“Starlight and Spartina” our magical annual fundraiser is far from just a fun night out in a breathtaking setting, the goal of the evening is to keep the mission of Coastal WildScapes moving forward and expanding. According to Chairman, Eamonn Leonard, Coastal WildScapes was founded in 2008 with a mission to preserve and restore the biodiversity of the ecosystems in the southeastern coastal region. “We do this with a wide range of events that have a social aspect, coupled with education about our natural world,” he said.
“Our theme this year is ‘Beaches and Barrier Islands,’ so our events will be focused on the flora, fauna, wildlife and environments which make up these coastal Georgia treasures.”
“Throughout the year, we provide events such as educational lectures, plant sales, garden parties, field trips and paddling trips, and end the year with our member appreciation oyster roast held at the home of one of our founders, Linda Lamb,” Leonard explained. Coastal WildScapes also provides a habitat certification program which allows people to certify their gardens, business landscapes and other spaces as biologically productive areas.
Leaonard elaborates, “This involves creating a wildlife sanctuary by providing habitat and food for all of our native species. This is done by choosing site appropriate native plants with high wildlife value (food, shelter, pollen, nectar, nesting material, etc.), by removing invasive plants, and by reducing threats to wildlife.” “It involves removing invasive plants and replacing them with plants that instigate pollination by our native insects, as well as provide habitat and food for all of our native species,” he said.
“Starlight and Spartina — An Evening Under the Oaks” will take place from 5-8 p.m. on Saturday, March 3 at the exclusive Musgrove Plantation on St. Simons Island. Money raised from the event will help Coastal WildScapes recruit speakers for its events throughout the year, help fund projects to clean up or protect our environments and keep down the cost of attending its events. Leonard said the organization is fortunate to hold the event in such a breathtaking and historical location.
“Musgrove Plantation is one of the few areas left on St. Simons Island that is relatively undisturbed,” he said. “The Brenn Foundation (owners of Musgrove) is an advocate for nonprofits like Coastal WildScapes and works directly with the St. Simons Land Trust and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to conserve most of the Musgrove Plantation. The Brenn Foundation, had originally planned to sell 260 acres of the historic property, but coordinated with the St. Simons Land Trust to preserve it instead.”
The event will feature both silent and live auctions, and heavy hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served throughout the event. Local band, Tonic Blue will provide the entertainment from the upper balcony in the main lodge.
“Our auction items focus on experiences in nature. We have things like canoe and kayaking trips down some of our most pristine rivers, aerial tours of the Georgia barrier islands, fishing and airboat trips, and even boat rentals from one of our local marinas.”
There will be other featured auction items such as paintings, artwork and jewelry, to name a few. And although the event doesn’t begin until 5 p.m., the gardens will open at 4 p.m. for people to tour the grounds before settling in for the evening. The beauty of Musgrove Plantation is reason enough to attend, but the live music, heavy apps and good company make it even better. The live and silent auctions are worth of fighting over and all money raised goes directly towards Coastal WildScapes’ programming throughout the year.
Become a member by visiting our website, www.coastalwildscapes.org, and clicking on the ‘Join’ tab on the home page, or by attending one of the many general events throughout the year. Several membership levels are available including benefactor at $500; sustainer, $100; family, $50; individual, $35 and student, $25.