April 20, 2021

NOTE: Meeting conducted online via Zoom.

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

Time called to order: 6:04pm

Approve Minutes of the March Meeting


  • The Wild Haven meeting was with Sheriff’s Deputy Eli Burkholder

Bill Mees moves that we approve the minutes as amended; Nancy Bedan seconds the motion; the motion is approved.

Treasurer’s Report

  • Eric Seaman reports a $500 donation was received as a memorial for Garland Russell. The donation was not earmarked for any specific purpose.

Bill Mees moves that we approve the Treasurer’s Report; Nancy Bedan seconds the motion; the motion is approved

Committee Reports


  • The proposed updated membership levels will be: $15 Student/Senior (65+); $25 Individual; $40 Family; $60 Donor; $300 Friend
  • All “Friends” (both commercial and private) are entitled to recognition in the Chat and on the website.
  • Bill Mees moves that we approve the updated membership levels; Nancy Bedan seconds the motion; the motion is approved

Nature Areas

  • Albert Children’s Area. Jim Gast reports that a neighbor is still expressing interest in buying the area. The board does not support selling the property.
  • Wild Haven. Joh Besser reports that the next “work day” at Wild Haven will be more of a “field trip day,” although anyone wishing help pick up trash along the roadside is welcome to do so. Bill Mees reports a future work day will be needed to place posts for the new parking area. A new “Wild Haven” sign has been installed near the gate.
  • Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary. Bill Mees reports Eric Wood secured six tree seedlings from Columbia Parks & Recreation and planted them at CANS (although one has already been pulled up.) The new interpretive sign is due to be delivered and installed in the near future.


  • Brooke Widmar reports that bill HGR55 is no longer progressing through the Missouri legislature. Columbia Audubon Society is opposed to this bill, which would modify the governance of the Missouri Department of Conservation.
  • The prescribed fire bill has moved through the Missouri House and is currently being heard in a Missouri Senate committee.
  • Some Missouri wildlife and conservation groups are opposing an effort to sell Eleven Point State Park. During discussion an opinion was offered that the property is highly ecologically degraded, was purchased for reasons other than conservation, and that the resources currently dedicated to its upkeep would be much better spent on the protection of other state park lands that are of much higher ecological value. Columbia Audubon Society is not taking a position on this issue.

Field Trips

  • Lottie Bushmann reports that field trips with the Missouri Birding Society will be: May 1 at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park; May 4 at Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary; then May 11 and May 15 at the city’s 3M Wetlands Area.
  • Jim Gast reports that Laura Hillman is ready to hand off coordinating the Migratory Bird Count. Lottie volunteers to help coordinate the birding groups if she had help. Allison Vaughn and John Besser will collaborate.

Outreach and Education

  • Lottie Bushmann reports that she and Education Committee co-chair Lisa Schenker met in-person with a Ridgeway-Benton boy scout troup and their families. They visited the 3M Wetland Area for an hour, seeing a beaver lodge, hearing bird calls, and spotting a nesting Canada Goose as well as a Pie-billed Grebe.
  • Lottie will be meeting with a Hog Island scholarship recipient who teaches in Madison, Missouri. Lottie will be accompanying the teacher and his class on a field trip to Rudolph Bennet Wildlife Area in May.
  • Lottie reports that Mike Szydlowski will meet with the Missouri River Birding Association about possible online professional development programs for teachers; in-person programs are currently restricted due to COVID. Mike Szydlowski also said an Eagle Scout troop is building bluebird boxes; schools that receive boxes will incorporate monitoring programs.


  • Allison Vaughn reports that the Chat deadline is April 26, 2021.


  • Nancy Bedan reminds us of the upcoming program with Ethan Duke of the Missouri River Bird Observatory. MRBO has also advertised the event.
  • Jim Gast reports that Mike Snyder of the Columbia Parks & Recreation department will talk at tomorrow’s general meeting, looking for ideas of how the city could use its tax proceeds to benefit Columbia Audubon Society. The sales tax election is in November.
  • Nancy Bedan will meet with the Mizzou Botanic Garden regarding an upcoming talk with Noah Strycker which CAS is co-sponsoring. The talk is provisionally entitled “Birding without Birders — an Epic World Big Year”
  • Nancy reports that the May picnic at Wild Haven has been scheduled for May 22 from 4–7pm. For everyone’s safety we will be bringing our own food and chairs; we will socially distance and wear masks when not eating. John Besser, Lottie Bushmann and Bill Mees will lead small, informal birding walks.
  • Nancy notes it’s time to start preparing to secure an in-person meeting place for next season when (hopefully) COVID restrictions are eased. We’ll check with the Unitarian Universalist Church, but if they’re not available, please send any ideas for meeting places to Nancy.



  • Bill Mees highlighted proposed changes to the Bylaws. He will write an introduction to the revisions which will be published alongside the full amended Bylaws in the next Chat.
  • Discussion ensued where amendments were made regarding:
    • Meetings and/or votes that are conducted when the board cannot meet in person.
    • The expected term and duties of the ex-president.
    • Retaining physical records of society business.

John Besser moved that the Bylaws be approved as amended; Nancy Bedan seconds; the motion carries. (Further suggestions for amendments surfaced the next day; the final revised Bylaws were approved in an emergency meeting of the board on April 23, 2021.)

Canton Subdivision Update

  • The Columbia Audubon Society had previously voted to oppose current plans for a proposed subdivision next to Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. Jim Gast reported on a recent Columbia Planning and Zoning Committee meeting that he attended and at which he testified where that board voted against the proposed plans for the subdivision, as well as opposing the city annexing the property from the county. The City Council will possibly take up this issue on May 3, 2021. Jim will not be able to attend that meeting so Brooke Widmar and/or Nancy Bedan will attend in his place to speak on behalf of CAS against the proposal.

2021 CoMoGives Campaign

  • Jim Gast reports the Central Missouri Community Foundation is asking whether CAS would like to participate in the next CoMoGives fundraiser during December 2021.
  • CAS CoMoGives Committee member Bill Mees reports that Jan Mees would be willing to chair the committee one more year, but is looking for a replacement who could serve on the committee this year to get a feel for the position.

Nancy Bedan moves we participate in the 2021 CoMoGives Fundraiser; Lottie Bushmann seconds the motion; the motion is approved.

2021–2022 Budget

  • The proposed 2021–2022 budget was reviewed.

Bill Mees moves that the budget for next year be approved; Nancy Bedan seconds the motion; the motion is approved.

CAS and the City Parks Sales Tax

  • As mentioned previously, Mike Snyder of the Columbia Parks & Recreation department will attend the next CAS general meeting to solicit proposals for the use of sales tax proceeds that might benefit Columbia Audubon Society and our objectives.
  • Jim Gast proposes a prescribed burn of the prairie at CANS and Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary. Nancy Bedan mentions storm water runoff mitigation at CANS. Nancy also proposes lobbying for more cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation to improve Hinkson Woods as a resource for more city residents. Bill Mees also proposes that Parks & Recreation cooperate more with CAS and state agencies to promote Columbia as a destination for birders. Nancy mentioned a longstanding proposal to place a nature center at Bonnie View as a resource for Fairview School and the rest of the city. These ideas will be shared with Parks & Recreation at the next general meeting.

May Board Meeting

  • The next board meeting will be Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 6:00pm.


Bill Mees moves that we adjourn the meeting; Lottie Bushmann seconds the motion; the meeting is adjourned at 8:20pm