Board Minutes

Iowa Master Naturalists Board of Directors
Minutes of the January 18, 2021 Special Board Meeting
11:30 a.m., online at Google Meet

1) Roll Call

Justin Voss, Chair (present)
Raia Lichen, Vice-Chair (present)
Sue Travis, Secretary (present)
Anita Hutton, Treasurer (present)
Ben Rowold (present)
Peter Ault  

Executive Director: Elisabeth Swain (present)

Advisors: Jean Prior (present), Lynette Seigley, Letia Blanco, Alida Selim, John Pearson, Tammy Wright

2) Minutes from the previous meeting – The most recent minutes are on our website: Older minutes are archived on the google drive in the folder called Board of Directors Meetings. Because of the pandemic, we haven’t met in person since February 2020. 

3) Treasurer Reports – Anita reported the current account balances: $2008.10 in savings, $1629.89 in checking, $262.95 in PayPal, for a total of $4001.94. This is about $1000 lower than one year ago. Elisabeth knew of two donations that accounted for $250, and Justin says he also donated and his employer should be matching that donation. 

4) Chairman’s Report on Elections – The by-laws guide us to have board officer elections each January. Because there are no vacancies to fill and no terms expiring, we will not have an election this year. 

5) Executive Director Reports and Other Discussion 

– The “Unexpected Connections” webinar series produced by Elisabeth had over 100 registrants, the majority of whom completed all four sessions and the corresponding quizzes.  Half were IMN grads and half were new people.  Those of us who participated reported that it was excellent.  The series was advertised only through the email list. We discussed offering this same series again to reach people who weren’t aware of it. Others who might be interested include retirement communities, other nature groups members, etc.

– Elisabeth reported that about half of the newest grads, from the Spring 2020 session, have completed their volunteer hours and advanced training.  Also, she had finished the 2020 taxes. Thank you!

– We discussed focusing on online outreach and outdoor activities because of the ongoing pandemic. Some activities could combine both online and outdoor components. Activities could include our DOT roadside cleanup, work days, guided nature walks, other outings with guest speakers, birding activities, bird box construction, and combined arts and science projects. We could cap in-person attendance using online registration. Raia will reach out to her contacts at Public Space One, and will also outline some ideas for digital outreach that include student participation. Elisabeth will contact a Lakeside Labs artist-in-residence about some ideas. For kestrel boxes, Raia provided these links click on Kestrel box blueprints found here 

 7) Round Table Nature Sharing – We shared our recent experiences in nature. Raia had a close and moving encounter with a bald eagle at the Iowa River bridge near Hancher in Iowa City. Ben assembled a kestrel box a part of a group event involving local birder Mark Bowman and Johnson County Conservationist Frances Owen. This sharing led Jean to launch a larger discussion about including bird box construction as an IMN activity (see above). Last year, Sue was inspired by Ben to obtain birdbird boxes and to research bluebird support, and she has learned that house sparrow control might essential to success. Justin said that in Marion, it was suspected that someone was cutting holiday decorative lights, but upon investigation, no footprints were found and rodents are now the prime suspects! Raia opened up a productive discussion about combining arts and nature project in IMN activities (see above). Anita, Elisabeth, Justin and others shared about some of the great books they have been reading, including Braiding Sweetgrass and Gathering Moss, both by Robin Kimmerer, What It’s Like To Be A Bird, by David Sibley, Moths by Lees and Zilli, and Sugar Creek Chronicle by Connie Mutel.

8) Next Open Board Meeting– The next Board of Directors meeting will be Monday April 12, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. on Google Meet, unless we decide to meet earlier. Keep an eye on IMN emails.

Respectfully submitted,

Sue M. Travis, Secretary

IMN Board of Directors

5464 Lackender Ave SW

Riverside IA 52327