FINEVIEW – An auction format that has exploded in popularity for a seasoned auctioneer will benefit the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center when the Facebook Live event is held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on August 17.
Proceeds from the auction will go to support Friends of the Center de la nature Inc., the non-profit partner that supports the establishment.
The Minna Anthony Common Nature Center on Wellesley Island is one of the largest natural centers in the New York State park system. It sits on a 600 acre peninsula on Wellesley Island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. Its 8 miles of hiking trails and 7 miles of cross-country ski trails are a highlight of the facility.
The first guided trail walks were offered to park campers on Memorial Day 1968. The Nature Center building opened on August 14, 1969. In 2019, the center celebrated a renovation of the Nature Center building .
Among the findings applied to the project, “The Friends” raised nearly $ 900,000 through grants and donations.
The plan for the profit auction has been in the works for less than two months, but organizer Darlene M. Sourwine, Outreach Coordinator at the Nature Center, has been overwhelmed by public support.
“It’s pretty amazing how the community and everyone reached out,” she said.
But it was chance that triggered the idea of the auction.
Ms. Sourwine and her husband, Stephen C., are dairy farmers in Alexandria Bay. They often buy equipment from Governor auctioneer Donald Peck. Mr Peck has been running Facebook Live auctions since last spring, when lockdowns began during the pandemic.
Mr. Peck was one of the sponsors of a Night for the Wild held on July 8 at the center when the community came together to support the center and enjoyed the food, drinks and music of the Buoys. Rockers.
In July, when the Sourwines went to Gouverneur to pick up some items they had successfully bid on, Mr Peck told Ms Sourwine that he often supports nonprofits. The idea for the August 17th auction was then born, with Mr Peck telling Ms Sourwine that he would offer his services for it.
“I spoke to our nonprofit board and said, ‘Let me run with this,’” Ms. Sourwine said. “They said, OK,” and my God, it’s amazing how people find out. They come out of the woods.
Ms. Sourwine posted flyers in the Alexandria Bay and Clayton areas.
“I got calls for amazing donations,” she said.
Among them: a 2009 Honda CRV with 100,301 miles and a vintage Ford farm tractor. The CRV was donated by Reid Beadel. The tractor donor wishes to remain anonymous, said Sourwine.
Items for suggested donations include lightly used household items, kitchen utensils, lawn and garden supplies, functional electronics, and antiques.
There are two drop-off locations, with specific times, where and when items can be dropped off. Volunteers will take care of the pitches. Locations are Wellesley Island State Park, in the parking lot near its entrance, on the left before the tollgate and at the Town of Alexandria Bay Recreation Center, 39 Bolton Ave.
Drop-off times: Wednesday from 4.30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Mr. Peck has been a licensed auctioneer since 1972. Until early 2020, he regularly held in-person auctions at his Gouverneur auction house. They took place weekly during the warmer months, and every two weeks in January, February and March.
“When the crown struck, I had like four estates in my warehouse ready to sell during the winter months,” Mr. Peck said.
But the pandemic has prevented public gatherings.
“So I tried one night to try out a Facebook Live auction,” he said.
He prepared about 10 “small items” from his home and went live.
“I immediately had 80, 90, 100 people watching the auction,” Mr. Peck said.
At a live auction, in person, he said, he would typically get 75 to 100 people.
“The prices were selling very well, so I attributed that to the unemployment and the people who were getting the funds and wanted something to do,” Peck said. “So now I do all my auctions this way. I have, on average, between 200 and 250 subscribers per auction, some up to 600. “
Most of Mr. Peck’s successful bidders are local residents who come to collect their goods. It is very rare when the auctioneer has to send something out of the region.
“I do pretty much everything on Facebook Live now, unless someone wants to do it the other way around,” he said. “I can also come directly into your home. The key is to have internet service. I need a Wi-Fi connection. I can sell your furniture directly from your living room, your bedroom. I walk around the house and sell them. People come to pick them up the next day. It works very well.
M. Peck, also Director of the Governor / St. Lawrence County Fair, said it does at least five Facebook Live auctions per week. It will begin its 50th year in the auction business in January.
“I’m at the age where I kind of want to start talking about retirement and I’m probably working harder now than I’ve ever done during the auctions,” he said.
It is not uncommon for Mr Peck to donate his skills as an auctioneer to a non-profit organization. He has auctioned off for organizations such as Governor Elks and Lions, Governor Library, Friends for Paws, and St. James Catholic Church in Gouverneur.
Ms Sourwine said she believed the popularity of the planned auction at the center was related to the roots she had established in the community, as people who hear about the auction share their memories and what it does. means for the riparian community.
“Even my husband grew up coming here,” she said. “He played a big role in helping me and getting the word out verbally.”
Ms. Sourwine is also a longtime supporter of the center and its group “Friends”.
“I’ve watched for years all the wonderful things this non-profit organization has done for the Nature Center, school programs, and all other family and environmental education programs throughout the year.” , she said. “It’s wonderful to see how the State and Friends have come together to make the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center a place where you always want to be a part of your life.”
The center is named after Minna Capron Anthony Common. His ancestors in the Anthony family were among the first settlers of the town of LeRay in 1803 and moved to the town of Pamelia in 1837 and later to Watertown. Catherine C. Johnson, a renowned artist, naturalist and matriarch of the Johnson newspaper family, was the daughter of James Allison and Minna. Ms Johnson, who died in 2004, was one of the leaders in establishing the Friends of the Wild Center.