by Douglas Miller

Upon review and board approval, final meeting minutes are posted to the Minutes page. Following are highlights of the unapproved minutes from the December 15, 2021 CAS board meeting:

Committee Reports


    • Dee Dokken presented a position paper circulating to various civic groups that CAS may sign urging the Columbia City Council to “develop a plan for 100% of electricity from Columbia Water & Light to be obtained from clean, renewable energy sources by 2030.” Bill Mees was in opposition, citing the likely increase in power rates as well as the increased bird and bat mortality caused by wind energy. Dee cited a recent statement from National Audubon that “Audubon strongly supports wind energy that is sited and operated properly to avoid, minimize, and mitigate effectively for the impacts on birds, other wildlife, and the places they need now and in the future. To that end, we support the development of wind energy to achieve 100% clean electricity.”

Nancy Bedan moves we endorse the position paper with the addition of the National Audubon statement stressing the importance of avoiding, minizing and mitigating impacts on wildlife. Dee Dokken seconds the motion. With one vote in opposition the motion carries.

  • A recent meeting between the Columbia City Council and the Boone County Commissioners did not result in new zoning policies that would protect habitat-sensitive areas from development.

Field Trips

  • Lottie Bushmann led a First Friday field trip for 12 people.

Outreach and Education

    • Lottie Bushmann reports that Hog Island has still not released information about their summer programs, which is impacting the time available for the Outreach and Education Committee to conduct the application process for CAS teacher scholarships. Given the uncertainty surrounding Hog Island’s scheduling, Lisa Schenker suggests CAS forego the scholarship application process this year, and instead send two previously vetted teachers: a scholarship recipient already approved for 2020 whose visit had to be delayed; plus an alternate candidate from the 2021 season.

Bill Mees moves that we proceed with Lisa’s plan to forego an application process this year for Hog Island teacher scholarships, and instead send a previously-approved teacher plus an alternate nominee from last year. Nancy Bedan seconds the motion. The motion carries.

Nature Areas

Wild Haven
  • Bill Mees reports that a prescribed fire was successfully conducted at Wild Haven Nature Sanctuary. CAS members were joined by 5 Mizzou students. Roxie Campbell was lauded for her work overseeing the burn.
  • Bill Mees reports that David Neely convened a work party to continue the removal of invasive Autumn Olive shrubs. There are a number of debris piles that will burned off sometime this winter. David removed a hanging oak tree limb.
  • Bill Mees and David Neely discovered that vandals had taken the hinges off the back door of Jenkins Hall.
  • Bill reports that the remaining Wild Haven pit latrine needs to be replaced. Allison Vaughn suggests installing a composting toilet to better protect the Hinkson watershed. David Neely, John Besser, Bill and Allison are forming a Toilet Committee to investigate options and present a proposal to the board.
Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary
    • Bill Mees reports that his family has purchased a bench in honor of his birthday, and is requesting permission to place it at Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary (CANS).

Nancy Bedan moves that Bill find a suitable location for the bench at CANS. Lottie Bushmann seconds the motion. The motion carries.

New Business

Council House

  • Jim Gast reports that our November 5 letter to the Columbia Public School superintendent remains unanswered. The board will discuss possible next steps.

Conservation Federation of Missouri affiliate program

  • Jim Gast reports that our concerns regarding CFM’s proposed Affiliate program were sent to CFM’s membership chair. We have not yet received a response.

Gift cards for mowers

Eric Seaman moves we present gift cards to Dean Ravenscraft and Riley Nichols in appreciation the time they volunteer to mow Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary and Wild Haven Nature Sanctuary. Jean Neely seconds the motion. The motion carries.

Sharing other events with CAS members

Jim Gast moves that events produced by other groups which might be of interest to CAS members may be posted on the CAS website, but separate e-mail alerts will not be sent to the membership. Exceptions can be made at the board’s discretion and/or if CAS is a sponsor of the event. Lottie Bushmann seconds the motion. The motion carries.

Zoom Suit

  • Columbia Audubon Society is eligible to take part as plaintiffs in a class action suit against Zoom for privacy violations that took place within their virtual meeting platform. Given that CAS did not actually suffer any harm, and that the damages awarded would be nominal, and that the Zoom account that CAS used was actually in Jim Gast’s name, we will not take part in the lawsuit.


  • Jim Gast. A nominating committee will be convened to identify candidates for the next CAS officer and director election. Current officers/directors not continuing in their positions next term include: Jim Gast (president), Nancy Bedan (vice-president), Doug Miller (secretary) and Jean Neely (director). Elections will be held at the April meeting.
  • Bill Mees notes that Fairview Elementary School students collected 250lbs of plastic caps/lids. They then drove this plastic to Evansville, Indiana where the materials were made into a bench that will be placed next to their school prairie. A news article covering this story mentioned CAS and the Missouri Department of Conservation as consultants on the prairie project.
  • Nancy Bedan asks whether Bill Mees has received a response yet regarding our letter to the city requesting they conduct a managed deer hunt on their Bonnie View park. There has been no response yet. Bill will follow up with Mike Snyder after the holidays.