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One If By Land ...

Christine Baranski is carrying on tradition at the HVA Annual Auction



In her tenth year as chair, Christine Baranski continues to champion HVA and has inspired others to help.

Photo by Douglas Foulke

Over the years the Housatonic Valley Association has worked diligently to address environmental concerns. In existence since 1941, HVA works with over seventy-five organizations and land trusts to protect our natural resources. While it receives many grants and donations, approximately ten percent of its budget comes from the annual HVA Annual Auction, now in its 27th year. 

Actress Christine Baranski has chaired the gala for ten years, having taken over from Diane von Furstenberg, founder of the event. “The Housatonic River is 150 miles long and extends from Pittsfield, Massachusetts through western Connecticut to Stratford,” Baranski explains. “There are hundreds of rivers and tributaries and it covers about 2000 square miles, 1.2 million acres, 82 towns and three states. Pretty remarkable.”

Just as remarkable are the efforts put forth by Baranski and her colleagues in organizing the annual HVA Auction. This year, in addition to Diane von Furstenberg, Seth and Alexi Meyers, Graydon and Anna Carter, to name but a few of the celebrities who form the honorary committee, Baranski has engaged Emmy-Award winning actress Margo Martindale (photo left), who recently bought a house in Kent, to participate as well.“I have become more involved with nature than I have ever been in my life,” says Martindale. “And I’m a country girl from Texas! I want to help in any way I can.”

“More than ever we have to be militant and somehow react to the cutbacks in funding and lack of concern about our environment,” Baranski says. “I am proud to lend my name to this event as are my friends in the area.”

Lynn Werner, HVA executive director, is thrilled with the success of the annual auction. “Last year it raised over $175,000. It’s a wonderful event and having so many people involved encourages others to help our cause. It’s a constant battle to protect all the water bodies in the Housatonic Valley.”

Baranski adds, “The reputation of HVA has grown and attracted more people. We are not in a position to take anything for granted.  We, as citizens have to roll up our sleeves and participate. If we want to save our environment we have to support an organization like the HVA.”

And the auction is one way to help. This year it will take place on Sunday, December 3, 2017 from 1 to 4 pm, at the Washington Primary School. There will be amazing items for purchase, as well good food—and lubricating wine—and the camaraderie of residents who want to help. 

“There is something for everyone,” Baranski says. “Exotic trips, fashion items, cooking classes, garden design. Last year someone won a load of gravel. And in addition to the main event, there is a pre-auction brunch at Linda Allard’s beautiful home.”

“I can’t wait,” says Martindale. “I am so excited to be part of this amazing organization and to live in such a fantastic place. It’s opened a brand new door for me.”

Baranski reminds us: “If we don’t have healthy air and water what do we have? The quality of life in the Litchfield Hills is beautiful—because it’s clean and fresh and reminiscent of the English countryside. And we need to keep it that way.” 

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