December 08 Meeting.


PEAR ASSOCIATION Minutes of December 15, 2008 The annual meeting of the PEAR Association was held on December
15, 2008, at PEAR Park, University Drive, Leesburg, Florida. Present:

President: Gary Salzman, Vice President, Peter Moeller, Secretary, Eleanor Hall. Executive Board: Linda Ballard, Gene Bouley and George Wolf.

Members: Hal Urban, Ron Plakke, Eileen Nichols, Ed Schlachtenhaufen, Chris Delgleize, Duane Hall. Guests: Kimberlee (Kim) Ernsberger, Parks and Trails.

President Salzman called the meeting to order at 2:00 PM. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited and all were welcomed.

Approval of Minutes: Motion by Hal Urban, seconded by Linda Ballard, that the Minutes of November 17, 2008 be approved as received. Carried.

Correspondence: Gary read a correspondence from the Lake County Water Authority addressed to Mary Remer granting her grant for $184.00 for a rain barrel and materials to put up. Ron read a letter from the Highland Lakes Garden Club thanking Wendy Poag and himself for the presentation that they had made there.

Ron also read a letter from Lake Louisa State Park asking us to present a table at their Annual Field Day. Discussion, Ron, Eileen and Peter will go.

Ron had a verbal message from the Central Florida Women’s Club asking if they could have a table this year at the Earth Day at PEAR Park.

Parks & Trails Report: Ranger Kim reported that a new man named Jim will be a new Ranger here at PEAR Park for 75% of his time; that trails are being contracted out; the offices at the end of the building will be permanent for Kim and Jim.

Gary asked about the organization of the softball diamonds and Kim said that was still undetermined at this time. It was suggested that a gentlemen from Plantation might be helpful in this endeavor as he had done this over at Plantation. Kim said that the entrance on U.S.27 is being designed; a Kiosk was recently put in near the Playground area and that one is planned for the Dog Park area.

COMMITTEE REPORTS: (Copies are attached to the Minutes of each report)

Treasurer: Gary read Peg’s report as of December 14 we had cash in the bank of $68.38, we have $4,205.54 in Certificates of Deposits but they will not come due until January 12 and January 30. We have outstanding bills of $1,416.65. In December we had income of $130.00 with expenses of $112.89, income minus expenses for the calendar year leaves a negative of $7,132.81 and a carry over to next year of $4,273.00.

An anonymous donation of $70.00 was received in honor of the 50th Wedding Anniversary of Eleanor & Duane Hall.

Membership & Publicity: George reported as of today we have
196 members, 58 lifetime, 135 regular and 3 organizations. So far for
2009 we have 112 members.

Under Publicity George said we had put out two issues of the PEAR Pearls and our mailing list are just under 300.

Volunteers: Ed has itemized the volunteer hours in categories with 10,675 hours worked in 2008. Ed also passed out a sheet he prepared “Projects for Volunteers in 2009” listing 7 projects for half day or full day suggestions to work with our coordinators. It would be helpful if members would circulate the Projects for Volunteers in their communities seeking more volunteers to help.

OTHER COMMITTEES: Annual Reports Xeriscape Garden: Gary read Jean’s report: 9 new signs were purchased and placed for identification of flowers or shrubs; new pine straw was distributed; replaced and added new plants, Cassia, Dogwood, Redbud, Ironwood; Georgia Savor; Tampa Verbena and Garberia and kept the garden in viewing form. For 2009 continual maintenance will be done; continue to acquire permanent markers; plant native plants as needed; when seeds or plants reproduce they will be offered for further implantation within the Park; provide color and non-color brochures for various events and entities. She wanted to thank all volunteers for their help to make it a more beautiful garden.

Scrub Jay/Scrub Oak/Pavilion Gardens: Ron stated the Scrub area/pavilion was constructed in 2007 by the County Parks and Trails with picnic tables having been installed as well as paved paths connecting to the parking area where 4 pad parking provides handicapped access.

PEAR volunteers planted approximately 900 plants and grasses purchased by Lake County around the pavilion and the pavilion gardens.

An informational sign was installed by the County indicating history and contributions.

Bird Feed Garden: Ron has established a new bird feed garden with examples of Central Florida plants that will feed the birds. Plants are identified and an informational sign was installed.

Butterfly Garden: Barbara Plakke - the garden continues to mature and be productive. New plants are being established and others replaced.

Demonstration Garden: Peg Urban- the garden continues to grow and expand and several new species both flowering and non flowering have been added with some being rare and endangered. New identification signs have been added with an informational sign as well.

