Leelanau Conservancy picnic and silent auction, Aug. 6

From staff reports

The Leelanau Conservancy will hold its annual friends picnic and auction on Thursday, Aug. 6, at the Chippewa Run Natural Area in Empire.

The picnic begins at 5 p.m. and features a silent auction, as well as pre-picnic field trips, a kids tent and a special program. A local foods-focused meal will be served, along with local wines. Tickets are $35 for adults until Aug. 3, when the price goes up to $40. Tickets for kids tent children under 12 are just $5.

“The picnic is a great get together for everyone who loves Leelanau County and everyone is welcome,” says communications director Carolyn Faught. “It’s a chance to celebrate the work we have done together to preserve our beautiful natural lands and working farms.” She adds that around 800 people are expected to attend the picnic, which includes pre-picnic field trips. Among the options are four different adventurous hikes at the Conservancy’s latest project, the proposed 700-acre Palmer Woods Forest Reserve. (The reserve is not yet open to the public, so these hikes offer a unique opportunity to see the land.) A local foods menu and an “exciting auction with many unique, can’t-buy-it Leelanau experiences is also on tap.

The auction features several dinners prepared by local chefs, a morel hunt and a goat- herding experience at Idyll Farms. Outside-the-county offers include dinner for 6 at Mario Batali’s New York Babbo restaurant, a week at a St. Andrews, Scotland 16th-century townhouse, Detroit Tigers tickets, or a weekend at a New York penthouse.

Also planned is the much-loved children’s tent for ages 3 to 12, which will be supervised by staff from the Leelanau Children’s Center. The event will also feature the ever popular Legos, crafts and more.

Photographer Ken Scott will sign copies of Why We Preserve, the book of photographs and essays recently published by the Conservancy. Ken will also speak at a pre-picnic program about his photos and the book at the Empire Town Hall. The Conservancy will sell the book as well as other Conservancy merchandise at the picnic.

The program opens with a popular game called heads and tails, with the winner receiving a large basket full of locally made Leelanau items. The evening will culminate with a short program and awards ceremony. To view auction items, order tickets or download the picnic flyer, visit LeelanauConservancy.org or call 231-256-9665.