General Membership Meeting Minutes
The annual general membership meeting of the Mid-Coast Texas Master Naturalists was held virtually via a Zoom meeting on November 14th, 2020 at 10:00 am.
Attendance: 44 members and 1 guest attended: Neill Amsler III, Claire Barnhart, Karen Benson, Brigid Berger, Liz Branch, Bill Burge, Barbara Mathis Carr, Eleanor Chew, Denise Crane, Rusty Crane, Bob Cunningham, Janet Cunningham, Bobby Garner, Ken Goodner, Patrick Hartigan, Carla Haskett, Julie Hejducek, Mike Hejducek, Larry Henneke, Charla Ingalls, Roger Ingalls, Kris Kirkwood, Ray Kirkwood, Catherine Koenig, Melanie Konarik, Wilfred Korth, Debbie Kucera, Debbie Minns, Jane Moore, Regina Payton, KarenLee Rystad, Ernie Schertz, Sally Scroggs, Linda Shirey, Greg Simmons, Nelida Spurrell, Rebecca Stapleton, Marilyn Stewart, Linda Swickheimer, Janie von Dohlen, D’Ann Williams, Vickie Wilson, Nathalie Woolfrey, Fred Woolfrey Guest: Edwin Quintero
Advanced Training Presentation
Edwin Quintero, Park Superintendent, Goose Island State Park, presented information about the Texas State Parks in general and Goose Island specifically. He talked about the challenges during the pandemic, the history and economic impact of the park on the community, the facilities available including the Big Tree area and the fishing pier, and on-going management activities. The park is now fully renovated with the state funding post-hurricane Harvey, including a new pier and much needed renovations of the day-use, camping, and restroom facilities.
Edwin talked about the variety of habitats in the park, including the bay front coastal shoreline habitat, red bay live oak habitat, and prairie habitat which support a wide variety of nesting and migratory birds and mammals. The destruction from hurricane Harvey was devastating, with a huge impact to the live oak trees, but with the state funding, staff efforts and volunteers the park has recovered well.
He also spoke about the impact and need for outreach and interpretive programs, especially for the next generation of visitors to the park. Goose Island will continue to offer exciting popular programs like archery and fishing, and add new experiences such as dark-sky initiatives including a roving telescope and new points of interest for birding.
Edwin can be reached directly at (361) 729-2858 or email@example.com. He encouraged members to contact him about volunteer opportunities at the park.
This training can be reported as 1 hour of AT: with Chapter Meeting. Attendance at the chapter meeting itself (including travel) can be reported as CB: Chapter Business with “Attend meeting” in the admin dropdown.
Initial Training Director—Bob Cunningham asked to speak early, and spoke about the challenges to the 2020 class training. After only three class sessions, the schedule of classes was temporarily scrapped due to Covid-19 impacts. For the remaining sessions, Bob has worked with others this fall to provide a combination of virtual sessions and outdoor field sessions, since many of our partner facilities are shut down (e.g. UTMSI, Mad Island, and Welder Wildlife Foundation). A final session is planned for January 2021, and the students will then have a full year for certification.
The 2020 class started with 19 people, and 2 postponed until 2021. 2 more students have not been very active since the program was restarted in the fall. About 15 seem to have the 40 hours for graduation. The class has several distinguished students and is very strong.
The 2021 class will be very challenging, given that many of the venues remain closed. We will probably have planned virtual sessions and field work like this fall’s classes. Bill Burge indicated that we are short of class applicants for 2021 and encouraged everyone to help recruit new trainees. Bob indicated that any 2021 classes can be attended by 2020 or earlier trainees who missed a class. Orientation for 2021 may be virtual as well, and may not be a full day and lunch.
President—Claire Barnhart congratulated Bob on his efforts with Initial Training and thanked him for his work. She also congratulated the upcoming graduates for their dedication during this stressful time. Claire reiterated how Covid-19 has impacted our efforts, but indicated that there are still opportunities listed on our website and sent by Kris Kirkwood via email, and encouraged safe participation. Clair also reiterated the need to recruit for 2021 trainees.
Claire presented the 2021 officer-candidate slate as:
- President – Bob Cunningham
- Vice-President – Bill Burge
- Secretary – Charla Ingalls
- Treasurer – open
Claire also presented proposed directorships for 2021. These positions are appointed, not elected:
- Membership Director – Janet Cunningham
- Project Director – Ray Kirkwood
- Communications Director – Diane Roseberry
- Advanced Training Director – Linda Shirey
- Initial Training Director – open
- 2021 Class Representative – not yet chosen
Vice President—Bill Burge reported that the Financial Review has been done and approved by the board. A motion was made by Claire to accept the review and seconded by Linda Shirey; motion passed.
Bill attended the chapter president call at the state meeting, and reported on the updates there, including change in Covid restrictions, TMN masks being offered for sale, and the new pin for “certification against all odds” for this year.
