Zoo’s Gala Auction Sets Record

Whitney Bylin, Tom Quick, Michele Kessler, James Berwind and Samantha Storkerson

Whitney Bylin, Tom Quick, Michele Kessler, James Berwind and Samantha Storkerson

PALM BEACH, Fla. — “A Garden in the Wild” flourished at The Breakers on behalf of the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society.

Supporters at the zoo’s annual gala raised $1.19 million, according to Andrew Aiken, president and CEO of the zoo, including a record-setting haul from the charity auction.

Nancy Rogers, Karin Luter, Don Burns

Nancy Rogers, Karin Luter and Don Burns

James D. Berwind chaired the gala. Michele Kessler was honorary chair, Whitney Wood Bylin and Thomas C. Quick served as event chairmen and Samantha Storkerson was auction chair.

The nearly 400 supporters who attended the evening were able to come face-to-face with some of the zoo’s animals, who were brought to The Breakers and handled by the zoo’s wildlife staff.

Jamie Niven, chairman of Sotheby’s the Americas, served as auctioneer for the evening. The auction raised a record $210,000 for the zoo along with $148,000 in support of the zoo’s outreach and education programs.

Tim and Christie Gannon

Tim and Christie Gannon and friends

Among the items up for auction was a pair of diamond chandelier earrings from Kaufmann de Suisse of Palm Beach and Montreal. The 18-carat white gold earrings, donated by Moneca Kaufmann, featured 3.65 carats of sparkling fine diamonds.

During the evening, the zoo announced that Karin Luter would be the inaugural winner of the newly established Gala Stewardship Award. Luter was last year’s honorary chair, and chaired both the 2011 and 2012 galas.

The zoo also recognized board member Stephen Myers and his wife JoAnna for their support. Myers recently purchased Jaguar Palm Beach, which is the zoo’s newest corporate sponsor and sponsor of its jaguar habitat.

Nancy Rogers won the rights to name the zoo’s endangered baby Baird’s tapir. The calf was born in March.

Click photos to enlarge.

As part of the festive décor, each table featured live centerpiece “table gardens” designed by Tom Mathieu of Tom Mathieu & Company, Inc., which showcased zoo animal photos taken by wildlife photographer Budge Jamison and available to Table Garden sponsors to take home. The remainder were to be returned for planting at the zoo.

Chairman’s Committee members of the Jan. 31, 2014, gala included Lillian and Luis Fernandez, Candace and William Hamm, III, Ann and Charles Johnson, Karin and Joseph Luter, Susan and Lloyd Miller, Amy and John Phelan and Katharine and William Rayner.

For more information, visit www.palmbeachzoo.org.

Photos by Lucien Capehart Photography.

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