Big Creek Campaign Well Underway

Friends gathered on November 29th at the Almonte Barley Mow to remember Joel Byrne and to celebrate his wonderful gift to the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust of what will become the Byrne Big Creek Nature Preserve near McDonalds Corners. MMLT hosted the event to bring together friends to help make this a reality.

The Big Creek Campaign was launched the previous day on Giving Tuesday with a big boost from Irene’s Pub in Ottawa and its pledge to match donations up to $5,000. Frank Johnson spoke on behalf of his daughter and son-in-law, owners of Irene’s, Kara-Lee and Alex Golota, when he expressed their commitment to preserving wild places and their confidence in the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust as responsible stewards of this special property for future generations to share.

The crowd was delighted when the campaign passed the $5,000 target in private donations to trigger Irene’s Pub’s matching commitment.  In fact, this achievement inspired another offer to match the next $5,000 in personal donations. The campaign is on its way to that new milestone.

But the evening, and excitement, was not yet over. The fund got another big boost when the President of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, Brenda Boyd, took the floor to express fond memories of Joel who was a long-time faithful member of that club, and in his memory made a very substantial gift to the campaign. There is a strong and abiding relationship between the two organizations, she said, and the feeling was clearly mutual.

The 50 friends who were gathered for the festivities got a special treat when members of the Rhythm and Song Community Choir, under the direction of Jennifer Noxon, showed up after practice and provided an impromptu concert to close out the evening. A good time was had by all.