Thurston Nature Center Committee (TNCC) Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 (Draft)


In attendance:

Neal Foster, Mike Conboy, Tom Edsall, Colin Brooks, Beth Caldwell, Bill Phillips, Katie Richter.


The minutes from the April 22nd, 2009 regular TNCC meeting were approved (with one minor change on the word “dredged”).


Mike Conboy gave the Land Steward’s Report.  A scanned copy is available here.  Highlights include twenty oaks being planted by TNCC volunteers and friends (including members of Cub Scout Pack 160) on 4/25/2009 to help establish an oak savanna at Thurston Elementary.  They will need watering through the summer (about 400 gallons per watering session).  A motion to pay the Van Leers for use of their convenient water was passed.  Chips continue to be distributed along trails.  Some Thurston Prairie plants will be transplanted ahead of the temporary movie set occupying part of that area.  Winter brush cutting has opened up large areas for Spring wildflowers (including Trillium, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and many more).


Next we discussed the use of part of the Thurston Prairie by Castle Rock Entertainment / Warner Brothers for the Rob Reiner-directed movie “Flipped.”  Castle Rock offered a $5,000 donation to the Thurston Nature Center for use part of the prairie.  We agreed that 1/3 of any donation should go to the Thurston PTO (since we’re a committee of the Thurston PTO, which has 501(c)3 status), and the rest would be used for Thurston Pond restoration.  After a period of discussion, the following motion was proposed, and passed by a vote of 7-0:

“The Thurston Nature Center Committee declines the $5,000 offer. The Thurston Nature Center Committee would support the temporary use of the Thurston Prairie for a minimum donation of $10,000 to the Thurston PTO, so long as all materials brought on site are removed by Castle Rock / Warner Brothers when filming is complete.”


Acknowledgements letters were sent by Neal Foster for donations made to help with the oak savanna tree planting.  I then made a Treasurer’s Report in my role as the current Secretary-Treasurer.  To help with paying for the trees and related needs of our oak savanna planting effort, Neal Foster donated $500 and Mike Conboy donated $1,000.  Tom Edsall loaned $1900 to cover the immediate cost of paying for the trees, which will be repaid out of the MDNR Community Forestry grant funds that we were approved for to pay for this project.  Therefore a total of $3400 was given to the Thurston PTO Treasurer in May.  The PTO wrote a $2821 check (# 4252) on 4/21/2009 to Possibility Place Nursery to pay for the trees and delivery.  Neal is submitting a $400 bill to the PTO to pay for the 20 gator bags placed at the bottom of the trees.  That left $189 of the funds given to the PTO for the oak savanna project as unspent ($3400 - $2821 - $400 = $189).  Of the 2008 OHMHA $300 donation, $118 was spent repaying Barry Johnson for ordering a copy of the 1967 “We’re on our Way” video from the LBJ Archives that Margaret Weiss had found last year, leaving $182 of that unspent (the $300 donation was deposited with the PTO last year).  That leaves $189 + $182 = $371 of TNCC money still in the PTO’s checking account – a start towards future restoration work!


We agreed that the TNCC web page ( ) could be used to help with fundraising for Thurston Pond restoration.  To start with, we will post the “Friends of the Thurston Nature Center” form that Neal Foster is developing.


We will be showing the copy of the 1967 short film “We’re on our Way” at the June 5th Ice Cream Social at Thurston, which includes a few minutes of people helping establish the TNCC over 40 years ago!  I will bring my laptop to show the movie.


Bill Phillips talked about his discussions with a potential pond restoration firm who might be willing to help with dredging.  More information will be forthcoming at upcoming meetings as things develop


  Submitted by Colin Brooks, TNCC Secretary-Treasurer,