MISSISSIPPI VALLEY FIELD NATURALISTS
Annual General Meeting
Thursday, May 15, 2003
Union Hall 7:30 p.m. Twenty-one members attended the annual general meeting. Board of Director members in attendance: Jim Bendell, Yvonne Bendell, Cliff Bennett (acting chair), Eileen Hennemann, Tine Kuiper, Michael Macpherson, Pip Winters, Karen Richter, Franziska Von Rosen .
1) Welcome, President’s remarks Cliff Bennett acted as president in the absence of Sandy Attack and welcomed members to the meeting. MVFN has had a busy year, with such excitement as the OMB hearing; the prestige of MFVN was raised and MFVN members are asked to act as consultants or send letters of support. Membership has grown to over 100 memberships. MVFN members are representing the club on community committees, and MVFN may be involved in creating a land trust.
2) Approval of agenda – Moved by Cliff Bennett, seconded by Eileen Hennemann, that the agenda be approved. All in favour. Carried
3) Approval of minutes of May 16, 2002 – Moved by Tine Kuiper, seconded by Yvonne Bendell that the minutes of the AGM of May 16, 2002 be approved. All in favour. Carried.
Treasurer – Michael Macpherson presented the annual financial report (see attached report). MVFN ended up with a small deficit last year; next year’s budget is balanced; EEPP monies are separated from the general fund. Moved by Michael Macpherson seconded by Pip Winters that the financial report be approved. All in favour. Carried.
Moved by Michael Macpherson, seconded by Eileen Hennemann that the auditor for next year be Michael Doyle. All in favour. Carried.
Membership/Publicity and Public Relations/Newsletter Eileen Hennemann reported that there are 68 paid, 54 unpaid members; a reminder notice will be sent. Three newsletters were produced in 2003 with one issue sent out electronically as a PDF but since many members do not have high speed internet service the download time to receive the newsletter was long; Eileen will work with members to establish a list of those with high speed service to receive the newsletter electronically; the newsletter is posted on the web site. Christine Birkett is the MFVN web master and is doing a wonderful job; her value to the MVFN is priceless. All MVFN events are promoted through the internet and not via fax or posters, unless it is a special event. Event info is sent to Eileen who forwards this to membership and to local and city newspapers as well as forwarding event reports. Moved by Eileen Hennemann, seconded by Pip Winters that the membership/Publicity and Public Relations/ Newsletter report be approved. All in favour. Carried.
Eileen has given a questionnaire to board members regarding our corporate image and Cliff Bennett thanked Eileen for giving her corporate expertise to work with MFVN. Franziska Von Rosen reported that the Lanark Stewardship Council is organizing a conservation tent for Rural Expo 2003 and is creating videos using photos about events of community organizations; she is looking for photos of MVFN events. Cliff Bennett reported that the MFVN Board of Directors is looking at involvement at Rural Expo. Eileen Hennemann explained how she takes info that is MVFN/nature related and sends it out to the membership email list usually a couple of weeks in advance; about 65%-75% of members are on email. A suggestion was made for those without computers to buddy up with someone with a computer to receive info of interest to our members.
Program Tine Kuiper reported that as always the Program Committee has had a very busy year with many indoor and outdoor activities and managed to stay well under their budget, and that helped overall finances. The Fall session started with Robert Lee’s discussing his Youth program on “Discovering trees and life they support”, followed in October by Tony Beck on “Birds of the Ottawa valley” and Jane Buckley on “Loon lake studies” in November; then the Christmas party in early December. In January there was a problem when due to family reasons the Duncan talk on organic farming had to be postponed one month at very short notice, but Art Clarke was able to fill this admirably with photos of his recent arctic project. The committee hopes that he will be back next season with more photos on the wild life he encountered. Paul Jones of the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas made a presentation in March, and this was followed in April with a lovely talk on Spring flowers by Sheila and Harry Thomson. For outdoor activities, there was a visit to the Alba Wilderness school in September, and one week later a canoe trip to Park Lake. Many members participated in the Annual Christmas bird count, and there was a ski and snowshoe event in the Wolf grove in February, which included an outside winter fire with mulled cider. The next visit is to the Duncans on May 25 for a site visit on organic farming plus barbecue, and then the finish to the season is visit to the White Lake fen on June 22, with naturalists Monty and Grace Wood. Planning for next year has started, with details to follow. There will be presentations about turtles, snakes, species at risk, bats, peregrine falcons, and possibly a banquet. The results of the membership questionnaire were analyzed and will be reported separately. The Program Committee does not meet very often, as much has been done by e-mail. A very special thanks goes to Bobby Clarke for organizing the hosting aspects. She will be taking a leave of absence to engage in election issues. Chris Hume has agreed to take on this task for the next while. Another thank you to Cliff for standing by the phone as well as handling public enquiries and for coordinating the various press releases. Moved by Tine Kuiper, seconded by Joel Byrne that the program report be approved. All in favour. Carried.
