Colorado Native Plant Society
Board Meeting Minutes
Location: Denver, CO
Regis University Library, Tracy Center
3333 Regis Blvd. (corner Regis Blvd. & Lowell Blvd.)
December 6, 2014
9:30 a.m. – noon
Present: Charlie Turner, Jan Turner, Linda Smith, Denise Wilson, Jessica Smith, Betsy Bultema, Erica Cooper, Ronda Koski, Steve Olson, Mo Ewing, and guests Mindy Gottsegen and Carol English from the Colorado State Land Board. Present by phone were Bob Powell, Irene Shonle, Stephen Stern, Nan Kuich, Megan Bowes and Erin Tripp.
Business Requiring a Vote
- Stewardship Trust Realignment Project Presentation – Mindy Gottsegen, Conservation Services Manager for the Colorado State Land Board, and Carol English, Botanist for the Colorado State Land Board, presented a PowerPoint and answer questions about the realignment.
- Sections 16 & 36 have given funding and guidance to obtain and maintain 2.88 million surface acres of lands, of which 295,947 acres have been put into the Stewardship Trust to receive extra protection. These require a supermajority, 4 out of 5 votes, making it difficult to sell the land.
- Mindy, “No use is expressly prohibited. But Stew Trust designation does ensure a much more thorough review and consideration on the potential impacts. On Stew Trust properties we have leased for O&G, we’ve prepared comprehensive surface reviews that restrict development in critical areas, and sometimes required No Surface Occupancy. Sometimes a property is not offered for O&G at all. ” A stewardship trust designation does not remove any land use, including oil and gas surface development, but it does ensure a much more thorough review of the potential impacts and development can be curtailed.
- Goal 1 – Promote stewardship of Stewardship Trust lands; always less than 300,000 acres in the Trust.
- Goal 2 – Enhance stewardship of all trust lands (they don’t have to lease to the highest bidder, they can lease for the best stewardship).
- Recommendations for April 9, 2015 Board Action for removal of some lands of landscape properties which are now in the Trust to make room for other parcels of greater conservation value to go into the Trust. Proposed 111 parcels of 131,933 acres to add; and removals of 14 parcels of 111,434 acres. We are now in the Comment Period.
- The SLB has opened up the stewardship trust reorganization for public comment. The period is open starting Nov 24 – Jan. 8, for comments on removal. Deadline for new nominee land parcel is Dec 21. There will be a second comment period Jan 14 – Feb 27, 2015 to comment on replacement parcels.
- Mindy’s view is that within the constraints of the acreage allowed in the Stewardship Trust, the Trust should be used to protect biodiversity.
- Discussion of Colorado State Land Board (SLB) proposed stewardship trust realignment; letter from CoNPS to SLB (Jessica Smith).
- Jessica Smith comments were speaking on behalf of Colorado Natural Areas Program (CNAP) interests; a) CNAP likes to designate properties in the stewardship trust because of the intensive process required to sell; b) CoNPS can have an effect with our recommendations for stronger management plans in a letter to SLB; c) that Lowry with a large intact mixed grass prairie ecosystem is considered a priority. Mindy responded that Lowry has the best Asset Management Plan, SLB has recommended periodic fires there, and that there is one SLB Board member against removal of any Lowry lands.
- Bob Powell had a job 20 years ago for SLB surveying cattle grazing. Has SLB used this information? What condition are these properties in after 20 years of cattle grazing? Jessica Smith and Carol English will look for these papers, as that information would be useful for comparing the present condition of the land.
- Jessica Smith will revise the CoNPS letter and resend, so that the CoNPS Board will need to vote on the letter via email. Fragmentation and threats remain high priorities.
- Here is some information on the SLB website about the realignment and properties which are under consideration for removal from stewardship trust: http://trustlands.state.co.us/NewsandMedia/Documents/Web%20Packet%20-%20November%202014.pdf (See page 3).
- Here is the background on significant factors about Lowry: http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/download/documents/2011/Lowry_report_2010_final.pdf (see Page 49 for grassland information and page 69 for PCA information)
- Mission Grant (Charlie Turner)
- Accept the proposal for a mission grant (VOTE) 2 Attachments. Charlie Turner moved and Bob Powell seconded and the motion passed. The Mission Grant Funding Statement outlines the computation of available funds each year that can be granted to applicants.
- Form a Mission Grants Committee (VOTE). Charlie Turner moved to accept the formation of this committee; Irene Shonle seconded, and motion passed. Jenny Neale and Don Hazlett have offered to be on this committee.
