Over 100 guests, including 80 golfers, came together on June 20 to spend the day on a world-class course and raise money to support the future of conservation. It was our best event yet, bringing in a record-breaking $135,000 to support land and water conservation, stewardship of our preserves, and restoration projects all over the state.
The atmosphere was playful and celebratory, but that doesn't mean the players didn't take the game seriously! Plenty of them came ready to tackle this challenging course, practicing on the driving range and the putting green before the noon starting time. The weather was perfect, 70s and sunny with a few fluffy clouds, which made the day even more enjoyable.
Cocktails and dinner followed, and the atmosphere was celebratory. President David Epstein and Board President Andy Deitz spoke passionately about The Land Conservancy's work and where the organization is headed. Andy introduced our newest project, the Pinelands Preservation Fund, and waxed nostalgic about his childhood in the Pine Barrens. We were honored that two of this year's scholarship winners, Femi Soetan and Amanda Baksa, joined us for dinner as well.
Special congratulations to this year's Gray Cup winners Christopher Golding, Patrick Sullivan, Tim Rittenhouse, and Logan O'Connor, pictured below with former board member Rick Simon. The contest was very close, but they earned their award!
The Gray Cup Invitational Golf Classic is named in honor of former board chair Gray Rogers, who had a remarkable impact on The Land Conservancy of New Jersey. Under his leadership, we grew from a regional land trust to a state leader in open space preservation. Gray had a passion for the outdoors and the natural world, which he channeled into his work on our board of trustees and used to establish our scholarship program. His passing in 2021 made this year's event even more special as we honored his legacy.