COAC Mtg & 50 Yr Celebration March 2019
Above: Photos of the ​Annual Council of Ohio Audubon Chapters (COAC) Business Meeting & 50 Year Anniversary Celebration.

Council of Ohio Audubon Chapters (COAC) members, affiliates and interested individuals gathered to promote chapter development by sharing the best practices, brainstorming solutions to common problems, and building relationships at the Annual Meeting and 50 Year Anniversary, Sunday, March 3, 2019 hosted at the Novak Education Center in Aurora, Ohio.

1. ) CONVENING. The Council of Ohio Audubon Chapters (COAC) met at 11:00 a.m. on March 3, 2019 at the Novak Education Center, 382 Townline Road in Aurora, Ohio 44202. Attending were Izabela Grobelna of Audubon Great Lakes (AGL); Liz Woedl and Carly Zeis of Audubon Miami Valley (AMV); Carol and John Lillich, Jim Tomko, Mark J Demyan, Mary Salomon, and Matt Valencic of Audubon Society of Greater Cleveland (ASGC); Heather Farrington of Audubon Society of Ohio-Cincinnati (ASOC); Mary Ann Wagner of Blackbrook Audubon Society (BBAS); Jim Jablonski of Black River Audubon Society (BRAS); Linda Chen and Alan Dolan of Canton Audubon Society (CAS); David Gourley of Dayton Audubon Society (DAS); Daniel & Therese Sheffer and Ned Delamatre of Greater Akron Audubon Society (GAAS); Jackie Augustine and Volker Jeschonnek of Tri-Moraine Audubon Society (TMAS); Fran Mentch, Lisa Del Rio, Liz McQuaid, Nancy Howell, Kurt and Carol Miske, Tom Fishburn, Tim Colborn, Tom Romito, Rynette Vall, Ryohei and Kaoru Tsubone of Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society (WCAS); Affiliate attendees representing or members of Birders of Miami University, Black Swamp Bird Observatory, City of Cleveland Office of Sustainability, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Kirtland Bird Club, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, Mentor Marsh Nature Center, Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative (OBCI), Ohio Natural Areas and Preserves Association (ONAPA), Ohio Ornithological Society (OOS), Ohio Sea Grant, Ohio Young Birders Club, Ohio Wetlands Association, and Sierra Club Ohio; and Betsey O’Hagan, COAC Administrator.

2.) NOVAK SANCTUARY BIRD WALKS. Two Novak Sanctuary Bird Walks (morning and afternoon) were scheduled for Sun March 3, 2019. The morning walk from 9:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. was led by Matt Valencic and Jim Tomko with volunteer support by Kaoru Tsubone. Photographers were Tom Fishburn, Matt Valencic, and Kaoru Tsubone. Targeted species were incubating Eagles, Cedar Waxwings, Red-headed Woodpeckers and Eastern Bluebirds.

 3.) WELCOME. At 11:00 a.m. Matt Valencic gave a summary report of the morning bird walk. Jim Tomko, President, Audubon Society of Greater Cleveland, welcomed attendees and announcements for the day. Slated COAC Board members, Jackie Augustine and Liz Woedl  welcomed attendees, thanked hosts, sponsors, and provided an overview of meeting deliverables.

4.) OPENING CO-SPEAKERS & SWOT ANALYSIS. At 11:15 a.m. Dan Best, Western Reserve Naturalist presented a call to action for the group entitled, “The Vision: A Collective Voice for Conservation”. This was followed by, “The Unifying Power of Social Technologies” presented by Betsey O’Hagan, Digital Strategist & Network Coordinator, COAC. At 11:45 a.m. Jackie Augustine led a COAC SWOT ANALYSIS Feedback March 2019 with the group to inform COAC strategic planning. The morning session concluded at 12:30 p.m. WATCH #LIVE COAC Mtg 03032019 SWOT ANALYSIS

5.) LUNCH AND BUSINESS MEETING. LUNCH: Attendees enjoyed a catered or brown bag lunch from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. We each paid for our own lunch. BUSINESS MEETING: The COAC Business Meeting Agenda Sunday, March 3, 2019 began at 12:45 p.m. led by slated COAC Board of Directors. Nancy Howell opened the session with the COAC Workshop Finance Report and the supplemental COAC Finances Chart April 2018-Feb 2019. Next, review and acceptance each of the COAC Meeting Minutes of October 1, 2018, COAC By-laws and Mission Statement 2019, COAC Board Members 2019 Proposed, and a proposal from the Board to fund the COAC Platform Project (COAC Platform Report 03-03-2019, Annual COAC Platform Budget) for an additional six months. One vote from each Chapter present voted and passed the proposal by a majority of 9 votes and 1 abstention. Lunch concluded at 1:30 p.m.

