Meeting Minutes 03/21/2005

Friends of Dicken Woods General Assembly

Minutes for the Monday, March 21, 2005 meeting at Dicken Elementary School

7:05. The meeting commenced.

Minutes from Wednesday, January 26, 2005 approved.

Lantern walk. Stephanie, Doug, Kay, Amanda, Naela, received a round of applause. Went amazingly well. Teachers want to do it again next year. Attendance was over 200. Guides got cold, next year they'll need to do shifts or at least have hot chocolate. Open 7-8, time was fine. Most people walked from 7 to7:30, some walked twice. Trials were active for a full hour. Communication was good. Kids were involved, many brought parents to show their lantern. Maryanne Jaeger was very pleased. Minor issue with having enough containers. Not a problem in future, start saving now. They will save lanterns from this year, and add next years. Worked out great despite two day weather delay.

Update from Trails Committee - Doug Wood. Carol and Dicken fence. City will provide a round rail fence synthetic that weathers to natural graybrown. Will put them in place at end Carol and Dicken in place of guardrail. It should be in during the next few weeks. They will leave 'Road Ends' sign at Dicken, but may not need it at Carol because it is obvious. The fence is a shadowbox pattern, so it looks continuous from head on, but is five offset sections. We can remove horizontal rails so chip truck can come through them.

Eagle Scout Bridge Project. An Eagle Scout has proposed a project to build a permanent bridge across the swamp between the end of Dicken and Carol. Up to eagle scout, he has to do everything. He'll work through a city park planner, who'll want it under a foot high (no rails needed then) and three feet wide. If scout can't do it, we'll build it as FODW.

Wood Chips. Last year had trouble getting chips when we wanted them. Forester has first dibs on truck and chips. Jason from nap called, said we can get them before April 15. if we get them earlier, we'll get together to spread them around. Erik would like to get kids involved. Bring wagons and chips. May get a load dropped of at school and at DW entrance.

Herbicide training. Erik and Doug are co-stewards. Long term plan is to have someone become certified for herbicide application. Then we won't have to wait for the city. Fall through winter is the season for herbicides. Open to volunteers. There is a proctored test and a field test to qualify. Mr. Barr volunteered. Supposed to be quite simple.

Buckthorn. Doug finished second week of buckthorn removal. The city treated cut down stumps. Herbicide was green easy to see. Looks great.

Diane Imredy is a representative from Walden Woods. No particular items to share, they're just interested in our activities. Couple of members made the walk and enjoyed it. The residents happy with the outcome.

Signage. Last summer Doug installed informal directional signs, but the Park Planner is officially in charge of permanent sings. We have the original survey, and the Master Gardener can also make an inventory for us to identify points of interest. One of our micro grants is for the students to identify plants and trees, that might help also. No hurry. Doug is ready to contact Park Planner, but would also restore old signs if appropriate.

The Dicken art teacher plans to make a collage of birds, plants, mammals, butterflies of DW that will be in the school's halls. This year she is using money to buy supplies, next year she may ask for money to produce the collage and/or posters. Such basic education is helpful, several of the school kids who went around looking for owl houses, didn't know robins from cardinals. Mike champion is not here, in June going away party for Mike at Erik's. Potluck for adults. Nice sendoff.

Stephanie provided a micro grant update. The last grant was to the first graders, and they mainly wanted to do walks. Burt built four owl houses which are now up in trees selected by kids. In fall Dodie from the Raptor Center is planning on releasing orphaned screech owls. There are lots of mice footprints in the snow. Consensus on continuing the project is strongly supported. Tom will continue in next year's cycle of micro grants, he is the chair of the Grants Committee. We gave out just under a thousand in grants last year, and funded every grant approved. We want to ensure the most kids in all grades get the best investment per dollar. First grade grants required no money at all. $750-1500 should cover it. Last year we received good, enthusiastic proposals with little forewarning. One teacher even donated to FODW with a designation as a grant.

Budget topics were presented by Erik. It would be nice to keep $250-500 in the bank for expenses. Max will help Naela formulate a budget. Naela will solicit budget needs from the group.

Bird, frog, and salamander count. Brian went to the counting class. He wants to do a count for DW, and use the info for posters. He and Marlene Gates.

Elections of officers will be planned for September. Jim Boyd would like to step down as Secretary. We will open nominations in May. They will be open until two weeks before our September meeting. No quorum is required for voting. Elections will be by paper ballot, unless unopposed. If no candidate receives a majority, a runoff will be held. We need to change bylaws to alter the election date. Website can accept nominations. Tom can set up a form for anonymous nominations.

Cleanup Day presented by Doug. 9 a.m. -12 p.m. Saturday, June 4 cleanup. Every year NAP holds a cleanup day for each park. Sometimes we share it with other parks. Similar to last year's. We like to maximize the turnout. NAP will invite other volunteers to join us. Trail maintenance, spread chips, define trail edges, dames rocket removal will be in order, but expect little trash removal. Doug will identify and plan tasks with the help of other people's input.

This year's Yard Sale will be graciously hosted by Brian Cressman. Don't throw away that lovely stuff! No junk! One dollar and up! June 17 is last day of school. Spring cleaning is coming and we need to remind parents of Dicken kids of sale. Naela accepted items for one week and one weekend, which worked well. Use the last week for pricing, cleaning, and arranging. June 24-25 looks like the dates. Brian will need volunteers in shifts for pricing and cleaning. We need volunteers!

Erik proposeda hiatus for the Benefit Concert. It is a good fundraiser, but no pressing need.

Survey results. Erik proposes to cover that in the May meeting for thorough discussion.

Bob Palmer produced a newsletter with some info from Tom's website. Erik thinks its very helpful, and many people have told him this. Needs to be pictureless to keep it small, and several formats. He can take it and run with it. Naela has old trifold brochure that could lend service.

Mike Champion will be leaving our neighborhood soon after the end of school. He is here through mid-June.

Finances were presented by Deb. About $544.27. We are always accepting donations!

Meeting adjourned at 8:34.

Minutes by Jim Boyd