Thurston Nature Center Committee (TNCC) Meeting Minutes

November 24, 2009 (Approved)


In attendance:

Neal Foster, Sarah Toner, Doug Helmreich, Bill Phillips, Beth Caldwell, Elsa Stuber, Colin Brooks, Barry Johnson, and Chris Lehr (from Nativescape). 


First we approved the minutes from the September 22nd, 2009 meeting, which I had circulated ahead of time via e-mail this time around.  They were approved with no changes.


Next I gave the Treasurer’s part of my report.  For the Treasurer’s report, I explained how we had $7428 of funds raised by TNCC currently deposited with the Thurston PTO (TNCC is a committee of the Thurston PTO, which is a 501c3 organization).  We have raised $12,292 in funds, including $6667 of the $10,000 from the Castlerock Entertainment donation for using the Thurston Praire for filming the movie “Flipped” (the $3333 balance went to the PTO to use as it sees fit).  Our expenses so far have been $2821 to Possibility Place Nursery for 20 oak trees and delivery, $1900 to Tom Edsall to pay back his loan to acquire the trees in a timely manner last Spring, & $118 to Barry Johnson to obtaining the “We’re on our Way” video from the LBJ archives – totaling $4839.  Our raised funds consist of a $300 donation in November of 2008 from OHMHA, a $500 donation in April 2009 from Neal Foster for the Oak Savanna project, a $1,000 donation from Mike Conboy, a $1900 loan from Tom Edsall to cover the immediate cost of paying for the oak trees, a $1925 reimbursement from the State of Michigan for the tree costs, and the $6667 of the $10,000 Castlerock donation.   When making these calculations for a November Thurston PTO meeting, I forgot to include the $1000 donation to the Friends of the Thurston Nature Center by Mary Jane & Robert Bolle (made 6/5/09) and another $100 anonymous donation (made 9/1/09), so our true funds raised and currently available should be $8553, all available through the PTO.  These two Friends of TNC donations were noted in our 9/22/09 minutes.


Mike Conboy was unable to attend, but Neal Foster shared his Land Steward’s report.  It described the two dikes that were built on the west side of the pond to prevent pooling inside the new path.  JF New reinforced one of the dikes.  Brush cutting and dead ash tree removal continued.  Arbor Valley Tree Service offered free wood chips for Spring delivery.  The Fall workdays involved 9 families including trail & adopted tree maintenance.  Outreach was performed to Georgetown Blvd residents to continue mutually satisfactory development work in the area between private properties and the pond.  Tom Edsall raised a concern that vernal pool habitat was lost due to the berm extension work, and that this area needs further discussion.


We discussed a letter going out to Georgetown Blvd residents who have been over-enthusiastic in clearing brush and trees on the OHAC outlot property between their houses and the pond.  We agreed that the Committee would review Neal’s draft letter via e-mail and that it should go out soon.


Bill Phillips described meeting with George Beale of Beale Construction (along with Tom Edsall) to discuss pond restoration work planning.  They walked the property and talked about putting in 4-foot trenches to drain the area, as accumulated sediment removal would be easier if the pond was drained first. The goal is to restore the pond to its previous clear water state instead of its current eutrophic state.


Next we discussed our application to the EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which includes funding for wetland restoration and best management practice (BMP) implementation, including a focus area on storm runoff and non-point source pollution control.  We discussed the scope of the work with Chris Lehr to gain his input and possible collaboration on the GLRI restoration grant.  Neal & I agreed to e-mail around more information on the GLRI RFP (request for proposals), and Barry, Tom, Bill, and Colin agreed to form a work group to complete the GLRI proposal, which was due January 29, 2010.


Chris continued with a description of the work his Nativescape company does ( ).  He focuses on using native plants for low impact development and ecological restoration, such as his project for the Grosse Isle Nature Area and the Rouge River DTE energy site.  Nativescape was the company hired by Castlerock to replant the part of the Thurston praire used to shoot the movie. 


  Submitted by Colin Brooks, TNCC Secretary-Treasurer,