Restoration Project: Ron Plakke/Peg Urban. During 2008 over 13 acres have been planted with native Central Florida plants and seeds with
63 species planted which include 2349 specimens; 40 pounds of seed has been planted including 73 different species of scrub plants and grasses.

The activities were funded by Grants from the United States Fish and Wildlife Services, the Florida Wildflower Foundation, PEAR Association and Lake County Parks and Trails Division. Volunteers expended 1827 hours of work and contributed 3902 non-compensated miles. Grant reports have been submitted to both the Florida Wildflower Foundation (final)

and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (2008 interim report).

Future Plans: The last planting of the Restoration Project is anticipated in 2009. Fifteen hundred plants have been established in the nursery and we have begun to accumulate seeds to supplement the plantings.

This planting will include the last seven acres of the restoration and 2.6 acres of a buffer zone between the south end of the project and the Plantation Community.

Gary then requested information from Ron on the United States Fish and Wildlife Grant. Ron said we had a grant of $16,827.00 initially with $3,035.last year and this year we spent $8,468. totaling $11,503.00 leaving $5,324.00 to spend in 2009 on the g rant and this being the final year He wanted to point out in 2 years we have expended $11,503.00 while generating $69,354.00 worth of matching funds.

Wildflowers: Ron/Peter. Ron stated this is part of the Scrub project and they have pulled the poles so it can be mowed next year. Peter said the Meadow Trail is marked (blue markers) and he plans to keep some sections of the trail replanted each year, most being annuals but there will be some flowers there. An area has been planted with the phlox (pink flowers) that people like to see so much.

River Trail: Gene said the river trail has all been trimmed; two fallen trees cut and moved from the trail; blue trail “C & D” have been labeled; he built steps on a steep slope where the blue “C” trail connects to the river trail and other trails; he had met with Gallus and Wendy about trail maps and now that the Park system has purchased a new GPS they will use that to set up a map – it will be a while before we have any trail maps.

Gene proposes to continue maintenance on the trails; maps and descriptions of the entire trail system will be prepared and placed on the Kiosk; he continues to push for a leashed dog walking trail on the front 50 acres.

Bluebird & Bat Houses: Gary read in Bob’s absence, the Eastern Bluebirds nested early in 2008 and many nests failed due to infertile (2) eggs and nest abandonment; there were at least 8 nesting Bluebirds confirmed and possibly 10 pair. They fledged between 54 and 62 chicks.

Predations seemed to be more prevalent than in past years, possibly crows; in 2004 bird houses were made from #2 white wood which lasted 4 years.

3 new boxes (1 each) were installed of cedar, “Radiate” pine and Douglas Fir. This makes 26 boxes on the trail. After the nesting season 6 boxes were pulled for repair. Several repairs and design improvements - examples were demonstrated at the November meeting; oversized roofs and swinging baffles were demonstrated.

Other cavity nesting birds of interest which used the Bluebird nest boxes were: Red bellied Woodpeckers – 4 fledged; Great-crested Flycatchers – 5 Fledged; Tufted Titmouse, 22 fledged. The Osprey nested successfully- 2 chicks fledged.

The Purple Martins inspected the house last year but did not take up residence. The house was destroyed by a freakish microburst storm, has been repaired and will be put up in early 2009.

No apparent bat activity in the bat houses.

The official bird list at PEAR Park is at 141 species. Volunteer Hours – 127 and 287 miles driven and a lot of fence climbing and walking.

In 2009 Bob intends to add 2 test boxes of PVC plastic “wood”; continue to monitor 3 test wood boxes and above boxes; move boxes as needed; add plastic gourds to Martin House setup; continue to monitor and clean boxes; repair, refurbish and replace as necessary.

Non-Scrub Planting: Gary gave Mary’s report, she listed what she has planted in 2008 - a few more Bald Cypress near/in the west end of the canyon; Red Mulberry near the Trail directly north of PEAR Peak; remaining young Slash Pine on hill East of Plakke Pond; purchased and planted a few Turkey Oaks on same hill near Long Leaf; planted Snow Square Stem near the buildings, near the new Pine plantings and near older Pine planting; planted Scrub Plum near river trail where other plum is.

In 2009 she would like to plant various trees or shrubs: Elderberry, Hibiscus, Pignut Hickory, Wild Olive and Simpson Stomper and others; Weed and water the same and remove Caesar’s weed. Mary and Peg U. are going to organize a planting in January and will need help.

