Beaches And Bays: Toasting Conservation

Under a summer sky this past Saturday night nearly 350 preservation devotees gathered to celebrate conservation and the natural beauty found the world over while honoring one of their own at The Nature Conservancy's 2011 annual Beaches & Bays Gala.

Hosts Dorian and Gary Fuhrman were as gracious as ever and did their best to greet each guest personally. The expectant pair, their third child arriving later this summer, were one of many voices praising the merits of the work accomplished by the East Hampton group over the past year to protect and preserve the multiple species of indigenous animals and acres of land that are part of the fabric of this very special place, the Hamptons.

After a lovely cocktail party the sounds of the Peter Duchin Orchestra filled the air and guests including Patricia and Andrew Steffan, Virginia and Warren Schwerin, Missy Taylor, Eduardo and Gillian Mestre, Sally Van Erk, Denise Johnston, Joe McConnell, Barbara Sloan, Jeff Dell, Michael and Judy McDowell, Frank Roccanova, Hillary Hightower, and Peyton Carr to name but a few strolled through a rose trellised path and found their tables under the tent. Centerpieces filled to overflowing with glorious blossoms scented the air and the team from Glorious Food Catering served course after course of the East End's bounty ending with a scrumptious blueberry pie.

Chairman of the Long Island Board of Trustees, Jeff Hughes held the room's rapt attention as he praised the work of the evening's honoree, Katharine Rayner. With humor he then led the charge for the silent auction and further fundraising by way of sponsorship of a runner, Junior Committee Member Nate Woiwode, in the upcoming New York City Marathon, who surprised the crowd by doing a few laps throughout the spacious tent.

As the night grew deeper guests swarmed the dance floor never seeming to tire. Finally the end of the evening came and just as lovely as the night began it ended with delightful tote bags filled with goodies from Oscar de la Renta, Jonathan Adler, and Tate's.

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