November 14, 2018

President John Besser called the meeting to order at 6 p.m.

Present:  John Besser, Nancy Bedan, Lottie Bushmann, Laura Hillman, Greg Leonard, Bill Mees, Doug Miller, Eric Seaman, Lori Turner, Eric Wood

Minutes: Bill M asked that the Oct. 17 minutes be corrected to indicate he had suggested moving funds in the State Farm Money Market account to the CAS Foundation investment account managed by the Community Foundation of Mid-Missouri. Bill M moved (John B seconded) approval of the Oct. 17 minutes, as corrected, and the Aug. 29 minutes. Motion approved without dissent.

Treasurer’s Report:  Eric S recommended leaving funds in the State Farm Money Market account, which is more stable than the CAS Foundation investment account. He noted that it takes about 4-6 weeks to withdraw funds from the CAS Foundation account.

CoMoGives Report:  Nancy B reminded board members that the annual CoMoGives fund drive begins on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 27, and continues through Dec. 31. The CAS goal this year is $8,000. She has copies of the “Giving Guide” booklet and asked board members to help distribute the guides to friends and neighbors. Doug M has prepared a postcard appeal, which will be mailed to Audubon members and past supporters in early December. Board members may also have postcards to mail to friends and family members.

CAS 60th Anniversary Celebration:  Lottie B gave an update on plans for the Columbia Audubon 60th anniversary celebration, scheduled for April 2019. Jan Mees, chair of the celebration committee, has reserved space at the Boone County Historical Society for a gathering on Friday, April 26, John James Audubon’s birthday, and confirmed the appearance of Audubon “enactor” Brian Fox at educational events on Saturday. Fox will present a program for children at the Columbia Public Library on Saturday afternoon, April 27; the program is co-sponsored by CAS and the library. He will also provide a program at Fairview School that morning, and perhaps lead a nature walk at Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary (CANS) for Audubon members. CAS and the library will each pay half of his $1,000 fee. The celebration committee is working to find additional sponsors for the events. Doug M is designing a “save-the-date” postcard and an invitation. Bill M and John B are reviewing files of CAS historical information.

Christmas Bird Count (CBC): Laura H reported that she has contacted area coordinators for the Dec. 15 Christmas Bird Count but hasn’t had much response. She believes most coordinators are continuing. Board members discussed potential count coordinator vacancies and replacements. John B raised the possibility of using E-Bird lists to input the count data, but Laura said the data needs to remain in the standard CBC format.

John B has discussed arrangements for the CBC chili dinner with Lori Hagglund, who coordinated the event in the past. He will circulate the food signup sheet.

CHAT & Membership: Doug M will compile the December Chat for Eric R. Submit articles to Doug by Nov. 25. Doug provided CAS information cards and encouraged board members to continue distributing them.

Communication/Outreach: John B suggested deferring this topic until there is adequate time for discussion.

Education:  John B asked board members whether or not CAS should have a formal process for awarding grants to young birders to attend educational programs. Lottie B will discuss this issue with Lisa Schenker. Board members discussed how to make it known that CAS is interested in supporting young birders, noting that it is difficult for CAS to identify students with need. It was suggested that CAS try to connect students with bird and nature programs and consider listing summer education opportunities on the CAS website. Doug M suggested spending most of our education funds to support students with need, but also setting aside an amount for students who approach the organization for a grant to attend a program.

Lottie B reported that no teachers have applied for the Hog Island Audubon Camp scholarship. She recommended extending the application period through January. She noted that she has sent information about the scholarship to schools in all five counties in the CAS membership area.

Bill M attended a meeting where Mike Szydlowski, Columbia Public Schools science coordinator, and teachers, including all Fairview School teachers, discussed “place-based education” and the “nature school” concept. Fairview teachers and teachers involved in the Teton Science School program have taken a field trip together at CANS and discussed the educational opportunities it offers. Bill reported that the place-based focus will start with fourth and fifth graders this spring and then expand to other grades in the next school year.

Bill M provided a summary of expenses for the 2018 Band with Nature program and reported the program cost $1.72 per student. Missouri River Bird Observatory waived most of their usual fee.

Nature Areas-CANS:  Bill M and John B reported that the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is working with local police and fire departments to establish common understanding and practices for prescribed burns. MDC is asked to do prescribed burns, but because timing and conditions are critical, the agency isn’t able to manage all needed burns. MDC is trying to train more people, so more fires are done.

Bill M will work with John B and Allison V to prepare a Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative grant to start preparing additional ground for prairie seeding. CAS will partner with Columbia Public Schools on this project. Plans are to have students collect seed on the existing prairie and spread it on the new ground. Bill M said the effort would require about $3,000 of the $5,000 remaining in the original prairie restoration donation; he will have more specific budget information at the next meeting.

John B and Bill M have conducted a site inspection at CANS with MDC staff Ann Koenig (forester) and Ryan Leuchenhoff (private land specialist) and prepared a written report. The MDC staff provided good advice about managing the nature area and were complimentary about what CAS has done on the site. They emphasized the need for prescribed fire on the prairie acreage but acknowledged that fire management will be difficult. Because smoke and public health would be concerns with fire management, they suggested that periodic mowing be considered as an alternative, or supplement, to burning. John B said that MDC’s current efforts to facilitate managed burns and work with local police and fire departments might make fire management easier for CAS.

Field Trips: Eric W reviewed the upcoming field trip locations and leaders.

National Audubon Conservation Ranching Program:  John B has met with National Audubon representative Roger Still to discuss the organization’s efforts to promote bird-friendly beef production on grasslands in the Great Plains. Beef raised on ranches that participate in program has an Audubon certification label. Missouri has one participating ranch, and certified beef is available locally at the Root Cellar. John said at present CAS doesn’t have an event that could feature the program or the product.

The meeting was adjourned at 7 p.m.