This year’s banquet celebrated a year of change. Organizational transitions, additional staff and interns, new trail systems, recently acquired properties and budding partnerships were all mentioned during Board President Steve Pung’s remarks at the opening of the program. Many new faces and even more long time supporters filled the banquet hall at Bucks Run on Thursday, April 18th. The evening met at the intersection of fresh and familiar, and was a momentous fundraiser for CWC, bringing in over $22,000 towards conservation work in Central Michigan.
A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Bob Ball Award to this year’s recipient and CWC Board Vice President, Marnie Basney. In 1996, the Bob Ball award began as a way to honor individuals who contribute significant time or talent towards CWC’s mission of protecting natural resources throughout Central Michigan. The late Robert (Bob) Ball was one of the founders of CWC who dedicated much of his life to protecting and advocating for nature. Basney, who is a realtor with Coldwell Banker Mount Pleasant Realty & Associates, has contributed her professional expertise to help guide CWC through some very intricate property dealings in the past few years. Along with serving as Vice President of the board, she is also a member of several CWC committees and is a major asset to our organization.
Keynote Speaker, Dan Eichinger, Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MI DNR), gave an engaging talk about his personal experiences with conservation, captivating the audience with humorous tales from his youth in the outdoors. Eichinger eloquently connected his comments on natural resources management to CWC and the environmental work being done in our region. He spoke about current MI DNR projects and ended with a question and answer period, giving folks the chance to gain insight into natural resource management concerns.
With the successful addition of a Wine Pull and tons of great live and silent auction items, guests had several entertaining outlets to contribute to the fundraiser. Overall the evening was a success, thanks to our volunteers, sponsors and members, and our banquet planning committee. We look forward to the year ahead, and express our gratitude to all those who continue to support conservation efforts in our region.