On Friday, August 18, the Foundation for Geauga Parks held the sixth annual Twilight Soirée, its signature benefit. The event brought 194 guests to picturesque Meadow Ridge in Huntsburg, raising $58,220 to advance the foundation’s mission.
The Foundation for Geauga Parks’ (FGP) mission is to help the community engage in – and to work on the conservation and preservation of – the unique natural character of Geauga County.
“We are the only foundation that is strictly fundraising for our green spaces,” Executive Director Christine Davidson said. “We also are about helping this next generation to foster an interest in environmental science and conservation work.”
“The funds collected from the event are unrestricted, allowing trustees and staff to use where needed to advance the Foundation for Geauga Parks’ mission,” Director of Development and Marketing Paige Orvis said. “FGP focuses all efforts on supporting the protection of natural
resources, improving parks and trails, and underwriting nature education programs and scholarships.”
The event celebrates the projects and programs FGP supports, including its conservation scholarship and Nature Scopes Binocular programs.
Since 2020, FGP has awarded $8,000 in college scholarships to students pursuing environmental studies.
All fifth graders in the county participate in the year-long Nature Scopes program – in its 20th year – which involves interactive outdoor sessions and supplies every student with binoculars and a field guide.
Anne Kinkopf’s experiences in programs FGP supports – first as a student, and later, working with students – led her to pursue a career in the environmental field, rather than as an eye doctor as she had thought. She enjoyed watching students’ initial fear of wildlife transform into confidence among nature.
She realized, “I want to change kids’ lives in that way – get them excited about the things that I am also excited about.”
In her new position as a service forester covering two West Virginia counties, she responds to wildfires, helps landowners create forest management plans, and more.
The Chagrin Valley Astronomical Society and Geauga Skywatchers set up telescopes at the outdoor venue for night sky viewing.
Guests enjoyed live and silent auctions and acoustic music from guitarist Jim Anderson and vocalist Denise Geisler, of the band No Moss. They dined on appetizers and a farm-to-table buffet dinner catered by the Smith family of Meadow Ridge Events. Desserts came from D.S. Cakes and Sweet Café. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANASTASIA NICHOLAS