Thursday, October 6th supporters and friends of Chippewa Watershed Conservancy gathered at Little Flower Barn in Lake Isabella to celebrate and raise funds for the organization. This second annual event was attended by long-time members and new friends, in what turned out to be a fun and joyous evening. A social hour kicked things off, allowing those present to catch up, make introductions and enjoy an appetizer, a drink, and some mellow, live music from the Big Rapids-area band Cold Leather Seats. During this time, attendees could also wager their raffle tickets toward the prize items that caught their interest, participate in the wine pull, or try their luck with 50/50 tickets. Favored raffle items included day-trip experiences on Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas, a backpacking kit, a package of bird and wildflower-related goods from Chippewa Valley Audubon Club, and yard items including birdhouses and custom decorative pieces.
A savory, fall-themed meal from Central Michigan Catering followed the social hour, complete with pie for dessert. After dinner, Executive Director Mike LeValley described the accomplishments of 2022 so far and thanked CWC volunteers for their work throughout the year. A highlight of the night was the announcement of the 2022 Bob Ball Award recipient. The Robert (Bob) Ball President’s Award is given annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the CWC’s mission to protect and restore Central Michigan’s land, water, and wildlife resources to improve the quality of life for all. This year’s recipient is Sister Marie Kopin.
2022 Bob Ball Award recipient – Sister Marie Kopin
Sister Marie is a long-time supporter of CWC, well-known and loved for sharing her time, energy, and vast wealth of knowledge with the community through guided mushroom forays. She has earned this award for her tireless advocacy for the natural world, in particular, she has dedicated hundreds of hours of her time to introduce and educate the public about the fascinating world of fungi. Sister Marie annually leads multiple fungi education hunts on CWC preserves, as well as other locations across the state, teaching thousands of people over several decades. For years she has guided an average of 4 to 6 mushroom hunts at a variety of CWC preserves and her events always draw a crowd of eager participants. Notably, she never has to be asked to lead an outing, rather she energetically and enthusiastically volunteers scheduled dates each year for the CWC event calendar. Along with serving as a guide and educator, Sister Marie also advocates for and donates funds to CWC for specific projects. She is responsible for several of the benches you see at scenic resting points along CWC trails. We congratulate Sister Marie on this well-deserved award and thank her for her years of contribution to our organization
The live drawing and announcement of raffle prize winners capped off the festivities. CWC Member Barb Wells won the 50/50 drawing and 17 others took home items from the raffle. The fundraising event was a great success thanks to our planning committee volunteers, our sponsors and donors, and CWC members. Together we raised more than $13,000 to support our mission and perpetuate our work. We are looking forward to next year’s event, already slated for Thursday, October 5th, 2023 at Little Flower Barn.