General Membership Meeting Minutes
The Mid-Coast Chapter General Membership met on Saturday, May 14th, 2022 at 10:00 am at the Bauer Exhibit Building in Port Lavaca, Calhoun County, Texas.
Members: Laura Andersen, Bill Burge, Rachel Cheyne, Paul Clore, Maureen Crocker, Janet Cunningham, Bob Cunningham, Lauren DeLeon, Sandra Garcia, Bobby Garner, Judy Goodner, Ken Goodner, Debbie Griffith, Melissa Guthrie, Patrick Hartigan, Pamela Hayes, Charla Ingalls, Cathy Koenig, Dee Mahaffey, Steve Marwitz, Barbara Mathis-Carr, Debra Minns, Diane Pletcher, Janet Price, Debbi Roskey, Sally Scroggs, Lindy Shirey, Greg Simmons, Susie Starnes, Marilyn Stewart, Linda Swickheimer, Barbara Threatt and Janie von Dohlen.
Program/Advanced Training Presentation
R. J. Shelly, Calhoun County Marine Extension Agent, presented a program about the Texas Shellfish Classification Program. He presented an overview of the oyster harvesting and tracking processes as well as discussed bay conditions and government regulations in regards to oyster harvesting. Attendees may report 1.25 hours of Advanced Training (AT) under the category AT: with chapter meeting.
President Bob Cunningham opened the meeting at 11:30 am and reported on the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act presentation from the May 10th TMN Tuesday presented by Richard Heilbrun, Conservation Outreach Program Leader for Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and who serves on the TMN State Committee. Per that presentation, the act would bring lots of money to the states and would help fund TMN projects. State indicated that members who wish to communicate their elected federal representatives about the bill should do so before the end of the month but cautioned that members must advocate as private citizens and not as members of TMN. He referred members to the TMN Tuesday presentation for details.
The TMN Tuesday presentation in June will feature a downlink with Kjell Lindgren, an astronaut and TMN member, from the International Space Station. The date and time will be determined on relatively short notice based on Lindgren’s availability. Members are invited to submit questions via Survey Monkey at TXMN.tamu.edu under the “Naturalist News” menu dropdown.
The Annual Meeting will be October 20-23, 2022, in Houston at the Omni Houston Hotel Riverway. Registration is targeted to open August 1st and the sessions fill up fast. The deadline for presentation proposals is May 31st. A timeline is available on the TMN website under the “2022 Annual Meeting” menu dropdown.
A 4-hour workshop on Diversity-Equity-Inclusion-Access was held April 6th. PPT and resources are available to leadership and to DEIA committees on request. Pillars for DEIA are recruitment, retention, and outreach. Because our chapter is so widespread, the Mid-Coast focus is on reaching the underserved geography of our multi-county region as a first step. We need volunteers to step up to help organize in local areas and especially as Chair. We are relying on every member for word-of-mouth with new applications opening in August for 2023.
The position of Communications Director on the Board of Directors is open. Leadership openings reporting to the Communications Director are Outreach Coordinator and Publicity (Marketing). These positions affect MCTMN’s ability to recruit and engage the public across our wide region. Also, our Newsletter Editor, Debbie Minns, needs a replacement as she takes on tasks for running the annual Native Plant Sale. The P&P Manual describes these roles and responsibilities on pages 34-35. If anyone is interested in taking over the directorship or Publicity, Outreach, or Newsletter responsibilities should please contact Bob Cunningham.
We may test having virtual access for the live July 9th BOD meeting. We will need people to test this online access and provide feedback in order to determine if the Chapter wants to allocate funds in the 2023 budget to get this capability.
Vice President Bill Burge invited members to attend the next General Membership Meeting which will be held in Palacios. The annual financial review will be completed soon. Bill is asking for suggestions for a venue for the November meeting, preferably in the Victoria or Goliad area. The venue must be suitable for a meeting and potluck lunch.
