Building a Legacy: Amber’s Story


A plaque at Starr Hill in Lebanon, NH honoring Laurel Letter’s conservation efforts

Laurel’s handiwork: all conducted without the aid of computers, faxes and printers.

Laurel featured in UVLT’s 1991 Annual Report, as a thank you for her volunteer work she received a photograph of a local boy enjoying Starr Hill.

Testimonial from Amber Porter, June 2023

A typical day at the office of UVLT apparently does not include people randomly popping in to bequest their estate to this incredible organization.  And even more unusual when this person is not someone formally connected to the land trust through volunteering, attending events, or prior donations.  I’m sharing my story of how incredibly easy and meaningful it is to bequest your estate for the purpose of land conservation, in hopes that others may know about this additional way to contribute now for the future.

I moved to Lebanon in 2010, and was immediately in love with the Upper Valley.  I came here for many reasons, but chief among them was to enjoy the outdoors.  My most special place was a 5 minute walk from my home in a residential neighborhood: a UVLT property called Starr Hill conservation area.  My canine companions and I have spent countless hours on those trails over the last 13 years:  hiking, running, biking, skiing–and meeting many of my neighbors enjoying the same trails.  One day, I passed a plaque mounted on one of the many large and beautiful rocks in that area, in memory of Laurel S. Letter, “whose passion and efforts led to the preservation of Starr Hill.”  It was an epiphany.  One of my core values is to leave some kind of lasting imprint upon the planet and my community.  The words of Mother Teresa also resonate for me, where she states that “in this world we cannot do great things, we can only do small things with great love.”  I realized that land conservation is the way for me to live these values.  I am a single, self-supporting person in my fifties, and I don’t currently have resources to allow me to donate land or money.  A bequest is the perfect solution; it lets you give in a way that fits with your financial abilities, but also in a way that ultimately benefits UVLT.

Once I’d made my decision that this would be my legacy, I visited the UVLT website.  The process is incredibly easy using the links provided to FreeWill, which creates your legal, professionally done will free of charge.  You can use this service even if you are not leaving the entirety of your estate to UVLT.  I had the most difficulty with finding a notary to witness my signatures, which led me to landing on the doorstep of UVLT one day.  To my delight, they were able to notarize my will, but also gave the incredible back story of Laurel Letter.  Laurel lived in the area of the current Starr Hill land, and knew that many of the children of the neighborhood enjoyed those woods.  When she heard about plans for development, she began a fundraising campaign–even taking out a second mortgage on her own home–in order to protect this parcel from development.  I remain so grateful to her today for her courage and vision.  My hope is that my gift will someday provide the joy that hers has given to all of us.

We are immensely grateful to Amber for entrusting us with her legacy, and are always touched by the ways certain lands speak to each of us, and how we can work together, as Amber did, to ensure continued joy for generations to come.

Thank you, Amber!

Looking for more information or interested in building your own legacy? Contact Jeanie McIntyre at, or visit our Ways of Giving page here.