Planned Giving

Lifelong Love of Trees Endures Through Bequest

Michael & Sheryl Was

For Michael and Sheryl Was, trees have played an important role in their lives.

Michael and Sheryl Was

Their love of trees has endured from their childhoods in Michigan, through many years spent in Montana, and now in their retirement in southern Missouri. It has also inspired them to provide ongoing contributions to the Arbor Day Foundation and to include the Foundation in their wills.

The couple’s deep appreciation for nature started very early. “The beginning of our lives included trees,” said Sheryl. “We played in the woods and climbed trees all the time,” Michael added, recounting his childhood. “I developed a love for trees so early… because, in many ways, I felt sheltered by them.” This appreciation for trees stayed with them into adulthood when they began to share that love with others. While the couple lived in Montana, Michael, a teacher, taught his students how to identify trees, and the couple gave trees away to friends who were just starting out with new homes and property.

The Wases have planted trees at every home where they have lived, leaving a heritage of their passion for trees on the property for the next owners and neighbors to enjoy. When deciding how to distribute their wealth, Michael and Sheryl recount that, without any hesitation, they both agreed—the Arbor Day Foundation. The Wases cite many reasons for supporting the Foundation. “You not only educate children… but from the world impact through your Rain Forest Rescue program, to your commitment to tree planting, to the yearly Arbor Day plantings around the country, to the Tree City USA program—it’s all part of what we believe in.” Sheryl and Michael’s dedication to planting and caring for trees made the Arbor Day Foundation a natural beneficiary choice.

The bequest will support the Foundation’s education and tree planting programs, ensuring that their lifelong love of trees endures by inspiring future generations of tree planters and stewards of the environment.