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.
Why the Council of Ohio Audubon Chapters (COAC) Matters
Now more than ever, it is imperative Ohio conservation interests connect, communicate, and collaborate as a united front for nature and the environment.
By Dan Best, Naturalist, Geauga Park District and Member, Kirtland Bird Club
I have always felt that the weakness of the environmental/conservation/nature preservation community or movement is fragmentation, the lack of a united front. While the plethora of like-minded organizations provides 1) a diversified choice of organizations to join and support as best suited to an individual’s particular interests or concerns and 2) smaller, low overhead operations are more manageable from a leadership and functionality viewpoint, the result is a tremendous competition for membership among the environmentally-minded citizenry. Unfortunately, the result is also well-intentioned but largely ineffectual efforts towards environmental and conservation issues due to such small voices.
The decades since Earth Day have seen an erosion of fervor among the general population that has the allowed for the recent rise of audacious and outrageous efforts to dismantle environmental and conservation legislation, funding and other regressive measures to thwart gains made in the last 50 years. Now more than ever, it is imperative that conservation/nature/environmental organizations unite. I am not suggesting mergers necessarily. However, it is high time to give attention to the vast range of common ground and duplicity among such organizations, institutions and agencies, to grow beyond the parochialism that can afflict a single organization or grassroots club.
What I am calling for is connectivity among organizations that brings various entities, related in mission, interest and passion, together as alliances, confederations, leagues, or coalitions that give the strength in numbers, larger legal funds, more political clout and all-in-all, a louder voice for nature and the environment.
So yes, I think that the Kirtland Bird Club should consider a partnership with the COAC. And for that matter, I’d like to see the Burrough’s Nature Club, the Toledo Naturalist Association, the Wheaton Club of Columbus, The Cleveland Natural Science Club, the Ohio Bluebird Society, the Ohio Ornithological Society, the Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative, the Friends of Magee Marsh, The Ohio Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, all of the other state or local bird/nature/conservation organizations in Ohio, and yes, even the hunting/fishing factions of the conservation community such as Ducks Unlimited (as one example), unite under one banner, to coalesce in time of need as a force to be reckoned with in support wildlife conservation, environmental and natural areas protection.
Naturalist, Geauga Park District
Member, Kirtland Bird Club
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