CoNPS Board Meeting Minutes
November 14 2020 10 am – 1 pm
Zoom Virtual Meeting
Present: Amy, Ann, Anna, Chrissy, Denise, Deryn, Irene, Kathy, Kelly, Leo,
Lynn, Mo, Rahman, Tom
Irene: Thank you for your service to CoNPS, and best wishes in Washington!
Deryn called the meeting to order at 10:01 am
We tabled approval of August board mtg minutes – they are in the Google Drive here for review:
1. Endowment for Bruederle scholarship – Leo
Last meeting, the board approved Alice Eastwood scholarship, offering 1-2 $950 scholarships/ year for 10 years through 2028
We administered 1 grant to Grace Gardner at Colorado Mesa Univ, Chrissy is accepting applications for a 2nd scholarship in spring 2021.
* If CoNPS would be interested in setting up endowment for scholarship – $25K for 1 scholarship/ year?
* Do we want to charge Leo to lead setting up this endowment?
* Can we set up a matching fund for the scholarship?
Leo currently has $20K for the fund. Mo recommended promoting members participating in challenge grants.
CoNPS doesn’t currently have any other scholarship fund. CoNPS would be required to promote donations to the scholarship fund. Currently, when a scholarship donation comes in, Leo gets an email. Leo offered to write promotional materials.
Denise will feature the scholarship in our Colorado Gives Day this year – she could use promotional text for the scholarship. Leo will take a look at the text as is and offer revisions. We can also include promotion in the e-News, social media, and the next Aquilegia, and perhaps on the home page of the CoNPS website. Chrissy offered to promote on social media during CO Gives Day.
Mo recommended featuring social media posts for different CO Gives focus each week. Once Leo can get revised text to Denise, she will post CO Gives messages and coordinate with Chrissy to post on social media. For next year, Chrissy recommended getting videos of recipients to show impact of funding.
Denise moved that we accept Leo’s proposal for an Alice Eastwood endowment ultimately for $50K, including a match component, and that we promote through
all CoNPS channels. Chrissy seconded. All in favor.
2. Colorado Gives Day – Denise
Last year we received $7000, including the $1000 award from Community First Foundation, but since 2020 is a different year, we are setting a goal for $4000.
Denise already has some donors lined up. ConPS set a goal for Colorado Gives Day, and there is a group of society members that have issued a challenge that if we reach $4000, a further $600 will be unlocked. “Help unlock this donation with your gift!”
Deryn suggested that we can all share on our personal social media pages to extend the reach of the call to action.
3. Aquilegia editorial team – Kelly/ Amy
Each board member will contact a possible candidate by Dec 14 – please direct all candidates to Amy email@example.com Editiorial team needed to solicit articles and updates, compiling text to send to Kelly, edit for proofreading and style. Kelly estimated that it takes 80 hours per
issue for Mary and Kelly each. Possible Ideas for finding candidates:
Advertise position to university – send out blurbs to plant science departments, journalism departments. Do they have a social media site or bulletin boards?
Linked in – does it feature volunteer positions? Society-wide email just for editorial team posting
Deryn would like to send something out to state master gardener group, people looking for more projects.
Kelly said we are looking for additional contributors by the Spring issue (deadline Feb 15) – if we can’t fill the editorial positions by Feb 15, propose that we cut back to a simpler newsletter. We’d want to then re-visit the print subscription fee.
Denise has a research article for the Spring issue. Denise will send member-wide email to solicit prospective editorial team.
Mo suggested we could post as a paid position. Kelly recommended flat rate by issue. It would be awkward to pay the managing editor and not Kelly – possibility to phase payment to both. Kelly would expect more from the editor getting if that position was paid. We will try 1 month to find volunteer position, then discuss
paid position if needed after Dec. 15.
4. Recap Annual Meeting – Denise ( please see CoNPS 2020 Annual Meeting Report for Board Nov 4, 2020 )
Congratulations for a great event under challenging conditions! We did well financially – the event grossed $8170, even without sponsorships. Speakers were excellent and well-received. The silent auction and photo contest went smoothly. Denise suggested that we keep the photo contest plug-in in place longer. Denise suggested that Zoom license (5 host licenses) expense can be shared 5 ways, since other chapters will be continuing to use it, instead of being an annual meeting expense. Denise is currently sending out links to recordings for each session.
