Annual Meeting Minutes
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Attendees: Rebecca Fergosi, Samuel & Marion Snipes, Dino Fiabane, Tim Boyle, Chuck Mattern, Lee Colley, Suzanne Day, Lily & Peter Taylor, Stephanie Judson, Thomas & Carolyn Bujak, Michael Robinson, Mike Zickler and Steve Sobocinski.
Mike Zickler opened the meeting with a brief review of our bylaws and why a quorum of executive board members is required to legitimatize our meeting today. A quorum was present. At present our elected officers are as follows:
Chair: Michael Zickler, Vice-Chair: Amy Taylor Brooks, Treasurer: Lily Taylor, Secretary: Carolyn Bujak.
Executive Board member Tom Bailey asked that his term not be renewed, so he was replaced by new EC member Steve Sobocinski. Also newly added was Lee Colley. Our current EC members are as follows: Suzanne Day, Stephanie Judson, Sandy Rea, Chuck Mattern,, Michael Robinson, Michael Zickler, Peter Taylor, Larry Tatum, Steve Sobocinski, Lee Colley, Kitty and Takashi Mizuno.
Mike and Stephanie spoke of Van Richards’ sudden death, and of his love for and caretaking of the farm. Plans are underway to prepare a plaque to be placed on an observation platform in Van’s memory and honor. There are also plans underway to plant a memorial tree on the farm, probably in May or June. Van created and maintained a FTWP presence on Facebook. Lily Taylor will try to keep the Facebook account if Facebook rules allow it.
Rebecca Fergosi announced the availability of their Farm property for sale as she and Jim plan to retire to Alabama to be near family. The house dates to 1855, has 265 ft. frontage to the low water line, sits on about 3.7 acres of land, and is to be sold for about $550,000. Interested parties may contact Rebecca Fergosi.
The minutes from our last meeting (March, 2014) were approved and are posted on the FTWP website.
Lily read the Treasurer’s report and will post the report on the FTWP website. Investment fund growth in 2014 was $1010. Stephanie urged us to consider changing our Friends Fiduciary Consolidated Funds account to the Quaker Green Fund with the educated guess that our capital gains will remain about the same as they are currently in the Consolidated Funds. The intent is to be as ecologically responsible as possible given our mission to serve the preserve and the environment. No immediate action was taken. Lily Taylor will explore the feasibility of the change to the Green Fund.
Mike Zickler applied for and received on behalf of the FTWP, a grant from the Washington Crossing Audubon Society for $2000.00. This will provide for another observation platform and/or trail improvements; Steve Sobocinski suggested a site near Dredge Harbour as it’s an especially good place to observe birds. Thomas Bujak suggested building an observation platform (including an access bridge) atop the large, long-time beaver lodge located in the marsh, close to a trail that follows the shoreline. A subcommittee consisting of Mike Zickler, Thomas Bujak, Steve Sobocinski, and Peter Taylor will explore these possibilities.
Mike mentioned that we didn’t have a clean-up day last year due to the time required to plan and build the observation platform located in the swamp off the narrow lane. Appreciation for Mike’s work on this was noted. Mike mentioned that we need to replace & update the documents in our Kiosk; Lily will look into this. Spring clean-up days are scheduled for Saturday, May 16, 2015 with a rain date of Saturday, May 23. The Autumn clean-up is scheduled for Saturday, October 10 with a rain date of Saturday, October 17, 2015. A concerted effort to get more gardeners involved, and the Township will be coordinated.
Steve Sobocinski will lead a bird walk at the farm on Saturday, April 25, 2015. Participants will meet in front of the white house at 6:30 AM. The rain date is the following Saturday, May 3. Steve mentioned spotting bald eagles, barred owls, great horned owls, and bitterns along the marsh. Lee Colley spotted a long eared owl.
Lily Taylor maintains the FTWP website – it looks great at present, but Lily expressed the desire to tweak it for improvements. Lily will communicate first with Joe Cook & Tom Bailey as Joe created the website with recommendations from Tom Bailey. A link to Joe Taylor’s book, and the trails map that Chuck made from an aerial photo will be added.
Lily’s also working on a brochure that includes a map of the wildlife preserve. Mike suggested that we should include observation platforms & beaver lodge locations on the map.
Mike Zickler will arrange to procure more mulch for the kiosk area. We continue to maintain our relationship with the N.J. Natural Lands Trust. They have submitted a revised/updated MOA which Amy is currently reviewing. It was noted that construction of an observation platform on their land will need their approval. Michael Robinson, seconded by several others, recommended that we consider purchasing liability insurance to protect against any lawsuits that may occur if any person is hurt on the Preserve. Mike Z. agreed to look into this and report back to the EC.
The deer population is down. We discussed the desire to coexist with the beavers. This may hopefully be achieved with a combination of beaver population control by trapping along with strategies to keep the sluice gates & pipes free of debris. Peter can apply for a trapping permit.
Lee knows of 3 organizations set up to perform various types of community service: The Moorestown YMCA has a committee of volunteers of all ages willing to volunteer time at the Preserve. Youth from ages 16-18 at the New Jersey Youth Challenge Academy, Fort Dix, are also set up to perform community service. Also, Partners for Kids & Families, an at-risk group of young people will work under supervision. Lee Colley has offered to supervise the volunteers. Lee mentioned the possibility of finding someone interested in performing an eagle scout project as well. Lee will supervise his four goats to act as “lawn mowers” in appropriate areas in need of cropping. Thomas Bujak suggested that we feed the volunteers at the end of their work session. Rebecca Fergosi suggested that a cook-out would be appreciated by the volunteers.
Newsletter: all are welcome to contribute appropriate articles, essays, & photos. Send your newsletter contributions to Lily Taylor.
Mike Zickler noted appreciation to Lily for her work on the FTWP website.
Meeting was adjourned at 3:40 PM.
Carolyn Bujak, Secretary
Submitted March 17, 2015