Most people know of Alex Trebek thanks to his 36-year stint as the host of “Jeopardy!” But being an Emmy-award winning game show host was just one part of Trebek’s legacy. The 80-year-old also spent much of his time, energy and money uplifting various causes, including working to conserve green space for future generations.
Although this part of Trebek’s life is not often discussed, The Laurel Canyon Land Trust highlighted the game show host’s commitment to making the world a greener place in a touching Facebook post after Trebek’s death.
“[Alex Trebek] donated 62 acres of land in the Santa Monica Mountains in Nichols Canyon to create the Trebek Open Space,” the Facebook post reads. “This was not only a gift to urban Angelinos who thirst for open space and outdoor activity, but a gift to native animals such as our local Mountain Lions that require large amounts of open space in order to survive, and a gift to future generations who will have to reckon with climate change in the years to come.”
The 62-acre open space is a place for nature-lovers, hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. It is estimated that the land would have been valued at around $2 million when Trebek donated it in 1998. Today, it is worth up to $25 million.
The Hollywood Hills park is considered one of the city’s best-kept secrets, but it’s getting quite a bit of attention these days as people acknowledge Trebek’s little-known mission of land conservancy.
In addition to donating this valuable parcel of land, Trebek supported nature restoration and protection efforts across the country.
In particular, Trebek loved the musk ox, a hoofed mammal that is native to the Arctic. A formerly endangered species, musk oxen now only live on farms in places like Alaska and Siberia. Trebek and his family donated their time and money to help support the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, Alaska.
When he was asked why he loved musk oxen so dearly, Trebek gave an answer that included, of course, interesting trivia about the animal.
“Musk oxen are family oriented, and I like that,” Trebek replied, according to the “Jeopardy!” website. “When in danger, they form a protective circle with the males facing outward, and the cows and calves in the center. There are very few predators brave enough to attack this formation. Besides that, I like the way their furry coats wave in the breeze when they are running.”
“He really just raised a lot of awareness for us,” Mark Austin, Executive Director of the Musk Ox Farm, told Anchorage Press. “It really was special. He was a very generous guy.”
“I think it really was sweet, his connection to animals,” Austin said.