Upon review and board approval, final meeting minutes are posted to the Minutes page. Following are highlights of the unapproved minutes from the last meeting:
Present: Doug Miller, Jim Gast, Bill Mees, Nancy Bedan, Shelby Thomas, John Besser, Jean Neely, Eric Seaman, David Wood, Allison Vaughn
Eric Seaman reports that U.S. Bank began charging an administrative fee on a CAS Money Market account that completely overwhelmed the interest being earned. This account has now been closed and the funds moved to our main CAS bank account.
Eric reports the receipt of an anonymous $2400 donation with the direction that it be used where it’s most needed
Dues payments and donations made online through PayPal are deposited into a small secondary bank account separate from our main checking account — to protect hypothetical online access to our main balance. However, Doug Miller noted that the balance in this secondary account was also getting a little high; Eric will transfer that secondary balance to the main checking account.
Approval of the Audit Committee Members
The board formally approved Boyd Terry and Judy Lincoln as members of the Audit Committee.
Boone County Nature School — Council House
On November 5, we sent a letter to the Columbia Public School system superintendent requesting an update on the status of the Boone County Nature School Council House project. CAS donated $30,000 to fund construction of the Council House two years earlier, but the project seems to have stalled. As of this evening’s meeting no response has been received.
Nancy Bedan reports that there will be not be a membership meeting in December. The Unitarian church will be hosting homeless families on the evening we would normally meet, so the space will not be available.
The January program will be a Zoom meeting featuring Paige Witek of the Missouri River Bird Observatory.
Jim Gast reports that Dee Dokken’s only news was that the City Council did not approve Canton Estates’ revised development plan.
Nancy Bedan reminds us that Dee has asked everyone to write the Boone County Commissioners, urging them to create a zoning plan that protects the Rock Bridge Memorial State Park area from development.
Outreach and Education
Nancy Bedan reports that Lottie Bushmann held a First Friday bird walk at 3M Wetlands on November 5th. 18 birders showed up that morning to enjoy sunny but chilly weather. 31 species were sighted. The party concluded their walk at Songbird Station for coffee and cookies.
Lottie also partnered with Missouri River Bird Observatory and First Chance for Kids to conduct a children’s bird walk at Garth Nature Area on November 11.
Eric Wood reports that Edge Wade will lead a field trip to Fayette-area lakes in March.
Eric Wood will lead trips to the Prairie Garden Trust in April, and Wilson Memorial Park in May.
John Besser will check with Roxie Campbell to see if Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is scheduling walks.
Allison Vaughn is collecting articles for the December Chat; the submission deadline is November 27.
In the discussion surrounding a Christmas Bird Count article, it’s noted that Lottie Bushmann is taking over organization of the CBC from Laura Hillman. Once a date for the event has been set, Allison will contact the local press and Nancy Bedan will set up an event listing on the CAS website.
John Besser reports that Roxie Campbell has been helping us develop a fire plan for Wild Haven. Two work days have been scheduled to install fire lines. We may need additional equipment, such as drip torches. Nancy Bedan asks that we notify the neighbors; John Besser will send a list of neighbors and Doug Miller will send out a postcard. Doug Miller is curious how our current insurance coverage would protect CAS and/or burn leaders in the event that a prescribed fire escapes onto other properties; John Besser wonders how the new state prescribed fire law would impact us.
The board discusses the danger posed to CAS nature area visitors by deer hunting near CAS properties during deer season. Jim Gast suggests we send out a reminder to the membership each year just before deer season begins.
Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary
Bill Mees reports that the annual Band with Nature event went well. He complimented Andrew Kinslow for his bird banding program — and for presenting it again to Fairview Elementary students later in the day.
Bill reports that although the weather could not have been worse, over 250 people turned out for the inaugural pumpkin walk. $1700 in donations was raised for the Columbia Public Schools Science Trip Scholarship Fund. CPS science advisor and event organizer Mike Szydlowski would like to repeat the event next year.
Bill reports that 32 potted plants of various sizes were installed at the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary. They have been protected from deer browsing with chicken wire cages.
Bill outlined the grave and long-lasting damage that an overabundant deer population can wreak upon natural habitats. Having noted more and more deer at the city’s Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary — which adjoins CANS — Bill would like the CAS board to request that Columbia Parks and Recreation conduct a deer hunt on Bonnie View. Because authorizing such an event take a lot of advance work, we would need to get started on this as soon as possible to be ready for the next deer hunting season.
Jim Gast moves that Bill Mees and Allison Vaughn speak with Parks and Recreation to see what their requirements would be to proceed with a deer hunt at Bonnie View, and what CAS could do to facilitate such a project (such as speaking at public meetings.) Bill Mees seconds the motion. The motion carries.
Conservation Federation Affiliate Program
CFM has extended the deadline (to November 29th) for comments on its proposed affiliate membership program — of which Columbia Audubon Society is a member. The board is clear that CAS will not provide its membership information to CFM — although whether that was being required as a condition of membership in the new proposal seemed unclear.
Christmas Bird Count
Jim Gast asks how the bird count data will be compiled. John Besser explains that for the past two CBCs, leaders have submitted their data to eBird; that eBird data is then collated and sent to Allison Vaughn who enters the final results into the National Audubon database.
Laura Hillman has already contacted the area leaders and sent out necessary documents.
Due to COVID, there will not be a chili supper, but there might still be an informal recap event held on Zoom.
Rock Bridge Memorial State Park has accepted the Lee Jenkins slide collection.