Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Bee City USA Minutes 12/7/16

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

December 7, 2016
North Mountain Park Nature Center
620 North Mountain Ave.
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    In attendance: Jeffry McFarland, Karen Potts, Kristina Lefever, Shari Shattuck, Rachel Dials, Albert Pepe, Mike Gardiner (for a portion of the meeting), Michael Black (for a portion of the meeting).
    1. Approve Minutes from previous meeting
      Minutes were approved.
    2. Review Action Items from previous meeting
      Most action items from previous meeting were complete or in process and would be discussed today. 
        Kristina is still planning to provide a list of resources to be added to the city website.
    1. Open Forum
      No members of the public were present to participate.
    1.      Kristina would like to add one discussion point to the agenda
      We have received an application from Susan Ekstrom who would like to be on the Bee City USA Ashland subcommittee.  Kristina encouraged her to apply, and the group agrees that we could use additional help. However we need to discuss the fact that the City resolution asks for three citizen members.  We currently have a committee of five members and three is a quorum.  We need to change the resolution so that we can have six official members.    
        Libby and Rachel will discuss changing the resolution so that it says “at least three citizen members.”  This will be discussed when the committee has a goal setting.
        Kristina will tell Susan Ekstrom that we are still working on making her a full member, but that in the meantime, she is welcome to come to our meetings.
    1. Conversation with Jeff McFarland, APRC’s Open Space & Outer Parks Supervisor, about pollinator-friendly landscape practices
      In October Kristina and Shari began putting together a list of pollinator friendly practices, that we would suggest Parks and Recreation adopt.  The ultimate goal of this request letter was to use parks policy more as a tool for educating the public.  Kristina presented the recommended practices at a commission study session.  At the time commissioner Rick Landt requested more research and back up documentation to support the recommendations, which Kristina is ready to provide.  Michael Black maintains that evidence is not necessary to convince Parks staff to do the right thing for pollinators.  Michael emphasized that Parks staff is already implementing several of the recommendations.  Others from the list are really easily implemented through quick reminders to staff. Michael suggested that Bee City put together a list of our recommended best practices for pollinators rather than requesting Parks and Rec modify our IPM.  Michael says that we use glyphosate very minimally, and we aren’t a big user. 
      Kristina would like a public comment from Parks and Rec about our commitment to pollinators.  Shari would like Parks and Rec to condone BCU-A’s educational message.
      Michael suggests that we start educating people based on our existing IPM policy and the existing practices that have been adopted.  Kristina would like to see the documents which itemize our practices.  Jeff explained that we have an Invasives and Problematic Plants document that outlines the guidelines and practices about manual removal.  Michael explained that while the IPM document recommends an “integrated” approach, we actually apply a prohibitive approach to pesticides in almost all cases. Also while the IPM says that we will consider pesticides as a last resort, in practice, staff does not consider them at all except at the golf course, the medians at the city entrance and the warming track.
      Kristina reiterated that the members of the committee are grateful for the conscientious practices applied by our parks.
      Libby suggested that BCU-A can educate about pollinator friendly practices and the potential harm of glyphosate without waiting for the commission to formally adopt each and every recommendation.  While educational materials developed by the subcommittee should get Commission approval before release, we shouldn’t require Parks staff to swear that every single recommended practice is implemented every single time.  Instead, the subcommittee can simply suggest that members of the public should STRIVE for pollinator conservation, just as we all do.
      Libby also suggests an educational tone rather than a rule-setting tone in our documents.  For example, “Were you aware… Maybe you’ll want to consider… Maybe you should inquire… If you’re weren’t aware, then here are some simple ways to mitigate for that impact…”  Rather than, “If you care about pollinators, don’t do…”  Libby emphasized that this is an accepted environmental education technique which generates buy-in.  It may also be important to perfect this tone in our internal communications as well as external education.
      Bee City USA could now focus on how to get this information to the community.  What avenue do we want to use to get the information to the community?  Once we pick the avenue and the audience, Libby will help with the educational messaging. 
    2. Update from Jeff McFarland about Rocky Top planting
      Jeff thanks the group for their help with the planting plan, and wants us to know that parks staff is working hard to follow the plan.  Although they are not able to follow every recommendation perfectly. Initial planting was done with approved, local native plants.  They are purchasing plants using the discount the BCU-Ashland got from Shooting Star Nursery, ribes, rose, California fuchsia.  We are also getting some riparian plants from Plant Oregon. Jeff has planted a good sized white alder on the steeper side.  Irrigation is complete to help the plants get established.  Lori helped involve John Muir school to do initial planting. BCU-A should send a thank you card to John Muir School. 
        The committee will put together a thank you card and send it via Lori Ainsworth, as she has contacts there.