Bill indicated that we will be doing all near-term quarterly meetings virtually, like this meeting. A board meeting will be scheduled in December. Bill also told the membership about the new storage shed that we have available for use.
Secretary—Charla Ingalls reported the February 8, 2020 minutes were posted on the chapter website and asked for any corrections. Bill Burge moved for approval of minutes, Claire Barnhart seconded and approval was passed. Melanie Konarik asked if she could pass on the bins of archival information that she has been keeping. Kris Kirkwood said that as Historian, she has other archival data and can add them to that.
Treasurer—Janet Cunningham has distributed the summary and detail P&L report. As of the end of October 2020 we have $25,137.87 in our bank account. We also have established a post office box for the chapter (P.O. Box 760, Fulton, TX 78358) that can be used for chapter-related mail. Clair and Bill Burge motioned and seconded to accept the financial report and the motion passed.
Membership Director—Kris Kirkwood reported for Rebecca Stapleton that as of now we have 105 chapter members who are TMN active and eligible to report hours. 77% of the membership is reporting hours. 22.8% are not reporting hours but are paying dues. 30 members have recertified for 2020 and Kris will be mailing these pins and milestone pins.
Kris reiterated the need to recruit for the 2021 class. We currently have six interested people (of whom four have paid) plus the two from the 2020 class who postponed to 2021. Kris has sent information to the membership about recruiting. Dennis will be placing an advertisement in local papers for recruitment. Bill Burge suggested using the same verbiage in a NextDoor post.
The company that created our badges (nametags) in the past is unreachable. Kris has found a replacement source.
2019 Class Representative—Regina Payton had no news to report. Bob will remind the 2020 class to nominate a new representative.
Advanced Training Director—Linda Shirey indicated that most Advanced Training continues to be virtual in format. She reminded members to fill out the form on the website to submit any new training for approval. To be approved, any virtual content should also have a mechanism for the participants to interact.
Projects Director—Ray Kirkwood reported about a Texas Parks and Wildlife project and introduced Nathalie Woolfrey as the proposer of the project. This overarching project is called The Great Texas Wildlife Trails, and is described on the TPWD website. Nathalie talked about the October presentation by TPWD which described 30-40 virtual projects all over the state. To participate in one of these projects, the chapter needs to approve participation and have a coordinator appointed. Nathalie and her husband Fred volunteered to be the coordinators for this project. Each trail within the project is a named loop, and there are 11 total loops within our chapter area. The Aransas Loop encompasses Rockport and Lamar.
A TMN chapter can adopt one or more loops and one or more sites within a loop. This is a multi-year phased project with instructions and a checklist from TPWD about activities in each phase (including a 4x per year review of the site using a provided checklist). Ray Kirkwood and Charla Ingalls motioned and seconded to approve this project and the motion passed. Nathalie will be sending more information to those who expressed interest in participating and will submit a project request form to make the project official.
Bill Burge reported about a project at Big Tree to do cleanup, maintenance, and invasive-plant removal around the area and will send more information..
Communications Director—Dennis Durkee was absent. Claire reported his updates. Dennis is relocating and will be leaving our chapter. Claire thanked him for all of his incredible work on our communication on Facebook, newsletters, and other media.
- Publicity & Newsletter and Social Media – Dennis published a spring/summer issue of the chapter newsletter and plans for another before year end. He also coordinated and published content in July to the state Facebook page as part of their program to have chapters “take over” the site for a week. The state praised the posts saying that they got a high amount of engagement. The Mid-Coast chapter Facebook group page continues to attract new subscribers with 234 members, up 24% for the year. Claire mentioned that we can “boost” our Facebook page for a small fee.
- Outreach – no chair; no report
- Webmaster – Ray Kirkwood reported that he will be adding a way to accept donations for the chapter via our website.
- Historian – Kris Kirkwood reported that she and Melanie will be combining the archived chapter documents. She complimented Nathalie on her scrapbook work and Nathalie reminded the members to forward any content for the scrapbook to her.
Past President—Larry Henneke had nothing to report.
Chapter Advisor—Trey Barron was absent.
Recertification Pins and Milestone Pins—Kris will be mailing all pins before the end of the year and has sent an email with all of the recipients who will receive a pin. Claire congratulated all who are receiving awards.
Election of Officers for 2021—After discussion, the slate of officers as shown above was modified as follows for consideration:
- President – Bob Cunningham
- Vice-president – Bill Burge
- Secretary – Kris Kirkwood
- Treasurer – Charla Ingalls
Kris indicated that she would accept the nomination for Secretary, but will step down if we get another volunteer. Bill Burge made a motion to approve the slate, and Linda Shirey seconded. The motion was approved.
A motion to adjourn was called by Claire and seconded by Linda Shirey. Meeting adjourned at 12:30 pm.
Melanie Konarik/Charla Ingalls, Co-secretaries