- March 1st and August 1st are proposal deadlines for Mission Grants each year.
- Advocacy Coordinator (Mo Ewing)
- Mo will give an update
- Top-down or bottom-up approach? Top-down explained as a full or part-time position which would establish relationships with key people in federal and state agencies to influence and work with them in resource management planning. However, this would be invisible to our membership. The state gave feedback that there is no existing process for this input; open comment periods are used for this. Bottom-up approach described as the Advocacy Person would work with Chapter Presidents to develop projects locally and promote this work to show we are actively conserving native plants. Mo is recommending the bottom-up approach, and this requires solid Chapter Presidential support. These two approaches each require a different skill set for the position.
- One problem is that membership has been going down, and ninety-three life-time members pay nothing. The proposal which Mo will present will probably recommend an increase in dues, and an active recruitment program with a membership committee and an annual membership drive. Proposal will be ready for the next Board meeting with a likely goal of 150 new members with critical support necessary from local Chapter Presidents. Different kinds of membership levels are suggested in which a member gives more money and might designate the fund that it goes for.
- A more detailed discussion will take place at the CoNPS Board meeting on January 10, 2015 in which we will discuss the proposal.
- Membership drive (Jan Turner)
- Committee is forming: Lenore Mitchell, Sara Copp, Tim Henson, Jan Turner, and Annie Cline Loechell; we need committee members from each chapter.
- Outreach to high school biology teachers and students, community college and university professors/students, other organizations.
- Charlie Turner moved to form membership committee, Bob Powell seconded. Mo Ewing pointed out we presently have a committee of one; Charlie withdrew the motion. We will have a membership drive instead, and the committee will be expanded and plan on holding an annual membership drive.
- Mo Ewing will send emails to see what amount the Chapters want in their 2015 budget.
- Jan would like Publicity and Marketing responsibilities added. Bob Powell would like this to be a single person. Mo suggested we start with Jan’s Membership Committee with the goal to develop people with an individual responsible within each chapter.
- “MeetUp.com” account – $12/month. This does not require a vote, for funds are available within the Membership Committee budget line item. Erin Tripp would like these new members to be told they are supporting the Advocacy Position. Linda Smith said she will initially manage the “MeetUp” account.
- The Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) was successful in recruiting new members who were unfamiliar with CNPS through meetup.com.
- See article in CNHP Bulletin, page 4 https://cnps.org/cnps/publications/cnpsbulletin/v44.4_oct-dec2014.pdf
- Proposal for Society-wide CoNPS Annual Meeting Committee (VOTE)
- Chapters find planning the annual meeting overwhelming and it is a greater hardship for smaller chapters. An Annual Meeting Committee (not restricted to the chapter) could help take much of the burden off the chapters and the knowledge of how to plan the meetings would continue from year to year with some of the same people continuing on the committee. The chapter would select the theme and could contribute as much work as they are able. Jan Turner moved that we form this committee, Charlie Turner seconded. Discussion included refinements to the Manual submitted by Bob Powell and Al Schneider. The Vice President will be a member of this committee, as those duties are stated in the Bylaws. Motion passed.
- The Annual Meeting Location Schedule should be determined for the next 5 to 10 years for planning purposes.
- Details for 2015 Annual Meeting Location & Date (Jan)
- American Mountaineering Center, Golden, CO with a 50% discount, was the best choice, and has been reserved.
- September 11-13, 2015
- We arrange our own catering.
- Rare Plant Symposium’s manager Jill Handwerk from Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP) has agreed to this date.
- Details for 2016 Annual Meeting
- The Plateau Chapter has volunteered to host the 2016 meeting
- CoNPS will help them with their meeting planning and arrangements
- CoNPS Lifetime Memberships (VOTE) (Mo Ewing and Jan Turner)
- We would like a significant price increase (from $300 to $800 or $1,000)
- We have falling membership numbers and thus decreased funds; the present cost of a lifetime membership is only $300, which pays for itself in fewer than 15 years because of increases in dues over time. At this time, the individual rate is $20/yr.
- Any lifetime memberships payments should be put in general endowment. Then the funds will continue to support the Society forever, rather than on a one time basis.
- Mo Ewing made a motion for $800; Charlie Turner seconded. Motion passed.
- Mo said other states have many levels: budget, individual, family, advocates, etc. Recommends we have tiered membership.
- Nan Kuich suggested a renewal system by charge card with an automatic renewal. Denise Wilson stated that it requires a Merchant Service Account which typically applies a minimum of $50-$60 per month in fees and is therefore not cost effective.
