Mahone Islands Conservation Association
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MICA Annual Gala
Oak Island Resort and Conference Centre
November 9, 2018

A selection of auction items may be viewed here.

This year's event generously supported by the following corporate supporters
. . . click here for more details

MICA Annual Gala Dinner & Auction

November 22, 2018
Gala Dinner & Auction Review:

On Friday November 9th, the 16th Annual Mahone Islands Conservation Association Gala Dinner and Auction was held at Oak Island Resort and Conference Centre. It proved to once again be a very successful fund-raising event. Two hundred and eighty people came out to show their support for the protection of the Mahone Bay Islands and its shores and the evening was full of positive energy and excitement for such a worthy cause.

The evening began at 5:30 with the doors opening for the silent auction and reception. As they arrived, supporters were greeted by MICA chair John Meisner and vice-chair Bryan Palfryman.

We began the night confidently with the outstanding support of thirty seven corporate sponsors. In the convention area rooms, the display of silent and live auction items was impressive and indicative of the support and interest the local artist and business communities have for MICA and its projects. The atmosphere was a buzz with social fun as our volunteers sold raffle tickets and our friendly volunteer auctioneer Hubert Ryan introduced himself throughout the crowd.

At the membership table, many supporters renewed annual memberships, or became new members, with one supporter purchasing a lifetime membership.

Our volunteer town crier John McGee called everyone in to dinner at 7 pm. Each table was labelled with an island name and supporters joined friends, family, neighbours, or found new acquaintances at their preassigned tables.

town crier Founding Chair of MICA, Michael Ernst, led us through the action filled evening as the Master of Ceremonies. He gave opening remarks as we formally began the Gala Dinner and Auction (GDA). Town Crier John McGee welcomed all and led us in the singing of the national anthem, O Canada. The anthem was followed by a moment of silence in observance of Remembrance Day.

Michael thanked the GDA organizing committee for their dedication and hard work in putting the evening together. There are many committee members who have committed themselves to this effort for years; Nicole Ernst, Georg Ernst, Sherrill Harrison, Sidney Lang, Jeannie McLean, Patti Robertson, Patti Smith, Lynn Hennigar, and Marla Benton, with Krista Longard joining this year. At the event, the volunteer list extended to include the MICA directors and many local residents who have annually helped make this event a success. In all there were 40 supporters volunteering throughout the night to facilitate a smooth and enjoyable program.

Michael then introduced John Meisner, the current chair of the Mahone Islands Conservation Association.

John began by noting the significance of the evening's event in its 16th year with a welcome to all MICA supporters, both long time and new faces.

John then welcomed and acknowledged the attendance of the following attendees:

town crier Retired Sen. Wilfred Moore
NS Dept Lands and Forestry: Leslie Hickman
MLA (Chester St.Margaret's ) Hugh MacKay
Ruth Wawin, representing MLA Suzanne Lohnes-Croft
Town of Mahone Bay Mayor David DeVenne
MODC Councillor: Sharon Church
MODC Councillor: Danielle Barkhouse
MODL: Trudy Payne
Town Lunenburg Councillor: John McGee
John McLennan, very generous donor of Goat Island. 2015.
Jim Eisenhauer, one of the LIPS donors
Kevin McNamara (National Board for Nature Conservancy Canada)
Cindy Baker whose late husband Michael was so important in the MICA beginnings.
Hubert Ryan - auctioneer for the evening

John's presentation continued as he highlighted the accomplishments of MICA with the following comments:
"Since our beginnings in 2002, we have raised nearly $1.5 million - from these Gala Dinner and Auctions and from specific fundraising campaigns.

This GDA is our major annual fundraiser with essentially 100% of funds raised going towards property acquisitions for conservation and for traditional public use. I want to give thanks to the GDA committee and all the helpers here tonight. The committee and Co-Chairs Krista and Georg have been motivated by previous success. A core group of individuals have been on the committee since its inception and they welcome new faces and ideas.

Ticket Coordinator In particular, Nikki Ernst our ticket coordinator deserves special recognition as she has once again pulled off this huge task for this evening. It is a big accomplishment to coordinate the needs of the 280 supporters who have purchased tickets for tonight's event.

To our Artists and Donors, I want to say thank you for such a wonderful array of art, items and services again this year. Your generosity is overwhelming.

