Thurston Nature Center Committee (TNCC) Meeting Minutes

April 20, 2008


In attendance: Neal Foster, Mike Conboy, Tom Edsall, Colin Brooks, Bram and Lia Van Leer.  


The minutes from the March 18, 2008 meeting were approved with one small change.  Comments were also made about improving the readability of the Thurston Nature Center web page, especially font & background page colors.


Next Neal Foster reviewed the April 19th through 20th, 2008 spreading of wood chips around Thurston Pond.  We had 17 people on Saturday and 23 people on Sunday, with at least 10 kids each day.  Cub Scout Pack 160 from Thurston Elementary was a big help, with a large number turning on Sunday.  Pictures are available on Colin’s Flickr site at[email protected]/sets/72157605226206794/.


Mike Conboy reported on the successful prairie burn on April 8th, 2008.  Girl Scouts may come and plant wildflower seeds now that the burn is completed.  And no fire trucks came this year!  Mike also reported that 7 people newly adopted 20 more trees around the Nature Center.  Also, Georgia White-Epperson is planting 3 dogwoods.  Sassafras may be available from the Huron Hills Golf Course, but we don’t have sources for mountain ash & red maple which we would like to plant.


On new proposal ideas, Neal reported that there are 45 environmental and education foundations, 7 of them in Washtenaw County, according to “New Enterprises at Work”, a resource that helps non-profits raise money.  Dredging may cost $80k-$110k, and may include the need to put 6” of topsoil on top of the dredge spoil.


We also discussed what it would cost to re-design the Pond outlet, which Scott Diersk from J.F. New may be able to help with.  We talked about improving the island as wildlife habitat and possibly getting Scirpus reeds to grow to help with turbidity (sediment) problems.  Maintaining a vernal pool in the woods was another idea, as was creating the oak savannah at the northern end of the school grounds near the temporary dirt pile.


We also talked about establishing a “restoration fund” that people could donate to, especially to help with smaller projects.



Submitted by Colin Brooks, TNCC Secretary-Treasurer,