Dec 20

A Holiday Gala for Plant Conservation

One of the greatest gifts of being located in Omaha is that the extraordinary generosity of this city and its people has an impact that’s felt all over the globe.

We recently experienced this at the Mulhall’s annual Holiday Gala on November 15, which donated its proceeds this year to support Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium’s plant conservation program, directed by Margaret From. With more than 1,000 people in attendance, the gala raised close to $6,000 for the program and provided guests with the opportunity to meet From and learn more about her work while falling under the spell of Mulhall’s magical holiday décor, listening to the seasonal sounds of local band Domestic Blend, enjoying specialty drinks by Archetype Coffee as well as complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres, and being treated to custom gift tags by professional calligrapher Cheryl Dyer.

“We’ve worked with the zoo on other projects, including City Nature Challenge and Educators’ Day, here at the store, as well as a few educational programs at the Wildlife Safari Park, and we’re really excited to support the incredible work they’re doing with plant conservation, whether it’s the prairies of Western Nebraska or the endangered rainforests of Madagascar,” says Sarah Vanek, education and outreach manager at Mulhall’s.

Many of the holiday displays at Mulhall’s have botanical themes, including a collection of unusual plants throughout their greenhouse – some even resembling the ones From and her team are saving worldwide. “Everything we do is grounded in the beauty of the natural world,” Vanek says. “During the winter when it's cold and dreary, it’s so nice for people to come in to the greenhouse and Christmas Shop to escape for a little while – it’s a lot like visiting the Lied Jungle during the winter.”

Before the event, the Mulhall’s team visited From at her lab to learn more about her work, including bringing Bermuda’s Governor Laffan’s fern, which has been extinct in the wild since 1905, back from extinction. From hopes to direct the funds from the gala toward physically transporting this species back to Bermuda. “They are very fragile, so we have to hand-carry them back,” she says. “It means a great deal to us that Mulhall’s is supporting our efforts. They could not have been more accommodating, and the people we spoke with at the gala could not have been more gracious, interested in, and supportive of our work.”