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Board of Commissioners Minutes May 10

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District
Klehm Arboretum
May 10, 2011 – 6:30 PM

Randy Olson – President Thomas Kalousek, Executive Director
Mary McNamara Bernsten Tom Hartley, Development
Gloria Lind Drake Branca, Preserve Operations
Cheryl Maggio Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations
Jay Ferraro Mike Durand, Golf
Audrey Johnson Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Judy Barnard John Richards Allen Penticoff
Jim Maier Jane Snively
Dan Fluger John Moors
Michael Iasparro Carol Branca
Jan bowman Katie Hodge
Holly Hanson Sara Forte
Hunter Forte

Prior to the Board meeting, Commissioners were given a tour of the grounds, gardens and arboretum. A light supper was served after the tour.

At 6:17, recording secretary Judi Day called the roll. Six Commissioners were present.

Randy Olson led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Minutes for April 19 were approved.

Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden – Jane Snively introduced Klehm board members and gave an historical overview of the operations and programs at Klehm. She thanked the Forest Preserve District for its ongoing support. Arborist and President John Richards talked about the emerging Community Tree Advocate program (CTA) being undertaken in conjunction with Morton Arboretum which would spearhead planting trees and attempt to save the 14,000 ash trees in Rockford from the emerald ash borer. He told of the grants obtained for new signage, shuttle, and hopefully for the CTA program.

Garlic mustard campaign – Allen Penticoff described the proliferation of garlic mustard and advocated a volunteer program to pull and spray this and other invasive species, especially in Rockford Rotary and Oak Ridge Forest Preserves. See prepared remarks, attached.

Committee regarding strategic planning – Audrey Johnson told the Commissioners that the first strategic planning training session with the Northern Illinois Center for Non-profit Excellence will take place at 5:45 Monday, May 23 at Rockford College, 5100 E. State Street, room 118. Light supper provided.
Budget amendment – Tom Hartley explained the need for wall and foundation repairs at the Whitman Trading Post at the Macktown Historic Village. He proposed moving appropriations of $45,000 from the Jenson Forest Preserve access project to effect these repairs. Bids will be sought. In addition to this transfer, $49,700 is needed for emergency repairs to the washed out slope at Seward Bluffs bridge. He proposed transferring this amount from the appropriations for the Seward Bluffs overlook project until insurance reimbursement is received. Drake Branca announced that a third District truck was sold to the County Highway Department for $7,000. He requested that this revenue be used to help replace an old skid loader. Audrey moved and Gloria Lind seconded to approve these amendments to the 2011 budget. Motion passed unanimously.

IAPD convention – Cheryl Maggio and Audrey thanked Tom Hartley and Jamie Johannsen for the opportunity to attend the Illinois Association of Park Districts legislative convention earlier this month. They felt the programs presented and the legislative dinner were very worthwhile.

Drake Branca retirement – Tom Kalousek thanked Director of Preserve Operations Drake Branca for all of his accomplishments, enthusiasm, and support of the forest preserve system during his 37 years with the District. During Drake’s tenure since 1974, 25 new preserves and 7,287 acres were added to the District.

Land acquisition – Tom Hartley reported that the District was unsuccessful in its bid on the property near Seward Bluffs Forest Preserve, which was purchased at auction by another party for $224,000 on Sunday.

• Garden Fair at Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden – June 3 through 5
• Wine in the Wetlands at Nygren Wetlands – June 4
• Woodsong at Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden – June 12

At 7:20, President Olson adjourned the meeting.

Judi Day
Recording Secretary

May 10, 2011

Hello, my name is Allen Penticoff. I am a New Milford resident. While I’ve been to nearly every forest preserve in Winnebago County, I am most intimately acquainted with the vast preserves of the southern part of the county from walking in them regularly – year round.

Today I address you as a preservationist. There are two preserves in the southern region, namely Rockford Rotary and Oak Ridge, that are such splendid botanical heirlooms, that they need to be protected in the fullest from invasive species of plants.

Rotary preserve has an interesting undulating topography covered in dense understory plants of May apple, Trillium and many types of wildflowers – including the rare showy orchid. These plants are a prime example of the understory you would have seen as a child – but they are being threatened by the evil garlic mustard and other invasive plant species.

Rotary and Oak Ridge preserves are in the early stages of the garlic mustard invasion. Both preserves have precious specimens in abundance. With prompt attention, we can fend off the invaders and preserve these near pristine forests for generations to enjoy. To delay even another year will enable the invaders to gain ever more real estate – until that is all there is – buckthorn and garlic mustard.

I am urging the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District board to get behind a proposal I am suggesting – that volunteer citizens be recruited to do battle with these invaders. I am willing to lead in this task. We will pull the weeds and bag them – as this, and some isolated use of herbicide, is the only remedy to the problem.

It is a process that will need to be repeated for many years – just to hold the invaders at bay. Thereafter, spot control will always be required.

The district would need to be responsible for disposal of the bags in a landfill or by burning. Though I recommend the former rather than the latter. The only cost may be for the purchase of bio-degradable trash bags and perhaps the herbicide if that method is used to control dense areas of garlic mustard infestation. If the district can’t afford these things, I would seek donations of these materials.

These volunteer stewards – just as you are volunteers – may become part of a program that will come to acknowledge and reward those who do exemplary service in the name of forest preservation.

There is no time to waste – the invaders are here – ready to take over.

Allen Penticoff
6302 11th Street
New Milford, IL 61109
Cell: 815-985-1108