Nature Conservancy Lunches with Corwin
By Ellie Leeper
Photography By Greg Harrison
A private event, hosted in the home of Mark and Ana Paula Watson kicked off the fundraising efforts for The Nature Conservancy of San Antonio, as guests arrived to the sounds of beating drums on the upper balcony of the couple’s home. A lavish seated dinner was provided by Bistro Vatel as attendees were enthralled by Corwin’s stories of animal derring do.
Then, the next day, the charity took a walk on the wild side at this year’s annual luncheon, as guests dined at the Pearl Stable with world-renowned adventurer and Animal Planet host Jeff Corwin. “Not Your Average luncheon” aimed to inspire attending Texans to be bold, decisive, and brave about saving Texas’ vast natural resources and landscapes. Laura Huffman, Texas state director of The Nature Conservancy, couldn’t imagine a better person to inspire bold action among supporters than one of the world’s leading environmental conservationists and daredevils—Jeff Corwin.
Corwin has been an advocate for the environment and conservation since he was a child. The Emmy Award-winner first gained fame for his many Animal Planet shows including the Jeff Corwin Experience and Corwin’s Quest, and has since moved on to ventures such as CNN’s Planet in Peril, as well as Extreme Cuisine with Jeff Corwin. With his new “100 Heartbeats” project, a critically-acclaimed book and popular NBC documentary, Corwin takes on the world’s extinction crisis and helps audiences understand what they can do to make a difference in the world.
The festivities featured The Nature Conservancy’s Texas State Director Laura Huffman, CEO and editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune; Evan Smith as the M.C; Ted and Katy Flato as the luncheon chairs, and Tim and Karen Hixon as the honorary chairs. This year’s luncheon was a huge success, raising funds for the protection of more than 15 million acres in the United States, and more than 102 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. The Nature Conservancy of Texas maintains 250,000 acres of wild lands in 30 preserves across Texas and, with partners, has conserved nearly 1 million acres for wildlife habitat across the state. Where the wild things are indeed.