Imagine, a lazy trip down the Allegheny River on a drift boat, stopping at islands along the way, fishing in fishing holes that only an expert guide knows or training your camera on wildlife that doesn't even seem to notice your presence. Imagine buying a unique piece of jewelry for someone you love. These are just two of many opportunities you have at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary Flight of Spring Gala Dinner and Auction May 4, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Conewango Club on Market Street in Warren.
The Nature Center is celebrating its 55th year with a Gala fundraiser featuring fun and nature. Auctioned items include a "Leaf Peepin" plane ride where you can skim over the treetops to see breathtaking fall colors from a new angle in your private foliage tour in a fully restored Vintage 1940 Piper Cub Coupe; original paintings by Joanne Oviatt and David Miller, a walnut turned bowl by Jerry Miller, a gourmet dinner for six, a wild game dinner, and a wellness basket. And more items are added daily!
This is the third year of the Gala Dinner and Auction, and Audubon is recognizing its strong membership support in Warren County by holding the event at the Conewango Club, which is just 14 miles south of the nature center. For those Chautauqua County residents who aren't familiar with the charm of Warren, a trip down Route 62 to Market Street, lined with towering trees and majestic historic homes, is a treat.
Puzzle ornaments by Tony and June Burns
The Gala dinner this year features the creative efforts of the Conewango Club's chef. It will be a "Field to Fork" dinner, which means it will feature local produce, meats and sweets! Field to Fork events raise the awareness of locally available meats and produce, supporting local agriculture as well as working to cut the energy consumed just to transport food. Buying locally raised food also increases our awareness of the seasons when our favorite foods are naturally in abundance and when they are scarce - when it takes more energy to bring them to our tables.
In keeping with the season, the menu will include leek and wild mushroom quiche, roasted back pork loin with whole grain and a mustard demi glace, bison and red wine rhubarb ragout with penne pasta, roasted guinea hen with raspberries and another surprise dish or two. This event brings together exquisite artwork, fanciful trips and delectable food experiences, all to support Audubon's many activities in the area. Come celebrate artists, community members and businesses who have been generous to Jamestown Audubon in support of this event.
Join us for an evening of fun, friendship, and giving! Social hour begins at 5:30 pm, featuring Ellen Paquette on the harp, and the buffet dinner starts at 6:30. The live auction will be punctuated by jokes and audience participation. Mike Peterson will be the auctioneer and Pat Farrell will be the evening's emcee, making for a lively interplay. Tables will compete for a birdbath full of booze. The silent auction will feature a wide range of artwork and jewelry, including pieces donated by the artists of the 2011 Art in the Woods and many gift certificates and special offers.
Reservations are required for the event. Dinner, including wine from Mazza Winery of Northeast, PA is $50 each or two for $95. Call 716-569-2345 for reservations. Go online to view all the auction items at jamestownaudubon.org. You are sure to see something there that you cannot live without, so even if you have to miss out on the good time, you can support a very worthwhile organization by placing an absentee bid.
Proceeds from the event will help Audubon connect people to nature and promote environmentally responsible practices. Area residents enjoy the trails, a calming retreat from busy lives, where nature can surprise and amaze around every bend. Other people appreciate the fact that each year, the nature center provides programming to more than 12,000 school children from Silver Creek, N.Y., to Sheffield, PA, and all points in between. Summer day camps are already filling up and the adult learning series is increasingly popular.
The Audubon also is a place to learn about energy conservation and green energy ideas. One third of the nature center's electricity is produced by its rooftop solar panels and just this month, a tankless hot-water heater was installed to further reduce energy use.
Audubon Center and Sanctuary is located on Riverside Road, just off of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren. For more information about the Gala Dinner and Auction, or about Audubon's many programs and activities, please call (716) 569-2345 and ask for a newsletter or visit our web site jamestownaudubon.org.