Meeting Minutes 03/29/2006

Friends of Dicken Woods General Assembly

DRAFT Minutes for the Wednesday, March 29, 2006 meeting at Dicken Elementary School

Attending were Mason Barr, Jack Eaton, Kay Holsinger, Stephanie Hunter, Tom Ivacko, Naela Jenkins, Debbie Johnson, Amanda Koeller, Theresa Leite, Bob Palmer, Julie Rupp, Marian Williams, Doug Wood.

Tom Ivacko chaired the meeting and opened proceedings at 7:02p.m.

Minutes were accepted from the 1/26/06 meeting.

Grant Activities
Stephanie Hunter reported on grant activities, that are still in process for the 2005-6 school year. These include the quilt, and a wildflower seed garden.

Budget Report
Tom Ivacko reported that the budget is currently about $3258.00. He stated that the Steering Committee will be working towards deciding how to budget these funds based on the FoDW Master Plan, a draft of which was reviewed later in this meeting.

Naela Jenkins reported that the Max & Erma's Fundraiser is set for Wednesday, April 26th, 2006. She created a flyer for the event, and plans to get them in kids backpacks on April 24th through Dicken Elementary. She also reported that Max & Erma's requires that we meet a minimum of $250 in sales to receive the money, and a minimum of $1000.00 in sales to host another fundraising event there, at a later date.

Bob Palmer said that he would make copies of the Max & Erma's flyer. Amanda Koeller reported that she is seeking free advertising opportunities, and said that it would be in the Community section of the Ann Arbor News. Doug Wood said he would take flyers to Donald McNair's Eagle Scout ceremony that he was attending on April 1.

Stephanie Hunter stated that she and her husband, Ray, had completed an application for a grant from the Rotary Club. They applied for $2,000.00, in which $1,000 would go towards Dicken Elementary grants, $500 towards work needed in the woods, and $500 towards materials for Dicken classrooms. She will find out the results and report back possibly in May 2006.

Mid-winter Walk
Stephanie Hunter also reported on the Midwinter Walk, which took place in February. She said that we were fortunate to have good weather, and a great turnout, with over 300 attending! Issues she'll be working on for next year's walk will include reducing bottlenecks in the Woods, improving food distribution in order to shorten the lines for treats and hot cocoa, and possibly having a small bonfire outside the school on the school grounds. She also stated that she is creating luminaries for next year and has a friend that is donating used coffee cans. Bob Palmer suggested having the Cub Scouts make some of the luminaries.

Julie Rupp, noted that as a teacher at Dicken Elementary, she was very pleased with the parent involvement on this event, and noted that there were a number of parents at the walk who had not attended any other extra curricular events at the school all year. She said that she received a lot of positive feedback. Tom Ivacko noted that this event has been a great success for FoDW.

Woods and Maintenance
Doug Wood announced that both the City of Ann Arbor, and NAP are embarking on a significant program to provide high quality park signs, and that they will work with our group to create entrance and trail signs for Dicken Woods. Debbie Johnson, Tom Ivacko and Jack Eaton agreed to meet with Doug and work on this project together with the city and NAP.

Doug stated that Spring Cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, April 29th from 9-12noon, and that the Fall Cleanup with NAP is scheduled for Sept. 30th. Doug also plans to continue the Sunday cleanups in the Fall, and would appreciate as much help as possible.

Doug Wood distributed a preliminary copy of the Dicken Woods Vision Statement and Stewardship Plan to all attending. He stated that he has a longer version, but that this is the basic plan which the organization can use as a template. This plan is based on a similar plan for Black Pond Woods, another nature area in the Ann Arbor Parks System. He also said that the plan will be put on the FoDW website for people to view, discuss, and suggest changes to. FoDW wanted to proactively create this plan, so that it was tailored to the specific needs of Dicken Woods, and the surrounding area, and can serve as a roadmap as the group continues to work to improve the woods.

Following discussion of the plan, Jack Eaton made a motion, seconded by Mason Barr, for FoDW to accept the Preliminary Draft of the Dicken Woods Vision Statement and Stewardship Plan as our official statement. During discussion on the motion, the members in attendance agreed with Doug's original presentation, that the plan will be a "living document" to be updated as needed over time. After discussion, the motion was revised to indicate that the Friends accept the plan as a working draft, for official use where necessary or useful, subject to further refinement. Jack and Mason agreed to the revised motion, and the motion then passed with a unanimous vote of those in attendance.

Ash Tree Replacement
Tom Ivacko reviewed the Ash Tree Replacement Program that was highlighted in the Ann Arbor News. Discussion followed, as to whether or not the Friends of Dicken Woods should be involved and if so would it include work for the school, the woods or the neighborhood streets. Tom is going to follow-up with both the City of Ann Arbor, and Dicken Elementary to see what might be possible.

Project Involvement
Doug Wood emphasized how much work still needed to be done in the Woods, and suggested creating interest groups to increase participation levels. Marian Williams recommended emailing the FoDW general membership to discover which volunteers might be interested in the various groups. Mason Barr stated that it would also spark interest to revamp our history in the email, showing the membership how far the group has come. Doug said he will work on an email to create these groups.

Officer Positions
Tom noted that in May of 2006, there will be a vote for officer positions for 7/1/06 - 6/30/07, and that Naela told him recently she is unable to serve again as Co-Vice President. The floor was opened for nominations. Naela Jenkins nominated Tom Ivacko as President, Bob Palmer as Vice-President, Jack Eaton as Vice-President, Deb Norbotten as Treasurer, and Amanda Koeller as Treasurer.

New Business
Naela Jenkins reported that she recently ran into a woman who was inquiring about the woods. The woman works for Metrocom International, a local media firm, and is looking to possibly use the Woods in a documentary film on natural wooded areas and children's opportunities for active play and recreation. Naela will keep the group up-to-date as she finds out more.

Meeting adjourned at 8:32 p.m.

Minutes by Amanda Koeller and Tom Ivacko