Rock-and-rollers, corporate CEOs and environmentalists were amongst attendees at The Nature Conservancy’s 17th annual spring fundraising event, The Hoochie on April 15 at Tophat Soccer Fields. With the leadership of Event Chairs Mary Beth and Ben Jordan, this year’s sold-out event raised more than $340,000 for conservation across Georgia, exceeding its goal by $40,000 and making it the most successful Hoochie event to date.
Event patrons and corporate sponsors were invited to the exclusive Patron Party preceding the event at the home of Jennifer and Martin Flanagan. The Nature Conservancy in Georgia was especially honored this year to have David and Cecelia Ratcliffe as honorary event chairs.
The Ratcliffes are dedicated to organizations that improve the Atlanta community and reflect their love of nature. David Ratcliffe, biologist and retired Southern Company CEO, led company efforts toward sustainability and conservation, and is a former trustee of The Nature Conservancy in Georgia. He and Cecelia are both devoted patrons and former committee members of The Hoochie event.
Despite the rain, the vibrant outdoor celebration of the Conservancy’s impactful work and those who make it possible was a tremendous success, with live music, a birds-of-prey flight show, exceptional cuisine featuring local ingredients and remarks from conservation leaders, including Chuck Leavell, author, environmentalist and musician for the Rolling Stones.
Leavell addressed attendees at the Patron Party and encouraged the crowd to remember that, “we can do our part in conserving important lands.” Later in the evening, Leavell surprised the crowd and joined the Bradley Cole Smith Band on stage, performing “Statesboro Blues.”
“We are all here because we care about the environment. We all have a meaningful memory from childhood of having fun and connecting with nature,” said Shelly Lakly, Ph.D., state director for The Nature Conservancy in Georgia. “Your shared support means that we are leaving a meaningful environmental legacy for Georgia.”
Cox Conserves was this year’s presenting sponsor. Other sponsors included RockTenn, IBM, Colonial Group, Perkins+Will, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, AGL Resources, Georgia Power and The Coca-Cola Company.
The event also marked the local celebration of The Nature Conservancy’s national Earth Day campaign, ‘Picnic for the Planet.’
For more information about events and volunteer opportunities with The Nature Conservancy in Georgia, please visit nature.org/georgia or call (404) 873-6946.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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