Board Minutes

Iowa Master Naturalists Board of Directors
Minutes of the February 7, 2020 Regular Monthly Board Meeting
12:00 noon, Fresh Deli, Alliant Energy Building, Cedar Rapids, IA

1) Roll Call

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

Executive Director: Elisabeth Swain (present)

Advisors: Jean Prior (present), Lynette Seigley (present), Letia Blanco, 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. There was no meeting in January 2020.

3) Treasurer Reports – Adriane and Anita met recently and discussed the budget figures that Anita has been tracking. Adriane reported the current account balances: $2005.30 in savings, $2977.90 in checking, $121.80 in PayPal, for a total of $5105.00. She presented Anita’s summary of income and expenses for 2019 and a proposed budget for 2020. Assuming two classes per year, the current budget estimates the following:

Income                                            8500

Class & Marketing Expenses         6000 (perhaps increase as new materials are added)

Donations from IMN                      2000

Total Expenses                               8000

Net Income                                       500

4) Elections – The by-laws guide us to have board officer elections each January. Adriane is planning to move out of Iowa this summer, and she agreed to serve as a board member through the spring. After a brief discussion, the following slate of officers was proposed:

Chair: Justin Voss, 2 year term
Vice-Chair: Raia Lichen, 2 year term
Secretary: Sue Travis, 1 year term
Treasurer: Anita Hutton, 1 year term

Adriane proposed a motion to accept the slate, and Sue seconded the motion. The slate was unanimously approved by a voice vote. Elisabeth proposed a Resolution commending Adriane for her service to IMN, and the resolution was enthusiastically passed. Thank you, Adriane!

5) Executive Director Reports – Elisabeth

  • Swiss Valley Nature Center has reconsidered hosting our spring class in Dubuque because they have too many events at that time, including a Master Conservationists class. As a result, we will not have a 2020 spring class. There will be a fall 2020 class as planned; the location is to be decided.
  • Happily, we have a lot going on this spring! IMN will be at Prairie Preview XXXVII, which is March 3 from 6:30-9:00 PM at the Clarion Hotel Highlander Conference Center in Iowa City. We will also be at Mission Creek Festival in Iowa City on April 4, and EcoFest in Cedar Rapids on April 18. We chose a tentative date of March 28 for our spring Amana Roadside clean-up, and Justin will reapply with the DOT Adopt-A-Highway program (we have to apply every two years). We will probably meet at the Amana Post office at 9:00 a.m., clean up the roadside, then have lunch in Amana. For more details on these fun opportunities, watch for IMN emails.
  • IMN continues to develop relationships with people and organizations with similar missions. Thanks to Elisabeth for her networking skills!

 6) Other Discussion

  • – Raia suggested creating an IMN youtube channel as a way to let more people know about our story and our successes. Alida had mentioned this awhile ago, and it’s still a great plan. We talked about many ideas, including creative ways to help IMN graduates create videos of their capstone projects, as well as recording videos of IMN group projects and field trips. Raia described ways to track impact, she will follow up on ideas, and we will discuss this again soon.
  • – IMN Insurance. Ben has been finding and sharing information about insurance options for IMN. One quote he obtained was for $400/yr for liability insurance (which might not be needed if our venues have insurance), and $900/yr for directors and officers. This is a large expense and we discussed obtaining additional quotes and having an insurance broker or two come and talk to the board. It also would be helpful to meet with a knowledgeable colleague such as Carolyn Buckingham, an environmental lawyer and founder of Turkeyfoot Folk School in Iowa City Raia or Adriane will contact Carolyn.

7) Round Table Nature Sharing – We each shared our recent experiences in nature. Jean saw a sharp-shinned hawk in her backyard, tearing into something like a pigeon. In a related experience, Adriane’s driveway had a bunch of feathers on it, with no bird attached. While advising on the Indian Creek Nature Center indoor creek plans, she learned that muskrats eat mussels. says: “As local plant food becomes scarce, muskrats will feed on small aquatic animals such as insects, fish and amphibians. Freshwater mussels often become a dietary staple in the wintertime.” So it’s a seasonal thing. Speaking of mollusks, Justin reported that the Iowa River in downtown Cedar Rapids is so clear now that you can see shells resting on the bottom, ripples in the sand, as well as human evidence including a folding ladder (oops). Raia appreciated the many bald eagles in Iowa City, and Sue disapproved of the nest-location memory of starlings in Center Point. Squirrels were suspects in the appearance of a pile of silver maple twigs that Elisabeth noticed on the sidewalk. Lynette described her visit to Merritt Forest State Preserve, a virgin old-growth forest south of Guttenberg. This led to a joyful discussion of our favorite Iowa forests, including White Pine Hollow State Forest near Luxemburg, Bixby State Preserve near Edgewood, and Yellow River State Forest north of Effigy Mounds. Thanks to Jean Prior, we are not surprised that northeast Iowa is home to so many treasured forests! For a downloadable 91-page pdf of Iowa State Preserves (and not just forests) visit

8) Next Open Board Meeting – The next Board of Directors meeting will be Friday, March 13 in the Fresh Deli, Alliant Energy Building, 200 1st St SE, Cedar Rapids.

Respectfully submitted,

Sue M. Travis, Secretary

IMN Board of Directors