January 19, 2021

NOTE: Meeting conducted online via Zoom.

Present: Doug Miller, Allison Vaughn, Jim Gast, Brooke Widmar, Shelby Thomas, Greg Leonard, John Besser, Nancy Bedan, Lottie Bushmann, Bill Mees, Eric Seaman, Jean Neely

Time called to order: 6:03pm

Approve Minutes of the December 21 Meeting

Motion to approved with Nancy’s correction (Tim Barksdale is presenting February program, not John Besser). Lottie so moves; Allison seconds; motion carries.

Treasurer’s Report

Eric Seaman reports that the lengthy National Audubon chapter report has been completed and submitted.

Committee Reports


  • Provided we can have a Wild Haven picnic, the consensus is to try for Saturday May 22nd, 4pm. If we need extra space to social distance, we can spread out between the picnic shelter and the shed.
  • We can start adding membership meeting business items to program announcements.


  • Greg Leonard expressed interest in remaining on the board. Jim Gast will appoint a nominating committee, including chair Brooke Widmar, to oversee the election. Jim will place an article in the Chat regarding this election and soliciting any other nominations. The election will be held in April; procedures for the vote — given online meetings — will be forthcoming.


  • Allison Vaughn reports the Chat deadline is January 29th. Jean Favara of St. Louis Audubon is submitting an article about cats.
  • John Besser will be submitting a new, recurring column about our Nature Areas.

Field Trips

  • John Besser reports no outings are planned until the spring. There are also no current plans for Great Backyard Bird Count events, although the Kiwanis club e-mailed Jim Gast to see if they could participate as a group via eBird.


  • Doug Miller, Jim Gast and Bill Mees raised the issue of revising and/or consolidating our membership levels, including changes to how we recognize larger membership amounts, and possibly adding a Senior Citizen level. Shelby Thomas will form a committee with Doug Miller and Brooke Widmar to look at what other Audubon chapters do and then offer suggestions to the board.

Nature Areas

  • Jim Gast reports that at some point during the spring, Ameren needs to replace the powerline pole on our Audubon Road parcel (a.k.a. “The Sinkhole”). They’ll enter via Route N along their easement.
  • Bill Mees reiterates that a Nature Areas column will be appearing in the Chat, to increase awareness and usage.
  • An ATV was seen on CANS and Bonnie View park. Bill sent an e-mail to Mike Snyder of Columbia Parks and Recreation about the incident; he said the rangers have been informed.
  • We received the Boone Community Electric Trust (BCET) Grant, for $1056, to construct an interpretive panel on CANS. Allison Vaughn and Bill Mees are assembling the content; Doug Miller will design the panel. We’ll include the BCET logo. An end-of-project report is due in July.
  • The Autumn olive removal has been completed at Wild Haven. Many brush piles will need to be burned; volunteers would be appreciated — especially to control any fire escapes.
  • Bill is requesting a new map for Wild Haven. Brooke, Jim and John will coordinate walking the trails with GPS phones to map the trails, and then assemble that into a printable document including other information to orient visitors.
  • A trailside bench built by David Neely is missing from Wild Haven.

Outreach and Education

  • Hog Island will announce their plans for their summer programs in “early 2021”, so we’re assuming they haven’t yet reached a final decision.


  • Brooke Widmar alerted the board to efforts to preserve/reinstate the Migratory Bird Act. Sections of the Arctic refuge were leased out for oil drilling; this development may or may not be permanent. Citizens may be able to remotely testify before Missouri legislative committees in the future, at the discretion of the individual chairs of committees. If anyone has experience testifying before the legislature and would like to participate, let Brooke know.

New Business

CoMoGives Campaign

  • Jim Gast congratulated the CoMoGives committee for our success during the fundraising campaign. Jan Mees reports that we raised more than our $10,000 goal: $12,350 with 109 donors. 4 gifts were made in honor of Brad Jacobs and Garland Russell. 6 more gifts were made honoring other people. Jan has thanked the CoMoGives campaign sponsors. There will be a wrap-up meeting of the CoMoGives committee on January 27.
  • Nancy notes we budgeted 5000 for CoMoGives, so we should consider what to do with the excess.

Memorial for Garland Russell

  • Bill Mees asked for ideas. Nancy suggested: planting white oak tree(s); a bench; naming the grassland; creating a scholarship; establishing a special fund. Jim Gast remarked that a tree would be hard to water regularly, since there’s no water service at CANS. Bill notes city benches cost $700, with a plaque adding maybe $100 more. Nancy suggests an inspirational quote placed along the trail. The CANS interpretive sign will include information about the Russells. Bill says Garland’s two highest priorities were educational programs and protecting the property. Brooke suggests locating any of the above ideas at the new Boone County Nature School (where the kids could water the tree). Bill will run these proposals by Garland’s son to see if any of them sound appropriate.

MoBCI Conference

  • The 2021 MoBCI conference is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, August 27th and 28th, 2021. The venue will be the Columbia Country Club, 2210 Country Club Drive.

Request for a donation for MoSI

  • Jim Gast reports that a request from Steve Albert was made to help fund MoSI, which monitors wintering bird populations in South and Central America. Doug Miller mentions that the board has historically been hesitant to take funds donated to CAS and then transfer them as a new donation to a third party; usually we just encourage members to donate directly to the third party if they’re interested. The board agrees that we can make MoSI information available to CAS members and they may decide for themselves whether they would like to directly support the project.

Next meeting

  • Tuesday, February 16 at 6pm (via Zoom.)

Any Other Business

  • Nancy Bedan mentions the “For the Love of Birds” virtual festival will take place January 27–29th to benefit the Missouri Prairie Foundation; more information is available on the MPF Facebook page, soon to be on the MPF website.


Bill moves we adjourn; Nancy seconds; the meeting is adjourned at 7:19pm