Linda Shirey, substituting for Secretary Kim Gaddy, asked for corrections or additions to the minutes from the last meeting. There being none, Bill Burge made a motion to approve the minutes as circulated. Barbara Threatt seconded. The motion was carried.
Treasurer Charla Ingalls reported that the MCTMN is on track with spending for 2022. The main spending is for initial training and the point-of-sale sale system for the plant sale. Income is not much yet because the plant sale is the main source of income. We have a special exemption for nonprofits concerning sales taxes. Charla has contacted a CPA and confirmed that MCTMN is in compliance with the rules.
Dues payments are higher when purchased online through Square due to Square’s processing charges. We currently charge more for online purchase now, but the charge is still short of the actual due fee plus the Square service charges. Membership has to vote at the November meeting on any increase in dues recommended by the BOD. There was some discussion and the consensus was that dues are dues and set by the membership. The Square fee is separate from the dues and the BOD should have the discretion to determine the additional fee without a vote by the membership.
Membership Director Dee Mahaffey reported that the MCTMN Chapter currently has 112 members. There is a waiting list of nine applicants for the 2023 class.
Advanced Training Director Linda Shirey reported that training opportunities are still coming in. She presented a list of approved training opportunities available until the end of the year. It is hoped that the list will make it easier for members to find training they are interested in and to find the details on the website.
Initial Training Directors Sally Scroggs and Greg Simmons reported that Initial Training (IT) for the class of 2022 began on January 29th. Eight of the ten sessions have been completed. Graduation is planned for June 4th and will be held at Barnhart Ranch. This event will include a pot-luck meal and general membership is invited to attend. Dee Mahaffey and Janet Cunningham will coordinate a sign-up sheet for planned dishes. The class size is 16, including two carryovers (although carryovers have not yet participated in any sessions).
Greg and Sally expressed their gratitude for the MCTMN members who have volunteered to assist with 2022 training sessions. Training ambassadors for 2022 included Rebecca and Phil Stapleton (Mid-Coast Ecology), Kris and Ray Kirkwood (Upland Ecology), Allan and Brigid Berger (Bay Ecology & Coastal Prairie and Wetland Ecology), Bill Burge (Riparian Ecology), Claire Barnhart and Wilfred Korth (Importance of Native Plants). There are opportunities for additional involvement in the training program if anyone is interested.
Online evaluations this year continue to provide thorough, legible feedback. It is an improvement over past paper evaluations.
The 2022 class is an exceptional class that will produce some strong future volunteers. Fourteen of the Members-in-training are on track to complete their 40 hours of required training.
Lauren Andersen has been elected 2022 class representative.
We have nine people signed up for the class of 2023. It is very important that the people who are signing up for the initial training class know what they are signing up for.
Paul Clore is coordinating the training class to the topics in the State Handbook. The review process will be completed in a week or so. Then it will be posted on the website to be available for new classes.
State requires initial completion and certification within one year but has not provided guidance on consequences for not meeting that deadline. That question is under advisement at the State level and guidance should be forthcoming from TMN. Under current Mid-Coast practice, new graduates have a year from their graduation date to initially certify.
Projects Director Ray Kirkwood was absent, chairing the NPSOT meeting. No report.
Plant Sale: Debbie Minns reported that they need people to be on the committee. They still need an Education Coordinator, who educates about why we need native plants and about the plants themselves. They are collecting photos to have displays at the event to demonstrate how animals and plants relate to each other. They want to re-create the list of plants to offer at the sale. Another goal is to improve the point of sale to know what plants sell and what don’t. Cathy Koenig is propagation coordinator and trying to keep track of the plants being propagated so that we don’t have too many of one type of plant. Contact her if you are propagating plants and if you need pots. She has sent out a list of plants to propagate. The committee will need lots of help right before and during the plant sale. Each plant will have a barcode and volunteers will be needed to help with putting the barcodes on the pots. The plant sale will be September 15-17 at the Hummer Bird Celebration. It is a good opportunity to get lots of volunteer hours.
