Each year, the Fisher Fund Wine Tasting and Auction not only brings together some of York University’s top supporters and wine collectors, but serves as an opportunity to unite this group in support of environmental research that holds importance at a local and global level. The Sunnybrook Vaughan Estate was home to more than 85 guests this year for 14th annual event, raising more than $116,000 for the Las Nubes Project.
This year’s event also unveiled the much anticipated launch of York University’s EcoCampus in Costa Rica in association with the Las Nubes Project. At the epicenter of the EcoCampus now stands the Lillian Meighen Wright Centre (LMWC). This landmark building was made possible by a transformational donation from The Lillian Meighen and Don Wright Foundation. Their generous gift to the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) made it possible to purchase the property and to construct a 400-square-metre facility overlooking the Peñas Blancas River. With additional generous contributions from James B. and Joanne Love, Professor Adrienne Perry and The Reverend Don Downer, York University purchased additional plots of land surrounding the LMWC to allow for expansion.
The LMWC offers indoor classrooms and laboratories, an outdoor indigenous classroom and an arboretum. It operates as a local, national and international hub dedicated to education and research on Neotropical conservation, eco-health, community wellbeing and the sustainable livelihoods of those who live and work in the area. Starting in 2017, students will have the opportunity of taking a semester abroad at the EcoCampus – an experiential program oriented to hands-on learning offering many courses from FES.
At the Fisher Fund Wine Tasting and Auction event this year, guests bid on a wide array of fine wines and silent auction items as well as a took part in a paddle raise that alone raised an astounding $14,000. The paddle raise funds will go directly towards the installation of solar panels at the LMWC.
“Conserving and preserving the neotropical rainforest is, and hopefully always will be, the whole point of Las Nubes,” remarked Toronto physician Dr. Woody Fisher. “We are indeed making progress. We have even had some impact! But what we have accomplished to date is not even the end of the beginning.”
Fisher donated the Las Nubes cloud forest to York in 1998, and he and Valerie Grant are the dedicated leaders behind the successful event.