September 26, 2008

Fundraiser Weathers Windstorm

By Meredith Moss Staff Writer

BUTLER TWP. -- Her house, she said, looked like a "war zone-- a 200-year-old beech tree had demolished the garage, she had no power and no water. But Carol Powell and her husband, Duncan, showed up Saturday night, Sept. 20, nevertheless.

"Because I care about Aullwood," explained the Clayton woman.

So did 150 others who came to celebrate Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm at the nature preserve's cozy annual fundraiser.

It wasn't just the guests who braved adversity; the hosts had a tough week as well.

Days before the party, Aullwood had no power or water, and had lost large numbers of trees. But staffers and volunteers from the associate board determined to proceed.

"If the power hadn't come back on, we were planning a candlelight dinner," explained development coordinator Ardith Hamilton. "We would have asked people to wear flat shoes for the dark. Instead of china, we would have used compostable plates, and utensils made out of sugar beets."

But in the nick of time, the power -- and the original plans -- were restored. Guests sampled wine and hors d'oeuvres while admiring the colorful Amish quilts on display, browsed through the silent auction items, enjoyed Chris Rowland's music and then made their way into dinner past the turtles and snakes.

Tables were adorned with gourds filled with sunflowers and daisies. The hearty meal included homegrown organic turkey and pork and a mashed potato bar served in martini glasses. After supper came the lively auction, and generous donors helped fund transportation that will allow Dayton City School children to visit the facility.

In the end, all was well that ended well.

"We always educate people about nature," concluded Hamilton. "This week Mother Nature educated us."

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2440 or [email protected]

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