Meeting Minutes 09/22/2010

Friends of Dicken Woods General Assembly

Minutes for the September 22, 2010 meeting at Dicken Elementary School.

Members Present: Mason Barr, Jim Boyd, Brian Cressman, Mary Duff-Silverman, Kay Holsinger, Stephanie Hunter, Tom Ivacko, Debbie Johnson, Bitsy Lamb, Rayelene Mieske, Deb Norbotten, Doug Wood.

The meeting was called to order by Jim Boyd at 7:05 pm.

1. Approve minutes
The minutes from the March 3, 2010 meeting were approved.

2. Review Finance Report
Deb Norbotten discussed some recent donations, expenses for the Leslie Science Center, the Ann Arbor Public Schools meeting room fee, and trees and perennials purchased by Stephanie Hunter. The current checkbook balance is $5,276.39.

3. Add Steering Committee members
Naela Jenkins would like to be removed from the Steering Committee due to other commitments. A motion to accept Naela's resignation was passed. Mary Duff-Silverman would like to join the Steering Committee. A motion to induct Mary into the committee was passed. Linda Pickl would like to step down from the position as Vice President, but that was postponed until further communication from Linda. Other potential committee members include Jamie and Robin Gleeson.

4. Discuss and vote on funding school programs
Stephanie Hunter said that the Dicken School teachers like the Leslie Science Center programs, and $1,500 is available for these programs this fall.

5. Plan Fall Work Day
Stephanie said that the Work Day will be held on the morning of Saturday, October 2, and she will send out an email about it. Some extra people from a Rotary Club will be there. Mary Duff-Silverman, Doug Wood, and Ray Hunter will use chain saws to cut down buckthorn ahead of time so it will be easier and more efficient for workers to haul it out. NAP will chip the buckthorn within a week. The goal this year is to try to remove as much of the larger buckthorn as possible. Also, if people would prefer not to haul out buckthorn, they could mulch perennials along Maple and Pauline or brush-cut trails.

6. Decide on the purchase of additional trees
Stephanie noted that the group has planted 100 perennials in the borders around the signs on South Maple and Dicken Drive, and started a butterfly count and a list of native species. Doug said that over the past 5 years we have planted between 100-400 seedlings as well as about 5-10 larger 1-5 gallon bucket trees each year. This year we planted 24 bucket trees. The seedlings have had about a 75% fatality rate, but the bucket trees have fared better. With the removal of so much buckthorn and the demise of many ash trees, there is less canopy and more open space in the woods. Stephanie said that we could get 5 or so nice 6' trees from Lowe's for about $100 to plant this fall using $500 already designated for tree planting. That was approved.

7. Discuss views on Winter Walk course
Stephanie said the Winter Walk has been a great success and a wonderful event, but last year it had gotten so crowded in the woods that children couldn't stop and look at their lanterns. Also, the candles kept going out and volunteers couldn't get to the candles to relight them. In addition, there is a lot of labor involved in making the donated candles work with the luminaries.

Stephanie suggested an alternate route: going around the edge of the woods in the playground and grouping luminaries by grade. However, the art teacher doesn't like this alternative. She said the walk should be about taking a space and filling it with light, not about individual luminaries. The group suggested other ideas, including trying to eliminate two-way traffic, keeping the trails wide for better traffic flow, purchasing candles that might stay lit better and would be less work, and keeping the route in the woods because part of the magic is actually walking the trails through the woods at night. It was decided to keep the Winter Walk as a work in progress for now.

8. Discuss website maintenance and electronic communications
Tom Ivaco said he hasn't done much on the Dicken Woods website lately, and he is willing to split the job with someone else or hand it off completely. Or, he could keep making minor updates. He said the job requires knowledge of HTML. Jim Boyd offered to help Tom with the website. It was noted that we also have a Facebook page, but not sure how much it's kept up.

9. Solicit additional comments.

Mason Barr made a motion to adjourn, Doug seconded the motion, and the meeting adjourned at 8:10 pm.

Minutes by Debbie Johnson.