Present: Board members Fred Woods, Mike Whalen, Rick Paul, Jim Schafer, Jerry Harmon, Dick Althouse, Colleen Mackinnon, and Rick Mercurio; guest Rick Halsey joined us for the first part of the meeting.
Minutes and Treasurer’s Report: Fred opened the meeting at 7 p.m. at the train depot in Grape Day Park, Escondido. The minutes from the April meeting were approved by acclamation. Rick P emailed and printed a copy of the treasurer’s report.
Chaparral Naturalist Certification: Rick Halsey said that this new program was created to inspire young people to get involved with the natural environment of North County. It consists of 6 Saturday morning training sessions from May 2-June 13 at the Elfin Forest Interpretive Center. Besides trail work, the sessions will employ a Socratic approach to participatory learning, with a goal of engaging youngsters in promoting our local nature preserves and parks, including Daley Ranch. One goal is for students to begin to teach others. Rick H envisions some sort of “passport” system, whereby trainees may earn “credit” for visiting various sites, including active participation. For Daley Ranch, we brainstormed that participants could earn credit by attending any of the docent-led hikes, or Second Sundays, or other FODR or ranger sponsored activities. Colleen will contact Don Piller in order to share this program on the FODR website. She also will communicate with Rick H about our ideas of earning credit at Daley Ranch.
School Visits and Grants: Fred reported that six trips have occurred as of today’s, with the final two next week. They continue to go very well. Tomorrow we will submit a grant request to SDG&E for next year’s trips. We learned today that we are finalists for the Escondido Charitable Foundation grant, and we will be scheduling a “site visit” with them. Bus costs keep rising, so the overall cost to pay for all five public middle schools is substantial.
Building Restoration: Dick, as Foreman of the utility building project, continues to work hard to secure necessary City permits and engineering requirements for the remaining buildings. He has been fortunate to obtain pro-bono engineering assistance from Ralph Tavares, who was referred to us by John Masson. Tavares and his architect wife are currently working with Dick on plans for Building #4. Dick is also figuring out the best way to “engineer” the proposed pole barn strategy for Building #3. One thought is that if the structures are indeed within a historic district designation, the code requirements could be loosened.
Professional Photography Cooperation: Rick M received an email with a generous offer to FODR from Sandy Zelasko, a Valley Center based professional photographer who specializes in natural landscapes. Zelasko, who is already collaborating with FODR on sales of her DR images, recently attended a conference in New Mexico. The theme was about professional photographers teaming up with their favorite local non-profits in order to produce images that could be used in various ways. In this way, the photographers would be making a valuable contribution to their community by graciously offering their services at no charge. The Board was enthusiastic about this idea, and we brainstormed specific photos we could use: a new oak tree photo for our logo; our volunteers at work on the utility buildings and as docents; natural beauty of native plants; Engelmann oak habitat for our signage; healthy oaks juxtaposed with stressed or dying oaks; school visits, to promote our program; the Native American “encampment” near the windmill; geologic highlights; vistas from Stanley Peak and other viewpoints. We could use many such images for our proposed interpretive displays as well as promotional materials. Rick M will stay in touch with Zelasko to proceed with this proposal.
Informational Signage: Jim is searching for information to help his plans for the three informational signs that were funded by the county grant. Rick M and Fred told Jim that Van Wormer’s report on Daley Ranch from the 1980s included specifics about the utility buildings. He will contact ranger Greg Anderson about this. He is also working with James Dillane about Engelmann oak habitat.
Maps: Fred noted that we are running low on the double-sided trail maps, which also have various items of information about DR. The Board noted a few places on the maps that are now out of date. Fred hopes to update the information, then see about potentially good pricing from the elementary school district printers.
San Diego County Fair: Colleen has been working hard on getting a booth for FODR for a single day. Our first choice is June 20 when the 5K run is held, and our second choices are June 6 or 7, when there is a native plant exhibition. She will let us know the orientation day. We brainstormed ideas for the booth: Zelasko’s framed photos and note cards; passing out newsletters and school visit packets; including FODR membership with donations for hats, tee-shirts or photos; a special price offer of a “SD Fair” membership; Halsey’s chaparral fire book; a possible trifold handout about FODR; plant guides; and using a PayPal slider app in order to take plastic at the fair. Jim moved to approve the $35 application fee. Rick P seconded and the motion passed unanimously. Colleen will keep us apprised of the application progress.
FODR Tee-Shirts/Badges: Fred noted many requests for DR tee shirts. He said we could work with a local store to have our shirts available “on demand” for potential customers, though FODR would not receive any of the money. Fred will look into this. Rick M said that when FODR members work as docents or at other events, such as during Second Sundays, we need a way to identify ourselves. This could be a FODR tee shirt, or a badge. Mike agreed to look into these ideas and report back.
Next Meeting: The next regular meeting will be at Dick’s house on May 20 at 6 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Rick Mercurio, secretary