The following items were moved to the next meeting. Meeting adjourned at 11:58am.
Chapter Presidents need a Summary of the Committees that need members.
- CoNPS Awards (VOTE) (Jan Turner)
- Eliminate lifetime memberships as awards; CoNPS needs the yearly membership funds if we are to hire an advocacy coordinator.
- The Board has not been able to decide on individuals who should receive awards in time to order artwork or plaques, so many years we don’t have awards at the Annual Meetings. I suggest we form an awards committee to solicit nominations and decide on awardees in a timely fashion; there should be a deadline for a decision more than two months before the Annual Meeting.
- Ann Armstrong Fund Bench (Mo Ewing) (VOTE)
- In November 2009, CoNPS set up the Armstrong Fund to collect money for a bench in Ann Armstrong Park. The money never has seemed to be used.
- We should either use the money to purchase the bench, or send the money back to the original donors. The bench was to have cost $1,200 and we only raised $527.
- A few years ago, Mo made a donation to endowment to fund the Mount Evans fund. This was originally intended to fund projects on Mount Evans.
- It doesn’t look like CoNPS is going to run any projects up there so Mo would like to have the money transferred to the CoNPS General Endowment. Mo thinks there needs to be a vote on this so that the transfer is documented.
- Get well cards
- Bob Powell said that the Annual Meeting of the Native Plant Society of New Mexico (NPSNM) will be in Durango, CO, in July 2015 and if you want to attend, you will need to join the NPSNM ($25 to join as individual, $30 for family) in addition to paying the Annual Meeting fee.
- Board Meeting Schedule (at Tracy Center, Dayton Memorial Library, Regis University, 9:15-12)
- Jan. 10, 2015
- May 16, 2015
- Aug. 8, 2015
- Oct. 24, 2015
- Dec. 5, 2015
- Weber Event articles & video (Jan)
- Barb Losoff, who was an organizer of the “The Naturalist” (Weber) exhibit at Norlin Library, will write an article about the event on November 12, 2014 and will also write an article on Weber’s life and work for Aquilegia.
- Barb said that the event (“The Naturalist”) was filmed by one of their students and will be available on You Tube, probably by the end of the year. Barb will notify us when it is available.
- Winter 2014 Aquilegia (Jan Turner)
- The deadline for the winter issue of Aquilegia has passed (Nov. 15, 2014) but I will accept updates on chapter events, workshops, and special news items until the last minute when the issue is sent to members.
- I hope to have the issue out by middle to late December.
- Spring 2015 deadline is FEB. 15, 2015 – NEED FIELD TRIPS FROM CHAPTER LEADERS
- Deadline for Research Grant Proposals
- The request for research grant proposals will be in Winter 2014 issue of Aquilegia
- Feb. 15, 2015 is deadline to submit proposals
- Pre-orders & Book Funding for Flora of Colorado Update
- Linda Smith reports that $200 in donations have been received
- The pre-order information was sent out by email to all CoNPS members.
Other Business (if time allows; if not, it will be moved to 1/10/15 meeting)
- Native Plant Guides Committee (Irene Shonle)
- Before the Nov. 1 meeting, a group of CoNPS members met to discuss the formation of a CoNPS committee to work on native plant selection and garden guides for different regions of our state. Representatives from the CoNPS Board, the CSU Native Plant Master Program, Front Range Wild Ones, and Denver Botanic Gardens attended the planning meeting. The group examined native plant landscaping guides from other states and came up with a plan for elements that should be included in the guides.
- The group will be holding another meeting on January 6, 2015 at 2 p.m. (location TBA) and invites others to volunteer to work on the guide. Irene Shonle volunteered to chair the ad hoc committee. Please contact Irene Shonle at Irene.email@example.com if you want information about the committee or would like to volunteer.
- Black Forest/Pineries Open Space Update
- The meeting has been postponed until December 10
- A report will be given at the January 10, 2015 meeting
- Current News Items (Jan Turner)
- On a number of occasions, I have been asked by members (including Board members) about adding things to Aquilegia that were already there. That is an indication that many people aren’t reading the news items in Aquilegia. We need another way to get out important news items.
- Possibilities: 1) Send out the group emails from firstname.lastname@example.org; 2) Send out something prettier (something that looks like a newsletter instead of an email); 3) Set up a Gmail Group (this might include only a small number of our members: 4) Set up a blog (and Jan could send out a group email when blog items are posted to alert people); 5) Are there other ideas that might work better? I am in favor of sending items out as group emails from email@example.com because it would be fast and easy but I am open to other suggestions.