Updated October 16th, 2023

Planting and planning for a future that supports MetroParks — and our Earth

Howorth, second from left

Sue Howorth worked in various areas of software her entire career, but she’s always loved to spend her free time unplugged and outdoors. Now, she wants to ensure a future where families get outside as well.   

Howorth and her husband, Bruce, have set up a planned gift through The Dayton Foundation, which will ensure funds from their estate go to the Five Rivers MetroParks Foundation. Funds also will go to the Wegerzyn Gardens Foundation and The James M. Cox, Jr. Arboretum Foundation to support her favorite MetroParks.   

“It’s an important legacy,” Sue Howorth said. “One of the key things that makes Dayton special is MetroParks.”  

One of the most meaningful ways to help MetroParks protect the region’s natural heritage for generations to come is through planned giving.  

For Howorth, the need to protect greenspaces goes far beyond the greater Dayton region.  

“For the future of the Earth, people need to understand that we’re not isolated: What we do and how we treat the Earth comes back to us in the long term,” she said. “It’s just so important to preserve these places. People have a sense of calm while visiting greenspaces, especially when they don’t have a yard. It helps keep them going.”  

Howorth is planning long term in many regards. She’s not just planning to leave a legacy — she’s also planning to inspire the next generation of the Earth’s stewards.   

She had volunteered with MetroParks throughout the years, but when she retired from NCR in 2010, Howorth started volunteering with Five Rivers MetroParks more often. Among her favorite opportunities are those that allow her to connect children to nature, from the Fall Family Festival at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark to chatting with families at Cox Arboretum MetroPark.   

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“I grew up being outside,” said Howorth. “In fact, I met my husband in the Sierra Club. I was a backpacker and camper so I think it’s important people learn about the outdoors so they care about it.”  

Howorth is all about continuing to learn, too. She took an Ohio Certified Naturalist Course, in addition to becoming a master gardener.  

While she’s always been interested in gardening, Howorth’s schedule didn’t allow her to take it on as a hobby until after she retired. After taking a master gardening class in 2011, she and other master gardeners spent 50 volunteer hours adding native plants to Dogwood Pond at Hills & Dales MetroPark and at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark.  

Since then, her love of native plants has only grown. She attends the Midwest Native Plant Conference every year and has enjoyed spending time planting natives at her home.  

Much like some of Dayton’s most prominent conservationists, such as Jean Woodhull and Marie Aull, Howorth also is involved in the Garden Club of Dayton.   

Howorth is excited about the club’s involvement in Dayton Riverfront Plan projects, which will improve greenspaces along the downtown river corridor and make the river more accessible.   

When asked how Howorth felt to be a part of the group of women who were integral in starting Five Rivers MetroParks, she said, “There are a lot of people still doing great things for the MetroParks.”  

Indeed, Sue Howorth is one of them.   

To learn about planned giving, contact Alex Larsen, Chief of Philanthropy, at alexis.larsen@metroparks.org.

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