When I was growing up, my parents and their friends threw and went to these awesome garden parties in the summer. The kind of party that was lovely to look at, the people were nice and the ladies dressed in tasteful summer finery and the men were in madras,seersucker, and khaki. The kind of party where the food was good, the company interesting, a time so fun and pleasant and each hour flew by like it was five minutes.
Ok I finally found my adult equivalent: The Natural Lands Trust kickoff summer event, Stardust.
Natural Lands Trust, the region’s foremost conservation organization, protects the forests, fields, wetlands, and streams that are essential to the sustainability and quality of life in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.
In other words, they don’t just talk a good game about preservation, they do it. And they are all extraordinarily nice people too. From staff to volunteers to trustees, these people are just terrific. It is so nice (and refreshing) to be around people who just so obviously love what they do.
This year’s Stardust was at Stroud Preserve in West Chester. If you have never been, go. It is so beautiful a place it takes your breath away with the sheer majesty of the surrounding landscape and vistas. It is over 500 acres of heavenly beauty.
The Natural Lands Trust applies a comprehensive approach to conservation that includes permanently protecting natural areas, providing leadership in natural resource management, and creating opportunities for people to connect to and learn from nature. They began in 1953 as the “Philadelphia Conservationists”. In the early days a lot of what they saved was then turned over to government agencies or other non-profits. But in the 1960s they changed their course ever so slightly and became the stewards of the land and environments they were saving….and the Natural Lands Trust was born.
So this is a group so worthy of much generous support. You can see what they are doing, it is not some fuzzy hypothesis of ” if you donate X we will do Y”, it’s real, it’s tangible.
On Friday, June 12th – as the constellation Bootes (the “Celestial Farmer”), an ever-amazing Saturn, and a brightly-shining Jupiter graced the night sky many gathered for an evening of cocktails, local farm-to-table edibles, at the 570-acre Stroud Preserve in West Chester.
The catering was done to perfection by Jeffrey Miller Catering and in addition to cocktails Moore Brothers was pouring some delightful wines (especially the rosé! )Terain did the decor and Victory Brewing Company also generously provided libations for guests.
The event itself was spread out so people had the ability to move around freely without feeling that you-are-nothing-but-a-lemming feeling that some non-profit events give you because too many are jammed into too small a space. This event was spread out and so civilized, like the summer garden parties I remember as a child. One special bit of fun that Natural Lands Trust provided guests in addition to the ability to star gaze by using one of the many fine telescopes set up was play a giant game of Jenga!
I had never been up and in the Stroud Preserve which was donated to Natural Lands Trust by Dr. Morris Stroud in 1990. This wildlife habitat is also a unique site for research by the Stroud Water Research Center, one of the premier stream research labs in North America. And in addition there are also structures on this land which are fabulous and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
And yes, these people throw fabulous events. So many events these days are more hype than anything else. Their events are pretty, tasteful, and oh so much fun! (Click here for all event photos taken by me.)