Land trust benefit concert: Such a night! |

Land trust benefit concert: Such a night!

With his feathers and dangling gris-gris bags, Dr. John's haunted voodoo groove bubbled out of the piano like funky primordial ooze. Allen Toussaint warmed us up by playing classy and uplifting old-school R&B.

On Sunday, Sept. 22, the 11th annual benefit concert for Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) was presented by The Center for the Arts. The event celebrated local landscapes and the arts while securing funding for important conservation work.

Before the concert, Dr. John said, "I am honored to do this particular benefit for the Bear Yuba Land Trust and I feel good that it is for farmers, people of the land and wildlife habitats. I am very involved in preserving the wetlands in Louisiana, and so I can relate to this mission as it is close to my heart. I think it's a great and spiritually hip thing that music and the arts can help serve to protect our land."

The Center for the Arts put on the concert at the historic North Star House. This is the third year the center has collaborated with the land trust for this benefit, and we thank them and Julie Baker for making it a huge success. They put together a great line-up of New Orleans-style music that included our two major headliners and four local bands: Honeysweet, Beaucoup Chapeaux, Earles of Newtown and Leta's Blues.

We also thank our sponsors, including AJA Video and Living Wild Project, the 200-plus volunteers, and all who attended and bought auction items donated by more than 130 local businesses. A special thank you goes to Chef Antonio Ayestaran and his staff and the local farmers who worked so hard to make the Back to the Land dinner and gala a memorable occasion. We hope you enjoyed yourselves under the stars with the historic backdrop of the North Star House. We are able to do this conservation work only because our community supports it.

For more than two decades, the Bear Yuba Land Trust has preserved thousands of acres of open space for agriculture, recreation and natural habitat. Each year, BYLT builds local trails, leads dozens of hikes and offers summer nature camps for children.

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Funds raised from the concert will go directly toward important Land Trust projects. Garden Bar Preserve, a 652-acre working cattle ranch and beautiful oak woodland on the Bear River was acquired in August. Rice's Crossing, a new Yuba River parkway spanning eight miles between South Yuba River State Park and Bullard's Bar Reservoir, will be acquired later this year. In addition, BYLT is working to conserve 10,000 acres of PG&E lands that will be made available for public recreation and habitat protection — including Bear Valley and a 10-mile Bear River corridor trail.

Marty Coleman-Hunt is the executive director of Bear Yuba Land Trust.

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