Thursday January 27, 2011 | 10:02 PM

The Friends of Casco Bay held a party tonight at the Cole Haan headquarters in Yarmouth to recognize all the volunteers and supporters who help the organization protect the health of one of our region's most valuable and appreciated assets.

The party included a huge spread of sandwiches, cut veggies and Ocean Approved kelp appetizers, made from kelp cultivated and harvested in Casco Bay.

Guests also enjoyed a selection of Allagash beer, Capt'n Eli's soda and locally made wine, all of which were served up by Jesse Baines, of Friends of Casco Bay.

Following the cocktail hour, we moved into the auditorium for two award presentations and updates on the state of the organization.

Peter Milholland, the organization's citizen stewards coordinator, presented the first award to water quality monitoring volunteer Darren McLellan of Cape Elizabeth. He received the Volunteer Appreciation Award, which took the form of a clock with a marine chart featuring the area where Darren does his sampling.

The second and final award - the Casco Bay Award - was given to the whole Bennett family. The Bennetts own Oakhurst Dairy, which is a recognized environmental leader for its investments in solar generation and energy efficient vehicles. They each received a commemorative glass globe and collectively received a framed chart of the bay.

From left, the photo features board president Malcolm Poole, Althea Bennett McGirr, Mary Ellen Bennett Tetreau, Jean Bennett Driscoll, Bill Bennett, John Bennett and Friends of Casco Bay executive director Cathy Ramsdell. Family members Stanley Bennett (who serves on the board) and Priscilla Bennett Doucette were unable to make it to the event, but were included in the honor.

I'll have lots more details about the event - and of course more photos - in the Feb. 6 edition of the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Until then, I hope to see you out and about.

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Avery Yale Kamila dishes about southern Maine's hottest parties.

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