On 9/21/06 my wife and I attended a benefit dinner for the Forest Guardians. Forest Guardians is a Santa Fe based organization dedicated to preserving and restoring wildlands and wildlife in the Southwest US. The organization was founded in 1989, as a result of eight years worth of erosion of federal conservation law.
Forest Guardians work primarily as an activist organization, lobbying state and federal officials on issues of wildlands conservation and preservation. As an excellent money raising organization, they are also able to literally buy Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land leases which would otherwise go to factory farming organizations who would graze cattle on the land. Cattle are particularly hard on land, as they pull grass up by it’s roots, making regrowth much more challenging. This is primarily due to their lack of front teeth, they must grip the grass with their gums and pull it out in order to graze. In comparison, horses and other animals cut the grass with front teeth, making regrowth a matter of days (how often do you mow your lawn?)
Additionally, Forest Guardians work to protect several endangered species in the SW, as well as old growth forests that are a main source of biodiversity.
The benefit dinner featured a silent auction, followed by a live auction, and a catered vegetarian dinner. We estimated there were nearly 200 people in attendance, and that over $30,000 was raised in the live auction alone. The items auctioned off ranged from a one day horseback riding trip in Southern NM to a 5 day ski vacation at Telluride. Bidders seemed to enjoy bidding against each other, and in many cases auction items sold for well over their retail value.
The president of the organization gave a short welcome, followed by a keynote address from Jim Baca, a former mayor of Albuquerque and BLM commissioner.
Besides enjoying a fun evening out on a weeknight, my wife and I met a number of active environmentalists in the Northern NM area, and also saw a model environmental fundraising event in person.
For more information, see http://www.fguardians.org/.