Donations for the 2009 Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society Harvest Banquet include some of the finest local sculptures, carvings, photos and prints from artists across the region.

Inspired by the natural world around them, and the work of one organization to preserve it, artists from across the region are using their collective creativity to raise money to save injured wild animals on Vancouver Island.

The exquisite work of local artist such as Malcolm Jolly, Wesley Clark and Nancy Street will be up for auction Sept. 26 during the 2009 Harvest Banquet, the annual fund raising gala for Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society.

Work available at the silent and live auctions also includes prints from Comox Valley painter W. Allan Hancock, the fantastic landscape photography of Derek Vallintine and a Killer Whale Cedar Carving by Quatsino First Nation artist Clarence Nelson.

“I am always amazed at the creativity of the artists who live in this region,” said Mary Jane Maj Birch, MARS Director of Operations. “Their generosity and desire to help us help wildlife, to carry on with our conservation and educational programs inspires us to do the best we can.”

MARS will host its annual Harvest Banquet gala fundraiser Sept. 26 at the Florence Filberg Centre to raise the money that allows the centre to help hundreds of injured wild animals each year.

Since 1995, MARS has operated a designated Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Merville specializing in small and young native wildlife, mammals, birds, waterfowl and raptors, monitors and rescues eagles. They also ransport mammals to other rehabilitation centres on the West Coast. The centre’s energy is totally directed towards rehabilitation, conservation and education and the funding of those endeavors.

Tickets for the Harvest Banquet (which features local food, wine and beer as well as entertainment from the Valley’s own Todd Butler) are now on sale as well. They are $50 a piece or $375 for a table of eight with proceeds going to support the operational costs of MARS. The tickets are for sale at the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce or by calling MARS at (250) 337-2021.