This weekend, Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT), held its annual gala “An Evening on the Land” at Debbie Butterfield and John Buck‘s ranch off Cottonwood Road in Bozeman, Montana. What a night! And what a celebration of this Valley and the efforts to insure the land is as protected as it can be, all things considered.

The quality of life in Bozeman is shaped by many factors, beginning with nature itself, and then, of course the people who live here. We are blessed as a community to have a number of organizations primarily composed of volunteers which strive to maintain, improve, and grow the very things that go into having a healthy, thriving community.

People in Bozeman are generous, and philanthropic. Those who don’t have the financial resources to write the big checks understand they have their time and talents to contribute.

Deborah Butterfield Horse Sculpture

There are a number who are blessed with both talent and resources. For instance, Debbie Butterfield and John Buck. They have been living here for years, happily married, and both renown artists in their own right. When I am giving property tours to potential buyers, I generally drive pass Debbie and John’s large horse and art studios on Cottonwood and I point out that Debbie is one of America’s premier living sculptors. This weekend, they provided the venue for GVLT to set up a big tent and have 200 plus people gather. Many of these folks, like Debbie and John, have put their lands into Conservation Easement through GVLT. And many at the event have volunteered hours of their time clearing trails overseen by GVLT.

We all make choices of what we contribute. I urge people to get involved with an organization that “speaks” to them because the volunteers and non-profit addresses an area in our Valley that is important and aligned with what the individual holds to be valuable and necessary. GVLT is a non-profit that directly impacts most of us through the fabulous trail systems and open spaces we so love. It is also a non-profit that, lead by the enthusiastic, ethical, and very smart Penelope Pierce, delivers lots of bang for the buck.

It was a great night. My contribution was to work with Master Gardener Janis Barrett and the amazing Barb Weas, along with Alison Totten, Daphne Gillam, and a number of volunteers present at the tent Saturday morning for set-up, arranging the flowers. Many of the flowers came from local gardens, and then Country Flowers generously provided the needed “fillers” at their wholesale cost. The tent looked glorious, mainly due to everyone’s enthusiasm, and the wind howled, the blessed rain poured down, and the band got everyone dancing.