With immense support and success, after 15 years the Fisher Fund Wine Tasting and Auction has much to celebrate

From left: Vice-President Advancement Jeff O’Hagan, former Dean, Faculty of Environmental Studies Noël Sturgeon, Dr. Woody Fisher, Valerie Grant and President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton at the 2017 Fisher Fund Wine Tasting & Auction

Some may be surprised to hear that York University spans beyond the borders of Keele Campus, to Glendon in North York and soon to the upcoming Markham Centre.   What may come as a bigger surprise is that York resides beyond Canada—all the way to Costa Rica at York’s Lillian Meighen Wright Centre EcoCampus.

In 1998, Toronto physician Dr. Woody Fisher donated 124 hectares of the Costa Rican Rainforest to York University. In honour of Dr. Woody Fisher, the Faculty of Environmental Studies created the Fisher Fund for Neotropical Conservation to protect this rainforest's habitat.

In support of the Fund, the Fisher Fund Wine Tasting and Auction has been held for the last 15 years. Created in 2002, the Wine Auction has been supported by staff and volunteers of York University’s Division of Advancement and Faculty of Environmental Studies.

FES student volunteers pose with the Fisher Fund Wine Tasting founder in 2015. From left, Rupinder Assi (BES ’09), Alison Ramnarine (BES ’14),  Dr. Woody Fisher, Binesh Lodhi (BES ’15), Pamela Martinez and Craig Stephens (BES ’15)

“The Las Nubes project would not have been possible without the outstanding work and funds garnered through the Fisher Fund wine auction initiative,” said President & Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton. “Dr. Woody Fisher and Valerie Grant have brought together volunteers and supporters who have helped York expand our commitment to sustainable initiatives and advance the future of our international communities.”

The Auction, held each year on The Vaughan Estate, raised over $1.5 million for the EcoCampus. This supported the protection of the biological and ecological value of the Las Nubes Rainforest and adjacent area in southern Costa Rica. With significant achievements in research and conservation programs, as well as environmental education and sustainability, the Auction made immense change in moving forward.

But after 15 years that the auction has come to a graceful end. The ever-increasing costs of fine Bordeaux, the diminishing cellars of faithful donors and the diminishing needs of major buyers were starting to raise red flags about sustaining the auction long-term and, with regret, it was decided that the 2017 Wine Auction would be the last.

The Fisher Fund Wine Tasting & Auction offered collectors and enthusiasts an opportunity to sample and acquire new and rare varieties

“The Las Nubes Project, with the enthusiastic support of our Presidents, our Deans and the wonderfully generous Fisher Fund Friends, has been built on a strong base.  It will undoubtedly continue to go from strength to strength,” said Fisher.

Although the Auction is over, the efforts are anything but stagnant. Jim Love, a wonderfully generous supporter of the Las Nubes Project, has orchestrated the creation of an Endowment Fund which will more than cover the annual funding previously provided by the Auctions and will ensure the future of the Fisher Fund.  It will absolutely encourage future still-to-be-imagined research and education contributions by the Las Nubes Project.

For more information or to contribute to the Fund, please visit https://cause2give.unxvision.com/EDMWeb/DonationForm.aspx?FormID=199&LanguageID=1.