Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Quogue Wildlife Refuge's annual summer benefit. I've been urged to go for several years now by my RISD artist friend Gardner Post, who felt I would be impressed by the Refuge's work given that I design animal games. He was right, and I'm glad I made it to celebrate the event and its mission.
The benefit was put together by Mary Post, who is an educator not only at the QWR, but in an early childhood ed program in Westhampton that offers a nature-based curriculum during the school year. Mary put on such a beautiful event that the stylist in me was admiring the casual elegance of all the details at this family estate. And “beautiful event” is not an accolade I toss around so freely either, coming from many years working for Kurt Rausch in high-end floristry, as well as event design for couture fashion clients in NYC.
Talk about A Midsummer Night's Dream!
Part of the QWR mission is to rescue animals, nurse them to health, and release them back to the wild or keep them according to their health and abilities. And was I excited to meet one such little fellow whose family member is actually featured in our games! This turtle was among many animals—owls, bearded dragon, possum, snake and others—hanging out at the entrance of the party for guests to interact with. Seeing these beautiful animals up close was a delightfully intimate experience. We work with so many animal pictures here at na2ure designing our games, that it was awesome to interact with them in person.
African spurred tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata)
Cards from the Ani-gram-it game
I love the spikes on the forelimbs especially.
The after party moved to the porch, where I met the host of the estate, David. It takes community leadership to enact sustainable measures, and the Post family donated the land for refuge years ago in a very forward-thinking move for the town. David works in the non-profit sector and the conversation ranged from his work, the QWR, and land trusts, to envisioning the future of stewardship in the important sectors of not only nature conservation, but heath and social welfare.
There was pleasure beyond going to the benefit and meeting the people—and animals!—in attendance. My delight in witnessing the dedication of the Quogue community in action, rallying around their local wildlife center by raising money for it and deepening their dedication to preserving wildlife, was increased by knowing how this strengthened the mission of the Quogue Wildlife Refuge itself. Talking about the future of conservation is dear to my heart and my company's mission, and is a conversation many types of minds need to join.
Connecting to efforts like these bring our passion to work that gives us meaning, and which requires leadership on many levels. What's your community doing, and how are you involved in leading your mission forward?