Thurston Nature Center Committee (TNCC) Meeting Minutes

March 18, 2008


In attendance: Neal Foster, Mike Conboy, Beth Caldwell, Elsa Stuber, Colin Brooks, Bram and Lia Van Leer.  


The minutes from the February 19, 2008 meeting were approved with 2 small changes.  Afterwards, TNCC reviewed the new Thurston Nature Center web page, located at  Colin will be adding new information now that the old web page has been transferred from Neal’s U-M personal site.


Next Mike Conboy reviewed upcoming Nature Center activities as part of the Land Steward’s report.  The burn permit for the prairie area at the southwest edge of the Thurston Nature Center has been applied for, and should arrive in the next couple of days.  We need the ground to dry out and some trash needs to be picked up.  New wood chips have been ordered, and will be delivered to 3 locations around the Pond.  This Spring’s Work Days are scheduled for Saturday, April 19, 2008 from 1-4 PM and on Sunday, April 20th from 2-5 PM.  We will concentrate on spreading the wood chips.  Colin volunteered to try and get local Cub Scout Pack 160 involved again.  Mike has been looking for sources of trees for plantings; pawpaws from the Sugarbush area are a possibility. 


Colin reviewed the $80k US Fish & Wildlife Service grant that he, Neal Foster, & Dave Szczygiel from the Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) Environmental Education Program have been working on.  We are proposing to get local school children involved in an active restoration program on the 8 AAPS wetland properties to improve fish & wildlife habitat.  The pre-proposal is due in early April, and the USFWS will notify us if they want a full proposal soon afterwards.


Neal reviewed information on the 45 foundations that fund environmental work in Michigan.  There is a possibility these could be sources for restoration work for the Thurston Nature Center.


Lia & Bram Van Leer said that they are hoping to find new volunteers to take over maintenance of the purple martin house that is near their house at the edge of the Thurston Elementary School playground.  Keeping a regular eye out for the purple martins and removing other species would be high on the list of maintenance needs.


Submitted by Colin Brooks, TNCC Secretary-Treasurer.