Meeting Minutes for September 29, 2000

Present: Brett Barnhart, Patricia Barnhart, Donald Barnhart (via phone), Mary Kay Solecki, Gary Parker, Fran Harty, Jim McMahon, Theo Gray

The beginning discussions were with Theo Gray regarding paying Jim Zimmerman for prairie seed. It was approved to pay Jim up to $1,000.00 for the collection of prairie seed. The praire seed will come from various location in Champaign county. Since Jim cannot drive, he may need assistance in getting from point A to point B. Mary Kay offered to work with Jim (since we have 2 seed strippers) to go to different locations.

It was also agreed that Jim would primarily harvest Big Blue Stem and Little Blue Stem, however, some portion of his time can be devoted to collecting unusual/rare specimens as he finds them. Goal is to collect roughly 100 lbs of Big Blue Stem. These will be packed into garbage bags labelled with location and date collected. Don pointed out that the seed must be dried almost immediately after harvest, otherwise they will rot in the bags. Mary Kay will dry them and they will be stored on the Barnhart Farm.

The next discussion involved setting up the Prairie Project as a Not for profit corporation in Illinois. John mentioned that this part is pretty straight forward and estimated the cost to be $250.00. We approved him setting this up. Next, we discussed setting it up with the IRS as a 503(c)(3) so that people can give us tax-deductible contributions. This is more involved and required more leg work. But, we decided to move forward with that in mind. John mentioned that technically, we needed to have this set-up prior to Bi-laws, however, the bi-laws need to be submitted with the application. Also, the bi-laws should be written as though we were going to be set-up with the IRS.

We also approved putting John on retainer for a fee of $90/hour. John's normal rate for environmental concerns was $60.00/hour, but Fran and others felt that we should pay his normal fee.

Gary will set-up a checking account for the project at Bank Illinois. Checks will require two signatures and it was decided that the Chairperson and Treasurer should be the appropriate signatures.

Finally, there was a lot of discussion of how to protect the prairie in the long run. John and Mary Kay both mentioned the idea of putting portions of the prairie into a nature preserve. Mary Kay is going to follow up with gathering more information about that.

We discussed putting more of the Barnhart land into an easement. Gary said that the application would need to be filed by January and asked Brett to follow-up with relevant family members and set up a meeting with those interested and Gary.

Next meeting will be Oct 27 at 1PM at Wolfram. Items for the next meeting include progress of prairie seed collection, filling as a Not For Profit Corporation in Illinois, more information regarding dedicating land into a nature preserve.

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