Meeting Minutes for July 23, 2007

Meeting Minutes for July 23, 2007

The meeting began at 12:00 and finished at 1:30. It took place on the Barnhart Farm.


Amber Barnhart
Brett Barnhart
Donald Barnhart
Patricia Barnhart
Mary Kay Solecki
Joe Rothermel
Scott Reifsteck
Bruce Stikkers
Jamie Ellis

Topics of Discussion

  1. Grant for Land Acquisition. Via the Illinois Clean Air Act. Karen Bush’s 8 acres is being proposed to be bought by the Soil and Water District (There was some discussion about who is buying this land but it is felt that the Soil and Water District had to be that group, rather than the Barnhart Prairie, because of grant requirements). Bruce submitted the first round of information and that info was received favorably. The next round explains why $10,000/acre is an appropriate price and Bruce submitted that information recently. ACTION ITEM: Bruce will contact the grant folks and see where this land acquisition is. (Thanks to Bruce for writing up and submitting this grant.)

    If this grant does not buy the 8 acres, the Lumpkin Family Foundation would be the next agency to approach. This foundation has a history of prairie conservation.
  2. Fran Hardy- Mary Kay talked with Fran about his involvement with the Barnhart Prairie Board. He is very interested and supportive of the prairie but can’t come to the meetings.
    • ACTION ITEM: Fran will be copied on meetings times and email and will remain as a resource person for the board. (Thanks to Fran for his years of support and work for this prairie.)
  3. Planting of the rest of the prairie. Planting of the prairie is way ahead of schedule but the board supported the concept of getting the prairie planted as soon as possible. 6.9 acres had some planting this last spring. Brett thinks 2 long rows were planted til the seed ran out. About 6.9 acres is left to be planted.
    • ACTION ITEM: Mary Kay will call Jim about collecting seed on the prairie for the acres not planted yet.
    • ACTION ITEM: Mary Kay will submit a seed grant again for the seeds for these acres. (The seed grant money is released in December)
    • (Thanks to Mary Kay for having procured seed grants for the prairie for the last two year.)
    • ACTION ITEM: The board approved $2500.00 for seed for the appro 7 acres to be seeded. (Hopefully, Jim Zimmer will be generous with his time as he has been in the past.) Planting is $100.00 per acre= $600.00 for planting.
    • ACTION ITEM: Brett will work with Jim Zimmer on this.
  4. Taxes. Donald worked with the tax district to get the taxes reduced on the prairie to the appropriate level. This took some political work. The total tax bill now should be $28.00.
    Thanks to Donald for getting the tax work done.
  5. Education on the Prairie. Various select groups have come out on the Prairie. Currently, a group of French students is scheduled to come. Groups are to contact Brett about coming out for tours.
    The board discussed printing some brochures of the Barnhart prairie for such groups. Jamie pointed out that some master naturalist student might be interested in developing such a brochure for his/her volunteer hours. Brett wondered about having some a brochure on the Webpage for groups to self-print. Scott pointed out that the Ag Communication department at the U of I might be able to help.
    • ACTION ITEM: Brett is to get hold of Steve Ayers of the Ag extension and see if they can help with a brochure with the additional information below.
    • The need for some basic work for educational programs was also discussed.
    • ACTION ITEM: “Bug guy”in Florida might help identify insect species on the prairie. Donald and others have collections of prairie plant pictures from the Barnhart Prairie. The history of the Prairie is on the Web Page developed by Brett. Thanks to Brett for that!
  6. Prairie Burns. At the last meeting, the board developed a 3 year rotating master burn plan.
    • In 2005-6: the West prairie was burned.
    • In 2006-7: the North prairie was burned.
    • In 2007-8: the Southwest is to be burned. This is a large area.
    In the past, various folks have come and helped with the burn. This year, Brett sent out some basic rules. The burn seemed to be safer this year. The basic rules are no one under 18 years of age, no animals, no flammable clothing.
    • ACTION ITEM:Mary Kay will get the burn permits.
    • ACTION ITEM:Brett to get the fire breaks in order (mowed.)
    • ACTION ITEM:Donald will make sure that volunteers are aware of the rules of the burn.
  7. Parking Lot and Viewing Area. The board continues to plan for a formal viewing area and parking lot but can’t proceed with this until Karen’s 8 acres are purchased. Until then, a grass area near the sign could be used for parking. Placing mulch, instead of grass, was discussed but Scott recommended grass because mulch can hold too much moisture. An area for parking will need to be identified so that the public don’t destroy the prairie with vehicles.
    • ACTION ITEM: Brett will place posts with either chain cable or rope between the posts to identify the proper parking area.
    • ACTION ITEM: Amber will get signs made with the prairie rules.
    • ACTION ITEM: Mary Kay brought out Nature Preserve signs today to be placed on the prairie.
    • A culvert will need to be placed so that there is access to Karen’s 8 acres. There is a culvert on the 8 acres with the sign but currently Karen’s land is prairie-bound.
    • ACTION ITEM: Joe (???) knows county commissioner and will try and get culvert placed.
  8. Master plans. Donald reminded the board that a U of I grad class actually developed long range development plans for the prairie several years ago as part of a class project.
    • ACTION ITEM: Donald will find the paper copies of these plans and share them with the board in the future.
  9. U of I Prairie Plan. Brenda Malano and Tony developed
  10. Weed control. Mary Kay and Brett noted that an intern came out and sprayed the thistled area. Mary Kay is able to help get weed control at a discounted price.
    • ACTION ITEM: Continue to monitor thistle areas and treat as can.
    • Budget. Donald just checked with the bank. The Barnhart Prairie has $3100.00 in the account. This info was presented early in the meeting and then returned to as prairie expenses were formulated.
    • Long range goals. Donald shared some of his ideas for uses for prairie plants including building geodesic domes, and nature blinds.
    • Fund raising. Ideas for fund raising were shared. Fund raising could help with PR, education, maintenance of the prairie and funds. Some ideas included developing a prairie calendar for sale, prairie postcards, developing a children’s book on the prairie, selling cut prairie plants at farmer’s markets.
    • Tile mapping. The idea of removing some of the tile to facilitate restoration of wetlands was discussed.
      • ACTION ITEM: Bruce will get a copy of the tile mapping to the board. Mary Kay does say such restoration is OK for Nature Preserves.
      • ACTION ITEM: Aerial views of the farm are available from several years ago. Bruce will get that to the board by email.
    • Odds and Ends. Brett’s tractor hitch is broken. Scott will look at it and see if he can help. Mower is OK and Brett will mow as soon as hitch is fixed.
      Donald needs to update the prairie maps with planted areas identified. The next meeting will be in early December.

Next meeting will be in December, 2007

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