Friends of Daley Ranch Retreat Minutes

February 27

Present: Fred Woods, Jerry Harmon, Sally Thomas, Mike Whalen, Rick Paul and Rick Mercurio

Fred opened the annual “retreat” at 9:15 a.m. at his own home.  We discussed several topics.

Newsletter: Sally agreed to produce the next newsletter, and soon. Each Board member will write a short piece on why we joined FODR and why we are inspired.  Sally wants to include a photo. She will ask Irene or Tracey to write an article, perhaps on the flora and/or fauna. We also like Rick Paul’s idea of honoring past and present “advisors” who have contributed to FODR. Some of these include Dick Bray, Don Pillar, Bob McQuead, Janene Colby, Georgie Birch, Wendy Barker, Rick Halsey, and others. Former FODR Board members could also be listed as “emeritus.” The Board divided up the list of names and we will personally contact these people. Mike wanted to make sure that the newsletter included docent-led hike schedules, and a “link” to the city’s website that has hike information. Rick M. will create an email group in order to begin sending the newsletter that way to those who have provided their email. Fred agreed to contact Bruce Swanson about hopefully helping with future newsletters.

Accessory Buildings: Fred has provided Bob McQuead with the information he requested in order to draw up specific plans for renovating the buildings. Rick M. has contacted Dick Althouse who indicated he was willing to help with this project. The next step will be a lunch meeting with Bob, Fred and Jerry to generate specifics. Then we will try to get Dick and Bob to get together.

Plant Signs: The Escondido Sunrise Rotary Club will provide new signs. We agreed to have the signs include the common name of each plant from the plant guide, along with the number from the guide. We debated whether to include the Latin “family name,” and Fred may contact James Dillane who could help him with that.

Membership Lunch: On the day that we install the plant signs we hope to sponsor a lunch on the lawn near the ranch house. We could do this on a Sunday when we could take advantage of the shuttle, and hopefully bring in a barbecue. We would like to invite our general membership, plus others, including the Rotary members and their families, Mayor Pfeiler, Bob McQuead, and the other “advisors” who have helped FODR. At the lunch we could honor them, and also “recruit” volunteers for the accessory building restoration process. Jerry believed we could persuade Rotary to sponsor the restoration of one or more structures for which they could then take credit.

Membership: Sally identified a prospective Board member. His name is Josh, he is 31, and he hopes to become a ranger. Sally will invite him to the next meeting. We also hope to bring Bruce Swanson onto the Board as newsletter editor.

New Goals: Sally reminded the Board that one of FODR’s goals is conservation and protecting the natural habitat. She cited the lack of a mitigation plan, past brush clearing practices and non-native plant species as issues we should address. The Board agreed to make this a future priority. Sally said there may be a federal program to help restore lands that have been disturbed by ranching or agriculture to their natural state. Daley Ranch’s central valley is a prime example of non-native grasses invading. We could also try to tap Cal State San Marcos for guidance, and Rick Halsey’s Chaparral Institute. We also noted that Geoff Smith received a grant that could be a model for this sort of project. Another idea is to urge the City of Escondido to use the next pool of mitigation bank monies for this purpose.

Next Meeting: The next Board meeting will be March 18 at 6 p.m. at the home of Rick Mercurio in Valley Center.


Respectfully submitted,

Rick Mercurio, Secretary