Above: Photos of the Annual Council of Ohio Audubon Chapters (COAC) Business Meeting & 50 Year Anniversary Celebration.
Council of Ohio Audubon Chapters (COAC) members, affiliates and interested individuals gathered to promote chapter development by sharing the best practices, brainstorming solutions to common problems, and building relationships at the Annual Meeting and 50 Year Anniversary, Sunday, March 3, 2019 hosted at the Novak Education Center in Aurora, Ohio.
1. ) CONVENING. The Council of Ohio Audubon Chapters (COAC) met at 11:00 a.m. on March 3, 2019 at the Novak Education Center, 382 Townline Road in Aurora, Ohio 44202. Attending were Izabela Grobelna of Audubon Great Lakes (AGL); Liz Woedl and Carly Zeis of Audubon Miami Valley (AMV); Carol and John Lillich, Jim Tomko, Mark J Demyan, Mary Salomon, and Matt Valencic of Audubon Society of Greater Cleveland (ASGC); Heather Farrington of Audubon Society of Ohio-Cincinnati (ASOC); Mary Ann Wagner of Blackbrook Audubon Society (BBAS); Jim Jablonski of Black River Audubon Society (BRAS); Linda Chen and Alan Dolan of Canton Audubon Society (CAS); David Gourley of Dayton Audubon Society (DAS); Daniel & Therese Sheffer and Ned Delamatre of Greater Akron Audubon Society (GAAS); Jackie Augustine and Volker Jeschonnek of Tri-Moraine Audubon Society (TMAS); Fran Mentch, Lisa Del Rio, Liz McQuaid, Nancy Howell, Kurt and Carol Miske, Tom Fishburn, Tim Colborn, Tom Romito, Rynette Vall, Ryohei and Kaoru Tsubone of Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society (WCAS); Affiliate attendees representing or members of Birders of Miami University, Black Swamp Bird Observatory, City of Cleveland Office of Sustainability, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Kirtland Bird Club, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, Mentor Marsh Nature Center, Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative (OBCI), Ohio Natural Areas and Preserves Association (ONAPA), Ohio Ornithological Society (OOS), Ohio Sea Grant, Ohio Young Birders Club, Ohio Wetlands Association, and Sierra Club Ohio; and Betsey O’Hagan, COAC Administrator.
2.) NOVAK SANCTUARY BIRD WALKS. Two Novak Sanctuary Bird Walks (morning and afternoon) were scheduled for Sun March 3, 2019. The morning walk from 9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. was led by Matt Valencic and Jim Tomko with volunteer support by Kaoru Tsubone. Photographers were Tom Fishburn, Matt Valencic, and Kaoru Tsubone. Targeted species were incubating Eagles, Cedar Waxwings, Red-headed Woodpeckers and Eastern Bluebirds.
3.) WELCOME. At 11:00 a.m. Matt Valencic gave a summary report of the morning bird walk. Jim Tomko, President, Audubon Society of Greater Cleveland, welcomed attendees and announcements for the day. Slated COAC Board members, Jackie Augustine and Liz Woedl welcomed attendees, thanked hosts, sponsors, and provided an overview of meeting deliverables.
4.) OPENING CO-SPEAKERS & SWOT ANALYSIS. At 11:15 a.m. Dan Best, Western Reserve Naturalist presented a call to action for the group entitled, “The Vision: A Collective Voice for Conservation”. This was followed by, “The Unifying Power of Social Technologies” presented by Betsey O'Hagan, Digital Strategist & Network Coordinator, COAC. At 11:45 a.m. Jackie Augustine led a COAC SWOT ANALYSIS Feedback March 2019 with the group to inform COAC strategic planning. The morning session concluded at 12:30 p.m. WATCH #LIVE COAC Mtg 03032019 SWOT ANALYSIS
5.) LUNCH AND BUSINESS MEETING. LUNCH: Attendees enjoyed a catered or brown bag lunch from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. We each paid for our own lunch. BUSINESS MEETING: The COAC Business Meeting Agenda Sunday, March 3, 2019 began at 12:45 p.m. led by slated COAC Board of Directors. Nancy Howell opened the session with the COAC Workshop Finance Report and the supplemental COAC Finances Chart April 2018-Feb 2019. Next, review and acceptance each of the COAC Meeting Minutes of October 1, 2018, COAC By-laws and Mission Statement 2019, COAC Board Members 2019 Proposed, and a proposal from the Board to fund the COAC Platform Project (COAC Platform Report 03-03-2019, Annual COAC Platform Budget) for an additional six months. One vote from each Chapter present voted and passed the proposal by a majority of 9 votes and 1 abstention. Lunch concluded at 1:30 p.m.
