(This article first appeared in the August 9, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)
This Friday, animal lovers and humanitarians alike will attend the third annual Trunks of Love gala benefitting Veterinarians International. Held at Dopo La Spiaggia in East Hampton, the event will raise money toward the foundation’s mission “to enhance the health of humans, animals, and the environment through the use of sound veterinary care and expertise.”
Katie Cleary of World Animal News will host the festivities with Zara Beard, along with Emmy-nominated actor Dwayne Hill, actress Christine Evangelista, and philanthropist Susan Rockefeller. A cocktail reception will be held from 6 to 7:30 PM with interactive exhibits by Asher Jay, National Geographic Explorer, and a silent auction. Following will be a seated dinner presented by Chef Maurizio Marfoglia.
Founding president Dr. Scarlett Magda is thrilled how everything came together this year. “We’re excited to showcase all three of our programs [Asian Elephant Veterinary Care Program, Todos Santos Rabies Project, and Sauti Moja Livestock Health and Food Security],” Magda expressed. “We’re going to have a vet exhibit where vets are coming in from all over the country to show the audience what it’s like to be in the field.”
New to the Veterinarians International program is its Baby Elephant Milk research project in Myanmar with Dr. Khyne U. Mar, which will be discussed at the benefit. The organization is funding research towards Dr. Mar’s study on how the nutritional value of elephants’ milk changes over the two-year period that a calf will nurse. This research will help to fine-tune and produce a formula to feed baby elephants.
“Ninety percent of what we do is from the generous support of donors. That’s key in allowing the organization to grow,” said Magda.
This year the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center, based in Hampton Bays, offered two of its owls for one of the exhibits during the night’s presentation.
For those with an affinity for live auctions there will be a chance to win items such as a treehouse experience in Costa Rica, artwork from Alexis Rockman and Paul Gerben, a trip to Thailand with Dr. Magda herself to visit Veterinarians International’s Asian Elephant Vet Care Program, and more.
Honorees this year include Penni Ludwig, Cornelia Guest, and the incomparable Dr. Jane Goodall. Jane Gill, Bruce Weber, and Nan Bush will also be honored.
“Penni funded two trucks in our mobile elephant clinic; she catapulted that program and got it off the ground,” said Magda. “Cornelia has been with us since day one, she’s just an amazing humanitarian — she’s rescuing animals from different circumstances and she has her vegan handbag line. Of course Dr. Jane Goodall is not only someone who’s a pioneer in chimpanzee research but also empowering the next generation. It wasn’t a hard decision to get the three of them together, they all sort of have their own contributions. We wanted to have a balanced group of honorees.”
Old Westbury native Cornelia Guest left behind her Long Island home in 2016 to establish an equine sanctuary, Artemis Farm Rescue in Dutchess County. Her life is now essentially dedicated to raising awareness for animals in need.
“I love what Scarlett’s doing because it’s all over the world and I think as a vet she can change so many lives,” Guest offered. “I was thrilled [to be honored], and with Jane Goodall what an honor to be on the same page as her! It’s all about awareness and that’s what we need to do, so if I can help Scarlett in any way doing that I’m all for it.”