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Strawberry Hill holds auction fundraiser

Richard D. L. Fulton


Jason Stoner and the donation that he made
 for this year's auction.

(11/1) Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve will be holding its 11th annual auction fundraiser, Party for the Preserve, November 3 at Liberty Mountain Resort.

The auction will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. in the Alpine Room and is definitely open to the public.

The fundraiser will offer a variety of items, including photographs, oil and watercolor paintings, pottery, hand-crafted woodwork, fanciful dinners, bed and breakfast getaways, stained glass art, outdoor gear, gift certificates, and other products.

The items to be auctioned have been donated by local artists, businesses, and Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve supporters.

The event will feature live, silent, and ball jar (Chinese) auctions, with entertainment provided by accomplished Orrtanna musician, Tom Jolin, playing various instruments. "This is going to be a fun night," Kay Deardorff, Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve Promotion and Outreach Coordinator, said.

According to Deardorff, the event generally generates about $15,000 to 20,000 annually. "Our goal is actually $20,000 (at this year’s event)," she stated. "This is our major fundraiser for the year."

"One of our biggest selling items last year was an eagle carved by Fairfield chainsaw carver, Jason Stoner," The outreach coordinator said. "This year Jason has submitted a barred owl on the top of a tree stump. The owl sits on his perch which is 5’ high and is joined by a squirrel that is seated at the base of the tree. This unique and beautiful donation promises to be one of the high points in our live auction."

Some of our other big items sold last year included a guided kayak trip for two, hand crafted fine jewelry, massage therapy gift certificates, an introductory lesson in flying a sailplane, and original prints, photos, and paintings by local artists," Deardorff commented.

The money raised, she said, "supports our facility upgrades and educational programs." As part of making the auction successful, Deardorff said, "We depend on the donations and the sponsorships that come in through the auction."

"Upgrades that have taken place is the recently rebuilt decking on the Nature Center. Lowes in Waynesboro provided materials and volunteers for this project and worked hard during a few of the hottest days this past summer. They chose Strawberry Hill for their annual Heroes Project. Our new deck was their 2011 focus." remarked Deardorff. "We are In need of upgraded, composting toilets and see that as a goal for a future accomplishment."

Educational programs offered by the preserve which fund-raising helps support include the summer camps, maple sugaring, demonstrations and presentations for school groups, and adult programs, such as the Nature of the Gettysburg Battlefield Series.

The cost of operating Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve varies from year-to-year, but the facility does employ two full-time staff members, five part-time naturalists, and two part-time office staff, as well as a college intern.

About 5,000 students visit the site each year as the result of field trips or other organized group attendance, while adult attendance varies throughout the year, Deardorff.

Other fundraisers held during the year include the Twisted Turkey Trail Tussle on November 17, where some 200 runners are expected this year to participated in the 10 mile and 10K trail run.

"Memberships are also a means of raising funds for us," the Promotion and Outreach Coordinator indicated.

The Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve is located at 1537 Mount Hope Road, Hamiltonban Township.

For additional information on the preserve, or participation in various events, visit the Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve web site at strawberryhill.org.

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