Annual Fundraiser Helps Dreams Take Flight

The Elachee Nature Science Center Board of Trustees presents the 2017 Flights of Fancy Benefit & Auction on April 28 to celebrate spring and support children, nature education and conservation.

April 12, 2017 (Gainesville, Ga.) – Elachee Nature Science Center will host its annual fundraiser, the 2017 Flights of Fancy Benefit & Auction, on Friday, April 28, 2017 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Party-goers will gather on Elachee's patio for what has become a favorite, casual evening among the Nature Center’s friends to show their love and support of Elachee and its mission. Art for the Elachee 2017 Flights of Fancy Benefit & Auction invitation is the original composition by Gainesville Middle School (GA) student Shayty Mateos.

Flights of Fancy has a legacy of incredible collaboration among devoted Elachee volunteers, its Board of Trustees, a giving community and staff. In 2016, Elachee's Board of Trustees decided to merge its fall and spring fundraisers into this single annual benefit.  

Event Co-Chair and Elachee Trustee Dr. Jane White shares, “The great thing about Flights is that it’s like Elachee – all about the outdoors and celebrating creativity. It’s so different from other fund raising events. You can come out to support nature education and as a bonus, find a one-of-a-kind Mother’s Day, graduation or wedding gift!”

This laid back evening will feature a delightful chef-prepared, ‘fresh local’ dinner on the breathtaking patio and balcony at Elachee Nature Science Center. The event’s silent and live auctions will showcase an eclectic line-up of whimsical, one-of-a-kind treasures for outdoor entertaining, along with nature-inspired garden and art pieces crafted by community members ranging from local high school students to acclaimed artists.

Abby Murray comments, “Flights of Fancy compares to no other fundraiser because you are immersed in nature under the stars. The silent and live auction items are always unique, especially the garden items.”

Serving on the Flights of Fancy host committee, Abby has a message for other guests: “If your desire is to fund an already exceptional nature center and its ever growing school, you have helped preserve Elachee for generations to come.”

Rounding out the evening, Flights of Fancy guests will have the opportunity to open their wallets for this year’s Fund the Need initiative that will directly support scholarships for children to participate in Elachee’s renowned school programs.

While at Elachee, guests may also visit the recent museum addition, the Pollinator Pass Exhibit and demonstration bee hives, as well as tour the Elachee Nature Academy classrooms, take a peek inside the brand new StarLab Planetarium, and walk the grounds to see what’s new.

“Flights of Fancy comes at the perfect time of year for enjoying all that Elachee offers in a nature setting,” says Robbie McCormac, who has for years served on the Flights of Fancy host committee and is an Elachee Advisory Board member. “The patio and balcony make you feel as if you’re dining within the trees themselves.”

“Getting to mingle, eat and enjoy friends under the sky at Elachee makes this event very unique,” confides Allyson Everett, also serving on the Flights of Fancy host committee. “After going to Flights of Fancy for the first time a few years ago, it is a fundraiser I always look forward to attending. Our daughter attended Preschool at Elachee Nature Academy, and our kids continue to be inspired from their field trips each school year to Elachee. We are lucky to have Elachee in our backyard and love supporting their programs and growth.”

Reservations Recommended

Flights of Fancy individual reserved seating tickets are $85, and include dinner and the beverage bar. Limited reserved seating sponsorships are still available and range from $500 up to $10,000 for parties of two up to tables for 12. Find event details and purchase tickets online at or call to secure your reservation, 770-535-1976.

The Flights of Fancy host committee recommends making a reservation or buying tickets ahead of the event. Parking is free and courtesy shuttles will be running to assist guests in getting to/from their vehicles. Flights of Fancy will be held at Elachee, located off Atlanta Highway, 2125 Elachee Drive in Gainesville.

Thank You to Our Sponsors and Host Committee

Elachee is proud to acknowledge the many sponsors whose financial support is making the 2017 Flights of Fancy possible. Note: this listing represents committed sponsors as of April 20, 2017.

  • Annual Corporate Sponsors Cargill Inc., Mike and Robbie McCormac, Smith Gilliam Williams & Miles PA, Walters Management Company and Willis Investment Counsel
  • Hickory Event Sponsor Murrayville Veterinary Clinic
  • Beech Event Sponsors Big Creek Foods, Brand Properties, Brenau University, Gainesville Flooring, Steve and Gale McKibbon, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Tom and Sally Oliver and Turner Wood & Smith Insurance
  • Dogwood Event Sponsors Alexander Almand & Bangs LLP, Gainesville Motorsports, Dallas and Bobby Gay, Jock and Joyce Hornor, Chestnut Mountain Logistics, Memorial Park Funeral Homes & Cemeteries, South State Bank, Stewart Melvin & Frost, The Longstreet Clinic PC, University of North Georgia and Whitehead Die Casting
  • Maple Event Sponsors BB&T, Liza and Ronny Chapman, Chattahoochee Bank of Georgia, Corso Law Center, Gainesville Urology, Hamilton State Bank, Left Nut Brewing Co., Attorney Kyle M. Moore, Pete and Martha Nesbitt, Rushton & Company and The Norton Agency

The Elachee organization is grateful for the tireless energy of its 2017 Flights of Fancy Co-Chairs Dr. Jane White and Cindy Gay, and the Host Committee: Jennie Clayton, Cathy Cobb, Allyson Everett, Sybil Hall-Beheler, Jock Hornor, Robbie McCormac, Abby Murray, Sally Oliver, Breanne Patterson, Brandi Paul and Morgan Wood

Elachee will thank Gainesville Middle School art student Shayty Mateos at a May 4 ceremony amongst her classmates. Her winning original illustration was chosen for the 2017 Flights of Fancy invitation.

About Elachee Nature Science Center

Elachee Nature Science Center is a private, independently operated 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. For more than 38 years, this premier SACS/AdvancEd-accredited nature center has been instrumental in building environmental literacy for Georgians. 

Elachee engages tens of thousands of visitors annually with quality nature programming through K-12 school field trips and outreach, special events and unique environmental education experiences for children, families and nature lovers. Of note, the Nature Center’s longest running program Camp Elachee has been named the 2017 Best of Hall Summer Camp for its rich history of getting children outdoors during school breaks. The Nature Center’s newest education program is Elachee Nature Academy, the first SACS-accredited Nature Preschool and Nature Kindergarten-1st Grade programs in the southeast. 

Elachee is nestled in one of Georgia’s largest protected green spaces, the 1,440 acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, and is conservator in perpetuity for this regional treasure. Thousands of visitors enjoy 12 miles of pristine hiking trails year round that are maintained by the Nature Center’s staff and volunteer trail crew.

Elachee relies on earned income and tax-deductible donations, corporate sponsorships, planned gifts, grants and fundraising events to fund operations. 

Visit or call 770-535-1976 to schedule a tour.