Minutes - 12/2009

District 10 Environment Committee

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Attendees: Sharon Shinomiya, Chet Mirocha, Becky Cline, Betti Iwanski, Rhonda DeBough-Insook, Mike MacDonald, Susan Jane Cheney
Committee Chair Mike MacDonald called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
November meeting minutes were distributed and approved. 
District10 gardening group
District 10 Organizer Rhonda DeBough-Insook presented the recently-formed “It’s a Beautiful Day” gardening group’s plan to hold meetings every other month on various topics, beginning in January 2010 with the pros and cons of starting plants indoors, resources for gardeners (free materials, city grants, rain barrels), garden books/reviews, and forming a Google group/collecting e-mail addresses. March will focus on garden planning (graph paper plotting and timing); shared seeds and seedlings; discussion of gardening in small spaces, square-foot gardening, and raised bed gardening. May meeting will include planting techniques, protecting the garden from pests, timing water and watering systems, and mulching. A garden tour (within District 10) will be held in July. September will feature a harvest pot luck and recipe exchange, and November will focus on putting the garden to bed for the winter.   
Project grants
  1. Betti Iwanski reported on the $3000.00 CERTS (Clean Energy Resource Teams) grant the CHEEP project has received for establishing a data base to track effective practices. 
  2. Becky Cline suggested other grant possibilities, including:
    • Fiskers “Orange Thumb” grants (up to $2000) for gardening tools and equipment for gardening projects – such as It’s a Beautiful Day, native gardens around the lake, and buckthorn busts. Deadline is February 19th; the Committee will discuss this possibility further in January. 
    • Captain Planet Foundation grants of $250 - $2500 for hands-on environmental projects. Becky will inform the Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD) and Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom (CWOC) about this possibility and its December 31st deadline.  
Urban trees project
  1. Chet Mirocha reported that the laminated metal tree identification tags he mentioned at the November meeting would cost about $40.00 per10 trees. He will contact City Forester Dave Sundmark to discuss installing tags on park trees in the spring. 
  2. Chet suggested that Committee members begin identifying neighborhood trees warranting recognition based on aesthetic, ecological, and wildlife value criteria. 
  3. Sharon Shinomiya proposed development of a brochure regarding the values of trees. She will meet with Chet and Val Cunningham prior to the January meeting. 
  4. Becky will look into funding for tree tags and brochures.         
Como arboretum
Mike MacDonald reported that Horton Park (at Hamline and Minnehaha) already has been designated as a St. Paul arboretum. 
Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom
At Deb Robinson’s request, Mike is exploring ways for District 10 to play a larger role in the project and will initiate discussion of this at the Financial Development Committee and the District 10 Board.
Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD)
  1. CRWD Citizen Advisory Committee member Mike MacDonald reported that the CRWD is in the process of preparing its 10-year water management plan, which is basically a continuation of work undertaken in the past decade; the public comment period closes at the end of December. Check the website for details.
  2. Mike reported that the Como Lake Neighbor Network is partnering with the Citizens League on an EPA environmental education grant. The CLNN meets on the second Tuesday of each month at Janna Caywood’s home; meetings are announced on the District 10 website.      
2010 work plan
  1. Rain barrel workshops were discussed. Becky will look for funding possibilities. 
  2. Pilot residential buckthorn project
Procuring grants for brush removal from one District 10 sub-district at a time was discussed. Chet will look into the possibility of enlisting grad student assistance with buckthorn identification. An e-blast survey regarding buckthorn was suggested.  
After sharing holiday treats, the meeting adjourned at about 8:45 p.m.
[Meeting summary prepared by Susan Jane Cheney]

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