Our work News Kayak Poker Event Makes Huge Splash for Harford Land Trust

Kayak Poker Event Makes Huge Splash for Harford Land Trust

5th Annual Event Largest and Most Successful Ever for Land Preservation Support.

hlt-kayak-2015PHOTO CREDIT: ALEX KROWZOW; USED WITH PERMISSION.

Bel Air, June 17, 2015: The 5th Annual Kayak Poker Event saw over 30 kayaks paddling through the "Buzzard's Glory" section of the Chesapeake Bay, just south of Havre de Grace, Maryland, on the sunny, breezy morning of June 13, 2015, in support of the Harford Land Trust's efforts to preserve private and public land and protect the natural resources of Harford County, Maryland.

Paddling Almost 6 Miles for Poker Cards

The kayaks launched from the shore of Tydings Park in Havre de Grace and made a round trip of 5.4 miles, while getting randomly-dealt playing cards at four stops along the way and at the conclusion. The stops included a beach by the shore, a pile of rocks, a pier, and an anchored boat at the turn-around point. In all, nine "poker hand" holders won prizes. "I really want to thank volunteers Mel Litter and Debbie Krug for sorting through the masses of soggy and dry cards to find the winners," says Harford Land Trust Executive Director Margaret "Peg" Niland.  "It was loads of fun and I hope to do it again next year!" says participant Laurie Kutrick.

Volunteers Staffed the Event

Volunteers included Harry Webster, George Schoenberger, Jeff Jakelski, John Deloach, Eric Hackett, Tristan Hackett, John Cottrell, Rob Babylon, Robbie Babylon, Diane Jones, Ken Krug, Dan Krug, Turney McKnight, Lisa Robinson, and Garrett Pensell of Tidewater Marina. In all, nineteen volunteers contributed their time and effort to the event. "You made this event possible," says Niland. "Your hard work and commitment brought about not only a wonderful time for all the participants, but a great financial success for Harford Land Trust," she adds. Says volunteer Jeff Jakelski, who skippered the official escort motorboat that shadowed the kayakers and provided a tow-line if needed, "Having been here a few times now, I know this is a good event and a great group of people!” 

Winners Won Donated Prizes

The Kayak Poker Event Grand Prize winner was Jen Bieschke, who drew a flush; she won a hand-made cedar Greenland-style double-bladed storm paddle, crafted and donated by Bob Baugh of Sweet Spot Paddles. Other winners included Greta Hintz, Colin Alban, Brenda Holloway, and Robert Litter each with 3-of-a-kind, who all won Harford Land Trust gear. The "wettest hand," held by Bryan Bieschke, also won gear, and the "worst hand" prize, with no card higher than a 7, was won by David Boniface, who was awarded a Yonder Mountain String Band CD, signed by band members.

Event Lauded by Harford Land Trust Team

"This event was perhaps our most successful Kayak Poker Run ever thanks to our volunteers and participants," says Harford Land Trust President Benjamin A. Lloyd, who was stationed at a pier, leaning over and handing poker cards out to the kayakers as they paddled underneath him. "Everyone had a great time, and it was great to talk with so many new folks about our work to preserve Harford County’s rural beauty and to protect our natural treasures," Lloyd adds.

Former Board President Harry Webster agrees. "We raised a nice sum from our registrations, but the true profit is in the word-of-mouth news about Harford Land Trust and the increased visibility that events of this kind bring us," Webster states. "We hope to see an increase in membership, and commitment to help with our work," Webster adds.

Sponsorships Contributed to Event Success

The event was supported in part by a grant from the Ben Boniface Memorial Fund, which seeks to promote accessibility to outdoor activities such as kayaking so that all can enjoy the beauty and natural resources of Harford County. It was also supported by sponsorships from the Donegal Insurance Group; the Sumner T. McKnight Foundation; Lassen, Marine & Webster Insurance; and Exelon. "Thanks to the Ben Boniface Memorial Fund, we were able to reduce the registration cost to our participants," Niland states. "We thank all of the sponsors for their valuable support, without which we couldn't produce this event," she adds.  

Dedicated to Conserving Land and Protecting Natural Resources

The mission of the Harford Land Trust is to help landowners, private and public, to conserve land and protect the natural resources, scenic beauty, rural character, and a healthy way of life in Harford County, Maryland. The Harford Land Trust is Harford County's first and only county-wide land trust that helps protect farms, forests and community parks by providing technical and financial assistance to landowners who want to preserve their land. For more information or to join the Harford Land Trust, please visit http://www.harfordlandtrust.org.

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