Conscious party: Wild South’s Green Gala

FOCAL POINT: Local artist Andrea Cassetta was commissioned to create a piece of artwork for Wild South's upcoming fundraiser. Her painting depicts endangered red wolves, which are also the focus of the event's keynote speech by Asheville author DeLene Beeland. Image courtesy of Wild South
FOCAL POINT: Local artist Andrea Cassetta was commissioned to create a piece of artwork for Wild South's upcoming fundraiser. Her painting depicts endangered red wolves, which are also the focus of the event's keynote speech by Asheville author DeLene Beeland. Image courtesy of Wild South Image courtesy of Wild South

WHAT: The eighth annual Wild South Green Gala, featuring keynote speaker, author DeLene Beeland

WHEN: Saturday, May 7, from 6-10 p.m.

WHERE: The Millroom

WHY: Wild South’s eighth annual Green Gala celebrates the organization’s 25-year legacy as well as others’ conservation work. “We’re really trying to showcase the history of Wild South as a leader in protecting public lands and wildlife in the region,” says Hannah Morgan, development and communications coordinator.

The nonprofit’s programming will highlight environmental movers and shakers spanning an eight-state constituency, including the winners of its Roosevelt-Ashe Conservation awards. Locals in the running include Will Harlan of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, student and Boy Scout Bennett David, Dayna Reggero of The Climate Listening Project, Bob Gale of MountainTrue, and Carl Silverstein of Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. Additional recognition will go to Western North Carolinians Ben Prater of Defenders of Wildlife, Robin Swayney of Qualla Boundary Library and Gary Kaufman of U.S. Forest Service for various contributions.

The night’s main attraction, though, is a talk by a local science and nature writer. “DeLene Beeland is the author of The Secret World of Red Wolves, which is the authoritative text on the red wolves that are an endangered species that live here in North Carolina,” Morgan says. “There are fewer than 50 left in the wild.”

Beeland’s 2013 book has been an “invaluable resource to informing the fight” to save this threatened species, according to Morgan, who also notes Wild South’s efforts to prevent the Red Wolf Recovery Program from being discontinued.  The writer’s speech will relate the red wolf conundrum to the wider topic of Southern conservation.

Lightening the earnest tone will be live acoustic bluegrass music and a silent auction and raffle with “a fantastic slew of things — everything from a weekend at vacation at a rental cabin in Wolf Laurel to a green investing consulting session to Kleen Kanteen reusable water bottles,” Morgan says. “And then the headline item is the beautiful painting [of wolves by Andrea Cassetta].”

Each ticket ($35) includes a taco bar dinner and one drink. Visit wildsouth.org/greengala for more information. 

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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