On July 17, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies celebrated with patrons and friends at its midsummer benefit held at Hallam Lake. Visionary Elizabeth Paepcke, who founded the nonprofit in 1968, would have surely enjoyed the elegant evening at the preserve and seeing how the organization has evolved over time while staying true to its mission.
As a charitable gift to Aspen, Paepcke donated her 22-acre property in the West End to become a wildlife sanctuary and environmental center. It has since grown into a robust organization, providing environmental-literacy programs for kids, teens and adults as well as community and business leaders. Year-round programs are focused on science, ecology, natural history, stewardship, forest health, sustainable agriculture and more. And with four locations between Aspen and Carbondale, as well as partnership programs with 42 schools extending to Rifle and beyond, ACES works to build a community of knowledgeable, capable, and motivated environmental stewards.
For the reception last month, guests arrived in stylish lake attire, enjoying cocktails from Woody Creek Distillers on the terrace and posing for group pictures in the photo booth. Dinner was then served in a clear-ceiling tent with a full view of the starry sky, with a locally sourced menu by chef and restaurateur Mark Fischer, wines by Richard Betts and Master Sommelier Jonathan Pullis as the host.
Jayni Chase, a renowned environmental- education advocate and author, and the wife of comedian Chevy Chase, was the honoree and keynote speaker. ACES CEO Chris Lane also spoke about the direction of the growing organization.
The enchanting evening ended with dessert, live music, after-dinner drinks and moonlit boat rides on the water.
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