On September 28 the Turtle Conservancy held its third annual Turtle Ball at The Bowery Hotel in New York City. The evening brought together artists, tastemakers, scientists, and the media who all came out to support the Turtle Conservancy’s global conservation work and to raise important funds and awareness for threatened turtles and tortoises around the world.
The gala was hosted by Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber, Susan Rockefeller, Rick Ridgeway, and Eric Goode, and this year Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was honored for his environmental work. Richard Branson, Rick Ridgeway, and Robert Kennedy all gave impassioned speeches about conservation and the importance of protecting turtles and tortoises and their habitats. Fisher Stevens, Griffin Dunne, Liev Schreiber, and Julian Sands MC’d the evening with humor and flair.
The art auction featured works by such renowned artists as Walton Ford, Peter Beard, Christopher Wool, Ross Bleckner, Chuck Close, Richard Prince, Tom Sachs, Julian Schabel, Kenny Scharf, John Lurie, Francesco Clemente, Bruce Weber, Terry Richardson, Steven Klein, Nan Goldin, and David LaChapelle. Also featured were vacations to two of the world’s most exotic hideaways, Necker Island and Cuixmala, and a day of falconry with Robert Kennedy. The highlight of the evening was a bid for the right to name a new tortoise, which raised funds for the purchase of land in Mexico to protect this desert tortoise.
Some notable guests included Ted Danson, Leonardo DiCaprio, John Malkovich, Edward Norton, Gina Gershon, Cheryl Hines, Patti Smith, Graydon Carter, Chris Blackwell, and Helena Christensen. After dinner, the all-female mariachi band Flor de Toloache played to a rapt audience.
The remarkable generosity of so many people helped raise $700,000, which will enable the Turtle Conservancy to create two new nature preserves dedicated solely to the protection of endangered tortoises.