Thurston Nature Center Committee (TNCC) – Core Working Group Meeting Minutes

January 17, 2011 (Approved)

In attendance:

Neal Foster, Mike Conboy, Tom Edsall, Barry Johnson, Colin Brooks, Beth Caldwell

The minutes were not ready from the October 29th, 2010 meeting so they were not approved.

We first discussed Phragmites control on the west side of the pond. We discussed if a burn permit would be needed, but general agreement was that it was not worth burning, especially as seeds spread too easily anyway. Cutting it down to the ice level was discussed as a recommended action.

Mike Conboy gave his land steward report. He has continued with brush cutting in the Nature Center but has been leaving dense vine areas for cardinals. The oak savanna continues to look good. We discussed and tabled the idea for an improved fence around the oak savanna, and agreed to just repair Margaret Weiss's existing one – Mike said he would take care of that. He discussed the likely need to burn the prairie this spring. Several trees were ready for spring planting – mountain ash, pawpaw, red maple, and tulip tree.

Mike shared an old March 2nd, 1968 TNCC meeting report which Colin will scan and post on the website. Back then wood chips were about to be spread, Scouts were working on pond improvement projects, trees were being planted – sounds familiar!

We then discussed Phragmites control again, including the potential need to use Mike Conboy's “buzzer” weed whip with a blade. Tentative plans were set for a January 26th Phrag control session.

We discussed the state of the berm repair, and the need for an update from Rod Ginter or Scott Dierks from JF New. We had not heard about any response to our comments on the MDEQ permit request from October 18, 2010 by Ann Arbor Public Schoolf on behalf of JF New.

We then discussed submitting to the Sustain our Great Lakes 2011 Pre-Proposal Grant Opportunity that was due February 14, 2011. We agreed this was worthwhile to submit a scaled-down version of our GLRI proposal and to build from the work that Tom Edsall had started. Maximum requestable amount was $150,000 and a 1:1 match was needed. We intended the AAPS/JF New pond work to be our main source of match, plus volunteer efforts. The pre-proposal focused on improving the outlet, controlling invasives, and adjusting the pond depth through dredging to promote improved water quality. The draft was to be sent around and TNCC members who wanted to help could edit it. Colin Brooks offered to formally submit it.

Randy Trent had offered in an e-mail to Neal to provide posts for the metal TNCC signs, we just had to ask for this when the weather was warmer.

We also discussed possible native plantings, especially in the oak savanna. We agreed this needing proper planning, hopefully by the next meeting.

Colin reported that the TNCC has $8865.50 in its sub-account with the Thurston PTO.

We also discussed Neal's request to find a new TNCC chairperson. Colin volunteered to be that person if no one else wanted that position, if he could “take office” once his Cub Scout leadership responsibilities were over in April.

Finally, Colin once again said he would set up a dedicated TNCC e-mail list, using Google Groups.

Submitted by Colin Brooks, TNCC Secretary-Treasurer, (v.2011.4.7)