Friends of Daley Ranch Board Minutes

October 8, 2020


Present: Colleen MacKinnon, Jerry Harmon, Fred Woods, Dick Althouse, Denise Harter, Rick Mercurio, and guest Nathan Serrato. 

Colleen called the meeting to order at 5:45 pm at the Oceanside home of Jerry Harmon. The Board discussed the topic of sending agendas. Rick will take on the responsibility of sending out an email to the Board a week before the meeting to ask what items should be added.


Administrative Business

Minutes from our June and July meetings were reviewed by Colleen. They were approved unanimously.

 Treasurer Denise sent out her financials and the following summary:

The CPA that works with TECC isn’t taking on new clients; she will make inquiries of other CPA’s in the area with nonprofit experience and get back to us. The stated goal is to have someone review the system with the certification of financials in mind. This in turn will help us complete the Accounting Policies and Procedures document.



Fred described our virtual field trip video program. We have a professional videographer, Chris Ryan. We will meet with him and all the presenters on October 20. Some presenters will be given stipends for their participation. We will have drone footage and virtual hikes. We have received an extension for our SDF Grant. We also were recently awarded the ECF Grant for $25,000.



Wildlife undercrossing: Denise met with two people from the County, one from Code Enforcement and one from Environmental Planning, to tour the wildlife underpasses and discuss solutions. A road crew will be sent to clean up the trash. Denise will also be meeting with someone from the City’s Real Property Management Office to tour the underpass.

Biological monitoring: A representative from Conservation Banking at USFWS toured Daley Ranch with Chris a couple of weeks ago. Denise sent her the Merkel proposal and is working with her on identifying issues such as the illegal horse trail from Alps Way and organizing and facilitating the first biological monitoring effort.

The Friends are now members of the Wildlife Habitat Conservation Coalition. Meetings of the WHCC since last summer is where these agency connections (above, under Biological Monitoring) were made and attention was called to the lack of monitoring on DR.

The letter regarding the wildlife underpasses was very successful. Signers on the final version included The Nature Conservancy and The Mountain Lion Foundation. A crop of the header with all the agencies’ logos could be included in the next newsletter along with a short article by Denise.

Denise was invited to and attended the 4th Annual Environmental Leadership Summit organized by the Environmental Center of San Diego (one of the signers of the letter to the wildlife agencies). A lot of connections were made there, including possible future program partners. The emphasis was on the intersection of climate change with race, economic disparities and under-represented communities.

Denise formed an informal group of people doing camera trapping near and on Daley Ranch (Liz Ridder and Juan Tronsoco of TECC) to share information; was added to an email list of people monitoring mountain lions in Southern CA (through connections made in the process of writing the letter to the wildlife agencies).

Denise reported that FODR’s visibility in the local conservation community has skyrocketed.



Photo contest judging and voting is completed. Generated a lot of traffic on Facebook but did not break even this time. New donation levels and incentives for EOY campaign. Colleen moved approval. Rick seconded. The motion passed unanimously. The next Giving Tuesday national campaign is December 1, 2020. Fawcett grant report sent out.



Existing: Naturalist Topics Reading Group has one additional participant for a total of 7. Naturalist Study Group: Not currently running. Nature Journaling Group: Just started.



The intersection of climate change, climate justice and social justice is the cutting edge of conservation activism right now, accelerated by the Black Lives Matter movement, and FODR is on top of that wave!

In development: Citizen Science monitoring for climate change program using Nature’s Notebook designed by the USA National Phenology Network. Denise is currently enrolled in the 10-week certified Local Phenology Leadership Program. This will tie in with Daley Ranch monitoring and/or the E3L concept. There are several organization reps that are interested in participating, including the Native Connections coordinator for the Indian Health Council in Rincon (connected through Environmental Leadership Summit). Also in development: Community-based climate change activist outreach using the model of the brand new Certified Climate Steward program of the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. Denise is enrolled in the inaugural certification class (run by a biologist she worked with at the Center for Natural Lands Management) which begins in October and runs through January 2021. The cost would be $375 for the course fee.

Denise is also representing FODR with the BEETLES Sub-national network (one of five networks in the U.S.) created by the Nature Collective and The San Diego Zoo Safari Park and will attend the first outdoor educator training series with Ranger Kathy beginning in October and running through May of 2021.


Outreach & Communication:

FB Likes last 12 months +35%; prior 12 months +8%. FB post engagement up the last 3 months, especially on the DRTT page. Instagram followers have tripled in the last month. Denise would like to get Hootsuite for nonprofits, $29 a month, to streamline social media tasks; presented to two University City High School biology classes on the scientific value of tracking.


Restoration: Dick got a call from Mike Strong at the City Planning Dept. and they are on board for the barn restoration. The City will print up the copies needed for submission of a building permit so that will be a nice saving since there are 11 pages of blueprints. Dick will take the prints to the City next week for copying. He says the board will probably need to plan on figuring out a way to come up with $10,000 to pay for materials and some volunteers to do the work. He suggested launching a fundraiser called ROOTS: Restore Our Old Treasure Sites that we could print flyers for. Dick plans to start restoring the hay wagon as soon as it is delivered by Pauley. The board approved $600 for transport, but after a discount of $140, the final bill will be $400.

Jerry and Dick will be working on the newly-acquired hay wagon this Saturday.

Capital Projects:

New Farm Equipment. Dick has his eye on a hay rake, but will wait a few months before making an offer.


Next Regular Meeting: November 12, 3 pm at Jerry’s Oceanside house.


Respectfully submitted,

Rick Mercurio, Secretary