Thurston Nature Center Committee (TNCC) Meeting Minutes

June 17th, 2008


In attendance: Neal Foster, Mike Conboy, Barry Johnson, Colin Brooks, and Beth Caldwell.  


The minutes from the April 20, 2008 meeting were approved.  TNCC Secretary-Treasurer Colin Brooks shared the new TNCC web page location at & said he would be completing it soon.  The previous “new” location was hosted by Comcast, who removed the site & didn’t seem able to restore it successfully.  Colin found a better, longer-term web page host at the Huron Valley Community Network, the same group that hosts the Huron River Watershed Council web page.  Colin spent $20.38 purchasing the web address for & reimbursement was approved by the Committee, once we had a funding account set up.


We briefly discussed purchasing of new trees to plant around the pond, but the sense of the group was to wait until the berm was fixed.


Mike Conboy gave his Land Steward’s report.  He mentioned that this has been a “fantastic growth year” but with no overgrown specimen trees.  Buckthorn continues to be all over the place and there’s more poison ivy, but the garlic mustard appears to have been controlled.  Mike & Beth have continued to work on the wood chip pile; we discussed having Pack 160 help again.  The burned prairie is looking beautiful.  Chipping the dead ash trees is desirable, particularly since they’re not good for woodpeckers.  Trash levels have been low.  The kiosk is broken again; someone keeps on vandalizing it every time we repair it.  Eight ducklings were spotted as recently as one week ago.  The new dogwoods aren’t doing well.  We have Kentucky coffee trees and tuliptrees growing at TNCC.


Neal & Colin described how Colin netted pond creatures for the June 6th Ice Cream Social at Thurston Elementary, and Neal & Georgia White-Epperson helped explain them.  Photos are available at[email protected]/sets/72157605710883491/.   We found fathead minnows, water striders, backswimmers, goldfish, and damselfly nymphs. 


Colin described how Thurston Pond wetland areas are being used by his colleagues at the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI) as a spectral reflectance study site for phragmites and cattail. 


The Committee agreed we need a letter to Scott Diersk about moving forward with the berm, especially with more water coming because of the soon-to-be installed Aqua-Swirlers.  A new 24-inch pipe is supposed to be installed in July; it is being bored under the stairs from the Bluett pipe.  This will add 13 million gallons to the pond annually.  We discussed how we needed elevation and a control point for the pond outlet for eventual outlet redesign.  Scott Diersk has a 3-D CAD file of the pond that Colin could use to help show how shallow the pond is.


We discussed how some residents have been mowing & removing vegetation right down to the pond’s edge.  Property lines do not go down to the pond.  The Committee agreed that talking with OHAC & OHMHA would be helpful in communication with property owners.


Margaret Weiss (local resident, wife of Colin Brooks) found the 1967 “We’re on our Way” film at the National Archives!  Barry Johson agreed to follow up on acquiring the video using the instructions Margaret found by e-mailing the National Archives.  We can get a digital copy made for us so we can finally have a copy of this video, which features the pond and local students in 1967, along with Lady Bird Johnson.



Submitted by Colin Brooks, TNCC Secretary-Treasurer,