Thurston Nature Center Committee (TNCC) Meeting Minutes

April 7, 2011

In attendance:

Neal Foster, Mike Conboy, Colin Brooks

The minutes from the January 17th meeting that Neal Foster, Mike Conboy, Tom Edsall, Barry Johnson, Colin Brooks, Beth Caldwell attended were ready and approved with one minor change.

Mike Conboy gave his 4/7/11 land steward report. A prairie burn was held on March 17, 2011 & it went well, despite not as much biomass as some previous burns. The last burn had been in 2008. Six people helped even with a last minute call for help, including Mr. Szcygiel. Mike reported that no wood chips were available yet, so we should put off work days until we know that chips are available, but hopefully still before the end of April. Plans for tree plantings were discussed for the east side of the pond, with a focus on planting native trees not already in the Thurston Nature Center. Neal suggested Gee Farms in Stockbridge, MI ( ) as a good place for trees. Mike said that priorities were red maple and sassafras, with paw-paw, mountain ash, jack pine, large tooth aspen, and white birch being other possibilities. We have city permission to transfer Sugarbush Park paw paws to the Thurston Nature Center. Neighbors have agreed to water & adopt them. A motion was suggested to spend up to $200 of TNCC funds to purchase trees for this effort and was approved unanimously. Also, Mike repaired Margaret Weiss's oak savanna fence.

We agreed that we would like a presentation from JF New before work starts in mid-May. We set the date of our next meeting for Thursday, May 12th, 7pm at Thurston Elementary. Colin was charged with contacting JF New to get them to present.

Our February 2011 pre-proposal to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Sustain our Great Lakes pre-proposal was not selected for a full proposal.

We reviewed how we had sent our official TNCC comments to AAPS (Randy Trent) and JF New (Scott Dierks) asking if they had been considered for the berm repair & outlet expansion work. Contacting James Sallee at MDNR was suggested to see if he knew what was approved.

Sarah Toner, avid local young birder who helped update the birds section of the TNCC website last year, recommended nine birds that would use nest boxes that could be put in as part of the new Thurston Green Schools Program organized by John Mackorkindale.

For other Green Schools activities, we discussed a proposed letter writing campaign by Thurston 2nd & 3rd Graders to the school board encouraging them to support Thurston Nature Center restoration; Colin is helping advise this. Mike said he could do a tree tour. Colin said he would make a poster about the Thurston Nature Center for the “Earth Room” in the Thurston International Night.

Neal discussed the dead goldfish seen in the pond, likely due to low oxygen and long ice conditions this past winter coupled with the Pond's eutrophic conditions. Neal also said he was continuing to look reports or publication that might relate to the 1967 National Youth Conference “We're on our Way” conference, for which we also have the video. Neal said he would like to help edit the website as well.

Finally, we held a nomination and election for the new Thurston Nature Center Committee Chairperson. Colin Brooks, current Secretary-Treasurer, was nominated & elected, taking over from Neal Foster. A new Secretary-Treasurer is needed to fill his old position.

Submitted by Colin Brooks, TNCC Secretary-Treasurer, (v.2011.5.12)