Meeting Minutes 09/30/2009

Friends of Dicken Woods General Assembly

Minutes for the Wednesday, September 30, 2009 meeting at Dicken Elementary School

Members Present: Members Present: Mason Barr, Jim Boyd, Brian Cressman, Mary Duff-Silverman, Kay Holsinger, Doug Wood, Stephanie Hunter, Diane Imredy, Tom Ivacko, Debbie Johnson, Raylene and Harvey Mieske, Deb Norbotten, Rich Westbury, Jack Eaton and Bitsy Lamb.

Meeting was called to order at 7:02pm by Jack Eaton.

1. Old Business
A. Minutes. The minutes from the March 2009 meeting were approved.

B. Financial Report. Deb Norbotton presented the Financial Report of 2009. The balance forward from 2008 was $6,567.91. Expenses in 2009 included $1,340 for the Leslie Science and Nature Center / Grant, $213.04 to Naela Jenkins for the '09 Winter Walk supplies, $68 to Theresa Erickson for art supplies for the Winter Walk, $230.50 to Stephanie Hunter for trees, $55.94 to Naela Jenkins for Max & Erma's fundraiser printing, $45.05 to Stephanie Hunter for perennials, $10 annual fee to A2 Public Schools for the '09/'10 meetings, and $25 to HVCN for web page membership fee renewal. Deposits included cash collected at the Winter Walk and a number of donations, including a $1,000 anonymous donation for the science project, totaling $1,338. Tom Ivacko made a motion to approve the Financial Report, and it passed.

2. Update on Steering Committee
Jack Eaton noted that some people have moved away, and others have expressed an interested in joining the Steering Committee, including Jim and Sandy Bolt, Karen Larson, and Mary Duff-Silverman.

3. Updates, Reports, and Discussion Items
A. Butterfly Garden. Stephanie Hunter told the group that Mary Duff-Silverman, who is involved in the Butterfly Gardens at the U of M Exhibit Museum, has now developed a Butterfly Garden in Dicken Woods. Mary said there are 25 native species, and at least 50 plants total in the Butterfly Garden. Stephanie said that several groups emailed her requesting a tour of the woods, and she and Mary took them on a tour and they loved it. Several neighbors have donated funds to be spent on plants for the garden. Mary mentioned that she would like positive and negative comments about the plant signs, and those who commented said they found the signs helpful. Stephanie found some sensitive ferns growing in the woods, the first type of fern to be found in the woods, and some zigzag goldenrod from seeds planted 5 years ago. Jack said the white stones piled at the end of Dicken Drive are available for anyone, and he and Tom thanked Mary and Stephanie for all of their work.

B. Elementary School Grant Program. Stephanie said the Leslie Science Center program is all set up. "Songs With Joe," by Joe Riley, has been very popular and will be presented to K-1st grade. Other programs will be provided for grades 2-4. Expenses for the grants for K-4 come in at just under $1,200. Money from the anonymous donation will help to fund another special project to be done by the 5th grade as an art project and will also pay for the luminaries for the Winter Walk.

C. Fall Work Day. Doug Wood said it is scheduled for Saturday, October 3, from 9 am -12 noon. It's our big annual event scheduled in advance with NAP, and the rain date is Sunday, October 4. Doug asked that people bring saws, gloves, and friends to help remove the buckthorn which will then be mulched by the city.

4. Dicken Woods on Facebook.
Jack sent out an email about it, saying he will invite anyone with a Facebook account to be a member to post comments, photos, etc.

5. Dicken Dash.
The Dicken Dash, a 5K run organized by Dicken School, went through the woods several times this spring, which has been of concern. The woods is a very small piece of wild habitat surrounded by busy streets and the school. A large number of people at any one time using the woods causes disruption to the habitat and damages the trails; this year 125 people participated in the run. Many people have voiced angry concerns and Jack has said he will work with Dicken School Prinicpal Mike Madison to determine a new route for next year. Doug proposed we give our input to NAP and get their professional opinion on the potential damage so they can be the "bad guys" to veto, limit, or modify the run through the woods. Doug felt this would be effective since NAP is the controlling city unit for nature areas and they share our interest in minimizing negative impact to the woods. Jack said the indication from NAP is that they didn't have enough information last year, but based on the experience from this spring, they feel they may have reason to veto the run. Mason Barr said we need to express our opinion, but with civility. Jack said our goal is to protect the woods, but we want to maintain a good relationship with the school. Also, if the run continues to be a success, it could grow and we don't want to set a precedent by allowing the run through the woods. The group thought the route on the blacktop from the end of Dicken Road over to Maple Road would be fine.

7. Open time for other items not on the agenda.
No items were mentioned.

Since no one had any other items to discuss, Jack made a motion to close the meeting. It was seconded and the motion passed.

The meeting adjourned at 7:54 pm.

Minutes by Debbie Johnson.