FON Pip Winters reported attending an FON regional meeting in Ottawa in the fall and another one on May 10 in Kingston; some of the issues discussed were use of ATVs on trails, mining at Mellon lake. Moved by Pip Winters, seconded by Jim Bendell that the FON report be approved. All in favour. Carried.
Environmental Issues Susan Fisher sent her regrets and in her absence Cliff Bennett reported that the Environmental Issues committee has been involved in responding with letters to requests for help, petitions, and letters of appeal; in the next municipal elections the committee may be involved in sending out letters to candidates with questions about the environment.
Natural Resources Issues – Jim Bendell reported MFVN has made presentations about community forests to Lanark Highlands Council; Jean Clifford is leading a group to prepare a pesticide bylaw; MFVN supported a citizen committee of Clayton in an appeal to OMB; MFVN wrote letter to OMYA about a new road, letter giving MVFN point of view to Bear Nuisance committee; letters about overpopulation of deer, killing of wolves and coyotes, endangered species act; MVFN has provided books and information, has books to Almonte library, natural history information to tourism councils of Mississippi Mills and Lanark Highlands; MFVN has received a certificate of recognition from Eastern Ontario Model Forest Project; Jim Bendell represents MFVN on the Environmental Advisory Committee of Lanark Highlands, and the the Mazenaw-Lanark Forest Management Committee. Moved by Jim Bendell, seconded by Franziska Von Rosen that the Natural Resources report be approved. All in favour. Carried.
Ed Wilson mentioned that one of the big issues for Mississippi Mills Environmental Advisory Committee is waste management and that that committee is also looking for ideas from MFVN members.
Environmental Education Projects Programme Cliff Bennett reported for Janine de Sallaberry, the EEPP coordinator, that EEPP has helped to fund a recent field trip to Biodome in Montreal. Other reports Cliff Bennett reported that MFVN has found 87 breeding species in the Appleton square in the third year of the Breeding Bird Atlas program. Cliff and his team will be participating in the Baillie Birdathon this weekend and is seeking sponsorship. MFVN is working with the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority on the “Yellow Brick Road” project with students going out to paint a yellow fish on catch basins, plus to distribute pamphlets to raise awareness about pollutants going into catch basins. This project will run on May 29 and 30th and MVFN is requesting volunteers.
5) Constitutional amendments Karen Richter presented two constitutional amendments. The first amendment was to allow a decision about membership fees to be made at the board of director’s level only and that that decision not be required to return for approval to the membership; the budget shortfall last year required the board of directors to consider a membership fee increase in 2003 which needed to take effect in April when memberships are renewed and not wait until membership approval at the AGM in May which would delay the increase for a year; the BOD did decide to go ahead with a fee increase in order to project a balanced budget for 2003 but felt that the constitution should be amended to reflect such a decision of fee increase in future. Moved by Pip Winters, seconded by Tine Kuiper that Section 2(a) be amended to delete “and approved by the members”. Section 2(a) would now read “Any person who pays to the MVFN a membership fee, the amount to be determined by the Board from time to time”. In order to apply for charitable status, MFVN in required to have certain wording in the constitution. Moved by Michael McPhail, seconded by Ed Wilson, that OBJECTIVES (f) in the MVFN constitution be amended to read “do such things as are conducive orincidental to the attainment of the purpose of the MississippiValley Field Naturalists without purpose of gain for its members. Any profits or acretions to theMississippi Valley Field Naturalists shall be used solely to promote its objectives”.All in favour. Carried. 6) Election of officers for the coming year Michael Macpherson presented the slate of officers of the year 2003-2004 President -Sandy Atack Past President -Cliff Bennett Vice President – Michael Mcpherson Secretary – Elizabeth Wiles Treasurer Reiner Hollbach Directors Jim Bendell, Yvonne Bendell, Eileen Hennemann, Tine Kuiper, Michael McPhail, Pip Winters, Franziska Von Rosen. Moved by Michael Mcpherson, seconded by Eileen Hennemann that the slate of officers for Board of Directors for 2003 be approved. All in favour. Carried. 7) Cliff Bennett thanked Susan Fisher for her contribution as chair of the Environmental Issues committee and Karen Richter for her contribution in the role of secretary. He welcomed Michael McPhail as chair of the Environmental Issues Committee and Elizabeth (Billie) Wiles as secretary.
10) Adjournment – moved by Eileen Hennemann that the meeting be adjourned.
Members then enjoyed a slide presentation on the January 2001 eclipse of the moon before proceeding home to view this year’s eclipse.