COLUMBIA AUDUBON SOCIETY BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING March 16, 2021
NOTE: Meeting conducted online via Zoom.
Present: Doug Miller, Allison Vaughn, Jim Gast, Bill Mees, John Besser, Nancy Bedan, Eric Wood, Brooke Widmar, Jean Neely, Shelby Thomas, Lottie Bushmann, Greg Leonard
Time called to order: 6:05pm
Approve Minutes of the February 16, 2021 Meeting
“Boone Electric Community Trust” word inversion
MRBO owl program was March 5, not March 7
“The Membership Committee has come up with proposals to revise the membership levels”
Adding in discussion of the city of Columbia possibly presenting the Pumpkin Walk — rather than CAS
Bill Mees moves we accept the corrected minutes. Nancy Bedan seconds. The motion is approved.
Jim Gast reports the CoMoGives contributions have arrived.
John Besser moves to accept the Treasurer’s Report; Bill Mees seconds; the motion is approved.
Brooke Widmar reports that no additional nominations for Director have been received. An e-mail election will be held in April. Brooke will create a Google form for members to cast their vote; paper ballots will be mailed out to non-email members; notice of the election procedures will be in the next Chat.
Shelby Thomas reports that so far there have been no responses to the proposed revised membership levels. On a related note, the Bylaws committee is considering instituting an honorary membership that does not include the right to cast votes; also possibly specifying that a “Family” membership would include exactly two votes. Considering the previous Family level was twice the Individual level minus a discount, a revised Family amount might be somewhere in the $40–$45 range.
Bill Mees reports John Besser and Jim Gast met with deputy sheriff Eli Burkholder at Wild Haven to discuss vandalism. (The plexiglass pin board was damaged, in addition to the other incidents of theft and vandalism in the past.) Recommendations included (solar) motion-activated lights, “no trespassing” signs, and encouraging more public visitation. Bill’s contact number has been given to the police dispatcher to help keep us more easily informed of suspicious activity at the nature area.
Bill has contacted the Missouri One Call System in preparation for beginning the parking area construction at Wild Haven. Another work session has been scheduled to continue burning brush piles and to pick up litter.
Bill reports a meeting with Mike Snyder of Columbia Parks & Recreation, Allison Vaughn, Jim Gast and John Besser regarding prescribed fire at Bonnie View and CANS. Parks is in favor of a fire project; they’re looking for a contractor to conduct the burn on both park and CAS property. Bill suggested (to Mike Snyder) that CAS could help fund the project; Mike implied that having help putting in fire lines would be even more valuable than funding. We’re targeting a burn in November or December 2021.
Bill reports that hardware for the CANS interpretive panel has arrived. Jim Gast, John Besser and Allison Vaughn approved the installation site. The panel design is complete; all photos were submitted by CAS members.
Bill and Mike Szydlowski (Columbia Public Schools science coordinator) spoke with a Fairview Elementary 3rd grade class about their plans to create a prairie.
A Mizzou journalism student conducted an interview with Bill at CANS that resulted in a 90-second “audio postcard” broadcast on KBIA.
Bill is proposing a new Wild Haven sign to replace the old one, possibly constructed of cedar boards with cut-out 3D letters, affixed to two posts; such a design could cost as much as $400 in materials. The placement of the new sign is still being contemplated.
No new trips have been scheduled
Outreach and Education
Lottie Bushmann will escort a Cub Scout pack to CANS one evening in April.
Jim Gast will be presenting a program for the Centralia Garden Club.
Lottie has not yet met with Mike regarding possible alternatives to Hog Island for teacher education.
Brooke Widmar reports the Prescribed Fire legislation has passed through hearings in the Missouri House and Senate; it’s being prepared for a floor vote.
Another pending bill, HJR55, would modify the structure of the Missouri Conservation Commission. Bill Mees asked if there was a consensus that CAS should go on the record opposing the legislation. There was. Brooke will monitor the bill; we will have a statement prepared for local representatives in case the proposed legislation successfully passes out of committee.
Bill Mees moves that CAS publicly oppose HJR55; John Besser seconds the motion; the motion is approved.
Next Chat deadline is March 29th
Nancy Bedan reports that more than 130 people have signed up for Sarah Kendrick’s March 17th program that CAS is jointly presenting with the Columbia Public Library. Ethan Duke of the Missouri River Bird Observatory will present a program on bird sounds at the April CAS meeting.
Jim Gast reports on a proposed 65-acre development of 113 homes next to Rock Bridge Memorial Park; the plan also includes 3 acres of supporting commercial property (such as a gas station or coffee shop). This location borders the Gans Creek Wild Area, separated only by the oil/gas pipelines. If this project is approved, another similar subdivision of similar size would be located between that and the city’s Gans Creek Recreation Area. The proposal is scheduled to go to city Planning and Zoning committee on April 4. The first reading and introduction of the proposal before the City Council will take place May 3. Nancy Bedan suggests that CAS come out on record opposing the proposal and designate representatives to testify at city meetings — proposing Jim Gast and/or Brooke Widmar for those roles. Jim and Brooke accept. Jim Gast will draft talking points for the board to review; Jim and/or Brooke will represent CAS at city meetings; the talking points will go into the April chat to encourage members to contact city representatives.
Nancy Bedan moves that CAS opposes the Canton Subdivision project as currently proposed; Bill Mees seconds the motion. The motion is approved.
Spring Missouri Birding Society meeting
Lottie Bushmann reports on upcoming joint CAS/MBS field trips as part of the MBS spring meeting in late April and early May. These will be socially-distanced, masked, small groups at Rock Bridge Memorial Park. Doug Tallamy will present a program about native plants as part of the main MBS meeting.
Birds and Bees Festival
Jim Gast relays a request from the Missouri River Bird Observatory for volunteers to help lead birding groups on the weekend of May 8th. A note about this will be in the next Chat.
Sponsoring Noah Strycker
Nancy reports on an event that CAS might help sponsor: a talk by noted birder Noah Strycker at a Mizzou Botanic Garden event in October. The program would be free and open to the public. Nancy proposes using up to $500 of the CoMoGives windfall to help underwrite the event; the Missouri Birding Society may also provide funding. In exchange for the financial support, we are asking for prominent mention as a sponsor. It is hoped such a sponsorship will provide greater exposure and forge stronger connections to people associated with Mizzou. The event is still in the early stages of planning, and MBG has not requested a specific amount.
John Besser moves we provide up to $500 to support the Mizzou Botanic Garden event, on the understanding that our sponsorship would be highly visible. Bill Mees seconded the motion. The motion is approved.
Jim Gast reports that he and Eric Seaman are working on next year’s CAS budget. They are requesting that board members submit any proposed changes before the April board meeting. The budget will be approved at the May board meeting.
April Board Meeting
The next (online) board meeting will be Tuesday, April 20 at 6pm.
Nancy Bedan moves that the meeting be adjourned; Brooke Widmar seconds the motion; the motion is approved and the meeting is adjourned at 7:50pm