Committee names first Co-Chairs in 25 years
Conservation Dinner Committee names first Co-Chairs in 25 years, announces record proceeds of $62,500 at 2016 gala charitable auction
Community members Mary Ryan-Allen and Janet Clarke are elected Co-Chairs of 28th Conservation Dinner auction to take place on Thursday, April 6, 2017 in Exeter
The Conservation Dinner gala auction continues to make history. Members of the community committee behind the charitable event learned at an organizational meeting on May 30 that the 2016 fundraiser has set a new record. The 2016 Dinner raised almost $62,500 in net proceeds for community improvements such as parks, accessible trails, and nature education and recreation. That’s $1,000 more than the previous record set the year before.
The committee then continued to make history by electing two Co-Chairs, for the first time in a quarter of a century, to organize the 28th Conservation Dinner. The committee also announced that next year’s event will get an early start on the spring season and is to be held on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at South Huron Recreation Centre in Exeter.
The committee chairmanship rotates each year between Exeter Lions Club, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, and other community volunteers on the committee. The new Co-Chairs, elected at the meeting on May 30, 2016, are community members Mary Ryan-Allen and Janet Clarke. They say they will have “big shoes to fill,” following the work of 2015 and 2016 chairman Paul Anstett, of the Exeter Lions Club, who earned the nickname the ‘Million Dollar Chairman’ after helping the community reach the mark of having raised more than $1 million in net proceeds at Dinner events between 1990 and 2016. The new Co-Chairs thanked Lion Paul and his committee for their dedication. They say they look forward to continuing the legacy of this event’s work by the community for the community.
When the committee met in May, members said they wanted to thank all the donors, patrons and guests, volunteers and artists behind this community success story. They wanted to thank those who contributed to the record-setting success of the 2016 event and also all the businesses and people who have given of time and money and donations to their community, through this event, over the past 27 years.
“Whenever we think we have seen it all, the people and businesses of this watershed surprise us by building on their past success and achieving more than we ever thought possible,” said Mary Ryan-Allen, 2017 Conservation Dinner Co-Chair. “I am moved by the generosity of the people who have donated to this event over the years, those who have attended the Dinner and supported the auctions and raffles, and the people who have volunteered their time. When I look at the parks and trails and nature education and recreation programs that are possible in our area, thanks to that support, it makes me even prouder to be part of this community.”
In 27 years of fundraising dinners, this charitable event has raised more than $1,047,000 for community parks, accessible trails and conservation areas, recreation and education and job experience opportunities for young people, nature areas and commemorative woods, and other community projects of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation and the Exeter Lions Club.
The past Chairs of the Conservation Dinner Committee have been: Charles Corbett (1990); Carolyn Bradford (1991); Tom Hartai and Mac MacDougall (1992); Sharon Romphf (1993); Peter Raymond (1994); Cathy Pfaff (1995); George Godbolt (1996; 1998; 2000; 2002); Fred Dobbs (1997); Tom Tomes (1999); Dave McClure (2001); Gord Strang (2003); Teresa Ondrejicka (2004; 2010); Rob Reid (2005); Ernie Miatello (2006; 2007); Bob Gehan (2008; 2009; 2011); Bob Radtke (2012); Bob Laye (2013); Janet Clarke (2014); and Paul Anstett (2015; 2016).
The Conservation Dinner began in 1990. The Exeter Lions Club and the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation have been joint partners on the event since 1991 and net proceeds are split evenly between community conservation projects of the Foundation and the Exeter Lions Club. For more information about the Conservation Dinner visit abca.on.ca or conservationdinner.com.
The Conservation Dinner features a live auction, silent auction, Super Silent Auction, general raffles, special raffles, and feature art from a feature artist.
One of the live auction highlights from the 2016 event was the feature art, an interpretive metal sculpture of Flying Geese, by feature artist Jim Dawe, of Murals in Metal. Other highlights included a Groceries for a Year package courtesy of Hansen’s Your Independent Grocer; a VIA Rail Canada round trip to Halifax, courtesy of VIA Rail Canada; original paintings; packages featuring sports and entertainment celebrities; and a number of other unique items and experiences. Attendees at the April 14, 2016 event included Charles Corbett, the Conservation Dinner’s very first chairman from the inaugural dinner in 1990.