The South Fork Natural History Museum will hold its 30th anniversary summer gala, “Celebrating the Wonders of the Wild” — marking 30 years of nature conservation, education, and exploration, empowering families to become responsible stewards of our planet — on Saturday, July 13, from 6 to 11 PM in Bridgehampton.
Diana Aceti, SoFo’s director of development, said, “In the beginning, it was Andy Sabin and his friends, who were naturalists, who wanted to do this. They kept it purposely small. The real purpose of the museum, through what we’re doing, is to teach the children how to preserve our environment. Sabin has said from the very beginning the thing that makes him happiest is teaching the children about our planet and how to save it.” Sabin is SoFo’s board president.
Founded in 1988, SoFo continues to grow as the sole state-of-the-art natural history museum on the South Fork. Its collaborative efforts in the local area include with the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Surfrider Foundation, Guild Hall, the Ross School, and others. With 270 educational programs a year, including four walks led by Sabin, SoFo encourages involvement from volunteers and new members. Its offerings include science-based programming such as the SoFo Shark Research and Education Program, which began five years ago with the Long Island Shark Collaborators.
“SoFo is now taking the lead role on the continued science research that’s necessary to sustain our sharks on the South Shore of Long Island,” executive director Frank Quevedo noted. In addition, the museum continues its citizen science surveys, garnering data about everything from horseshoe crabs and seahorses to butterflies and birds. “We’re allowing the community and people who are not science background individuals to get involved and do the survey so that the data can be compiled and submitted to the scientists to better understand the long trend populations of the biodiversity of the of the environment here,” Quevedo added.
As program development evolves and awareness increases, the summer gala has attracted high-profile sponsors. This year, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is the sponsor, and the company will provide vehicle models on site for short test drives. The gala’s inaugural year drew 250 people; 500 people are expected at this year’s event.
Part of the expansion process is recognizing a wider set of honorees, on a worldwide level, aiming to think global and act local. “Every year we choose people who are change makers in terms of preserving the environment,” Aceti said.
This year, Dr. Demian Chapman, project leader of Save our Seas Foundation, will receive the Alan Rabinowitz Species Visionary Award. Founder of Earth Day Texas, now the largest event in the world of its kind, renamed EarthX, Trammell Crow will receive the Environmental Education Visionary Award. The third honoree at the gala is Greg Manocherian, vice chairman of ACT for NIH: Advancing Cures Today, a non-partisan effort committed to advancing biomedical research in the U.S. He will take home the Environmental Excellence Humanitarian Award.
Chairs for the event are Carole Crist, Georgia and Dr. Gerry Curatola, Eric Goode, April Gornik and Eric Fischl, Susan and David Rockefeller, and Liev Schreiber. During a VIP cocktail hour, there will be tastings from The Bell & Anchor, Bostwick’s, Calissa, Centro, East Hampton Grill, The Golden Pear, Grace and Grit, Grand Banks, Hamptons Farms, Montauk Shellfish Company, Page at 63 Main, Saaz, and Southampton Social Club. Guests can then dance to the sounds of the ’80s with the In the Groove Band and live and silent auctions. A buffet dinner will be provided by Elegant Affairs Catering.
“What’s really nice about this museum is that we’re a gateway to the Long Pond Greenbelt in the back. There’s wetlands and coastal plain ponds, and a variety of native plants and animals that are coming through at different times of the year. So that enables us to stay open year-round and continue our outdoor program,” Quevedo said. “The objective of the organization is to create the stewardship to protect the climate in the future and it starts with children.”
The South Fork Natural History Museum is located at 377 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton.
VIP Tickets are $1400, and general admission tickets are $500. Young Professional (30 and younger) tickets are $275. Visit www.sofo.org to find out more.