August 19, 2020

NOTE: Meeting conducted online via Zoom.

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

President Jim Gast called the meeting to order at 6:05pm


Given that we’ll likely be presenting multiple online programs, we’re going to upgrade to a paid Zoom account.

Bill moves CAS pay for an annual Zoom account; John Besser seconds the motion. The motion carries

Previous minutes

Correction to remove “and other birding apps” from the description of the September meeting in the July minutes. In the June minutes Bill Mees “supported” rather than “argued for” the Motus tower.

Nancy moves approval of the minutes with those corrections. John Besser seconds the motion. The motion carries.

Treasurer’s report

Reviewed without comments

Nature Areas

Bill Mees reports on several recent work sessions:

  • David and Jean Neely, Bill Mees and John Besser have finished repairing the Wild Haven shelter. Roxie Campbell has also joined in helping to clear the trails at Wild Haven and placing additional markers to make the trails easier to follow. John and Roxie are organizing another work day at Wild Haven to clear invasives.
  • David Neely, John Besser, Bill Mees, and Jim Gast worked out at Albert Childrens’ Area in the area of the main driveway since the neighboring area is in the process of being sold. We do not currently have a key to the gate (on the neighbor’s property)
  • Dean Ravenscroft mowed the CANS trails today. Cleo Kottwitz will mow the west side of CANS to prepare for an effective herbicide application in the prairie expansion unit.
  • Bill is requesting permission to prepare a grant application to the Boone Electric Community Trust to fund interpretive panels at CANS — similar to what the Missouri Prairie Foundation and the Audubon Society of Missouri (now the Missouri Birding Society) installed at Rockbridge Memorial State Park. Manufacturing a sturdy panel is estimated to cost $2000–$3000. Allison Vaughn will provide a list of vendors the Missouri Division of State Parks has employed in the past; the application will require multiple bid estimates. The deadline for the current round of applications id December 12, 2020.

Allison moves that the board direct Bill to conduct the process of applying for a Boone Electric Community Trust grant to fund interpretive panel(s) at the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary. Nancy Bedan seconds the motion. The motion carries.

  • The Albert children are selling a parcel of property neighboring our Albert Childrens’ Area. When they do, any access agreements we had with the previous owner become null and void, so we will need to work with the new owners to draft an access agreement. We must access a gate on their property to access the nature area, and the new owners would like to use an existing road on our property to access another one of their parcels. We are investigating possible real estate attorneys to help draft such an agreement, since vehicle use on our property could have a significant impact on the habitat and its financial value. Jim is expecting the gate key to arrive soon.


Lottie Bushmann reports that the Missouri Birding Society (formerly Audubon Society of Missouri) will conduct their fall meeting online via Zoom. Field trips will then take place throughout the state. Lottie is recruiting multiple leaders for local outings so that birders can split into smaller, socially-distanced groups.

Field Trips

John Besser and Eric Wood have been discussing ways to modify CAS outings to maintain safety during the COVID pandemic. Ideas include splitting larger groups into multiple, smaller sub-groups, or scheduling outings at different times of the day. As more people find themselves at home during the pandemic, there has been increased interest in beginning birder events. Lottie suggests putting up a QRcode at the 3M Wetlands entrance where people could sign up for more regular outings.


Nancy Bedan reviewed the current plans for fall programs. Columbia Public Schools science coordinator Mike Szydlowski has confirmed general plans for the Boone County Nature School site open house event in October. Jean Neely and Sarah Kendrick are discussing options for the content of Sarah’s presentation in March.


The Audit Committee is constituted, but has not met yet.


Brooke Widmar reported on Lights Out Heartland, a regional offshoot of National Audubon Society’s Lights Out program, which aims to raise awareness of light pollution’s negative impact on bird migrations, and work with businesses and individuals to reduce access light during peak migration periods. Lights Out Heartland encompasses regional efforts in Missouri, Iowa and Arkansas — and includes Columbia Audubon Society as a partner. September is the kick-off month for the effort, which will feature an online forum at the St. Louis Gateway Arch on Sept 26.


Doug Miller reports that 70 members have already renewed their membership, and he will send out reminders to those who have not yet paid. Jim Gast reports that one CAS member has been considering filling the vacant Membership chair.


Allison Vaughn is assembling the September newsletter.


Jan Mees provided an e-mail report on this year’s CoMoGives fundraiser and activities of the CAS CoMoGives committee. There will not be a printed CoMoGives Giving Guide this year; all information will be online. The committee has composed and submitted the CAS entry for the giving guide, and also submitted 4 photos that will rotate on our page. The committee has set a $10,000 fundraising goal. The campaign starts on December 1, which also happens to be “Giving Tuesday.” Once again, CAS will send out a postcard to previous donors, local members and selected national members reporting on our activities and encouraging them to donate through CoMoGives.

Other Business

Since the next scheduled CAS meeting is earlier in the day at 5pm, we’ll schedule the September CAS board meeting on the previous day.

Meeting Adjourned

At 7:24pm the meeting was adjourned.