6.) AFTERNOON SESSION I. From 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., members, individuals, and affiliate representatives conducted a ‘Resource MashUp’ session to share information organized by four common topics. Presenters spoke about the conservation work they propose/do, what they are looking for, and resources they can offer toward mutually beneficial collaboration activities and projects. See the topic agenda and presenters below:
7.) AFTERNOON SESSION II. The 2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m., members and affiliate representatives conducted an ‘Idea Stations’ session preceded by an introduction and how-to by Kurt Miske, Chair, Conservation Committee, and Tom Romito. All Kinds of Signs provided signage. The four Idea Stations hosted the following conversation topics:
8.) WRAP UP AND NEXT STEPS. Jackie Augustine and Liz Woedl closed the meeting. Jackie thanked members and affiliates for attending and encouraged them to continue to be engaged. Liz closed the meeting with a tribute to COAC from Greater Akron Audubon Society.
The COAC Participant Feedback Survey was distributed and attendees asked to return completed surveys to registration before departing. The meeting had 50 registrants and 46 attendees. This survey was completed by 33 attendees.
Survey results are summarized below:
9.) ADJOURNMENT. The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.
10.) The group is seeking a host for the quarterly workshop scheduled for Sunday, June 2, 2019.
~ Respectfully submitted by Betsey O’Hagan, Administrator, COAC, March 10, 2019.
IDEA STATION REPORT FOR 03-03-2019
1. This is the report of the idea stations conducted from 2:45-3:45 p.m. during the COAC annual business meeting at Novak Education Center in Aurora, Ohio on March 3, 2019.
2. Kurt Miske and Tom Romito, Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society, introduced the hour by explaining how WCAS used the idea station technique last fall.
3. Facilitators led conservations with meeting participants in breakout sessions to accelerate idea-sharing. Some participants rotated between idea stations at 10-minute intervals and some stayed for all 30 minutes allocated to the idea-sharing.
4. The following paragraphs detail the ideas that participants generated at each idea station.
5. PLASTICS AND CHEMICAL POLLUTION (Fran Mentch, Northeast Ohio Sierra Club, facilitated).
6. YOUTH, DIVERSITY, AND ACCESSIBILITY. (Liz Woedl, Audubon Miami Valley, facilitated).
7. FUND-RAISING. Here’s what participants said they are doing or could be doing in their chapters to raise money for their operating budgets and projects (Tom Romito, Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society, facilitated).
8. COAC EDUCATION, EVENTS, AND RESOURCES (Tim Colborn, Ohio Ornithological Society, facilitated).
9. IDEA STATION REPORTS. The four facilitators reported out to the main group on the content that participants generated in their stations. Kurt and Tom presented a brief summary of the Idea Station concept and suggested possible steps forward.
Black River Audubon Society Restoration Projects
On May 19th, 2018, officially Lorain County Pride Day, BRAS together with volunteers from Elyria Rotary, Elyria High students, and members of the general public planted twelve trees of various species along with milkweed, bushes and other flowers to attract a wide variety of birds, butterflies, and other pollinators to this formerly neglected area just off downtown Elyria.
By Jim Jablonski, President, Black River Audubon Society
Black River Audubon Society (BRAS) has worked on two different environmental restoration projects before and during 2018. These will be described at Council of Ohio Audubon Chapters (COAC) Quarterly Workshop, September 16, 2018, hosted by Tri-Moraine Audubon Society, at the Myeerah Nature Preserve, 7405 St. Rt. 540, Bellefontaine, Ohio by Andy Lance, Conservation Chair, and Jim Jablonski, President.
project #1: Black River Audubon Park
Above: 1) Park sign 2) Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) 3) Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda addressing Elyria High School National Honor Roll students, teachers, and local adults before the program begins. 3) BRAS donated trees to Elyria Sunrise Rotary to plant at Elyria’s West Recreation Park. A Rotary member works with students belonging to Elyria Teens Achieve Success at that park. 5) and 6) Some of the trees and “local residents” after the planting was finished at Black River Audubon Park. 7) Monarch butterfly, Bay Village, laying eggs on common milkweed by David Lewis. 8) American Robin (Turdus migratorius).