      The site needs to be maintained by controlling blackberry re-sprouts.  Karen is still looking to get an ally in the nearby Home Owners Association.  She has sent a letter asking if we can arrange a work day with them. 
      Jeff feels that the site is suitable for Service Learning programs, middle school aged and up.  NMP is offering a limited service learning calendar this year because of staffing limitations.  Libby will inform the group of any service learning groups who will be working at Rocky Top.
    3. Update on pollinator gardens program - Kristina
      At the last meeting we had 16 approved gardens.  At this time, we now have 22 BCU-A Approved pollinator gardens in our community.  For the most part, these are all fabulous gardens.  There are two others in the pipeline, and a few that may submit applications in the spring.  Kristina ordered more Approved Garden signs from Sign Dude.  We paid Sign Dude using the “suggested donations” which gardeners have made to the Ashland Parks Foundation on our behalf.  Kristina is happy that we have the Foundation to process this money, because other Bee Cities have expressed difficulty handling purchases and donations.
      Karen would like prepared instructions to help people mount the garden signs.  Karen would volunteer to help people put their signs up. 
         Karen will get in touch with Jan and offer her help with installing the garden sign.
      As we get more gardens approved on commercial/business property, we have an opportunity to leave information about BCU-A in visible locations for the public.  Talent has created a rack card all about their BCU designation.  Kristina would like us to consider creating one specific to our City.  This is a potential task item for discussion.
  1. Discuss gathering of pollinator garden gardeners for June garden tour
    Kristina suggests a January potluck, and the group expressed desire to move ahead with the idea. We will send an invite to all the 22 gardeners to come to this mixer/meet and greet.  At the event, we will explain the garden tour program and ask them each for a short garden description. Gardeners should bring information and pictures of their garden and maybe some questions they might want to ask others.  At the event, we bring out a big map of the city, and gardeners will stick removable dots at the locations of all the gardens.
    For the potluck gathering, we decided upon Wednesday, January 11, 3 - 4:30pm.
      Kristina will send the content for a flier for this event.
      Libby will mock up the invitation flier, for Kristina to send out.
    In planning for the June garden tour:  We have Judy Loveless-Richardson, who is a member of the Ashland garden club and has worked with UUAW and has helped them with their garden tour.  Judy is willing to help us put together our own map or garden guide book.  Of the 22 approved gardens, there are only 4 gardeners who have requested NOT to be on the map.  We can make the tour a Parks and Recreation community program and take registration fees from the public on Activenet.  The development of a booklet will cost some resources, but that will hopefully be offset by program revenue. 
  2. Financial report (BCU-A budget) - Libby
    Of the $1,000 which was dedicated to our subcommittee, $506 remains to last us until June 30, 2017.  Ashland Parks Foundation donations total to $424 which came in from “suggested donations” for the garden signs.  We used $292 to buy more garden signs, which was a perfect use of our funds.  We have $637 to spend on whatever projects are identified as our next goal.
    Kristina asked whether there is a need for more plants at Rocky Top.  Jeff appreciated that we negotiated a discount with a local nursery.  For the time being, we don’t need additional plants, but Jeff will let us know how the vegetation is filling in. Libby also suggested that the interpretive sign at Ashland Creek Park Pollinator Rain garden is a project that could use BCU-A funds. And the group was interested in also developing an interpretive sign for Rocky Top.  Libby emphasized that interpretive signs would be an addition to her work load, but that a Rocky Top sign might be something we could strive for in the next biennium.  Michael suggested that we use BCU-A funds for education rather than plants and that developing interpretive signage is a good fit for our funds.
    The group also discussed purchasing name badges for the subcommittee members.  Albert suggested a simpler and less expensive option, a name badge on an APRC lanyard. 
      Kristina will send a draft of the name badge mocked up in Word,
      Libby will order the plastic sleeves and will print the name badges.
  3. Discuss BCU annual report due 12/31 – Kristina
    Do we want to remain a Bee City USA subcommittee under Ashland Parks and Rec? 
    Kristina moves that we re-apply to remain a Bee City USA.  All members voted in favor.
    Michael re-emphasized that this is a citizen subcommittee, and that the members of the committee should be carrying most of the work load.  Mike seconded this sentiment.
    The reapplication process and the annual report require a bit of work.  The renewal requirements were time consuming, so Libby requests that the subcommittee members take the lead on this.  Libby is happy to help with any elements of it that the members are not able to push through themselves.
    Kristina already has a list of accomplishments that we want to include in the annual report.
      Kristina, Karen, and Albert will work together to finish the application and annual report.
  4. Review 2017 calendar - Kristina
  5.   Kristina will come to the next Parks Commission meeting on the 19th, to update the Commission on the projects we are working on.
      Libby will let Susan know that we want to give a subcommittee update at the next meeting, and help get this on the agenda.
      Kristina will send us the 2017 calendar via email, since we are running out of time for this meeting.
    1. PPRV’s February forum - Kristina

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