Preparations kick off for Trust annual fundraiser

From left, volunteers Casey Van Eyssen, Michelle Davis, Dianne Fite and Peter Hillenbrand at the 2015 auction.
From left, volunteers Casey Van Eyssen, Michelle Davis, Dianne Fite and Peter Hillenbrand at the 2015 auction.

The Little Cayman District Committee for the National Trust will hold its 24th Annual Easter Auction on Saturday, March 26.

Funds from each auction are used for projects on Little Cayman which support National Trust of the Cayman Islands’ mission to preserve natural environments and places of historic significance for present and future generations of the islands.

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Peter Hillenbrand and the late Gladys Howard at the 2015 auction.

While the date seems far in the distance, the preparations for this annual event start well in advance, ensuring the popular and routinely successful fundraiser goes off without a hitch.

Organizers noted that the date will be upon them soon and planning needs to start now.

“Easter is earlier this year and will be here before you know it,” said committee chairwoman Betty Bua-Smith.

As always, the auction will be at the National Trust house with a food booth outside and beverages indoors provided for attendees.

“The way it works usually is that we start off with a silent auction, and then halfway through the event, at about 6:30, we begin the live auction,” said Ms. Bua-Smith.

“Then halfway through that, we do a special projects event, and this year that special project is to add to our land purchase fund.”

She added that after the live auction, there is an additional 20 minutes for last-minute bids on select silent auction items.

“Our event is always a great success, and we are hoping to raise some really good money to find land for booby birds, iguana nesting or environmental preservation,” she said.

Organizers of the 2015 auction noted that event was a great success, allowing for a number of things that were needed to protect the habitat of the indigenous rock iguana from the invasive green iguana in Little Cayman to happen.

“Necessary equipment has been purchased, people have been trained on its use, and efforts have been coordinated with those of the Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac Trust districts. This will be an ongoing effort over the coming years,” the committee pointed out in a letter to Trust members and friends.

The committee noted that auction items which are most popular are those that represent Cayman, especially sea life, birds and land animals and landscape. Bidders especially like works by local artisans and artists. Cash donations, particularly from those unable to attend, are also welcomed. The committee’s goal in 2016 is to raise funds to purchase more rock iguana habitat.

The Easter Auction will be held at the Little Cayman Trust House on March 26.
The Easter Auction will be held at the Little Cayman Trust House on March 26.

“As the population and number of homes and cars on Little Cayman increases, it has become even more important to expand the protected nesting and living areas for the rock iguana,” the committee noted.

Contributions in previous years led to the group acquiring an important nesting area at Preston Bay, as well as the construction of a boardwalk to allow visitors to enjoy the site with minimal impact.

The criteria for the land purchases include the importance of the site to rock iguanas for feeding, nesting or mating, proximity to other protected land, to create large core areas for the activities of iguanas, importance of the site for other endangered species, including birds, amphibians, other reptiles and plants, the ecological diversity of the land and habitat to be protected, and the historical significance of the site for Little Cayman.

For more information on the auction, contact Betty Bua-Smith at 948-1077 or 325-1097.