Celebrities raise money for environment at Washington auction
WASHINGTON — Nearly 250 individuals, local politicians and celebrities raised money for the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) at the organization’s 26th annual auction Sunday afternoon. The association aimed to raise at least $150,000 for its various programs to preserve the environment.
Actress Christine Baranski, known for her role in CBS’ “The Good Wife” as Diane Lockhart, served as honorary chair of the auction, attending the event with honorary co-chairs Frank Delaney and Linda Allard, among others, as well as Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Tim Luke, who has been featured on HGTV’s “Cash in the Attic,” served as auctioneer.
Baranski spoke to the attendees before the live auction began about the importance of protecting the environment and the HVA’s work.
“I find it very moving that we’re here to focus on one issue, and the most important issue that really was not spoken about in the presidential campaign, which is the environment, and pollution and global warming,” she said to cheers and applause from the crowd. “We live in a beautiful, beautiful part of the world, and seeing that it is our responsibility, our personal responsibility, each and every one of us, to support the HVA, support your local land trust, support every environmental organization. It is up to us.”
Among the items and excursions available in the live auction was a breakfast and visit to the capitol building with Blumenthal.
“This event is more important to me than any other in the year because it says something about Connecticut, about this community, about support for our precious environmental resources,” Blumenthal told the audience before a bidder purchased the visit with him for $2,000.
Other items up for live auction were two tickets to “The Front Page” on Broadway, a coffee date with “Law and Order” and “The Newsroom” actor Sam Waterston, and four VIP tickets to a taping of “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” Both celebrities were honorary co-chairs, but unable to attend the auction.
The association also held a silent auction, where bidders could buy about 200 items, ranging from a handcrafted ceramic water dispenser to dog training classes to hot wheels toys.
The event drew hundreds of supporters, some local and others as far as Texas. Auction Manager Mary Beth Lawlor said many of the same people come year after year.
“It’s a long standing community event and a lot of people are dedicated and support the organization,” she said.
Susan Haber, of Washington, who has attended the auction for eight to 10 years, said she wants to support the HVA because the environment is important to her.
“We want to make sure it stays pristine for us, for future generations,” she said.
Dick Sears, the development director for HVA, said the money raised at the event will help the association when grants fall short.
“It makes it possible for us to do great work in the rivers and protecting land,” he said.
One of the association’s current projects is bringing communities together to protect the Still River. It is also working to restore the Ten Mile River, which is connected to the Housatonic River, by controlling erosion and teaching high school students from Dover Plains, New York how to monitor the river’s health. The association also takes students and adults from Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York on river trips so they understand its importance and how to care for it.
“When they come to know it, they love it,” Sears said. “And when they love it, they protect it. We’re raising the next generation of environmentalists.”