Flannel shirts and boots were the apparel of choice, the aroma of chili and smoked salmon filled the room, and folk music added to the atmosphere of a night in an Adirondack lodge.
The setting, however, was not the rolling mountains in northern New York, but the Connecticut Audubon Center on Burr Street in northern Fairfield, which hosted its annual Adirondack Night fundraising event Thursday.
The event supports Connecticut Audubon's educational programming. And the theme was set by music performed by the Salty Dogz folk band, smoked Scottish salmon, a silent auction offering bird- and nature-themed items, three varieties of homemade chili and smoked salmon, and visits by a few of the Audubon Center's resident creatures.
It was the first Adirondack Night for Alex Brash, Connecticut Audubon's new president. He called the evening "a wonderful social event in town that also highlights a great conservation message about the beauty and fragility of our Earth."
Brash, who assumed the post last September from Bob Martinez, said he has been a "Nutmegger" for most of his life. He brings to the table experience that includes a former position with the World Wildlife Fund, chief park ranger for New York City and work with the Northeastern Regional Division for the National Parks Conservation Association.
"The Connecticut Audubon Society is uniquely poised as we go into the 21st century to continue to provide preeminent environmental education programs," Brash said of the organization's mission. It will "serve as a great place for families to visit and be a leader in advocating for sound environmental policies in the state that are also a key to human health."
"My goals in the near future are to triple membership, open new sites across the state and broaden our outreach, as well as re-open Fairfield's beautiful Birdcraft Museum," he continued.
The Birdcraft Museum on Unquowa Road has been undergoing extensive renovations, with exterior work now complete and a second phase is underway on the interior to provide exhibits inside that showcase birds as an important element of the life sciences, he said.
"As we move into the future, everyone is awakening to understand the delicate nature of our planet and our connection with other species for our survival," Brash said. The Audubon can play a pivotal role in the long run."
For more information about the Connecticut Audubon Society and its program, visit www.ctaudubon.org