by Eric Reuter

From the president: working to increase member involvement.

We had a great turnout on September 17 for our bird walk and discussion session at which we asked members for suggestions on making Columbia Audubon more useful for them. Several people were relatively new to birding and were hesitant to come to meetings and field trips. Others were comfortable with their birding but had avoided a new social encounter. At our board meeting on the 20th we decided that our October meeting should be a fun crash course in tools used for happy birding and that it had to be outside. Hence, many birders will bring their different optics, books, and apps to the picnic shelter at Rock Bridge State Park on Saturday, October 14th at 9:00 a.m. so we can all explore and learn from the variety of options and experiences available. After the show and tell we will go birding and practice. The point of telling you all this is to get you to come, but more importantly it’s to stress that if you tell us what you want and don’t want we may actually be able to make it happen. We will certainly try. – by Laura Hillman, President

Bill Mees to serve as CAS representative to MoBCI

In 2003, the Columbia Audubon Society became a founding member of the Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative (MoBCI) — a partnership of 73 organizations that work together to conserve, restore, and protect bird populations. For the last 14 years, longtime CAS member Denny Donnell has served as our representative to the MoBCI Steering Committee, whose governing activities include approving bird habitat restoration grants. At MoBCI’s 15th Annual Conference in Columbia this past August, Denny stepped down from the steering committee, and was replaced by Bill Mees who agreed to serve as the CAS representative over the next two-year term. Since 2014, Bill has worked with MoBCI to secure grant funding for the ongoing prairie restoration project at the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary. As a member of the steering committee, Bill will help guide MoBCI in its continuing bird conservation work, and will report on MoBCI activities to the CAS board and membership as needed. MoBCI thanks Denny Donnell for his many years of service, and looks forward to working with new CAS representative Bill Mees. – by Allison J. Vaughn, MoBCI Steering Committee Chair

Recent CAS board activity

At the September general meeting, where members were asked to provide input on future CAS activities and member services, one theme that came up was the desire for more (and more timely) information regarding what the board is doing. Although board meeting minutes are available online, and we started publishing minutes in the Chat last year, it’s not possible to provide minutes in a timely manner because official minutes must be approved at the following meeting before they can be made public. This inherently means that it’s difficult for members to know what issues are being discussed or handled at any given time.

To address this problem, I suggested at the September meeting that the Chat include a brief summary of the most recent board meeting. This would NOT be official minutes, but simply a broad outline of the themes covered in discussion, at least giving members a more timely window into CAS business. Those who want to know more or be more involved should contact a board member. I’ll be testing this approach in the next few newsletters and welcome feedback on this. – by Eric Reuter, News Editor

CAS board meeting summaries (NOT official or exhaustive):

August 16, 2017

This was primarily a planning meeting for the upcoming year. Topics included:

  • Approval of an educational donation to the Missouri River Bird Observatory.
  • Discussion of changes to upcoming programming.
  • The need for members to follow the Chat and the website for accurate information regarding programming, as we are moving away from always holding meetings/events at the same time and place.
  • Input from members should be encouraged (as at the September event).

September 20, 2017

  • Feedback received at the September meeting was discussed. This focused on a desire for more new birder outreach and education, along with more family activities and weekend scheduling.
  • Future meeting plans were discussed.
  • Bill Mees was congratulated on his selection to represent CAS at MoBCI.
  • The potential to expand the prairie restoration at CANS by an additional 14 acres was discussed and approved.
  • The 2017 CoMo Gives committee will begin meeting this fall.
  • Educational actions including children’s events at the library, Hog Island scholarships, and a recent presentation on bluebirds were discussed.