Water Quality Group: Dee Mahaffey discussed that water quality specialists need eight hours training and ten hours of volunteer service a year. Water quality training is held in San Marcos, but Jane Moore may be able to get the training to come down here. If interested in water quality training see Maureen Crocker. There are different requirements in different areas. For questions, contact Dee.
Oystering: Bill Burge reported on some bays that were closed to oystering and other activities concerning the oyster industry. Members can lobby groups as private citizens but should not identify as Texas Master Naturalists.
Newsletter: Submit items by June 1st for the next quarter newsletter to Debbie Minns. Articles of interest are anything that happened in the last quarter or will happen in the next quarter. Action photos appreciated.
Scrapbooking: Janet Cunningham needs items like articles and photos for the scrapbook.
Past President Claire Barnhart—not present; no report
2021 Class Representative Cindy Hanifen—not present; no report
Chapter Advisor Trey Barron—not present; no report
No old business to discuss.
Greg Simmons reported that Goose Island State Park has a paddling program training on May 26 from 9-4. Ranger Sara will be presenting.
Patrick Hartigan and others are interested in getting involved with Aransas Pathways. Contact Patrick or Vickie Wilson if you are interested.
There was a discussion of TMN shirts. Shirts can be purchased through the TAMU bookstore. The logo for the State program is available on the State website. Laura Andersen will work on getting a logo for Mid-Coast Chapter so that shirts can be embroidered locally.
Initial Certifications, Class of 2020—Not present to receive awards: Sally Crofutt, Larry Green
Initial Certifications, Class of 2021—Rachel Cheyne. Not present to receive award: Monica Clark
Bronze 250-Hour Milestone Pin—Not present: Rachael Diaz, Jane Moore
Silver 500-Hour Milestone Pin—Debbie Griffith
Gold/Ruby 4000-Hour Milestone Pin—Dianne Nichols
2021 Recertifications—Sideoats Grama Pin: Lauren DeLeon, Ken Goodner, Debbie Griffith, Melissa Guthrie, Barbara Mathis-Carr, Dianne Nichols, Diane Pletcher, KarenLee Rystad, and Barb Threatt. Not present to receive awards: Karen Benson, Claudia Dorn, Donna Fiarkoski, Bob Friedrichs, Carla Haskett, Jane Moore, Ernie Schertz, Phil Stapleton, and Rebecca Stapleton.
2022 Recertifications—Lightning Whelk: Bill Burge, Bobby Garner, Patrick Hartigan, Sally Scroggs, Greg Simmons, and Janie von Dohlen. Not present: Donna Bailey, Brigid Berger, Debra Dahms-Nelson, Carla Haskett, Jane Moore, and Robyn Savage.
Service Against All Odds-2020 Awards: Debbie Griffith, Julianne Thompson. Not present to receive awards: Karen Benson, Rachael Diaz, Bob Friedrichs, Larry Henneke, Melanie Konarik, Barbara Mathis, and Jane Moore.
Service Against All Odds-2021 awards: Bill Burge, Rachel Cheyne, Paul Clore, Lauren DeLeon, Mark Gaddy, Bobby Garner, Judy Goodner, Ken Goodner, Debbie Griffith, Patrick Hartigan, Cathy Koenig, Barbara Mathis, Debra Minns, Diane Pletcher, Janet Price, KarenLee Rystad, Sally Scroggs, Greg Simmons, Susie Starnes, Marilyn Stewart, Linda Swickheimer, Barb Threatt, Janie von Dohlen. Thirty-eight members have not yet received the 2021 “Grit” pin.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:20 pm. Attendees may count up to two hours of Volunteer Service plus travel time as Chapter Business: Chapter Meeting.
Linda Shirey for Kim Gaddy,
Mid-Coast Chapter Secretary