The Save Guana Gala: a moonlit party on Guana Lake was a success
in every sense of the word.
We raised over $10,000 (net) and we raised lots of awareness for our cause. Old friends mingled and new friendships were formed as 145 guests from Gainesville to Jacksonville bounced from silent auction bidding to gazing in awe at the panoramic views of Guana and the Outpost. Check out the press coverage here and at the bottom of this page.
It’s hard to pick a single highlight of the evening…there were so many. Was it when artist Eugene Quinn set up his easel and started to painted Guana Lake and the Outpost, plein air, with a crowd gathered around him? Was it when Tom Kohn won a football signed by Dallas Cowboy Bill Bates who played in three superbowls, and was a guest at the gala? Was it when hostess Martha Denneen brought out the key lime pie and the chocolate cake? It’s tough to pick just one (dessert, that is).
All we’d hoped for was a calm, rainless evening, and we got that - and so much more. Our Silent Auction alone brought nearly $5,000 to our fight against development at the Outpost. (Thanks to our guests for their generous bidding, and thanks to our donors for their generous contributions.)
We’re doubly grateful to Eugene Quinn whose painting of Guana – the one he painted before the event - brought Save Guana Now $1000 of those silent auction bucks. The winner of his artwork, Bob Solomon, said of his new acquisition: “I grew up there. This is what Guana looked like.” (Let's keep it that way.)
Eugene has been painting Guana lake and beaches for 20 years, and he is as committed to preserving the land for future generations as he is to preserving it in oils. (How many young artists donate $1000 to charity? We’re grateful and honored to be the recipient of his generosity.) Eugene has a studio in Jacksonville Beach, and his work can be seen by appointment. Contact: www.coquinajax.com
An art of Guana theme seemed to emerge as 12-year-old artist Sophie Allen saw her drawing of a red-shouldered hawk featured in a Save Guana Now yard sign, and received one for herself! Local artist and art instructor for 40 years, Bill Darty, contributed a beautiful group of pastel drawings of Guana to the auction, and five very happy people went home with them.
Artist Kathy Stark, whose full-scale watercolors are currently featured at the Jacksonville Museum of Science and History, sparked many bids with her lavishly-illustrated, signed book about parks of northeast Florida, which includes two paintings of Guana. Local author Mark Woods also contributed his recently released book about National Parks to our Silent Auction.
Ceramicist Laura Chenore contributed a dramatic, free form bowl that undulated and sparkled like waves in the ocean. It brought us $200, and as if that wasn’t enough, Laura worked the entire night as a volunteer.
Save Guana Now Co-founder Gary Coulliette generously gave his art to Save Guana Now in the form of terrific music for the event. He played his guitar and sang all evening. Thank you Gary!
Craig O’Neal supplied his photographs of Guana wildlife - featured in our yard signs and bumper stickers. We introduced our "Stay Wild" sign at the Gala, and it's so popular, we can't keep it in stock. (Contact us at info@SaveGuanaNow if you'd like to purchase a yard sign at our cost: $25.)
Bob Davenport photographed the event, supplying most of the photos you see here. He took some spectacular shots! Thank you Bob! Deanna Clement and Jennifer Logue also gave us permission to post their photos of the event.
Of course, none of our plans would have made it past the “what if?” stage if not for the generosity, hospitality and hard work of Martha and John Denneen who opened their beautiful home to Save Guana Now, so that those who cherish the natural beauty of Guana could not only view it, but help save it. A thousand thanks to Martha and John (left). The Denneen’s home, it should be mentioned, was built on residential land, not conservation land, which is what the Outpost is. That distinction is central to our argument against development.
The person who will be making the legal arguments against development of the Outpost – our attorney, Jane West (left) – also spoke at the Gala. She updated us on Ponte Vedra Corporation’s lawsuit against St. John’s County, and encouraged everyone to show up at county hearings which she anticipates will be scheduled soon.
In addition to thanking our generous hosts, donors and guests, a huge thank you also goes to several local businesses whose discounts and donations helped make our Gala a success: Mangroves Catering, Tim’s Wine Market, Proctor Ace Hardware, Mosquito Joe, and Publix Palm Valley. Also, see below the list of businesses who donated the goods and services that earned us nearly $5000 at our silent auction. Let’s patronize all of these businesses and let them know how much we appreciate their support of Save Guana Now.
Special thanks also goes to our volunteers who pitched in to make the gala a success: Gloria North, Debbie Davis, Sandi Galloway, Rick Mansfield, Sandy and Deb Chapin, Eric Denneen, Emily Denneen, Joe Bryant, Sheila Hickson, Henry Curry, Laura Chenore, Bill Darty and Jimbo Kohnke.
Businesses who donated to Save Guana Now: Eugene Quinn, artist, St. Augustine Wild Reserve, RPM Motors, At Home Tech computer expert, Massage Envy, Mignyon Warren children’s birthday parties, Tootsies Shoe Store, Cottage By the Sea, Apropos Boutique, Pilates, North Guana Outpost, Defenders Pest Control, Antique Curiosities, Mia Avenue Salon, Shine Holistic Wellness Center, Coastal Wine Market, Health Partners Functional Medicine, Author Kathy Stark, Author Mark Woods, artist Laura Chenore, Village Arts Framing and Gallery, Driftwood store, Bliss Hair Studio, Art4Charities, Aqua Grill and FestivePillows.com.
Click on square photos to enlarge. Slide show #1:
Unfortunately, space limitations prevented everyone from attending who wanted to come. To those who attempted to purchase tickets after we sold out one week before the event, please continue to stay involved and committed to stopping development at the Outpost. Special thanks to those who donated but could not attend. With hearings coming up in the near future (still no date yet), we will need EVERYONE’S participation.
We encourage you to follow our Facebook page for updates. We will also send emails if you've signed up on our list. If you're not getting our emails, contact us at and we'll add you to our list. Spread the word! (And check your spam filter regularly, just in case!)
Thanks to everyone who made the Save Guana Gala such a success!
P.S. if you have photos of the Gala, send them our way!
We'd love to include them on this page!
Slide show #2:
Slide show #3
Slide show #4:
Slide show #5:
Reporters Tiffanie Reynolds from the Times Union and Jennifer Logue from the Ponte Vedra Recorder (both below) conducted interviews and took photos of the event. Their stories are featured on this page. Scroll down for the Times Union article. The Ponte Vedra Recorder article is here.
Times Union Shorelines, April 13: