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Remembering Ralph Masturzo: A Legacy of Conservation and Generosity

By Melissa Manuel on 18. January 2024
Melissa Manuel
Ralph Masturzo near tulip garden


In October 2022, the Xerces community lost a long-time member and dedicated supporter of invertebrate conservation with the passing of Ralph Masturzo of Worcester, Massachusetts. For over 25 years, Ralph regularly and reliably donated each year to support Xerces conservation work. Like other long-time Xerces members, Ralph had the foresight to recognize that insect decline and biodiversity loss are issues that our society cannot afford to ignore. In passing, Ralph generously included Xerces in his will and all of us at Xerces are so grateful for this gesture. We will work to honor Ralph’s legacy and protect the animals that he held so dear.

A reserved individual, Ralph led a rich life surrounded by close family and longtime friends. Described by his family as kind, thoughtful, and generous, he had a passion for observing nature, particularly birds and butterflies. He often ventured outdoors, exploring local spots in Massachusetts and embarking on birding trips across the country. Given his extensive knowledge of birds, butterflies, and invertebrates, Ralph recognized the threats facing these species and their habitats and advocated for their protection.

Ralph's generosity, thoughtfulness and great appreciation of nature will be remembered by all who knew him. Thank you Ralph. 

Melissa joined Xerces in 2022 as the Donor Engagement Specialist, working with the Membership team. She is a "retired" young farmer with over a decade of expertise in urban farming, agroforestry, garden design and education. Before joining Xerces, she worked as a horticulturist at Leach Botanical Garden. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Portland State University and has worked with a number of environmental non-profit groups throughout her career.

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