Colorado Native Plant Society

Board Meeting Minutes

Virtual Aug 6, 2016 CoNPS Board Meeting

Jan Turner in an email dated Aug 3, 2016 moved to have a virtual Board Meeting in lieu of the physical meeting on Aug 6, 2016. Jenny Neale seconded the motion, and it received 13 yes votes, so it passed.

The meeting was moderated via emails by Jan Loechell Turner, Co-President, Colorado Native Plant Society; Editor, Aquilegia: Newsletter of the Colorado Native Plant Society;, 720-284-8135

Discussion is recorded as follows.

Scholarships for the Annual Meeting, Workshops, etc

The Board previously voted “Yes” to establish scholarships, but we need criteria, an application form, and volunteers to judge the applications. Perhaps Cecily Mui could draft the documents and be in charge of the volunteers. Do we need to create a committee?

1. Cecily responded with these criteria:I think that it would be a great idea to include a scholarship donation option on the Annual Conference registration page and people can elect to contribute any amount that they are comfortable with donating. This was accomplished and is a part of the registration form, with boxes for increments of $20, $35, and $50; and a click for a separate donation.

2. Donations received can go towards a dedicated number of conference registrations.  If we receive more than was used, we can put the extra money into a fund for future education events (workshops, field seminars, etc.).  If we receive less than the amount needed, we can continue to fundraise to make up the deficit, and then continue building a dedicated scholarship fund for CoNPS educational events.

3. The scholarship fund can be managed by a subcommittee of the Education Committee or a new committee or the Finance Committee as suggested?  This can be 3-5 people who review scholarship applications.  (I would love to help with this.)

Scholarship criteria: (These are written broadly so that they can cover a number of educational events.)

1. Commitment to attend the event.  Except in the case of an unplanned emergency, CoNPS will be contacted immediately so that the opportunity for a scholarship can be provided to the next person on the wait-list.  Failure to comply may lead to exclusions from future scholarship opportunities.

2. Scholarship participants may need to provide volunteer support to event coordinators and leaders.  The volunteer duties will be shared with the scholarship recipient as soon as possible.  

3. The recipient of a scholarship cannot give their registration to another person.

4. The recipient of a scholarship cannot bank a credit to an event for later use without the approval of CoNPS.

5. Each recipient cannot receive more than $100/year or 5 events/year in scholarships, whichever occurs first.  (Other suggestions?)

6. Scholarship applications must be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to an event, unless otherwise approved by CoNPS.


1. Why are you interested in attending this event?

2. How will you use the information gained from this event?

3. Please explain your need for a scholarship to this event.  Additionally, please provide information regarding your monthly household income, members of the household you are supporting, and/or other financial limitations that preclude you from participating in the event if you cannot obtain a scholarship.

4. Have you been awarded a scholarship with CoNPS in the last 12 months?  If so, what were the events, dates, and dollar value of the awarded scholarship(s)?

5. Have you ever missed an event to which you’ve received a CoNPS scholarship?  If so, why?

6. Would you be willing to provide some volunteer time and assistance either at, prior, or after the event?  Feel free to suggest ways you can assist, and to provide us with any volunteering limitations you may have.

These are some suggestions to help further the discussion.  I would love to hear other ideas.

We could have a place on the Annual Meeting registration page for people to make a $50 (registration plus lunch) donation or $100 (2 registrations and 2 lunches) so students or other people living on a restricted income could attend events for free. If we received more donations than people needing the money, we could save the money in a fund to help people attend workshops and field seminars.

DBG Society Membership: (Discussion & Vote)

1.   CoNPS is considering becoming a Society Member of the Denver Botanic Gardens. It would give us a higher profile for membership building and greater exposure of CoNPS.

2.   The annual fee would be $420 ($300 dues + $120 janitorial fees).

3.   We would be allowed to use their Society Room 12 times a year.

4.   We could put up native plant educational displays at DBG.

5.   We could hold a CoNPS plant sale at the DBG and a lot of people visiting the garden would see it but we would be required to give DBG 25% of our net sales.

