Encouraging Curiosity in Nature: The Bethune Family

December 15, 2015

The Bethune’s kids aren’t into iPods and iPads. Instead, they are most interested in going outside.

“I like for our kids to be outside,” says Rachel Bethune. Rachel, along with her husband Alec, take their two kids hiking a lot and encourage their curiosity with nature. While they try to get their daughter, Juliette, 14 months, to learn by touching different things outdoors, their son, Colin, 4, most enjoys digging in the dirt.

Bethune Family

Rachel, Alec, Colin, and Juliette Bethune

Alec, a senior IT project manager at Fidelity Investments and Rachel, a senior business intelligence analyst at Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, have been members of Triangle Land Conservancy’s River Society since before their two children were born. Rachel says when she and her husband first sat down to decide where they would give their money, TLC seemed like an obvious choice.

After a few years of donating annually, the Bethune family decided to become TLC Stewards; now, they make automatic monthly gifts that provide sustained resources for TLC to conserve and maintain beautiful green spaces in the Triangle.

And while having green space nearby has always been important to them, it is even more so now. “Having kids makes it even more important,” explains Rachel.

Alec agrees; he is concerned about development pressures in the Triangle, which aren’t going away any time soon. He wonders what the Town of Chapel Hill will look like in 10 years. To him, local leaders can’t always be trusted to make the best decisions, which is why supporting land conservation is so important.

“Community leaders have done a poor job with natural spaces and sustainability,” cautions Alec.

The Bethune property abuts the NC Botanical Garden. Its proximity to the garden sold them on their house. The family often hikes the Garden’s trails on Sundays with their children and dog. But Alec knows not everyone is as lucky.

“The nice thing about TLC,” Alec says, “is that not everyone has backyard trails nearby.”

Before the Bethunes had children, they enjoyed hiking at both Johnston Mill and White Pines Nature Preserves. Alec, a deacon at First Presbyterian Church in Durham, also arranged several trail building days at Johnson Mill.

“The more places people can interface with nature, the better,” he said.

TLC Stewards help protect wild and working lands by making automatic monthly contributions. It’s a safe, easy, and efficient way to support conservation in your community. Become a TLC Steward today at www.triangleland.org/donate.

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