by Douglas Miller

November 11, 2020

NOTE: Meeting conducted online via Zoom.

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

Time called to order: 6:02pm

Approve Minutes of the October 2020 Meeting

  • Correcting “deadline” missing from “Hog Island application …”
  • Correcting the spelling of “Mike Szydlowski”

Nancy Bedan moves to accept the October minutes as revised; Bill Mees seconds the motion; motion carries.

Motus Tower update

So far $1235 has been donated to the Brad Jacobs Memorial Motus Tower, with the remainder being supplied by CAS. Jim Gast has sent thank-you notes to the donors and sent a note to Brad’s family. Sarah Kendrick of the Missouri Department of Conservation has reached an agreement with Bradford Farm to place the Motus tower there. It should be installed by March at the earliest, depending on the weather. There’s already an existing pole from a past research project at the site that we’ll use. There cost of the project has been updated to include solar panels and clamps.

Bill Mees inquired about a memorial plaque; Jim will ask Sarah and/or CAS will take care of it.

The tower has nearly a 15km (9m) radius, reaching to Little Dixie to the east, all the way to the 3M Wetlands and the MKT trail to the west; it will also include Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, Three Creeks, the Mark Twain and Ashland wildlife areas, and the forthcoming Boone County Nature School. Its coverage is just short of Wild Haven and the Albert Childrens Area.

John Besser asked how the tower data will be reported. Jim said the data is available online.

Committee Reports


Allison Vaughn asked for newsletter submissions; her deadline is November 28.


Nancy Bedan reports that Mike Powell’s presentation about the Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri will be 7pm, November 18. The River Bluffs Audubon Society chapter has been invited — and we’ll look at sharing other our events with them in the future. We also invited Greenbelt to the presentation, but they don’t really have members, just a board.

Edge Wade has set up a Missouri Birding Society (MBS) winter bird identification workshop with Sarah Kendrick and Dana Ripper on December 11.

Field Trips

John Besser reports the joint field trip with MBS was canceled because of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases.


Shelby Thomas reports no new developments


Brooke Widmar suggested again that we might invite our local representatives on bird walks when it’s safe to do so. New legislative leadership and committee assignments have been made. If any of us know any representatives personally we might offer ourselves as resources if they have any questions about nature/conservation/ecology.

Nature Areas

Bill Mees reports that the grant application to fund CANS interpretative signage has has been turned into the Boone Electric Community Trust. The deadline is December 1. We likely won’t receive an answer for a couple of months. Of the two required bids, the lowest was $1056 for a 2’×3′ laminated sign including the stand.

In the previous week Boone Electric delivered 7 used utility poles to Wild Haven. Former CAS board member Lori Turner works for Boone Electric and said that additional used utility poles were available for our use upon request. A “6900 O’Rear” address sign has been installed along the road at Wild Haven. David Neely and Bill Mees improved the Wild Haven gate so that it’s mounted on sturdier poles, and now swings in both directions. They also took down the old Wild Haven sign that had been hanging over the gate; it will be relocated under the shelter to protect it from further weather damage.

Bill suggested using utility poles to set up a perimeter for a small parking lot. Discussion ensued about the possible placement of such a lot: either close within the existing entrance to the shelter, or over by the old workshop. Without an immediate consensus for the location, John Besser suggested that we schedule a board visit to the site to investigate possible locations.

Bill said there would eventually be a new Wild Haven sign, but until the parking lot location was settled, we should wait on that project.

A proposal was submitted to the board to treat all of the invasive autumn olive at Wild Haven for $5500, including required materials. While there was agreement that the autumn olive has become a serious problem, it wasn’t as clear whether all of the autumn olive needed to be treated at once versus incremental removal; and whether some of the work couldn’t be accomplished by volunteers. During the upcoming site visit, the board will also assess the autumn olive situation. Also, we’re already at the end of the summer–fall window for herbicide application, so we have until next summer to reach a final decision.

John Besser moves that we table the question of paying a contractor to treat all of the autumn olive; Lottie Bushmann seconds; motion carries.

Outreach and Education

Lottie Bushmann reports that 5 applications for 2021 Hog Island scholarship have been received, though not all are complete. The deadline is December 1. At the same time, the national Audubon Society has not yet made a decision about what their 2021 Hog Island season is going to look like, so we don’t know if they will have space for the likely 5 teachers we would be sending. Audubon will make this decision at the end of November or in early December.

CoMoGives Campaign

Jim Gast reports on behalf of Jan Mees that postcards are being sent out to members and past CoMoGives donors. Nancy Bedan mentions that the CoMoGives website is already open for people wanting to pledge acts of support, rather than monetary donations.

Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative (MoBCI) report

Bill Mees, current president of MoBCI, provided an update on the current grant application cycle.

Christmas Bird Count (CBC)

General discussion took place about whether and how to safely hold the CBC. Given our long history with the count, there was general agreement that we would like to participate in some form — perhaps in smaller, socially distanced groups and not including the traditional chili supper. Jim Gast will set up a separate meeting with interested parties to come up with a plan.

Next meeting

The next CAS board meeting will be Wednesday, December 16. Nancy Bedan suggests moving the time from 6pm to 7pm to give people more time to get back from work and/or have supper. We’ll try this in December and see how it goes.

Other Business

Columbia Public Schools science coordinator Mike Szydlowski is developing a program to encourage teachers to engage in placed-based teaching. Part of that is developing a set of stickers to designate that a teacher and their class have engaged in specific place-based learning projects. Mike asked if CAS would like to be a part of this program; that is, to come up with curriculum or activities related to our mission that teachers and their students could use as an educational curriculum unit. Suggestions included building birdhouses or bird feeders, identifying a certain number of birds, getting students to participate in Great Backyard bird count, etc. Lottie and Lisa Schenker will see if they can come up with something.


John Besser moves to adjourn the meeting; Bill Mees seconds; the motion carries and meeting is adjourned at 7:31pm.