6.) AFTERNOON SESSION I. From 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., members, individuals, and affiliate representatives conducted a ‘Resource MashUp’ session to share information organized by four common topics. Presenters spoke about the conservation work they propose/do, what they are looking for, and resources they can offer toward mutually beneficial collaboration activities and projects. See the topic agenda and presenters below:

    • Sharing “what works” in your chapter – Requesting help with “what isn’t working” in your chapter. (Mark J Demyan, Jim Tomko, Matt Valencic)
    • Exploring skills training & field experience curriculum topics. (Tim Colborn, Betsey O’Hagan)
    • The WCAS Bird Friendly Coffee Shop Model. (Lisa Del Rio)
    • Lake Erie Nature and Science Center and Wildlife Rehabilitation. (Catherine Timko, Taryn Leach)
    • Overview of the Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab programs.  (Jill Bartolotta, OHSG Extension Overview 2.2019 (PDF)
    • Plastic Surgery: Cutting Plastic Out of Your Life. (Cathi Lehn)
    • Sierra Ohio Plastics Pollution Project. (Fran Mentch)
    • Water: One of the Two Most Important Things Man Needs to Survive. (Bruce Missig, New Water (PDF)
    • How Chapters are Addressing Youth, Diversity, and Accessibility. (Liz Woedl, Jim Jablonski)


​7.) AFTERNOON SESSION II. The 2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m., members and affiliate representatives conducted an ‘Idea Stations’ session preceded by an introduction and how-to by Kurt Miske, Chair, Conservation Committee, and Tom Romito. All Kinds of Signs provided signage. The four Idea Stations hosted the following conversation topics:


Participants rotated at 10-minute intervals between stations. At the close of the session, Idea Station leaders reported out to the larger group. The afternoon session concluded with a 10 minute executive summary provided by session leaders Kurt Miske and Tom Romito. See, Idea Station Report for 03-03-2019Izabela Grobelna presented an overview and answered questions about the 2019 Audubon ConventionWATCH#LIVE COAC Mtg 03032019 IDEA STATIONS Pt 1 and #LIVE COAC Mtg 03032019 IDEA STATIONS Pt 2.

8.) WRAP UP AND NEXT STEPS. Jackie Augustine and Liz Woedl closed the meeting. Jackie thanked members and affiliates for attending and encouraged them to continue to be engaged. Liz closed the meeting with a tribute to COAC from Greater Akron Audubon Society.

The COAC Participant Feedback Survey was distributed and attendees asked to return completed surveys to registration before departing. The meeting had 50 registrants and 46 attendees. This survey was completed by 33 attendees.
Survey results are summarized below:

  1. How likely is it that you would recommend COAC Meetings & Quarterly Workshops to a friend or colleague? 28% said, ‘Extremely likely’
  2. Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with COAC meeting activities? 60.61% said, ‘Very satisfied’.
  3. Which of the following words would you use to describe meeting sessions and field activities? Select all that apply. ​28.84% said, ‘High Quality’ and 55.76% said, ‘Useful’.
  4. ​How well do meeting topics meet your needs? 48.48% said, ‘Very well’.
  5. ​How would you rate the quality of the meeting? 65.62% said, ‘High quality’.
  6. ​How would you rate the value for money of the meeting? 55.88% said, ‘Excellent’ and 35.29% said, ‘Above average’.
  7. How responsive have we been to your questions or concerns about COAC planning? 42.42% said, ‘Very responsive’.
  8. How long have you been engaged in COAC activities? 48.48% said, ‘This was my first workshop’.
  9. ​How likely are you to attend a COAC activity again? 41.17% said, ‘Very likely’.
  10. 35% of meeting registrants were first time attendees who said they are 56% ‘Very likely’ to attend a COAC workshop again.
  11. Participant comments:
  • This was a great coming together of chapters and affiliates, and as an outside affiliate I was welcomed warmly and excited to hear so many great ideas for projects, as well as being a guest to the COAC business meeting. I was happy to interject my thoughts about what I could bring to the collaborative effort.
  • Good program, best so far.
  • Best free thing ever. Great lunch.
  • Well done! Thank you!
  • Summarize COAC action items at conclusion of the meeting.
  • Thank you for this organization!
  • You all are doing a great job!
  • Tight schedule. Business meeting not at lunch. Time interrupted free flow of suggestion. Lunch was great. Today had 3 issues that need business attention. Will support and help COAC.
  • Well run. Brought great ideas!
  • Well done.
  • Hope to see much more solid plans in 6 months.
  • I am very pleased to learn more about COAC and very supportive of all environmental groups working together on common goals.
  • It seems like we are duplicating chapter services. I believe we should be a group helping each other not the members. Member service should be up to the chapter.
  • Good start, keep going and promoting.
  • Thank you for inviting us to your workshop!
  • Great meeting! Please do more of these types of meetings!

9.) ADJOURNMENT. The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.

10.) The group is seeking a host for the quarterly workshop scheduled for Sunday, June 2, 2019.

 ~ Respectfully submitted by Betsey O’Hagan, Administrator, COAC, March 10, 2019.