Al Fresco Fundraiser

Nature Conservancy celebrates wide open spaces at safari-themed gala under the stars

Nature Conservancy celebrates wide open spaces at gala under the stars

Lucie Harte, Rupert Gerard and Mandy Hixon at Nature Conservancy Gala
Lucie Harte, Rupert Gerard and Mandy Hixon. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Chairs Rick Jenner, Jean Jenner, Mary Jane Gallagher at Nature Consevancy Gala
Rick Jenner and Jean Jenner, Mary Jane and MIke Gallagher. Photo by Dave Rossman
Party Under the Stars/Houston Polo Club Nature Conservancy Gala
The Texas sky was on display for the Houston Annual Conservation Gala. Photo by Dave Rossman
Michelle Beale, Laura Huffman, Richard Anderson at Nature Conservancy Gala
Michelle Beale, Laura Huffman, Richard Anderson. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Kate and Steve Gibson at Nature Conservancy
Kate and Steve Gibson. Photo by Dave Rossman
Abbi and Robert Antablin at Nature Conservancy Gala
Abbi and Robert Antablin. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Zane and Brady Carruth at Nature Conservancy Gala
Zane and Brady Carruth. Photo by Dave Rossman
Sissy and Grady Roberts at Nature Conservancy Gala
Sissy and Grady Roberts. Photo by Dave Rossman
Melissa and Oliver Tuckerman at Nature Conservancy Gala
Melissa and Oliver Tuckerman. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Dana Roy and Linda Elkin
Dana Roy, Linda Elkin. Dave Rossman
Sandy and Clay Spears at Nature Consevancy Gala
Sandy and Clay Spears. Photo by Dave Rossman
Lucie Harte, Rupert Gerard and Mandy Hixon at Nature Conservancy Gala
Chairs Rick Jenner, Jean Jenner, Mary Jane Gallagher at Nature Consevancy Gala
Party Under the Stars/Houston Polo Club Nature Conservancy Gala
Michelle Beale, Laura Huffman, Richard Anderson at Nature Conservancy Gala
Kate and Steve Gibson at Nature Conservancy
Abbi and Robert Antablin at Nature Conservancy Gala
Zane and Brady Carruth at Nature Conservancy Gala
Sissy and Grady Roberts at Nature Conservancy Gala
Melissa and Oliver Tuckerman at Nature Conservancy Gala
Dana Roy and Linda Elkin
Sandy and Clay Spears at Nature Consevancy Gala

The Nature Conservancy in Texas preserves and protects wide open spaces, so it just made sense to let the starry skies reign at Houston's Annual Conservation Gala benefiting The Nature Conservancy at the Houston Polo Club on Thursday night. The open-air evening celebrated the work of the Conservancy with a wild safari theme and an impressive $300,000 raised.

Among the zebra print, cheetah scarves, and Savannah Chic threads, a chatty crowd of more than 300 guests applauded the work by gala chairs Mary Jane and Mike Gallagher and Jean and Rick Jenner. Chevron continued its support of the annual gala as the presenting sponsor.

Always a casually elegant event, the gala is also fun, which is why Laura Huffman, state director of the Nature Conservancy in Texas, kept the speeches to a minimum, but definitely addressed the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the people and land in the Houston area.

“I just want to give all of Houston a big hug,” Huffman said. “Houston, this is what community heart looks like.” 

She announced all proceeds from the gala will be kept in the Houston area and encouraged planner to “rethink the rebuild,” moving forward. The Conservancy’s continued focus on the Gulf Coast and surrounding areas is especially poignant after hurricanes like Harvey.

Strings of Edison lights hung from bare beams and leather couches and knobby wooden tables added a rustic touch to the al fresco evening. Guests swooned over a menu by Swift + Company that included petite Swiss cheese soufflé, quail breast and an elaborate dessert station. The high-energy band Password lit up the dance floor with a Conga line and live performances in the crowd. 

Those spotted at the gala include, Kate and Steve Gibson, Abbi and Rob Antablin, Carolyn and Paul Rizza, Michelle Beale and Dick Anderson, Joni Baird, Melissa and Oliver Tuckerman, Lisa and David Stone and Zane and Brady Carruth.