The WCAS Conservation Lab met at 1:00 on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at Bethany Church and the group reviewed several ongoing and new projects: Native plant sales, Urban Birding Cleveland Outreach,Urban Birding Cleveland Routes, Chimney Swift Towers, and discussed other new business.
1. CONVENING. The WCAS Conservation Lab met at 1:00 on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at Bethany Church. Attending were Pat McGuigan, Karen Czerniawski, Zackary Edelman, Jessica Lipp, Julie West, Gloria Ferris, Amanda Sebrosky, Joe Reardon, Bruce Missig, Kurt Miske, Tom Romito, and Betsey O’Hagan. Kurt chaired the lab and Tom facilitated.
2. AGENDA. Tom presented the following agenda:
- Native plant sales.
- Urban Birding Cleveland Outreach.
- Urban Birding Cleveland Routes.
- Chimney Swift Towers.
- Other business.
3. NATIVE PLANT SALES.
- Pat and Karen reported that they are culling a list of Farmers’ Markets down to eight. They will select plants to sell when the plants are in full bloom and on the day of sale. The plan is to keep the inventory of plants to a minimum and to have as many of them as possible to create a good display of color.
- We decided that the mission of our native plant project is to educate the public about native plants and to raise funds to defray of doing so.
- The subcommittee will develop media for disseminating information to the public.
- Zack discussed putting on a rain harvesting workshop in conjunction with the native plant sales. The purpose of the workshop will be to further educate the public about how to enhance their yards to grow native plants. Examples are rain barrels and swales.
- Joe described his vision of conducting talks to public venues on “Gardening for a Healthy Biome.” His first talk will be at 7:00 p.m. on February 11 at Fairview Park Garden Club in the Fairview Park City Hall at 20769 Lorain Rd. Joe said he wants to use this first outing as a dry run and won’t accept an honorarium. In the future, however, he will accept honoraria and donate them to WCAS.
4. URBAN BIRDING CLEVELAND OUTREACH.
- Julie said that Janelle Reardon is working on a booklet on birds to distribute at public venues, such as Boys and Girls Club. The Outreach Subcommittee hopes to have the booklet available to give to club members during the Great Backyard Bird Count at Morgana Bluffs on February 13.
- Julie also talked about a resource at Cornell Lab called “Celebrate Urban Birds.” It is a citizen science project that studies the value of urban green spaces for birds (CelebrateUrbanBirds.org). Birders can enter their data a database at this link.
- Julie mentioned another resource at Cornell Lab called “Bird Sleuth.” This is also a citizen science project that enables people to take curricula from Cornell into schools.
- The next scheduled Outreach Subcommittee meetings are February 7 and 26, both at 9:30 a.m. at the Boys and Girls Club at 6114 Broadway Ave.
5. URBAN BIRDING CLEVELAND ROUTES.
- Tom updated the lab on his schedule to attend block club meetings in Tremont this spring and asked people to attend with him when they can. Several people offered to do so.
- Zack suggested that the subcommittee adopt an “haunted house” model to create a route where people could serve as actors and talk about birds along the route.
- Amanda reported on a meeting several lab members had with Dr. Beth Nagy, Urban Studies professor at Cleveland State University. We hope that Beth will send some students our way to intern with our outreach and route programs.
6. PARMA BIRDING INITIATIVE. Bruce is preparing six letters to send to public officials in Parma. The letter will seek common ground with the mayor regarding our Urban Birding Cleveland initiative and establish a relationship with STEM schools.
7. CHIMNEY SWIFT TOWERS. Amanda reported on her efforts to erect Chimney Swift towers in Lorain County, Bay Village, and Cleveland Metroparks. She is seeking funding through grants, Facebook, and her own resources.
8. NEW BUSINESS.
- Gloria suggested an idea for fund-raising she called “common causes earmarking.” This concept would solicit funds for specific projects, such as Chimney Swift towers, urban birding routes and outreach, native plants, and bird-friendly coffee.
- We decided to dispense with the use of styrofoam cups for coffee at our labs. Everyone is to bring their own coffee cups or mugs in the future.
9. NEXT MEETING. Our next lab will be 1:00 on Saturday, March 7 at Bethany Church.
10. ADJOURNMENT. Kurt adjourned the lab at 3:30 p.m. See the attached action plan.