Thurston Nature Center Committee (TNCC) Working Group Meeting Minutes

Friday, March 20th, 2009 (Accepted at 4/22/09 meeting)


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


The Thurston Nature Center Committee had its two current Working Groups, the Oak Savanna Work Group and the Thurston Pond Work Group meet on Friday, March 20th, 2009, at the workplace of Colin Brooks (current TNCC Secretary-Treasurer).


First Mike Conboy gave the Land Steward’s Report.  Mike describe the extensive brush cutting over the winter (mostly by him, I think!!) – I counted 85 trees listed in Mike’s report as having had brush cleared from around them (especially buckthorn and vines).  Two exploratory trails have been cleared to connect adopted trees and flowered areas.  We’ll be able to access interested tree specimens not seen elsewhere in the Nature Center.  We set dates for the Spring Work Days – April 4th 1-4 pm (a Saturday) and April 5th 2-5 pm (a Sunday).  Meet near the OHAC pool parking lot and we’ll all get to work!  Spreading wood chips will be a primary activity but we’ll have other opportunities to help out around the pond as well.


Next the Oak Savanna Work Group had its update.  The 20 oak trees, funded by the $2,000 Community Forestry Grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, will be delivered on April 23rd from Possibility Place Nursery.  Tree planting day will be Saturday, April 25th, with exact times still to be determined – Neal Foster is organizing that day.  AAPS is going to help dig the holes per updated discussions with AAPS.  Neal and Colin went out the next day (3/21/2009) to mark the randomly located spots for the trees using Barry Johnson’s map, adding in four more to the map since we were able to bring the tree numbers up to 20 with the grant.  Tom Edsall is covering the $1900 costs to buy the trees until the reimbursement comes from MDNR, with the money going through the Thurston PTO since that’s who our grant came through (as we are a committee of the Thurston PTO.  Thanks Tom!  We discussed fundraising to cover the $907 cost of shipping the trees and the approximately $400 for the tree gators.  We still have about $132 left earmarked at the PTO after reimbursing Barry Johnson out of the $300 OHMHA donation for the cost of getting the “We’re on our Way” 1967 video (which includes Thurston Pond its early days).  OHMHA has in its current year budget a suggested donation of $400 to TNCC.  We briefly discussed book sales and how the PTO already has one.  Mike Conboy then made a generous donation (Thank you Mike!) that covered most of our outstanding costs relating to the Oak Savanna project.  We’ll discuss future fundraising at upcoming meetings.


Next the Thurston Pond Work Group had its update.  Bill Phillips discussed a number of ideas related to potential ways to get the pond dredged so that we can restore its health, and we’ll continue that discussion at future meetings.  Getting a good estimate of cost is needed as is a site visit by MDEQ.  This year’s work related to the installation of the Aqua-Swirlers and improved drain outlet was discussed.  One particularly encouraging point was a 3/20/2009 e-mail from AAPS Executive Director of Physical Properties that said “I also have assumed that AAPS would be responsible for any such ongoing maintenance since we are the owner and that our design team would have minimized the need for us” concerning recent e-mail discussions about the proposed silt sack and other maintenance needs related to J.F.New’s 2009 work at Thurston Pond.



Submitted by Colin Brooks, TNCC Secretary-Treasurer,