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Western New York Land Conservancy to celebrate 25 years of conservation success at annual gala

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Thu, Aug 25th 2016 12:20 pm

From 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, the Western New York Land Conservancy will host its annual gala in the Golden Ballroom at Statler City. The event will celebrate 25 years of conserving this region's special places.

Since 1991, the regional land trust and its thousands of supporters have saved more than 6,000 acres of forests, wetlands, meadows and farms in the eight counties of Western New York. These places include, among many others, the Stella Niagara Preserve in Lewiston, the Niagara Escarpment Preserve in Lockport, the Kenneglenn Scenic and Nature Preserve in Wales, and the Mill Road Scenic Overlook in Aurora, as well as farmland throughout the region. These places are protected forever, because of Land Conservancy and the efforts of its members.

The entire Western New York community is invited to attend this event and to celebrate these accomplishments. The gala will be led by celebrity emcee and long-time Land Conservancy member Steve Tasker - the former Buffalo Bills standout - and will feature live gypsy jazz music by The Hot Club of Buffalo.

A live auction presented by Cash Cunningham will feature prizes including getaways to New Zealand, Niagara-on-the-Lake, East Aurora and a secluded Lake Erie Beachfront property; a day-long fishing charter; a cruise on the lower Niagara River; and local art.

"As a membership organization, the Land Conservancy's work would not be possible without the support and hard work of remarkable people in the community," Land Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Smith said. "At our silver anniversary gala, we will honor Kathy Lasher, Gerry Rising and Joanne Schlegel for their incredible contributions over the years."

New York State Sen. Patrick Gallivan, serving as honorary gala chairman, said he is particularly fond of the Land Conservancy's farmland protection efforts. "The Western New York Land Conservancy has played a vital role in protecting one our region's greatest assets: our farms. Agriculture is critical to New York's economy and is part of our culture and heritage. By supporting farmland protection, we can ensure that we will have places to grow and produce fresh, quality food for our families now and in the future."

Over the next five years, the Land Conservancy will focus its work in Erie and Niagara counties.

Assemblyman Sean Ryan, who is also an honorary gala chairman, said, "After 25 years of important work, this is a great time to partner with the Land Conservancy as they embark on the next phase of conservation work around our region's largest cities."

New York State Assemblyman John Ceretto, yet another honorary gala chairman, said, "The Land Conservancy's work in our region has made a huge impact on our community. It's such a comfort to know that places like the Stella Niagara Preserve will always be here for people to enjoy."

Tickets to attend the gala are $160, or $220 for patrons who will be recognized in the printed program. Full tables of 10 and 12 are available at discounted rates. Contact the Land Conservancy at 716-687-1225 or [email protected] to make reservations for the gala. Attendees must RSVP by Sept. 9. All proceeds will support the work to save transformative places in the region.

The Western New York Land Conservancy is a regional, not-for-profit land trust that permanently protects land with significant conservation value in Western New York for future generations. The Land Conservancy envisions a future in which open spaces, working lands, wildlife habitat and scenic beauty are cherished and protected as part of the landscape and character of Western New York.

The Land Conservancy is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and is one of 1,700 land trusts nationwide, including 90 in New York. Land trusts have protected 40 million acres over the past 20 years.

For more information on upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, or the mission of the Western New York Land Conservancy, call 716-687-1225 or visit www.wnylc.org.

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