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Annual Planning Meeting: Summary of Minutes

August 8, 2011

On July 10, 2011, the full board of directors met at the home of Ellen Vahan for our annual planning meeting.  In attendance were: Chuck Almdale, Lillian Johnson Almdale, Chuck Bragg, Jane Beseda, Adrian Douglas, Jean Garrett, Liz Galton, Chris Lord, Lu Plauzoles, Mary Prismon, Ellen Vahan (president).

The meeting was called to order at 10:21 am and adjourned at 2:22 pm, with a short break for lunch.  Dessert was served after the meeting.

After Ellen welcomed the board, she read the mission statement of both NAS and SMBAS.  “The National Audubon Society’s Mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and wildlife for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. As part of this, our chapter’s particular mission is to be a center for wildlife education, habitat protection, and conservation issues that involve birds.”    There was no discussion.

Ellen welcomed Jane Beseda and Liz Galton to the board and expressed hope that Allan Kotin will rejoin the board at some future date as his schedule permits.

Budget 2011/2012 fiscal year – Lillian
  Most of our income comes from the annual appeal.  Other income sources are our dues share from NAS (this is a fixed amount), the Beginning Bird Class, and other donations (usually in memory of  someone or corporate matching).

Beginning Birding Class: It will offer her class in Feb, 2012.

Annual Appeal Letter:  There was a discussion about the mailing of last years appeal in September with a copy of the full year calendar.  While the total amount of donations was almost the same as last year, the number of donors was down.  The board decided to send the appeal in November and include a calendar of events that runs from November 2011 to October 2012.  Lillian and Ellen to handle.

Expenses:  All expenses go to supporting the chapter goals to support education, protection and conservation issues.

Charities: Every year, the board votes on which charities we should support with donations.  This year’s list includes:  Student Conservation Association (SCA), Birders’ Exchange, Friends of Big Morongo, American Bird Conservancy (ABC), Endangered Habitats League, California State Parks Foundation, and Ballona Wetlands Audubon Education Program.  We have doubled our funding to SCA.  We have allocated enough money for the Ballona Education Program to provide 10 bus scholarships to underserved schools in the Los Angeles area and to purchase a digital projector for pre-site school visits.  We increase our funding to ABC from subscriber to donor.

Link to August, 2010 blog on these groups, which includes links to the groups themselves.

Other Donations:  Last December we donated funds to Wind Wolves Nature Preserve following a wonderful field trip. We sponsored two pages of the Los Angeles Breeding Bird Atlas (Royal Tern and Virginia Rail with a donation to Los Angeles Audubon Society.

We held the number of UCLA scholarships for PhD research at three.  Lillian will follow up.

Field Trips – Chuck A.
Led the discussion about what field trips the chapter should offer and who the various leaders will be. (The entire calendar will be sent with the year-end appeal and posted on the website:

Ellen reminded the board that Coastal Cleanup is Saturday, Sept, 17th 9am to noon, and that SMBAS will be heading up the efforts at Malibu Lagoon.  She also noted that again this year recyclables will not be segregated.

Lillian brought up the lack of members attending our annual picnic.  Discussion to be held at a future board meeting about location and format.

Conservation – Lu and Mary
  Snowy Plovers are back on So Cal Beaches.  No extra money is needed this year as SMBAS helped fund the fencing last year on Santa Monica beaches.  Chuck Almdale mentioned that again this year the fence at Malibu Lagoon went up about 1 month before the birds left.  He has talked to Stacey Vigallon about putting up signs mounted on weighted tires that could be moved off the beach during high tides and /or storm surges.  This could be done earlier in the year when the plovers are around.  Stacey thought this was a good idea, and said she would present it to State Parks. Chuck A asked to be informed if anything occurred.

Mary:  More wind turbines are scheduled to be installed around Kelso Valley.  Latest plans include Huffman Pass at the south end of Kelso Valley.

Jane:  The National Park Service sponsored the Santa Monica Mountains Interpretive Plan Meeting.  The purpose of the meeting was to involve partners and stakeholders in developing a long-range interpretive plan for the area (including other urban parks in LA).  It was the first of a series of meetings that will result in a document called the Long Range Interpretive Plan, which covers 5-10 years into the future.  The first draft will be circulated in about a month, and there is a follow-up meeting planned for Aug 30 that Jane will attend.  The meeting was attended by NPS, Forest Service, State Parks, NGOs such as SMBAS and San Fernando Valley Audubon, and other interested stakeholders.  A sample of the plan can be seen at:

Membership: Chuck Bragg reported current membership is around 770.

Newsletter, Website and Blog – Chuck A and Chuck B
CB he is currently sending out 100 2 page imprints every 2 months, 5 times per year, this has cut our publication costs significantly.  A pdf file of the newsletter is available at:
The full calendar:
Blog:  CA will link field trip announcements to prior year field trip reports so interested parties can get a better idea about the field trip
Articles:  CB & CA both request more articles posted to the blog on conservation and other “interesting” articles on “any” topic (ie birds, bird names, conservation in general, gardens for birds etc.
Blog Subscribers:  CA reported 105-110.  Largest viewing day was April 1.  Congratulations were given to Chuck A for the good job of managing and writing the blog.  Member feed back has been positive.
Facebook:  Jane & Lu   In an attempt to reach a younger and different audience it has been suggested we try a Facebook page.  Jane, Lu and Chuck A will work on a “test” page and then let the board have a look.
(Update: It is now up and running: This is a public page, you need not join Facebook to access the pages.)

Programs – Adrian
Reported that all but two programs for the year are scheduled (to be included on the mailed calendar).  Speakers are: Guy Commeau – twice, Kimball Garrett, John Montgomerie, and Lance Benner.
Chuck A will post the announcement on the Blog, Facebook, and LA County Birds.
Meeting Place:  Lu has secured the Ken Edwards Center for Oct/Nov/Dec.  Feb and March 2012 applications are due in Sept.  Room rate may be increased.
Meetings:  Will continue to be the 1st Tuesday of the month at KEC with dinner for the speaker before.

Hospitality – Chris Lord
Reported all is well.  Lillian noted an article in the LA Times that the “corn based” cups we have been using are NOT recyclable.  Next time we will just order regular cups.

Future Board Meeting dates:   2011 – 9/13, 11/22      2012 – 1/17, 3/20, 5/15
Next Planning Meeting:   Summer 2012
[Lillian Johnson]

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