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Conservation Dinner raises more than $50,000

The Conservation Dinner and Auction raised more than $50,000 for community.


Conservation Dinner auction, held in person in 2023, raises more than $50,000 for community
Charitable fundraising auction was cancelled in 2020, held virtually in 2021 and 2022 and returns as live event in 2023

The Conservation Dinner, a charitable fundraising auction of the Exeter Lions Club and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, returned as an in-person event on April 20, 2023. The community fundraiser was cancelled in 2020 during the pandemic and held online as a virtual auction in 2021 and 2022. The Dinner Committee organizing the 2023 event said supporters were enthusiastic about its return. There were almost 350 people who attended the auction on April 20. The money raised at the auction event, in addition to a generous $10,000 individual donation from the Rasenberg family, combined to raise a total of more than $50,000 for needed projects in local communities.

Dave Frayne is Chair of the Conservation Dinner Committee. He thanked all the donors, patrons and volunteers who made the Conservation Dinner a success. The Conservation Dinner has raised more than $1.335 million, for the community, over its 33-year history.

Scott Rasenberg presented the $10,000 donation, on behalf of his family, to Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, at the April 20 community fundraising event.

“In this community we are so blessed to have Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation and the Exeter Lions Club to help establish a great many memories for everyone’s enjoyment,” he told the crowd of close to 350 people. “The trail, and the fishing derby at Morrison Dam, have been paramount in building a passion for nature, and for being outdoors, in people of all ages, not only in our community but the community surrounding South Huron,” he said. “Over the years, our family members have been fortunate enough to take part in the events held by your organization. We wish to offer our support of this great cause. We thank you for the care you take to maintain local conservation within our community.”

The Conservation Foundation supports projects such as commemorative woods, accessible trails and facilities, nature areas and conservation lands and conservation education opportunities for local young people. “I’m at a loss for words,” said Brian Horner, General Manager and Secretary-Treasurer of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority. “We’re very fortunate to have the Rasenberg family in our area,” he said. He called the donation an act of amazing generosity.

In addition to more than $50,000 raised, there was also more than $6,000, at the April 20 event, in generous individual donations to Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. After the live auction was completed, Exeter Lions Club Past President Mark Keller invited people to support the Dog Guide program. There were 30 people who volunteered to donate $200 each towards the cost of having a Dog Guide trained for someone in the area who needs one. Andrea Stevens and Sarah Pelleterio, representatives of Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides, brought dog guides in training to the Conservation Dinner auction event for a demonstration of their exceptional skills.

The money raised at the 33rd Conservation Dinner, in 2023, supports local projects. These projects include recreation such as a family-friendly fishing derby, nature education and events, trails and parks and conservation areas, a youth educational bursary award, habitat enhancement for aquatic species, and a summer employment experience for youth to work in the conservation field.

The Conservation Dinner took place at South Huron Recreation Centre in Exeter. The annual charitable event featured live and silent auctions and special raffles and general raffles.

Find out more at and the Ausable Bayfield Conservation website

PHOTO – 33rd CONSERVATION DINNER RETURNS TO IN-PERSON EVENT IN 2023 – After one missed year, and two years of holding the auction virtually online, the Conservation Dinner returned to an in-person event in 2023. Shown at the community fundraiser on April 20, 2023 are (from left to right in photo): Brian Horner, General Manager and Secretary-Treasurer of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA); Lee Finkbeiner, President of the Exeter Lions Club; Dave Frayne, Chair of the Conservation Dinner Committee and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF); and Marissa Vaughan, Chair of the ABCA Board of Directors.

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