The October invitation to “See you under the stars for a bedazzling evening” happened under a tent with 200 nature lovers wearing Jeans and Jewelry. The FUNdraiser for Blandford Nature Center began by naming Peter M. Wege the first winner of its Crown Jewel Award.
In 2006 when Blandford lost its G.R. Public Museum tax base, Wege partnered with Grand Rapids Public Schools’ Superintendent Bert Bleke to support it as an independent non-profit. Saving Blandford was one more opportunity for Peter to “do all the good” he could. This year’s ‘second annual fundraiser affirmed Wege’s faith in collaboration as last year’s one sponsor, The Wege Foundation, was joined by 13 new sponsors this year.
The “bedazzled” donors in bling and jeans mixed with the wildlife during cocktail hour as volunteers told the stories of how the birds and animals had come to live at Blandford. Guests were guided through the woods by candle light to meet “Bob” the bobcat.
The West Catholic High School Jazz Band played for the Blandford supporters as they dined on a harvest buffet ending with homemade warm apple crisp. The after-dinner live and silent auctions raised $15,000 bidding on donations that included a “Hawk” print from Mr. Wege’s private collection; a Summer Meadow Tour and Trail Exploration by Dr. Mary Jane Dockeray, the founder of Blandford; a week of Blandford summer camp; a brunch for six in Blandford’s 150-year old cabin.
The above video features six spirited Blandford 6th-graders wearing their prized BEEP (Blandford Environmental Education Program) sweatshirts as they rap to an original song written by Josh Patterson. That rousing planned entertainment was soon followed by a perfect Blandford Nature Center moment!
Above Photo – During the video put together by Klaas Kwant, Wonder, Blandford’s resident goat, broke loose from the barn and came running to join the party. With the audience collapsed in laughter, Wonder led the pursuing Beeps ion a merry chase around the tent before he was caught.