6.   We probably wouldn’t want to do workshops for profit at DBG because we would be required to donate 50% of the proceeds of the workshop to DBG if we charged for them.

7.   We could have a free booth at a Plant Society Day to promote CoNPS.

8.   We are checking to find out if they would charge us for the screen and projector in the Society Room, if they would want access to our membership list (which is private), and if we could bring our own snacks rather than use their caterer if we wanted food.

Jan Turner did some research, and here would be our main reasons for joining for one year. The first two are the most important:

  1. If we had a plant sale at the DBG (and we could do it with another DBG Society member, like the Rock Garden Society, if we wanted), it would give CoNPS a lot of exposure to the general public. Considering that we paid $380 for an ad in the Colorado Gardener, the $420 membership fee would be a good advertising value and so many people come to the garden that we could get a number of non-CoNPS members purchasing plants and potentially becoming members.
  2. Panayoti said a plant sale at the DBG could be a good fund-raiser for CoNPS (and it could also be good for our partner, HPEC) because the Society plant sales there tend to do a high volume of sales. We’d have to give them 25% of our net sales (for the use of their space), but we’d keep 75% so it might be financially worthwhile. We could have it in Mitchell Hall or do it outside.
  3. We’d get to use the Society room for free 12 times a year. That could be a venue for the Denver Chapter (or even other Front Range chapters) meetings so we wouldn’t need to pay to rent the room at Englewood Public Library. (SAM – WOULD YOU HOLD THE DENVER CHAPTER MEETINGS AT THE DBG IF CONPS COULD GET THE ROOM “FREE” AS PART OF OUR SOCIETY MEMBERSHIP? Do you currently pay $45 at EPL to rent the room?). Chapters could also use the room for other free events as needed. If you divide our $420 Society membership cost by 12 (we are allowed to use the room – or a larger room – 12 x per year) that is just a room rental fee of $35 each time, which is very reasonable).
  4. If we had larger groups and wanted to have a free meeting, we could use Mitchell Hall for free (normally, renting it is something crazy like $10K).
  5. If we had a high profile speaker, it might be worthwhile to use Mitchell Hall and charge for the talks and give DBG 50% of the net profits to get to use Mitchell Hall.
  6. They said we could participate in putting up displays (good for advertising and for Education and Outreach) but I need clarification. I asked them if we could use the display cases in the main building and they said that those were normally reserved for DBG displays. I need to get more details about that. We would definitely want to put up a Colorado Native Plant Appreciation Week display for the week of June 10-16 at the DBG and I bet we could talk them into that.
  7. Note: I would really like for us to start developing displays to put up at libraries (they often let groups use their display cases). The displays would include books but we could also add display boards/posters.
  8. I did find out about the projectors, screens, and sound system (the later in reference to Mitchell Hall) and we would get everything for free.
  9. Regarding food, we can bring our own food but just not bring in a caterer from outside DBG.
  10. We do not have to share our member list with them so there is no privacy issue.


Discussion: The main reason for this would be to hold an annual CoNPS Plant Sale. Several Board members expressed concern as to whether or not the annual membership fee would be worth it. We would do this on a one-year trial basis.

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) partnership and app for phone: (Discussion & Vote)

1.  CoNPS is considering collaborating with VOC to create a phone app that would allow people do perform some activities (that we would develop) to teach people about native plants

2.   One goal of this collaboration would be to attract millennial-generation members to CoNPS

3.    One goal would be to educate a new audience of Colorado citizens about native plants, their habitats, and conservation.

4.   It would cost $2,000 for the development of the app and then $1,500 (or something like that) annually for subsequent years.

