A group of Earthplace supporters got their feet wet Thursday evening, launching a charitable fundraiser for the local nature center’s Harbor Watch program.

Paddleboarders and kayakers hit the Saugatuck River at sunset during the event. Participants were accompanied by experienced paddlers from Down Under Kayaking, who helped them get their sea legs.

“It’s really more of a friend-raiser,” said John Hartwell, a former Earthplace board vice president. “The point is to connect the members and supporters of Earthplace with the various activities around town.”

The Harbor Watch program gathers data about area waterways and promotes issues to safeguard water quality in watersheds.

“We thought it would be fun,” Dale Rice of Westport said about the event, which in addition to the river paddling, included light dinner and drinks afterward on shore.

“We love to kayak,” she said, “and it’s for a good cause. We happen to be very involved with Harbor Watch.”

“The Down Under people have been very helpful,” Hartwell said, and “very supportive of Earthplace, as a company.”

“We do a lot of things with Earthplace,” said Karen Jewell, the Down Under store manager. “They’re one of our favorite non-profit organizations.”

“They’re amazing and an amazing group,” she said. “It’s almost a no-brainer for us to be hand-in-hand with them.”