Land & Environmental

Villager Dennis Moore is shown with the three chairs he constructed from honeysuckle that was pulled from the Glen. The chairs will be auctioned this Saturday, July 17, at the “Whoo Cooks for You?” fundraiser event at Glen Helen. While the dinner tickets are expected to be sold out, preregistered callers may bid on the chairs. Register to bid by calling 769-1902 or online at www.whoocooksforyou.org.

Glen Helen fundraiser dinner—Finally, a use for honeysuckle

When the barred owl sings its inquisitive call “whoo cooks for you?” this weekend, the folks at Glen Helen will have an answer. At a long dinner table at the Raptor Center on Sunday, July 18, area diners in support of the Glen will sit down to enjoy a meal whose origins are both known and local with the area chefs and farmers who grew and prepared the food.

While tickets to the Glen’s first sustainable food fundraiser for the Glen’s Raptor Center will likely be sold out, villagers have another way to get involved. Local engineer and builder Dennis Moore handcrafted three chairs from the spindly wood of the invasive honeysuckle during the most recent clearing event in the Glen. The chairs, built with mortise and tenon joinery, will be auctioned off at 6 p.m. on Sunday evening, and preregistered callers from the outside are welcome to participate.

The auction will begin at $100, and participants who want a chance to get one of the chairs should preregister online at www.whoocooksforyou.org or by calling Liz Schneiders at 769-1902. A volunteer at the dinner on Sunday will represent outside participants by cell phone during the live auction. The chairs have already stirred interest on the Glen’s Facebook page, according to the Glen’s volunteer coordinator Jenny Montgomery, who hopes that the auction can extend the experience of the event beyond the reach of this year’s maximum dining capacity of 50 guests.

Moore, a lifelong woodworker, began building honeysuckle chairs about five years ago. He helped Glen Trail Manager George Bieri to harvest the wood from areas near the Glen Helen Building and the Outdoor Education Center and then used the natural trunks for the frame of the chairs, splitting only the wood for the seats, and spending about 30 hours total on each chair. The wood is untreated but is as unpopular with insects as it is with land stewards, and is likely to last well beyond the five-year-old chair that Moore uses to demonstrate what can be done with the rejected honeysuckle brush, he said.

The Glen hopes to raise about $10,000 from the fundraising event from ticket sales, auction proceeds and private sponsorships, Glen Helen Ecology Institute Director Nick Boutis said this week. The funds will help support the Raptor Center’s $50,000 annual operating expenses, and could become an annual event.

In order to support sustainable agriculture, food must be consumed where it is grown, and local chefs are the key to making the local fare attractive for local diners, Boutis said. The fundraising dinner features chefs from the Winds Cafe and Dayton’s The Meadowlark, Rue Dumaine, Dorothy Lane Market and Seasons Café & Bistro, and area growers such as Orion Organics, Blue Jacket Dairy, Flying Mouse Farms, Morning Sun Farms and Peach Mountain. The event is a celebration of the connection between the land and the people who derive their sustenance from it, Boutis said.

“It all derives from taking care of habitats and taking care of the earth,” he said.

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