Denise recommended that we not use Eventinterface as a vendor again – the video was not usable. Denise also noted that speakers don’t necessarily read instructions. Denise had short discussion with Lynn and Pam re: annual meeting in 2021 vs. 2022. Boulder is hosting 2022, but Pueblo (Steve Olsen) may do 2021. We will discuss 2021 annual meeting next meeting. Denise will talk with Steve about in-person vs. virtual event next year. It is imperative that we get a firm commitment
ASAP, so planning can commence. Kelly suggested that an Aquilegia representative be included on the planning team, just to be kept in the loop – Kelly is willing for now.
5. 2021 Garden Tours – Denise ( please see 2021 CoNPS Garden Tours Report )
Audubon Habitat Heroes wants to work with CoNPS on joint garden tours for next year. 2-3 virtual tours in Feb/March – Denise has been calling Habitat Heroes/ CoNPS members, and has already gotten 2 in-person candidates for June and 1 agreed to contribute photos for virtual tours as well. Denise is looking for new hosts and expert speaker for virtual garden tours. We have to rely on people who already have pictures, unlikely to have many videos at this point.
Denise would like to feature other parts of our state as well. Denise is also looking for a celebrity – she’s reached out to Alison Peck. Other celebrities?
Kenton Seth from western slope – Ann will contact. Ann asked about another pool for potential hosts – CoNPS certified native gardens, many have already submitted photos. Ann will contact these gardeners to ask for volunteer garden tour hosts.
Denise likes the idea of “season tickets” – challenges with registrants not reading instructions. We’d like to explore different themes, such as the agrovoltaic farm in Boulder and videos from Martin Ogle in Lafayette. The one part that Denise hasn’t figured out is the financial side – she will talk with Jen Bousselot to get context on previous arrangements. Ann mentioned that in the past, each org got half after expenses. Audubon is looking for programs that are a benefit to their
6. 2021 Native Plant Sales – Denise ( please see 2021 Native Plant Sales for Board)
We also want to avoid the pitfall of expecting volunteer help. We’d also like customers to be able to pick out their own plants, so Denise is negotiating with vendors. This year, we may only make 10-20% of plant sale revenue, it may be less depending if we want to offer a member discount. Nurseries have already figured online ordering out, so the benefit we can offer is connecting our membership with these nurseries as customers, who will buy additional plants while they are at the nursery. Ann suggested that Denise talk with who ran the DBG plant sale about how they ran it – the draw at DBG is the huge selection.
The website will have to be set up so customers select the nursery they’ll be buying from. Mo suggested that we offer a drawing for gift certificates to entice customers, instead of a discount. Another idea is to offer or 3-5 free memberships. The gift certificate is simpler, so we’ll pursue that.
Denise is a team of one for the plant sales and is looking for volunteer support. Ann has a list of people who want to be involved with the horticulture committee, so she will provide those names to Denise. The volunteers will mostly be organizational, but depending on the vendor, there may be some need to pull orders. Denise will send an email to Ann for requesting help. The Denver Metro chapter is also discussing how they can help with the plant sale – another potential pool of volunteers. Denise and Rahman will discuss once Denver leadership has had a chance to discuss.
7. Project Budburst update – Ann
Project Budburst is an online phenology citizen science run by the Chicago Botanic Garden. Ann started a Project Budburst Colorado for gardens under the CoNPS banner. Ann has been working with Paul Alaback who helped set up this project, also a member of the Northern Chapter, a fantastic resource. They have been working to feature 10-12 species to observe in the CoNPS project on the Budburst website. There are other CO projects on the website for different
regions and organizations (Andrew DuBois from Jeffco, Becky Hufft from DBG). Ann and Paul chose 8 easy to id, representative species based on those existing projects. We need to get input from other geographic areas to pull in some recommendations from southeast and western slope. Ann would like to get a handful of people together from different parts of the state to hash out the plant list (Ann is checking with Mary Menz and Maggie Gaddis, Lynn is also interested,
Mo recommended John Bregar from southwest as well)
The next part of the process would be to get observers signed up. The goal is to get people outdoors and involved in citizen science. Ann and Paul are currently trying to get inactive projects re-activated. They’d also like to offer phenology webinars and create a page on the CoNPS website about citizen science, which could feature Budburst and iNaturalist, and perhaps other projects from partner orgs. Mo mentioned that the CoNPS website has a volunteer page that has
featured bioblitzes – Mo is happy to make it a more active page – Ann will take a look and make suggestions.
