Friends of Daley Ranch Board Minutes

June 17, 2015


Present: Members Fred Woods, Mike Whalen, Rick Paul, Colleen Mackinnon, Jerry Harmon, Dick Althouse, and Rick Mercurio; guests Sandy Zelasko and Kit Wilson.


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 May meeting were approved by acclamation. Rick P emailed his treasurer’s report, and said that all accounts were balanced correctly.


Adjacent Property for Sale: Kit Wilson spoke about 88 acres for sale abutting the southwest boundary of Daley Ranch. He is the real estate agent for the sale. The land is in six parcels, is outside the city limits, and is zoned by the county as rural lands 20. There is a poor dirt road for current access. We all agreed that it would be wonderful if this land, with its views and chaparral vegetation, could eventually be added to DR. Kit said the City is not currently interested in buying land to expand DR, so Kit is looking for other options like grants or partnerships. According to Jerry, TECC has expressed some interest in this land, along with three other properties in the area, because, Jerry said, TECC is now looking at land acquisitions “upstream” from Escondido. Meanwhile, FODR is willing to lend our support to any effort to obtain the land as permanent open space. Jerry suggested fundraisers at homes of our supporters who live in the adjacent area.


Partnering with Zelasko: Sandy is a professional photographer who loves Daley Ranch. She recently participated in a workshop in Santa Fe, NM, with the theme “Crossroads: Photography meets Philanthropy.” She was challenged to donate her skills to a local cause, and she has chosen FODR, much to our delight. She has already photographed the school visits, and has offered her museum quality photos of DR for sale, splitting the proceeds with FODR. She is now offering to do additional work for us, asking us to brainstorm a needs list. She also raised the possibility of bringing in 15 local photography students to help us. After some discussion we decided to ask her to do the following: help Dick with documenting the restoration work; help Jim with his informational signs; photograph a few iconic oaks at DR; and compile a video/slideshow/PowerPoint of the entire ranch for our general use. The Board expressed its sincere appreciation to Sandy.


San Diego Fair: Colleen shared her experience with coordinating the FODR booth at the fair on June 6. Joining her that day were Jerry, Rick P, and Mercedes. The bad news, Colleen said, was very poor foot traffic resulting in a low number of visitors to our booth. The good news, she said, included the following: strong and friendly support from the Fair staff, good teamwork among FODR volunteers, handing out voting cards, newsletter sign-ups, getting donations for hats and plant guides, and overall exposure for FODR. Next time, she said, she would like to schedule our booth the same day as Escondido’s Chamber of Commerce, and/or to have our booth in another location that would be grouped with other environmental organizations. The Board thanked Colleen for her inspiration and hard work.


Building Restoration: As usual, Dick has been busy with plans and the permitting process at City Hall.  He says he has made the requested corrections to his plans, and is awaiting the final building permit. He hopes to begin on-site work by July 11.


School Visits and Grants:

1.      The North County Sierra Club awarded FODR a $2000 grant at their annual Dixon Lake picnic on June 6. Fred and Rick M were on hand to accept the check and to address the gathering about the school trips and FODR in general. FODR beat out five other environmental groups to win this money. Rick M will send a thank you.

2.      The Escondido Charitable Foundation came to a “site visit” at Dixon Lake on June 10. Fred and Colleen attended, along with Dan Hippert; they said it went very well. We hope to hear about this grant some time in July.

3.      Rick M submitted a grant to Escondido Rotary. We do not know when we might hear about this.

4.      Fred said the SDG&E grant results may be known later this month.

5.      The Eco-Ambassadors voting continues until June 23. We have held steady in third place. Fred and his family have been leading the charge, and all our Board has been busy promoting this contest.


Name Badges, T-Shirts, Maps, Second Sunday: Mike researched name badges and found a good website for a company that allows groups to design their own, with a 5 day turnaround. The Board approved of this, and suggested an oak tree as the logo. The badges could be used with a lanyard, and would include our name. Fred said some visitors at Second Sunday are requesting tee-shirts, and we will continue to look into managing this demand. Fred also said that FODR could get a very good price for printing the trail map pamphlet via the EUSD print shop. He will investigate further. Rick M and Fred attended the most recent Second Sunday at the ranch house. They and the rangers suggest earlier hours for hot summers.


New Board Members and Annual Picnic: Fred has the names of two prospective new FODR Board members, and he will invite them to a future meeting. The Board expressed a desire to resume an annual lunch get-together for the general membership. We would like to get permission to hold this at the ranch house grounds sometime this coming October. Colleen generously volunteered to help coordinate this event.


Newsletter and Wendy: Wendy Barker, our newsletter editor and History Center executive director, announced she will be leaving Escondido for a new position in Ojai. We all will miss her, and are grateful for her many contributions. For our next newsletter, Wendy’s finale, Rick M will write a feature about Wendy, Fred will write a president’s message that includes grant and Eco-Ambassador updates, and Fred will forward some of Sandy’s great photos of the school visits. Kit Wilson may also write a brief summary of the 88 acres available. These items should be submitted to Wendy by the end of June.


Next Meeting: Colleen will host our next regular meeting at 6 p.m. on July 15.


Respectfully submitted,

Rick Mercurio, secretary