Like most events this year, the annual Harpeth Conservancy River Swing will be virtual.
Instead of creating a video program, the nonprofit will hold a weeklong online auction to support its programs and advocacy efforts.
“We really couldn’t hold a big event this year, as you can imagine, but the neat thing is we still have the silent auction,” said Dorene Bolze, president and CEO of Harpeth Conservancy.
The silent action will have about $40,000 worth of items and packages, ranging from $25 to $5,000, including items and gift cards from Franklin’s Main Street, travel packages, a two-night stay at the Dream Nashville hotel, fly fishing instruction, a guitar signed by Vince Gill, a songwriting session with JB Strauss, a guitar lesson from Marc Ford of the Black Crowes and more.
“Normally, the auction is really great and will still continue to be great, so we’re just thankful for our donors, but we need people to bid to protect our rivers,” said Haylee Hall, development director for the organization.
The Harpeth Conservancy started out focused on the Harpeth River, but now the organization works statewide to educate the public about keeping the waterways clean and healthy, to advocate during legislative sessions for the protection of Tennessee rivers and to monitor the safety of the water so residents and visitors can enjoy the natural land features.
Bolze said patrons can purchase a $250 ticket to support one of the nonprofit’s Conservation Conversations events and river cleanup events. A $500 ticket will help cover lab costs for the Harpeth Conservancy’s E. coli testing throughout the summers, which help the organization keep the public informed about the safety of the rivers and ensure the state standards around sewage are being followed. A $2,500 gift will represent a whole “table” of guests and will help fund the organization’s advocacy efforts and conservation projects, during which the nonprofit team works with local, state and sometimes federal officials to keep the rivers healthy.
“We know this is a difficult year, and we’ve been really thrilled that a lot of our corporate sponsors have been able to come through and continue to support our mission, which is great,” Bolze said. “We obviously hope that people who normally come to the event, if they would’ve normally planned to, they can still support our efforts by officially buying a virtual ticket, if you will.”
Bolze said this event typically provides about a third of the money needed to fund the nonprofit’s efforts annually.
“The virtual support this year, now more than ever, is so important,” Hall said. “People have been getting on the rivers more than ever, and we need to continue our work to protect them and keep them healthy and safe.”
The online auction will run from Monday, Oct. 19, to Sunday, Oct. 25. To learn more about this year’s virtual River Swing, visit harpethconservancy.org/river-swing.