Harvest Moon Dinner and Auction Raises Over $25,000 for Harford Land Trust

4th Annual Event "Tremendously Successful" for Land Preservation Organization

Bel Air, Maryland: On a beautiful fall evening by the banks of the Bush River, the fourth annual Harford Land Trust Harvest Moon Dinner and Auction was held on Saturday, October 10, 2015, at the Water's Edge Events Center in Belcamp, Maryland. Over 140 guests, including educators, landowners, elected public officials, conservation-minded citizens, farmers and business leaders assembled in support of the Harford Land Trust's efforts to preserve private and public land, and to protect the natural resources of Harford County, Maryland.

Through a combination of donations, silent and live auctioned items and sponsorships, the entire evening resulted in raising over $25,000, net of expenses, for the non-profit Land Trust. "The event was tremendously successful," says Harford Land Trust President Benjamin A. Lloyd. "And we couldn't have done it without the hard work of our Board Members, our staff, our volunteers, and our entire membership!"

Special Guest Dr. Dennis Kirkwood, a Prominent Local Nature Enthusiast and Educator, Acknowledged the Importance of the Harford Land Trust's Mission 

The event was chaired by Ann Helton, a noted local environmental supporter and former president of the Harford Land Trust. "I've been the Event Chair for the third time now," Helton states. "It's just a wonderful way to see all the forces in the county come together to further the aims of this wonderful and significant organization, which has done so much in its 24-year history to enrich the lives of Harford County citizens and protect valuable natural resources," Helton adds.

The special guest and Honorary Chairman for the evening was Dr. Dennis Kirkwood, a noted Harford County native and long-time educator, who was inducted in the Harford County Public Schools Hall of Fame in 2013. Dr. Kirkwood was the first teacher-in-charge at Harford Glen Environmental Education Center, as well as later serving as Supervisor of Science for Harford County Public Schools, where he had a primary role in launching the award-winning Harford County Envirothon program. He is the seventh-generation of his family to reside at Newark Farms, located north of Madonna, and he is a former Board Member, Vice-President and Secretary of the Harford Land Trust.  

Addressing the gathering, Dr. Kirkwood commented on how proud he was to have been associated with the Harford Land Trust for so long, and detailed several of the significant achievements of the Trust, including the preservation and buffering of the Kilgore Falls recreational area. "The Harford Land Trust is faithful to its mission," said Dr. Kirkwood, "which is to preserve land for the benefit of future generations and to work with landowners and governmental agencies to accomplish goals that benefit all citizens."  

Following Dr. Kirkwood's remarks, an original video was shown, produced by Scott McDaniel of Wild Echo Media, that featured Harford Land Trust President Ben Lloyd and volunteer Jessica Bieber. The video showed some of the significant parts of Harford County preserved by the Trust, updated the attendees about ongoing Trust activities, and challenged those in attendance to show their support of the mission of the Harford Land Trust. 

Silent Auction, Banquet and Live Auction Capped the Evening

A silent auction and a live auction bracketed the lovely dinner. "The Harvest Moon Event is well known for offering unique items at auction; things you just don't see at other fundraising events," says Helton. "We have the best selection of vacations, outdoor equipment, local art work and professional services, all donated by generous supporters,” she adds. The silent and live auctions included landscape design services, club-level Ravens tickets, hand-crafted furniture, unique paintings, a Moroccan feast, birding expeditions, boat tours on the bay, guided tours of amphibian ecosystems, hand-crafted award-winning kayaks, and more. Harford County native and award-winning auctioneer Lynne Zink led the live auction section with humor, energy and great skill; her part of the event also allowed attendees to make cash donations to support the Trust.

Sponsorships Received from Many Concerned County Businesses and Individuals

The event was sponsored in part by Ann and Art Helton; Lassen, Marine & Webster, Inc.; Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit; the Harford Financial Group; APG Federal Credit Union; Cat Sense Feline Hospital and Boarding, Inc.; Glenn and Eleanora Dudderar; MacGregor's Restaurant and Catering; PNC Bank; Exelon Power; Harry Hopkins Co.; Bluegrass Materials Company; McComas Funeral Homes, Inc.; Ecotone, Inc.; Hickory International; Maryland Environmental Service; the Harford County Office of Economic Development; and Evelyn & Jeffrey Vaughn. 

Volunteers included Event Chair Ann Helton, Auction Chair Rick Post, Sponsor Chair Ben Lloyd, Publicity Chair Jessica Bieber, Decor Chairs Jeff Conti and Patti Dallam, as well as Harry V. Webster, Jr., Lee Depkin, Mel Litter and Sue Rice. "I'd like to also recognize the effort of many unnamed supporters and volunteers, who helped put this vent together," says Harford Land Trust Executive Director Margaret L. "Peg" Niland. "Whether it was in helping with set-up, manning the check-in tables, providing security, assisting with check-out and clean-up, or any other of the myriad jobs associated with an event like this, we could count on our volunteers to be there, to do it right, and to serve selflessly and for as long as it took," she adds.

Event Lauded by Harford Land Trust Team 

"Our Harvest Moon event gets better every year," concluded Harford Land Trust President Benjamin A. Lloyd.  "I am encouraged that we have the support of so many Harford Countians who want to preserve our scenic beauty and rural character, and I am grateful to our business sponsors for their help in making the event a success."

Former Board President Harry Webster agrees. "It was a great evening with wonderful attendance and unanimity of purpose," Webster states. "I particularly liked the focus on converting attendees to members, and in everybody's acknowledgment of our commitment to bettering the quality of life in Harford County," Webster 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.