Over at the Dallas Arboretum on Wednesday, May 13, The Nature Conservancy wasn’t taking any chances. The dinner was set to be indoor at Rosine Hall to honor The Meadows Foundation for its work in conservation. Here’s a report from the field:
Approximately 325 guests arrived in spring attire in the suggested colors bluebonnet blue, khaki and white for for The Nature Conservancy’s Dallas Spring Party: Tour of Texas: Transforming Conservation in the Lone Star State. With music by country musician “Red” playing in the background, patrons mingled on the Ginsburg Plaza enjoying wine, cocktails, including the evening’s signature drinks, the Davis Mountains Prickly Pear Margarita and Sandyland Sweet Tea, and delicious hors d’oeuvres stations, themed around areas of the state preserved by the Conservancy during its 51-year history in Texas.
At 7:00 p.m., the doors opened to Rosine Hall where the dining tables were adorned with linens in bluebonnet blue and khaki with centerpieces featuring Texas flowers and greenery, such as piney greens, manzanita branch, white wax flowers, blue thistle and bear grass. As patrons enjoyed the first course of organic field greens with Dallas blue cheese, pears, spicy walnuts and dried cherry vinaigrette, David Holl, president and CEO of Mary Kay, Inc., this year’s Statewide Sponsor of The Nature Conservancy in Texas’ events, welcomed everyone and recognized members of the Texas Board of Trustees and the Dallas Advisory Board in attendance.
He then introduced Bob Thornton, an honorary trustee of the Conservancy’s Texas Board of Trustees and a longtime partner, with his wife Vera, of The Nature Conservancy in Texas, who presented the 2015 Lone Star Conservation Award to The Meadows Foundation. Accepting the award on the Foundation’s behalf, Linda Perryman Evans spoke briefly about the importance of The Nature Conservancy in Texas and The Meadows Foundation’s support of their ongoing conservation efforts throughout the state of Texas.
Dinner convened with a second course of tenderloin with wild mushroom demi-glace, crab cake with lemon aioli, whipped potatoes and grilled vegetables, followed by a dessert trio including a mini molten chocolate cake, mini crème brûlée ginger cookie and mini apple walnut torte.
Following dinner, Mr. Holl returned to the stage to introduce the featured speaker for the evening, Laura J. Huffman, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Texas and head of the Conservancy’s Urban Strategies Initiative. Ms. Huffman added her thanks to The Meadows Foundation for their outstanding commitment to conservation in Texas, citing areas throughout the state where their support has been instrumental, including in the Davis Mountains and in freshwater protection across the state. She also extended her gratitude to Statewide Sponsor, Mary Kay, Inc., in addition to other generous sponsors, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc., Barbara and Steve Durham and the Durham Family Foundation and Trisha Wilson.
With the evening’s theme, Tour of Texas: Transforming Conservation in the Lone Star State, in mind, Ms. Huffman shared with the audience the history of the organization, as well as highlights of the agency’s successes over the last 51 years in Texas. She then spoke about challenges that lie ahead and how The Nature Conservancy, with the support of those in the room, is facing these challenges with practical solutions focused around central pillars of work: freshwater, marine, and land conservation, as well as urban initiatives.
Citing examples of successes in Texas that serve as microcosms for the entire country and a living laboratory of these pillars of work, Ms. Huffman touted successful partnerships and projects such as Powderhorn Ranch, Bracken Bat Cave and the creation of resilient cities through projects such as the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program and Proposition 6.
As Ms. Huffman concluded her remarks with optimism on the future of Texas conservation, Mr. Holl returned to the stage to extend his thanks again to those in attendance before the evening came to a close. As patrons departed, they received a trio of postcards featuring images of some of the agency’s projects in Texas and pecans from the Fredericksburg Pecan Company.
Dallas Spring Party attendees included Richard and Tracy Cheatham, Trisha Wilson, Jeb Terry, Bobby Lyle, Barbara and Steve Durham, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ann and Charles Kight, Susan and Jim Baldwin, Angela and Brad Cheves, Nancy and Rod Sanders, Honorable Jeanne Phillips, Beth and Paul Salvodelli, Allie Beth and Pierce Allman, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Cecilia and Garrett Boone, Emily and David Corrigan, Elizabeth Boeckman, Emily and Bruce Robson, Peggy Dear, Ann and Matt Schooler and Holly and Doug Deason.
* Photo credit: Rhi Lee