Our recent Lands & Legacy Celebration was simply amazing filled with inspiration, good food and company, and visions of the preserved open spaces in the Eastern Sierra’s future.
By the time we returned to the office the following Tuesday, my email in-box and our office voicemail were packed with messages from folks letting us know what a great time they had. Many said it was the “best ESLT event ever,” which means so much to staff and the committee that worked to make the event a success. Thanks to the combined efforts of our generous sponsors, attendees, silent auction donors, and our member-supporters – plus the marvelous musical talents of guest performers, Chris Webster and Nina Gerber – we surpassed our goals and threw a fabulous, sold-out party. You helped raise over $30,000 to support our work in the Eastern Sierra – THANK YOU!
Our sincere thanks to all our Lands & Legacy Event Sponsors:
Our Saturday night Benefit Dinner on August 23 was sold out more than a month before the event. Even with these high expectations going into the evening, by the end of the night everyone was riding high on a wave of inspiration. Our sincere thanks go to Mammoth Mountain for hosting our event; their Parallax Restaurant was simply a beautiful location to watch the sunset, and the dinner they provided was by all accounts delicious.
At dinner, we introduced our new Legacy Award to recognize the inspiration, leadership, and commitment of two individuals who have made a powerful difference in the future of the Eastern Sierra. The award was presented posthumously to former ESLT Vice President, Sid Tyler, who passed earlier this year. Betsey Tyler graciously accepted the award on his behalf, leaving hardly a dry eye in the house. The second Legacy Award was presented as a surprise to ESLT’s current Vice President, Tony Taylor, who recently stepped down from the position of Board President, which he held since ESLT was founded in 2001.
I was lucky to be able to make two important announcements about the future of ESLT: first, we opened escrow the day before on our 2-year old project, Sinnamon Meadows (which we have since officially closed: click here to read our press release!), and second, we received notice from a key funder that one of our future projects in Bridgeport Valley had been chosen to receive partial conservation easement (CE) funding in the amount of $3,000,000! That’s the largest grant award ESLT has ever received. Although 100% of the grant funds will go towards the CE acquisition and none of it will come to ESLT to help with staff time, this is still a monumental accomplishment. If we can secure the remaining $1,000,000 of the CE purchase price, it will be one more important step towards permanent ranch land and wildlife habitat protection in iconic Bridgeport Valley.
The night culminated with an exquisite private concert by Nina Gerber and Chris Webster. They wowed the crowd with their soulful ballads, jazzy tunes, and gorgeous folk songs; it was a truly special experience to watch these renowned musicians perform in such an intimate setting. What a fabulous night!
On Sunday morning following the benefit dinner, we hosted an exclusive tour of ESLT’s historic Naylon conservation easement in Swall Meadows. All of those who joined us on the land had a wonderful time exploring the beautiful property and learning about its heritage from ESLT’s two AmeriCorps Members and Education Coordinators, Ali Amberg and Sara Kokkelenberg. During the walk we were able to observe some of the Eastside’s most accomplished painters in action – 11 of our member-artists participated in a group “Art Out” and captured the beauty of the preserved landscape in their timeless works of art. After picking apples in the orchard and doing a taste-test with caramel, chocolate, and almond butter, everyone relaxed under the trees and enjoyed a picnic lunch prepared by talented Eastside caterer, Linda Dore. It was a spectacular end to a spectacular weekend.
From start to finish, this year’s Lands & Legacy Celebration felt like a lovely family gathering. We are ever so grateful to all our supporters – those who were able to attend the weekend’s events and those who weren’t. Thank you for being a part of the ESLT family and supporting our efforts to preserve our magnificent Eastern Sierra landscapes!