October 20, 2003 Thurston Nature Center Committee Meeting

7:00-8:00 pm, Thurston Elementary School Library


Present: Vicki Botek, Mike Conboy, Neal Foster, Heidi Koester, Dave Miller, Dave Szczygiel, Elsa Stuber



Heidi Koester presented the agenda:

Organizing Workdays

Purple Loosestrife Project

Prioritization of Projects and Goals



Neal Foster distributed a flyer he had made to publicize the upcoming workdays (October 22 and 23).  There was discussion about how best to use the flyers and where to post them.  It was proposed that in the future they might be sent home with students.


Elsa Stuber proposed reviving the practice of having a get-together, such as a picnic, for volunteer workers following the work sessions on workdays.  It was suggested that we might have some treats available.


It was proposed that we add an educational aspect to the workdays, such as a walking tour of the nature center.


From the PTO involvement form at Thurston Elementary, Heidi Koester had a list of potential volunteers from  Thurston school.  She has contacted each person on the list to tell them about the workdays and nature center committee meetings.


Mike Conboy passed around a list of potential adopting families for the adopt-a-tree program.  Meeting attendees chose names from the list to call as a reminder about the workdays and the adopt-a-tree program.  Mike also passed out the agreement forms for the program and explained how they should be used.  The adopting families will keep the forms for their own records.  Mike and Huron student Jake Christensen , will keep track of who adopted which tree.



There was discussion of how we might take advantage of the purple loosestrife control program from Michigan State.  Neal Foster is interested in supporting it.  Dave Szczygiel will contact teachers at Clague Middle School who may be interested.  Vicki Botek will follow up with the program and try to find out if we are eligible to participate and how we should proceed.  Information is available on the “purple pages” on the MSU website.



Heidi Koester reported the results of the informal survey to see what projects the committee members felt had priority.  The top two items were to establish policies and procedures for the committee and to attend to the issue of the long-term future of the pond.  Next in priority came a group of items (in no particular order): communications (Neal Foster is interested in working on this), water quality, OHAC relations, workdays/adopt-a-tree/invasive species and support for the eagle scout project.  There was low interest shown in the OHAC shoreline and strengthening relations with Thurston and Clague schools.  Those who gave school relations a low priority stated that they did so not because these relationships are unimportant, but that improved relations should follow naturally from pursuing specific action plans.


The long-term prospects for the pond will be addressed further at the next meeting, particularly the water.  Heidi Koester has invited Scott Dierks, the hydrologist from the Miller’s Creek Study to address the committee.  What was found in the water this summer will be discussed.


It was generally agreed that if we don’t have established policies and procedures established, it is hard to “make things happen.”  There are some by-laws from the past.  Elsa Stuber volunteered to look through them and present a summary to the committee.  She will try to recruit assistance from some people not present at the meeting.  If possible, she’ll send out some information before the next meeting, so we can be prepared for discussion and decide what we might want to adopt.  There was some discussion about how bylaws might serve the committee.  It was also proposed that we develop a short-term voting procedure to use until the by-laws are more formally established.


Discussion of the items that were ranked lower by the survey results will be discussed as appropriate.


The next meeting will take place on November 17, 2003.