December 16, 2020

NOTE: Meeting conducted online via Zoom.

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

Time called to order: 7:02pm

Approve Minutes of the November 2020 Meeting

Motion to approve minutes as amended (correcting spelling of Kendrick); Nancy Bedan moves; Lottie Bushmann seconds; motion carries

Treasurer’s Report

  • Bill Mees noted extra membership income. Eric Seaman explained that people are generally subscribing at higher-level memberships. Doug Miller will provide a report of the participation at each membership level, to possibly correlate with changing patterns of giving in relation to the CoMoGives fund drive.

Bill Mees moves to accept the Treasurer’s report; Nancy Bedan seconds; motion carries

Motus Tower

  • The Missouri Department of Conservation sign shop will manufacture the memorial plaque for the Brad Jacobs Memorial Motus Tower with funding from the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation.

Committee Reports


  • Jim Gast assessed the Forum Nature Area for the National Audubon Birdability program, which provides information about birding areas that meet standards of accessibility. Bill Mees and Brooke Widmar assessed the Columbia Nature Audubon Sanctuary and found it did not meet those standards.
  • Brooke reported about federal proposals to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling in the final weeks of the current presidential administration. All major banks are refusing to lend funds for such operations. National Audubon has resources to guide citizens (and CAS members) to voice their disapproval of such proposals.
  • The new state legislative session is about to start. Brooke has scanned pre-filed bills to see if any will effect conservation, natural resources, or birding in particular. If any bills come up that are specific to such topics she can sent out an alert so people are aware of the hearings.

Nature Areas

  • In appreciation for the mowing efforts of Dean Ravenscraft and Riley Nichols at our nature areas, the Bill Mees suggests we provide them with gift cards to offset their gas expenses.

Bill Mees moves we provide gas gift cards for $150 to Dean Ravenscraft and $50 to Riley Nichols; John Besser seconds; the motion carries

  • During a recent excursion to Wild Haven, board members voted to approve outlining a small, unpaved parking area near the existing gate closest to the picnic shelter. This vote was reaffirmed.
  • Similarly, during the same excursion board members voted to approve $2000 to pay a contractor to remove invasive Autumn olive within a designated area at Wild Haven. This vote was also reaffirmed by the board at this formal meeting.
  • Since the Wild Haven excursion, the Autumn olive removal work was completed in the designated area for $1,375, leaving an unspent amount of $625.

John Besser moves we spend the remaining $625 on invasive species removal in another area at Wild Haven; Nancy Bedan seconds; the motion carries.

  • Jean and David Neely re-sealed the old Wild Haven sign, and relocated it underneath the front of the picnic shelter.

Outreach and Education

  • The deadline for the Hog Island scholarships was December 1st. There were seven applicants. The Education Committee awarded two scholarships: Chris Laine of Madison, Missouri, a middle-school science and math coordinator and science teacher; also Tracy Fuller, a high school biology teacher in Monroe City. An alternate was chosen given the uncertainty of any long-term plans during the COVID crisis. The remaining applicants were encouraged to re-apply next year. Registration for Hog Island does not open until January. Lottie Bushmann will contact the Hog Island program to see if they can accomodate the 3 recipients postponed from last year as well as the 2 new recipients.
  • The Placed-Based Education sticker representing Columbia Audubon was presented for our review. This is a Columbia Public Schools (CPS) program that encourages teachers to incorporate place-based curriculum into their classrooms. CPS has designed a curriculum unit specific to Columbia Audubon Society, completion of which the proposed sticker is an award.

Lottie Bushmann moved that we accept the proposed sticker design; Bill Mees seconded; the motion carries.


  • Nancy Bedan reports the Missouri River Bird Observatory will present a program on grassland birds for the January program. Filmmaker Tim Barksdale of Birdman Productions will present the February program. The Columbia Public Library will co-sponsor our March webinar with Sarah Kendrick, which is a program for beginning/intermediate birders who want to improve their skills during the pandemic. April will mostly likely be Ethan Duke presenting a bird song acoustics workshop (possibly with a focus on warblers). We hope to hold the May picnic at Wild Haven.


  • December 28th is the deadline to submit articles to Chat newsletter editor Allison Vaughn.

Field Trips

  • John Besser reports that The Christmas Bird Count will be the only upcoming field trip event in December.

CoMoGives Campaign

  • Jim Gast and Jan Mees appeared on radio station KFRU for 15 minutes to promote the ongoing CoMoGives fundraiser in which Columbia Audubon Society is participating. At the time of the broadcast, 59 donors had donated $5,990


  • Longtime CAS member Edge Wade, author of the 2007 version of the CAS by-laws, spoke with other Audubon chapters around the state and sent a draft of proposed revisions to the By-laws Committee, which includes Eric Seaman, Bill Mees and Jim Gast. The Committee will meet in late January to assemble a new draft which will be submitted to the board for review. The final board-reviewed version will be submitted to the membership for their approval.

Memorial for Garland Russell

  • The board would like to properly memorialize Garland Russell for his strong advocacy of conservation and generosity towards CAS. He made it known he was opposed to having areas, building or objects named in honor of his efforts. We will spend the next month thinking of how we might honor his memory; suggestions may be sent to Jim Gast to review at the next meeting.

January Board Meeting

  • The next board meeting will be via Zoom on Tuesday, January 19th, returning to the 6pm starting time.


Nancy Bedan moves to adjourn the meeting; Bill Mees seconds; the meeting is adjourned at 8:16pm