8. 2020 Workshop/Webinar Year-End Report – Kathy ( please see 2020 Workshop & Webinar Year-End Report)
This was the first year in CoNPS history that we’ve tried webinars – it they provided opportunities for all CoNPS members to attend, and provided a safe way for members to learn during the pandemic, saved money for participants due to the shortened program timeframes, and generated revenues for CoNPS due to the increased number of participants attending. Webinars also offered cost savings for CoNPS, as they eliminated expenses for meeting space, refreshments, copying costs, mileage, and staff time to travel to/from program sites & setup/take down the events. We offered 15 this year with a wide range of mission-related topics and got attendees from all regions of CO and 16 other states, a total of 716 participants this year. We were even able to offer a free webinar about citizen science and phenology, thanks to Paul Alaback and Maggie Gaddis. Kathy also organized a Special Speaker Series featuring world-renowned presenters: Douglas Tallamy and Peter Raven. (I don’t know if Doug Tallamy is world-renowned.)
Evaluations have been positive. Gross revenues will be over $17000, with a net of $8191 (expenses include all speaker stipends, GoToMeeting/GoToWebinar web conferencing fees, and Kathy’s yearly staff wage). Webinars have changed what we can expect from outreach and revenue from workshops (Depends on how many webinars are scheduled next year, compared to workshops and field seminars.) We hope to do some in-person offerings in 2021, but we should keep webinars in the mix from here on out. Denise recommended increasing Kathy’s hours and wages and asked if there’s a level when we offer too many programs. We can keep an eye on interest and demand. – typically we aim for 50 participants in webinars and 80-90 for speaker series. (Max. number of participants aimed for depends on topic, speaker, and whether a lot of questions are expected. Generally, I lower the maximum number of participants if more audience questions are anticipated.) We also want to balance with other activities once things open up again. We’ll proceed with webinars until the organization makes a decision to open in-person activities again.
9. Use of CoNPS email/ logo/ social media – Rahman
Denver Metro now has a leadership team of 5, maybe 6. They’d like to reactivate the chapter email address. Mo and Rahman will work together to do that.
Rahman will send contact emails for the chapter to Mo. Rahman also asked if the logo can be altered to include “Metro Chapter” for chapter emails and social media posts. Denise suggested that the chapters should not have their own logo, but putting “Metro Chapter” underneath the logo works. Kelly designed a version on the spot! The Metro Chapter would also like to create a NextDoor page to reach potential local members, especially younger and more diverse members. Deryn noted that this can be a model for other chapters as well. Kelly has JPEGs of the logo that she can send to Rahman.
10. Outreach to youth-oriented orgs – Rahman
The Metro chapter was interested in reaching out to Denver rec centers, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and public schools for potential volunteer opportunities. Many of these parks and natural areas have a lot of opportunity for work to be done and are in underserved areas. Mo said that there aren’t limits for chapters on how they reach out to the community. As a chapter, you have latitude to do what you want as long as its legal and mission-related. Ann mentioned that at the annual meeting, we tried to get the chapter chairs together to brainstorm. We should do this in 2021 – it’s valuable to share ideas among chapters! We could set up a Zoom meeting to do that (Deryn will send out a Doodle poll to find a date for the meeting), either annually or quarterly. Denise can provide the Zoom link. This might energize the chapter leadership.
Kathy and Rahman will connect about working with schools and service learning.
11. Chapter and committee updates
Denver – see above!
Boulder – Lynn clarified that Boulder won’t be hosting 2021 annual meeting, but they are enthusiastic about 2022. Chapter leadership is reshuffling to include Anna Theorakis, Pat Butler, Jackie, Lynn, as well as volunteer Christina Ryan who puts together chapter newsletter. They are also figuring out online venue for meeting (thanks, Denise!). They’ve also worked with Wildlands Restoration Volunteers on weed control events and have a great set of talks for the winter.
12. 2021 plans – Amy
Tabled for next meeting to discuss meetings, budget, calendar) – Jan/Feb will be our planning meeting
Kathy noted that 2021 is our 45th anniversary, an opportunity for major recognition of volunteers
Amy will send Doodle poll this week to set 2021 CoNPS board meeting dates
Deryn closed the meeting at 1:06 pm