Stars Turn Out for the River of Grass

Jimmy Buffett and Zac Brown

Jimmy Buffett and Zac Brown

PALM BEACH, Fla. – Clad in blue jeans and boots and served Southern-style cooking, a cavalcade of stars turned out to support the Everglades Foundation’s ninth annual “ForEverglades Benefit.”

Paul Tudor Jones II, Katie Couric

Paul Tudor Jones II and Katie Couric

TV personality Katie Couric emceed the sold-out program at The Breakers, which benefitted efforts to protect and restore the River of Grass. It marked the 20th anniversary of the Everglades Foundation and raised more than $2 million.

The evening featured a performance by the Zac Brown Band along with Jimmy Buffett. Actor Michael Keaton, who served as honorary chairman, was presented the Everglades Advocacy Award by journalist and best-selling author Carl Hiaasen.

During the program, Everglades Foundation Chairman Paul Tudor Jones II urged the more than 800 guests to continue their support of the Everglades, a unique ecosystem that provides drinking water to more than 7 million Florida residents.

Carl and Fenia Hiaasen

Carl and Fenia Hiaasen

“Its environment has been threatened with collapse and we need your help to protect and restore it,” he said.

The benefit featured a silent auction with bids entered via e-mail for adventure trips to Africa, Argentina, Costa Rica and Islamorada as well as a swamp buggy ride into the heart of the Everglades.

After dinner, Hiaasen, an Everglades advocate, presented an engraved Tibor Everglades Reel to Keaton for his conservation efforts.

As Grammy-winning Zac Brown Band took the stage, guests rushed forward. Midway through their set, the band was joined by Buffett, while the audience sang and danced to such tunes as “Where the Boat Leaves From,” “Volcano,” “A Pirate Looks at 40,” “Toes,” “Free/Into the Mystic” and “Margaritaville.”

Among those who attended were Reps. Patrick Murphy and Tom Rooney; State Sens. Joe Negron and Wilton Simpson; and State House Reps. Mark Pafford, Amanda Murphy and Jamie Grant.

Barbara and Jack Nicklaus

Barbara and Jack Nicklaus

Benefit chairmen were Mary Barley, Eva and Glenn Dubin, Fenia and Carl Hiaasen, Sonia and Paul Tudor Jones II, Elaine and Ken Langone, Kathy and Paul Leone, Michele Henry and Garrison duP. Lickle, Alice and Lorne Michaels, Mary Morse, Barbara and Jack Nicklaus, Ashley and Mike Ramos, Lia Reed, and Toni and Andrew Wilshire.

Co-chairs were Georgina Bloomberg, Mark Dalton, Jennifer and Joseph Duke, Mark Fisher, Tucker Frederickson, Regina and Mario Gabelli, Mercedes and Steve Gotwald, Judy and John Kellner, Judy and Jarrett Kling, Danielle and Kelly Moore, Thalia and Tommy Mottola, and Heather and Beau Wrigley.

Kevin and Minnie McCluskey, Bobby Leidy and Liza Calhoun

Kevin and Minnie McCluskey, Bobby Leidy and Liza Calhoun

Committee members for the Feb. 15, 2014, event were Ramona and Thomas Bean, Brooks Bishop, Michele and Daniel Borislow, Connie and Dan Burkhardt, Katherine Carpenter, Anthony F. Cummings, Bill Davenport and Bruce Wiltsie, Susan and John Dougherty, Mia Celano and Skip Dunn, Cheri and Tom Flood, Kirk Fordham and Michael Cevarr, Susanne and Ramsey Frank, Emily and Harry Grand, Carrie and Paul Hanna, Kerry and Sean Healey, Debbie and Nick Iarossi, Robert P. Leidy, Jr., Sandra and Steve Lessing, Sasha Lickle, Lance Mahaney, Tina and Steve McPherson, Lyn and Robert L. Parks, Sara Groff and Piper Quinn, Nancy and Bill Rollnick, Patrick Rooney, Jr., Maura and Brandon Ross, Jeanne and Michael Sole, Linda and Jared Soper, Susan and Stanley Trotman, Peter Vasconcelos, and Erik T. Waldin.

Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton

The ForEverglades Benefit raises money to support the science, communications, advocacy, education and legal programs of the Everglades Foundation, whose mission is to protect and restore the Everglades.

Its board supports all of the Foundation’s administrative and fundraising expenses, allowing 100% of the money raised at the benefit to directly support its programs.

For more information, visit www.evergladesfoundation.org.

Photos by Lucien Capehart Photography.

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