The 2018 World Environment Day Dinner held Saturday 2 June at the National Arboretum Canberra was a successful event with high attendance, excellent feedback and good fundraising.
The World Environment Day dinner is the Conservation Council’s main annual fundraising event through ticket sales, sponsorship, raffles, auctions and donations. It is also a great event for catching up with and meeting people who are also involved or interested in environmental issues.
Our MC for the evening was Louise Maher (pictured), the ABC Radio Canberra Field and Online Reporter.
There was a short talk from Janet Jeffs, Executive Chef of Ginger Catering, our partner for the event, on the philosophy of using regional produce and respecting the food and the producers. Some of the primary produce for the dinner came from Janet’s own farm.
We had a short presentation on frogs with Anke Maria Hoefner of Frogwatch making their calls (now that is having a frog in your throat). There were some special visitors – threatened species in the form of a striped legless lizard and a grassland earless dragon accompanied by ranger Brett Howland (who is not as threatened as the lizards).
Our guest speaker Stuart Barry presented on three ways we can use our money to help save the environment and he also donated copies of his book The Rich Greenie.
A lot of work went into arranging to make the bus easy and fun to catch to the Dinner with thanks to volunteer Paul Magarey and to Transport Canberra.
Bus travellers – and bike riders and walkers – received a free ticket in the Active Transport raffle. All guests at the Dinner were able to buy raffle tickets no matter how they travelled to the event. Prizes were the Perpetual Motion IV Electric Bike valued at $1,800 generously donated by Switched On Cycles and the ‘Wildlife Discovery and Ride with the Roos’ tour of Tidbinbilla on electric bikes for seven kangaroos (or people), valued at $700 and generously donated by Canberra Urban Adventures.
There were silent auctions run online through AllBids. At the dinner people were be able to bid fairly simply with mobile phones.
Our auctioneer Jenna Dunley, who had recently won Novice Auctioneer of the Year in a national competition, ran our live auction for items including one week’s use of an electric BMW I3S and the specially-developed Bungendore Experience package.
Again, a big thank you to our sponsors – all of whom work with the Conservation Council to have discussions, often robust, to get better outcomes for the environment. Ginninderry challenges us with a great big development but at the same time comes to us to seek and then use advice on how to get the best outcomes and then they share the outcomes of their research. We have an ongoing discussion with ActewAGL (EvoEnergy) on future energy options and while we might disagree on the future of gas, we agree on the need to drastically reduce greenhouse emissions. Icon Water has been good at consulting on the environmental and affordability impacts of their services and this engagement is appreciated. And Bank Australia has been a good bank for us, and the environment, by being a bank that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels (as well as providing a good banking service). And thanks to Dirty Deeds Event Sound – it’s good to be heard.
And thank you to the individuals and businesses who generously donated prizes to our raffles here!
In 2018 we had nearly 300 people attending. Our sponsorship was up slightly – we get support and the sponsors get dinner, advertising and networking opportunities – raffles were down and auctions were up. Donations remained steady.
Our survey of attendees showed that people liked the event, the venue and the length of proceedings. The entree was the favourite course and most people liked the guest speaker Stuart Barry.
Quite a few people appreciated the encouragement of active transport such as bus or cycling to the dinner, and especially that the buses went to town centres other than Civic.
We always review the event and discuss whether we should keep doing it and if so what we should keep and what we should change. The Board has already had a first look and yes, we will do it again in 2019.