Trees Atlanta, which has put more than 75,000 trees in the ground across metro Atlanta, appeals to an important constituency: tree huggers.
But Danny Roberts wants to blend delicious food, drink, music and art into an evening with the hopes of changing that and raising funds to support the nearly 25-year-old organization and its work to improve the urban landscape.
So he’s partnered with friend Puja Chaudhari to expand a generic fundraiser first held last year into REVIVAL1, a five-hour event set for Saturday at Tree Atlanta’s Cabbagetown offices. (Tree huggers take note: The center is platinum LEED certified.)
And if the connection isn’t apparent between Tree Atlanta’s mission and the gay city dwellers who enjoy the trees they plant, Roberts offers this: Make the event your pre-party for a night on the town – the $15 admission brings with it food and plenty of booze – or enjoy the After Party at Halo in Midtown.
“Obviously, I am a tree hugger,” Roberts says jokingly about his involvement with the nationally-recognized citizens group. “The work that they do around the city is easy to overlook. They are not just out plopping trees in the ground. It takes years of taking care for the trees to make them grow. There is so much involved in what seems like a simple task.”
Roberts, a Georgia native and UGA graduate, is well known among gay fans of MTV’s “Real World,” where in 2000 he and then-boyfriend Paul Dill sparked a national conversation about the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” prohibition against openly gay members of the military. At the time, Dill was serving in the Army and his identity was masked on the show.
Roberts bounced around after the show, leaving the “Real World” house in New Orleans for stints in Seattle and New York before moving to Atlanta and returning to Georgia in 2008 after a 10-year absence. It wasn’t long after his arrival in Atlanta that he jumped on board with Trees Atlanta to plan what became the precursor to REVIVAL1 to help broaden the group’s appeal beyond its core constituency.
“The idea is REVIVAL1 stimulates all of your senses. It’s the idea of Trees Atlanta reviving the city’s natural canopy and that combined with the idea of us reviving our senses,” Roberts says. “I don’t want it to be the typical crowd of tree huggers. We are working hard to make this party interesting and fun for different types of people.”
Roberts hopes the event draws a crowd of more than 300 people to raise funds for Trees Atlanta and learn more about the group’s mission. In a down economy, even an established organization like this one sees its financial support reduced, he says.
“Where else are you going to find a party where you can eat and rink for $15? Make it your pre-party. And football games are no excuse for not coming,” Roberts says.
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