And very important to MICA are our corporate sponsors. This year we have 37 corporate sponsors in total. Many have been long time donors which we very much appreciate. Their names and company logos will appear on the screen behind me and they have been printed in your evening program booklets. Some are new and we welcome them this year: Michelin North America, Municipality of Chester, Nova Wood Products, Stelia North America, and TD Canada Trust. All of our corporate sponsors are very prominent companies with a presence on the south shore and we appreciate their endorsement of our Mission. We believe we offer great value for $1000. Please support these companies that have chosen to support us.

In regards to Acquisition Projects, the donated properties on Zwicker and Ernst Islands are in the process of being transferred to the province of Nova Scotia. These properties are in their natural state and as with our other properties they will be protected by a Stewardship Agreement that essentially states they will be conserved and available for traditional public use. Thanks again to the donors, the Cluett family, the Court family and the Reynolds family for their generosity and vision. We invite all to enjoy these and other MICA properties.

As usual we have several potential acquisition projects in the works, please stay tuned. These projects are always complicated and take time.

In summary we have brought 18 islands or island properties plus the three Nature Conversancy of Canada islands off Chester and the Molands Point property back into public ownership for conservation and traditional public use.

We recognize and say thank you to our valuable partners: Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, Municipality of the District of Chester, Province of Nova Scotia, and Nature Conservancy of Canada."

Presentations John then made some presentations of gratitude. Sharron Isnor, a long time GDA committee member was recognized for her many years of outstanding support and leadership in making the GDA an ongoing success. Thanks was also given to her husband Ward Isnor who has been a long time MICA supporter and has donated many stunning photographs for our live auction with this year being no exception.

On the humorous side, Jeff Avery, was asked to come forward and receive one of our newest MICA hats, as our new order sports a lighter-weight style of hat. This was to make amends after Jeff purchased what he thought was the last MICA hat to be ever sold as a live auction item a few years ago. Rumour has it that he paid a few hundred dollars for that previous hat.

In conclusion, our MICA chair John Meisner, graciously thanked everyone for their overwhelming support and wished all the supporters a great evening.

Then Michael Ernst, MC, led us into the first live auction segment. In a new format this year, the live auction was woven into the evening to provide more entertainment. A lovely three course meal was served and each one of the three courses was followed with the auctioning off of some live auction items. Our new volunteer auctioneer, Hubert Ryan, brought new energy to the event as he warmed up the crowd and clearly communicated our purpose in coming together. We would go home with some treasures while purchasing islands and shorelines for conservation. The crowd applauded and cheered for our successful bidders and their support. The staff of the Oak Island Resort was efficient and friendly and kept everything going smoothly as we enjoyed our meal and entertainment.

Silent Auction
Meanwhile, silent auction rooms closed on schedule and people occasionally slipped over to up their bids. Almost 150 items were open to bids in the silent auction areas which included a diverse selection of items and gift certificates from artists, businesses, and supporters. New this year was a "New to You Nautical Corner" where many of our boaters bid on various used sailing, fishing, and rowing gear.

Raffle The winner of our raffle draw was announced and lucky winner Chris Church won $250 cash and two tickets to next year's MICA Gala dinner and Auction.

The committee introduced Surprise Bags this year which were sold for $20 each and filled with multiple gift certificates and goodies from local businesses. The Surprise Bag sponsors were promoted throughout the evening and on the big screen at the time of sale. These surprise bags are a good means for local businesses to promote themselves and encourage multiple customer visits by donating several smaller gift certificates. They were very popular and were all sold out within a few minutes as our volunteers swept through the room. Looks like we will need more for next year!

Live Auction There were twenty-four diverse live auction items including original paintings, prints, photography, ceramics, folk art carvings, a quilt, golf green fees, a deep sea fishing trip, whale watching tours, art classes, a sailing excursion, a sea kayak adventure, 10 yards of mulch, a guitar, a survival suit, power tools, and a stand up paddle board.

We were pleased to have professional local artists Tom Ward and Marla Benton present for the auctioning of their works. The final item auctioned was Gary Longard's carved wooden funky fish, "Rudy", named after Moland Point donor and conservationist Rudy Haase. With three bidders determined to take home this year's fish the bidding closed at $1000 and ended the evening on a high note with cheers from the crowd.

Live Auction   Live Auction

The evening was a great financial success as the 2017 results were exceeded with a total of just over $60 000 being raised!

As a reminder, these funds will be used to support island and property acquisitions for conservation and traditional public use.

We hope everyone enjoyed the meal, friends and a treasure or two! Thank you for your support and we hope to see you next year!

Mahone Islands Conservation Association

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Updated September 28, 2022
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