Years ago, our founder and benefactor, Jack Smith, bought a small piece of land along the Black River and near downtown Elyria, Ohio and donated it to the city with the stipulation that it would be called Black River Audubon Park.
The two-acre park, half of it heavily wooded and sloping down to the river and the other half a field on a small plain thirty feet above the usual waterline, was found to have been used as a dumping place. In addition, it is said a house once stood on the field. Decades ago it burned to the ground and the remains bulldozed over the bluff leading to the river.
BRAS took on the responsibility, along with a number of other volunteer organizations, to clean the land at the upper level, the bluff, and the riverbank. Despite our best efforts over a number of years, materials kept rising to the surface. We hired a professional landscaper to clean out the rest. This also proved to be ineffective with regard to the bluff. However, it seemed everything near the surface was collected on the field above.
This past January, Jim Jablonski, the BRAS president, received a notice from National Audubon Society regarding the Burke Trees for Birds grants. The notice was passed to conservation chair Andy Lance and board member Kate Pilacky, who also works for Western Reserve Land Conservancy. Together they prepared a grant proposal that was successful in winning BRAS a $2,500 stipend for trees, bushes, and other flora to be planted along the tree of the upper field. The grant proposal was considered to be one of the best NAS received.
On May 19th, 2018, officially Lorain County Pride Day, BRAS together with volunteers from Elyria Rotary, Elyria High students, and members of the general public planted twelve trees of various species along with milkweed, bushes and other flowers to attract a wide variety of birds, butterflies, and other pollinators to this formerly neglected area just off downtown Elyria. In addition, another dozen trees were planted at two historical associations and an Elyria recreational park.
The project has brightened a blighted area and is currently attracting avian and insect life to a central urban neighborhood.
PROJECT #2: Meadow Preserve Project with Lorain County Community College
Above: 1) Community College Meadow Preserve signage co-sponsored by Black River Audubon Society. 2) American Bluebird (Sialia sialis) by David Lewis. 3) A long view of the field that we are maintaining as a meadow. It shows the problems we have with teasel but also some of the wide patches of milkweed that have been producing a good number of monarchs. You can also see the bluebird boxes. 4) Kestrel by Sepand Bakhtiari. 5) This is a photo showing the path to part of Wesleyan Meadows, a senior citizen residential area, just north of our meadow. It is not part of the project but the seniors can easily get to the trail if they want to. 6) Community College Meadow Preserve signage co-sponsored by Black River Audubon Society.
After discovering ground-nesting birds in a 23-acre field north of the Lorain County Community College (LCCC) campus more than fifteen years ago, BRAS officers approached the college the college’s administration to ask for the cessation of mowing during the birds’ nesting season. The administration agreed to only mow the field during the fall.
Several rainy seasons led to the neglect of this practice, the field was not mowed at all, and invasive trees, thistle, and teasel began to take over, threatening the availability of this important nesting area for meadowlarks and bobolinks.
Over the last two years, the original agreement has been renewed. BRAS has helped pay for eradication of the trees, reseeding of affected areas, and new signage for the area, turning it into a significant birding area during breeding season. In addition, BRAS maintains a bluebird trail and a kestrel nesting box in the reclaimed meadow. Into the future, BRAS will continue with its reseeding efforts in its attempt to eradicate the invasive plants that have spread into the field.
With the project, we are maintaining a significantly large breeding area for birds that have been drastically impacted by the disappearance of fields and meadows in northern Ohio.
Register for the Sept 16, 2018 Workshop by completing the COAC Sept 16, 2018 Workshop Registration Form by September 1, 2018 here. For more information about the projects, email Jim Jablonski, President, Black River Audubon Society here.
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