by Aaron Kershaw | Director of Marketing and Communications
Date: June 8, 2023
The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) hosted its highly anticipated annual fundraising gala, "An Evening in the Garden," at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens on June 8, 2023. The event, aimed at protecting and preserving the natural beauty of Northern Virginia, showcased the region's conservation heroes, recognized notable contributions, and emphasized the importance of land conservation.
The event would not have been possible without its sponsors. At the Conservation Champion level, Environmental Consultants and Contractors, White House Farm Foundation, and Phoebe and Rick Peterson deserve special recognition for their unwavering support. The event was further supported by Sustaining Partners Dewberry and Gary and Vicki Kirkbride. Additionally, NVCT expresses their appreciation to all Valued Friends who contributed to the event's success, as well as the generous silent auction donors. The sponsors' support and contributions played a vital role in furthering NVCT's conservation efforts, and their partnership is truly valued.
Under a beautiful June sky, attendees reveled in the clear air, which had improved just in time for the gala following the dispersal of smoke from the Canadian wildfires. The weather proved ideal for an indoor/outdoor celebration, with guests enjoying the surrounding greenery and gardens, fostering a deeper connection to the cause.
Highlights of the evening include the presentation of the prestigious Peggy Stevens Award. Joe and Laura Braceland, owners of Oak Hill, a historic home conserved by NVCT, were honored for their exemplary commitment to preserving their property's natural landscape and heritage. The award recognized their remarkable efforts and highlighted their status as conservation heroes.
An equally significant moment was the bestowal of the Rich Bliss Award by Rich Bliss himself. The recipient, Nancy Hyde, who once served as the organization's Executive Director received the accolade for her tireless dedication and unwavering efforts in advocating for conservation. Hyde's outstanding contributions have inspired others to join the cause and protect Northern Virginia's natural treasures.
Distinguished elected officials, including Chairman Jeff McKay, Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, Delegate Marcus Simon, Delegate Vivian Watts, State Senator Jennifer Boysko, State Senator Barbara Favola, and Delegate Briana Sewell, added weight to the event by emphasizing the crucial role of land conservation in an overdeveloping region. Their speeches resonated with the audience, highlighting the need to protect open spaces and ensure a sustainable future.
The gala also allowed attendees to indulge in delicious food, refreshing beverages, and engaging conversations. Attendees were captivated as they watched the inspiring fundraising video titled "Be A Hero." The video showcased NVCT's dedicated staff, board members, and passionate landowners who firmly believe in the mission of preserving nature. The heartfelt stories and compelling visuals resonated deeply with the audience, leaving them visibly moved and inspired.
Additionally, guests rose to the challenge of an anonymous donor's $30,000 match for every dollar donated to NVCT. Their enthusiastic response demonstrated a solid commitment to land conservation in Northern Virginia.
The matching opportunity inspired attendees to give generously, knowing that their contributions would have double the impact in protecting the region's natural open spaces. Guests not only rose to the $30,000 matching challenge, but they also exceeded it. A silent auction featured numerous valuable items generously donated by local businesses, providing a chance for guests to support NVCT's mission directly. Every dollar raised during the gala contributed to preserving Northern Virginia's natural landscapes.
"An Evening in the Garden" served as a reminder of the community's shared commitment to safeguarding the region's open spaces. The event showcased the collective effort and dedication of individuals, honorees, and elected officials, fostering a sense of unity in preserving Northern Virginia's natural heritage.
As the event concluded, attendees left inspired, knowing that their presence and contributions made a tangible impact on the conservation efforts. NVCT encouraged those who were unable to attend to stay engaged and informed about ongoing initiatives by visiting their website.
The success of NVCT's Annual Fundraising Gala reiterates the importance of preserving Northern Virginia's natural treasures, ensuring a sustainable and vibrant future for the region and its inhabitants. With continued support from the community, NVCT remains steadfast in its mission to protect and conserve the natural beauty of Northern Virginia.