Decked Out fundraiser raises over $50k for the Inland Bays

DDA Secretary Michael Scuse (left) served as auctioneer during the very lively Gallery One art auction. Photo by Matt Sprague.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays’ annual Decked Out fundraiser took place on Thursday, Sept. 30 and raised over $50,000 for the protection and restoration of the Inland Bays.

Following a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, this year’s event was held in-person at Big Chill Beach Club in Delaware Seashore State Park and included a live art auction featuring pieces from 11 Gallery One artists. The evening also included a silent auction and a performance by local musician, Keith Mack.

Representatives Ruth Briggs King and Ron Gray were in attendance and addressed the crowd. As a result of their leadership, Sussex County legislators and the State of Delaware have contributed nearly $400,000 to the Lessons in Nature at James Farm Ecological Preserve capital campaign. Photo by Matt Sprague.

Proceeds from the event will go toward protecting and restoring the Inland Bays through science, research, restoration and education. A portion of proceeds will specifically support the Lessons in Nature at James Farm Ecological Preserve capital campaign, which is raising funds for improvements that will allow the Center to expand its environmental education efforts.

Other initiatives supported by the funds raised include important restoration and protection projects such as our Diamondback Terrapin Gardens, citizen science surveys, and public education opportunities at the James Farm Ecological Preserve.

“We are so thankful to the community for their support through this event,” said Chris Bason, the Center’s Executive Director. “Any progress made on restoring these important estuaries wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of individuals and businesses that share in our vision of cleaner, healthier Inland Bays for all to enjoy.”

More than 30 individuals, businesses and organizations sponsored this year’s Decked Out event. Lead sponsor was Ørsted, who also made generous contributions directly to some of the Center’s projects. Other high-level sponsors included Big Chill Beach Club, Absolut Vodka, Ashton Pools by Design, Bioenergy Devco, Delmarva Power, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Pegasus Foundation, Pettus-Crowe Foundation, Sussex Conservation District, GFL Environmental, John and Cheryl Grandy, and Patricia and Bob Ragan.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a non-profit organization established in 1994, and is one of 28 National Estuary Programs. With its many partners, the Center works to preserve, protect and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays and their watershed. Learn more at

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