Friends of Daley Ranch Board Minutes

October 15, 2019


Present: Colleen Mackinnon, Fred Woods, Liz Ridder, Rick Mercurio, Dick Althouse, Jerry Harmon, Denise Harter, and guest David Woods


Minutes , Treasurer’s Report, and Administrative Business: Colleen opened the meeting at 6 p.m. at the Train Depot in Grape Day Park, Escondido. She summarized the minutes from the September meeting. No further modifications were made. Colleen moved approval, Liz seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Denise is acting as temporary treasurer with the assistance of Colleen and Jerry until a new treasurer is named. Denise still needs access to the FODR accounts to proceed. Denise was reimbursed $50 for Tech Soup. The SI-100 filing fee of $21 was made payable to the Secretary of State, and the form was signed. Colleen signed an official letter terminating our DOU with the San Diego Tracking Team.


Website Redesign: Dave Woods is a User Experience/Marketing professional. He created the FODR website and has kept on top of changing technology. He has closely examined the current configuration of our site and expressed to the Board his observations and recommendations for changes. He also sought input for enhancements. Some topics that were discussed during David’s presentation included 1) a better Resource section for teachers involved in our school trip program; 2) fixing or reconstructing “dead” links to other sites; 3) adding a mammal page; 4) re-thinking how content is delivered and updated, and really concentrating on it; 5) better site security; 6) adding a calendar; 7) adding a merchandise link.


The most important point Dave made was that our website is already fairly accessible to people with disabilities, but certain improvements should be made to make it even more accessible. This involves providing additional accommodations for users who may be disabled in some way, so that they may be able to navigate the site and read its content more easily.  He said lawsuits demanding such accessibility have multiplied greatly in recent years.


Dave will put together a list of options and allow the Board to prioritize. At that point FODR and Dave will begin drafting a contract for his services. The San Diego Foundation grant for the school trip included a budget of $5,000 for website enhancements, so that amount will be the beginning point.


Education: Fred and Rick summarized their September meeting with the other organizations that provide outdoor education to EUSD students, plus Krystle Miller, the district teacher on special assignment for science. The meeting involved each organization, including FODR, describing its program and sharing successes and challenges. The goal is to better coordinate the year-to-year experiences in the outdoors, and to learn from each other’s program. Fred and Rick also will attend a meeting October 16 with Krystle and the EUSD curriculum coordinator to brainstorm ideas for this year’s program.


Barn Restoration: Dick has been actively pursuing plans to strengthen the barn. He has worked with Chris K and Danny Sadek to plan next steps. They decided to designate November 2 from 8 a.m. to noon as a barn cleanup day, inviting any interested parties to help remove debris and foliage from the area around the barn. Dick has created a flier to advertise this event, to be displayed around Daley Ranch, and Colleen posted it on FaceBook. Dick will also be doing bulldozer work for Daley Ranch in the near future, including the creation of a motorhome pad behind the restrooms for a future ranch caretaker’s residence. Dick will also bulldoze part of a trail in need of grading. He mulched weeds around the barn.


Trails at Daley Ranch: In recent days, Colleen brought to the Board’s attention a “Trail Accelerator” proposal from the San Diego Mountain Bike Association to create a master plan for trails at Daley Ranch. It would closely examine the trail system and make specific proposals to improve them, especially as they pertain to soil erosion. This proposal sought interested parties for its cost of $15,000. Pledges of $5,000 had already been made by the Valley Center Trails Association and the SDMBA, and Chris K really hoped that FODR would pledge the final $5,000. Chris promised to engage the City for follow through and financial commitment if the Trail Accelerator proposal became a reality. After an email discussion among Board members in the days preceding the meeting, Rick moved approval and Dick seconded. The final vote was 4 in favor and 2 opposed, with Fred and Dick voting no.


PR Outreach and Development: Denise proposed that FODR send out a “Re-engagement” end of year letter to all our members along with a questionnaire to assess their interests and ways to get involved. She will share a possible draft of the questionnaire via email and she seeks feedback from the Board, who embraced the concept.


Save1000Acres Donor Event: FODR will coordinate with TECC to honor our own member donors to the successful campaign. This will be on Nov. 16 and include a driving tour to the new Sardina Preserve and lunch.


Protection: Liz and Denise shared their latest observations of wildlife at the ranch. Besides mountain lions, many bobcats and deer have been seen. The tunnels provide a wealth of information. Liz noted that her financial resources from CSUSM have dried up, and she would like newer and more secure cameras for wildlife sighting. Colleen believes FODR should consider helping with this in the future.


Strategic Planning: Denise has spent lots of time examining and archiving the minutes and other records from FODR’s history, with an eye to pursue strategic planning. She explained the value of establishing goals, visions, and missions of the organization, and taking us to the next level of sophistication. A well-crafted Strategic Plan would also be critical to obtaining future grants. While Denise was in the process of digitizing/archiving minutes, se discovered a substantial amount of strategic planning that had already been done by Sally Thomas, former FODR president and mother of Colleen and that FODR is hoping to build on. Demise believe that what she already has found, the work that was done in 2007, especially the product on Sally’s collaboration with the San Diego Foundation, will save FODR a couple of months, easily.

The Board agreed to continue pursuit of this. To that end, Colleen will host a dinner meeting on November 5 at 5 p.m. to dig into first steps of strategic planning.


Next Meeting: Dick will host the next regular meeting at 6 p.m. on Nov.19.


Respectfully submitted,

Rick Mercurio, Secretary