5.   Here is information and a video about the YourCO app. You can download for free on your smartphone, etc.

6.    Jen will contact them to get more information on how many contact organizations are making through the app.

 Comments made from participants:

VOC app

Questions from Jessica Smith; responses from Jen Bousslelot:

1. How many new members did we add this year? Would the app really add 60 members a year to pay for itself? That seems like a lot. We added 300+ new members this last year from Aug1 to Aug 1. Sixty from one ‘avenue’ such as this isn’t unheard of.

2. What proportion of our typical budget is $3500? The workshops have made just over $4000 so far. In essence, we could be using that profit to pay for this. 

3. Question mostly for Jen. What is the best use of $3500 to grow the society, in your opinion? Marketing. It seems to me that our growth is primarily limited because most of the plant loving public is not aware of CoNPS or our mission. But what form of marketing is a matter of opinion. Online and social media would be what I would aim for as that is where most people spend leisure time.

4. More information from VOC would be helpful, too.

Jen suggested tabling this so we can discuss it in more detail at the Sept 10th meeting.

The other items we planned to talk about at the meeting will include:

Request to divide Horticulture and Restoration Committee into two separate committees: Horticulture Committee and Restoration Committee: (Discussion & Vote)

Restoration is being overlooked  – all effort in Horticultural & Restoration Committee is on Horticulture; H & R Committee voted to break into two committees.

Restoration is a very important subject and a committee should be devoted to working on best practices and education to support restoration using native plants and seeds.

A Non-discrimination statement – important for non-profits when fund-raising as a charity (Discussion & Vote)

Need to vote that we would like such a statement

Need someone to volunteer to write-up a statement

Board needs to vote on the final statement

Example was given by Jim Tolstrip, as follows: * High Plains Environmental Center warmly welcomes all individuals of any age, race, ethnicity, cultural background, physical or developmental ability, national origin, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religious or spiritual affiliation, and gender identity or expression.

Need Membership Chair and Sales Chair so CoNPS employees (Jen Bousselot and Linda Smith) are not voting Board members (for CoNPS to get higher rating as charity because no conflict of interest in votes)

Charity Navigator (
This website uses a four-star system to rate charities based on their financial performance and accountability. It also shows how the charity ranks compared to others doing similar work.


Fall Online Plant Sale: It is on the website. Plant pickup will be at the CoNPS Annual Conference on Sept. 24 but people will be able to make other arrangements if they aren’t attending.

CoNPS Annual Conference Information is being entered on the website. The schedule for the Annual Conference is attached.

CoNPS Field Seminars: Only a few field seminars are left. The profit was around $4,200 so far.

CoNPS Denver Garden Tour, July 31: It was a big success with 77 participants and with almost $900 in profit.


Final Board Meeting Votes for Virtual Aug 6, 2016 CoNPS Board Meeting

Name DGB Soc Mem VOC app Hort/Rest Split Non-Discrim Stmt Membership

& Sales Chairs

Scholarships for Conference


Jim Tolstrup Yes Not at this time – More info needed Yes

(see HPEC’s statement)*

Yes Yes Yes
Jeff Jones Yes Wait – Info.needed Yes Yes Yes Abstain
Stephen Stern Yes Wait – Info.needed Yes Yes Yes  
Sara Copp Yes Wait – Info.needed Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nanette Kuich Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Jan Turner Yes Wait for information Yes Yes Yes Yes
Charlie Turner   Wait for information Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cecily Mui Yes Wait for information Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sam Clark Yes Wait for information Yes Yes Yes  
Amy Yarger Yes Wait for information Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mo Ewing (JLT) Yes Wait for information Yes Yes Yes Yes
Denise Wilson Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Erica Cooper Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bob Powell            
Irene Shonle Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lenore Mitchell Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jessica Smith Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Linda Smith            
Jennifer Bousselot            
Ronda Koski Yes No Yes Yes Yes  
Jenny Neale            
Steve Olson            
Cath Kleier           Yes
TOTALS 16 Yes 14 No/3 Yes 17 Yes 17 Yes 17 Yes 13 Yes/1 Abstain

Respectfully submitted,

Denise C Wilson, Secretary

September 9, 2016