Augusta-Aiken Audubon Board Meeting minutes – 9/6/19


A board meeting of the Augusta-Aiken Audubon Chapter was held on September 6, 2019 at Silver Bluff Audubon Center in Jackson, SC. There were fourteen people in attendance, Brandon Heitkamp (President), Lois Stacey (Vice President, Field Trips and Social Media Chair), Beth Eberhard (Education Chair), Alice Walker (Conservation Chair), Doug Walker (Program Chair), Gerald May (Treasurer), Mary Pallon (Secretary), Eric Monaco, Gene Howard, Joan Howard (Hospitality Chair), Mark Chandler (Webmaster – Communications Chair), Jane Chandler, Paul Koehler (Director, Silver Bluff Audubon Center), and Diane Watson (Friends of Silver Bluff).

Business Meeting

President Brandon Heitkamp called the meeting to order.

Update on Audubon SC Staff Changes

Paul read a letter stating that Sharon Richardson is no longer serving as executive director at Audubon South Carolina. Rebeccah Sanders, National Audubon Society’s Senior Vice President for States, will serve in the interim as executive director for Audubon South Carolina until Justin Stokes assumes the permanent position in December 2019. He is a native of Camden, South Carolina.

Efforts are planned to continue towards establishment of the Wetlands Mitigation Project. There is also a promotional video in progress on Silver Bluff which includes history and education. Next week Brian Trusty, Director of Audubon Texas, will be visiting to look at facilities as a representative of National.

New Classroom Building Plans

Planning is in progress to remove the existing double wide classroom trailer and install a new modular classroom building. The modular building would have a hardy board exterior with two two-stall bathrooms, a drinking fountain, a sink, classroom and storage space. It was hoped that the existing trailer could be moved out and the new modular building could be put in place during the winter of 2019/2020. This would support classes resuming in the spring.

The estimated cost of the modular building is $102,000. The estimated cost of removing the existing trailer is $7,000 by the contractor, Junk In The Box. A total of $110,000 is anticipated to be needed for the project. Currently $71,400 is available for the project which includes a National Audubon Match. National Audubon will provide a 50% match on any donation over $10,000 from a single donor. An additional $38,600 is needed to fund the building.

Ideas discussed for raising funds included:

  • Corporate Sponsors
  • Letter writing campaign
  • Go Fund Me
  • Post the Letter asking for donations on the Augusta Aiken Audubon Facebook Page
  • Wine Tasting
  • Hold an event that could take place at the new pavilion
  • Newspaper articles in Aiken Standard and Augusta Chronicle

It was suggested that people check with their employers about company match programs for donations.

Fundraisers would need to take place in October and November to support a December 1st order for the new building.

Sharon Richardson has indicated that she may be interested in helping with the project. Alice Walker made a motion to ask Sharon if she would consider accepting a position in the Augusta-Aiken Audubon chapter. Brandon and Gene seconded the motion. Votes were unanimous in favor of the motion. Brandon agreed to contact Sharon to discuss Augusta-Aiken Audubon chapter-only membership and a Development Chair position on the board.

Alice Walker suggested that a member of the Silver Bluff staff and a member of Friends of Silver Bluff should be on the board. Alice said she could make an update to the Augusta Aiken Audubon’s “Presidents Duties” to ensure members of these groups can be appointed in the future. Brandon made a motion to appoint Diane Watson from Friends of Silver Bluff to the board. Votes were unanimous in favor of the motion.

Brandon said he can obtain digital talking points to help in the development of a letter to be sent out requesting donations for the new classroom building. Paul was asked to contact local newspapers for publicity on funding. The letter will go to a targeted mailing list, and will outline where to send donations. Donations under $10,000 should come directly to the chapter. Donations over $10,000 should be sent to Audubon South Carolina, so they will receive the 50% match from National. Volunteers were requested to support the letter mailing effort, which will include folding, addressing, and stamping. Volunteers are: Alice & Doug Walker, Beth Eberhard, Mark & Jane Chandler, Gene & Joan Howard, Mary Pallon, Eric Monaco, Diane Watson and Brandon Heitkamp. Beth offered the use of her “outhouse” for the project.

Brandon made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Beth seconded and the meeting was adjourned.

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