of Don and Anne Ayer’s love for our national parks. When their son and daughter were just two and five years old, the family took their first vacation at a ranch outside Yellowstone National Park.
The annual two week trip quickly became a family tradition—with the first week spent exploring a new park in Utah, Colorado or somewhere in the Mountain West and the second week back at their beloved Yellowstone. They loved the scenery. They loved the constant sense of discovery. They especially loved getting away from modern distractions like television and phones.
Anne reminisced that often, as they were driving along between parks, Don would spy a great fishing spot. A long-time avid fisherman, he’d glance at his family and ask if they could stop. “Sometimes the kids would roll their eyes or complain a little, but in the end we always had a great time playing cards or games alongside a stream in the middle of nowhere. Those are some of our best memories of all.”
Today, Don and Anne are giving back to parks that inspired so many of their best family moments through their tireless work with the National Parks Conservation Association. In addition to their generous support of the Renewing Our Promise campaign, Don is a member of the NPCA Board of Directors and serves as the board liaison to NPCA's very active program of litigation to defend the parks. Anne has joined us on trips around the country, learning about the inner workings of our parks and the threats they face.
Their devotion to NPCA is fueled by a desire to protect our national parks. They know that NPCA’s efforts to push for the resources our parks need is especially important in these times of budget shortfalls and partisan infighting.
In Don’s words, “I became enormously impressed with the organization’s depth of commitment to preserving and expanding the parks. And with their effectiveness. They’ve always been incredibly tenacious and that’s never been needed more than it is today.”
The Ayers will soon be welcoming their first grandchild into the world and they love knowing that the parks will be there for her to enjoy as much as their own children did. Don and Anne feel their support of NPCA allows them to do their part to ensure that we will all be able to enjoy these beautiful places for generations to come. Anne believes, “Our parks are the most beautiful places in our country. There’s no overstating how much all of us would be missing without them.”
The National Parks Conservation Association is deeply grateful to Don and Anne for the many ways in which they help us champion America’s national parks. Committed volunteers and donors like the Ayers are the very heart and soul of our work to preserve and protect these national treasures.