Deep Fork Audubon meeting
minutes, 9 January 2012
by Donald Winslow
Shawnee Public Library, Community Room A
Present were Steve, Brother Damian, Donald, Ruth, Becky, and Deane. Karen and Forest popped in a couple of times.
Deane reported that our account balance, after depositing baseline payments from National Audubon Society, is $442.50.
We discussed the subject of incorporation (with the state) and registration as a tax-exempt organization (with the IRS). There are fees associated with both steps. Before we incorporate we need to develop our organizing documents. These organizing documents must be worded in such a way as to comply with state and federal laws, so it might be useful to have legal assistance. There are example documents available which we could adjust for our group. The next time we gather we will bring some example organizing documents. Ruth knows a law student she can ask. Ruth also suggested we look at http://legalzoom.com.
After we incorporate with the state, we need to apply to the IRS for tax-exempt status by filing form 990. We must continue to file this form annually. It is our understanding that we are not expected to pay taxes during the process of incorporation if it is our intention to become a tax-exempt organization. We agreed that it is our intention to become a tax-exempt organization.
There is an Audubon Council meeting scheduled for Saturday, 21 January, at the Oxley Nature Center in Tulsa. The meeting will start at 9:30 am, and John Kennington may organize a bird walk beforehand. Donald is planning to attend, so email me at email@example.com if you would like a ride. Donald will ask other chapters for advice about the process of incorporation and becoming tax-exempt, and will ask for examples of organizing documents.
Donald has added a row of links ("About us", "Calendar", "Bird Blog", "Urban bird habitat", "Annual reports", and "Links") at the top of the page at http://deepfork.org. Some of the resources listed under "Links" may be useful for us as we develop materials and programs about creating urban bird habitat. The website may also be useful for outreach.
Donald participated in the Christmas Bird Count for Kids at the Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge on 31 December 2011. There were 6 kids and 28 species of birds.
Becky and Deane participated in the Oklahoma Winter Bird Survey, as did Karen and Donald. Both households reported their findings. New World sparrows (i.e. juncos, white-crowns, etc) are scarce this year.
The Pontotoc Ridge Winter Bird Count will be held on 28 January. Jona has asked that we meet at the preserve office at 8 AM. Those of us in the Shawnee/Tecumseh area will meet at 6:15 at Daylight Donuts, 421 E. Walnut in Tecumseh.
The Great Backyard Bird Count, sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, takes place between 17-20 February. See http://www.birdcount.org.
We are planning to look for American Woodcocks (aka timberdoodles) at Sacred Heart on 18 February. Meet at the McDonald's in Tecumseh at 5 PM to carpool or caravan.
On 3 March we plan to visit Shawnee Twin Lakes in the morning to look for waterfowl. We'll come back to town for a meeting in the afternoon (1-3 PM in the Shawnee Public Library, Community Room B) to plan the program on urban bird habitat scheduled for the 31st.
Brother Damian prepared a cost comparison for two different plans for preparing bluebird house kits. If the lumber is all cedar, we could do it for $16.59 in materials per kit and "sell" them for a suggested donation of $18 each. If they are cedar with whitewood (pine or poplar) sides, we could do it for $12.04 in materials per kit and "sell" them for a suggested donation of $14 each. With the cedar kits, we would break even if we sell 7 kits. For the cedar with whitewood kits, we would break even if we sell 12. Others present suggested we may want to distribute the plans for the kits rather than sell the kits, sell kits for wrenhouses instead of bluebird boxes, or perhaps construct and display prototypes of several different kinds of nestboxes.
Deane has tried to contact Mindy at the Shawnee Mall to find out the dates for the Garden Show and ask what we need to do to set up a booth, but he has not heard back on the specifics. Donald said he would ask Karen to call Mindy.
Printable information sheets on creating urban bird habitat are available at some of the links from http://deepfork.org/urbanbirdhabitat.html.
Donald wrote up a short blurb for the library about the program on creating urban bird habitat we are planning. We have reserved Community Room A at the Shawnee Public Library for 31 March, 2-4 PM. To see the blurb, go to http://deepfork.org and click where it says "Register here". (Or else look it up at the library's site, http://justsoyouknow.us.) At this link, interested members of the public may register to attend our event. Registration is not required and it is likely that most attendees will not register, but we can check this site periodically to get an idea how many people may come. The library will publicize our event.
We discussed preparing a mailing announcing the program for our membership (i.e., members of National Audubon who are within our jurisdiction). We should have something ready to mail by early March, so we should be finalizing the design at our meeting on 3 March. Donald can print out mailing labels for our members.
Steve will take photos of habitat, feeders, nestboxes, and birds at our yards so that we can include them in a digital presentation during the program. Steve would also like to display some large photos in the display case at the library. Donald said he would ask Karen if this would be possible.
Our next meeting will be on 3 March from 1-3 PM in Community Room B of the Shawnee Public Library, following our outing to Shawnee Twin Lakes.