Heritage Memorial Grove: Eileen said the plots have been mapped out in the Grove, including the Veterans section; 6 bricks have been purchased and are ready to be placed in the ground with their respective trees; 5 trees have been or will be purchased by PEAR members and hoses are in place for watering as needed.

Projections for 2009: she was disappointed by the lack of responses to the distribution of the Grove brochures and this has to be publicized more; she would like to see a formal sign; need to establish a planting, watering schedule for the trees that are planted and for future trees so one person does not have to do it all. Historian: No report.

Grapes: Ed said the Alachua (2) and Stephany (3) seedlings are doing well and getting established, they are labeled. A new set of cuttings on the Southern Home will be made in 2009 and planted in a space labeled and reserved for them in the fall. He will need help to repair trellis and drip lines in January and pruning of the Alachua vines in late February. Community Gardens: Discussion was held on days for watering; Ed said he was sending out a letter the first of the year with new contracts and the price will now be $10.00 per year for new gardeners; there was an exotic plant in one garden- he had just talked to the gardeners and it is to be removed; the compost pile will also be removed; a sheet with recipes for organic pest treatments and what to plant in Florida gardens will also be enclosed in the mailing.

Meadows: Peter thanked Gene for helping him to take down some trees in the Meadow area. He is preparing an acre now to plant seed soon which has grasses and wildflowers in it. He has seen a few quail; the Meadow Larks are here also. Things are looking real good. His wishes for 2009 are to have 3 resting benches for people to stop and rest on during their walks.

Science and Nature Center: Gene said that Wendy Poag had given 2 Gopher Tortoise shells to the center. He would like to have the center open on weekends to the general public and would like to establish a volunteer group to help in opening of the Nature Center to the public; he has set a date for a future introductory course for Rocks and Minerals for the public on January 17, 2009; to register call Gene Bouley at 314-9335; he would also like a better way to exhibit the shell collection.

Yard Sale: Gene stated the date for the Yard Sale has been set for Saturday, March 28th, 2009- rain date being Sunday, March 29th.2009. Gene really needs help for car parking and with other chores as well.

Gopher Tortoise: Lynn’s report was read by Gary, she has purchased a GPS unit to record the locations of the tortoise burrows; she will traverse the park to see where the active, inactive as well as abandoned burrows are located. She is concerned about the U.S.27 entrance to the park as tortoises are in and/or around the front berm. All burrows must be visually located before any construction begins and monitor these sites with Wendy Poag. We must keep a running tally of the burrows along the multi-purpose trail by marking with poles and recording on the GPS unit. Any other burrows that will not be mowed or driven over may only need to be recorded by GPS. Ron then noted most burrows are within 20 yards of a mowed trail. Mowing & Plowing: Hal said he has had 300 hours riding on the tractor. Winter season he spends no time on the tractor until the weeds and grasses start to grow.

Nominating Committee: Ed said the 3 year terms expiring are Linda Ballard, Peg Urban and Gene Bouley and these people are willing to run for another 3 year term. Motion by Ed seconded by George that the above names be placed in nomination. Carried. Motion to close nominations by Eleanor, seconded by George and carried. None opposed and all approved the three nominees unanimously by all present.

Recording Secretary; Gary read Eleanor’s report that she takes the minutes of the meeting and transcribes them, types and forwards by e-mail as well, by regular mail service to the PEAR Association members and those that have requested them; they are also sent to the County Commissioners.

After having surgery on both hands this past winter in my absence and also while in Michigan for the summer, Linda Ballard has taken over the duties and I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart for her services.

Correspondence Secretary: Dorothy Clark and Sally Schulte – no report.

Telephone Tree: Chris no report.

PEAR Web Site: Gary asked to please send your messages or photos as soon as possible to get the Web Site up and running, likely to be in January. OLD BUSINESS:

Urban Community Forestry Grant: defer Norcross Grants- Nature Center – defer Kiosks: heard previously.

Lake County Water Authority-Mini Grant: Mary has received the grant.

Ron then stated that Peg U. has a grant notification from the National Forest of Florida source and contact person located there. Discussion followed and it was thought to be a good project for the future.

NEW BUSINESS: Proposed Budget: Discussion followed on various proposed figures. There may be a $700.00 discrepancy that revenues minus expenses could be a $700.00 shortfall compared to the budget. The proposed budget has $22,588 in anticipated revenue. $26,026. in proposed expenses and a year end positive balance of $766. More Discussion. Linda made the motion to accept the budget as presented by Peg L., seconded by Ed, voted by hands-carried unanimously. Peg L. will resolve the question.

Meeting Schedule for 2009: Gary made the motion that the meeting schedule be the same for 2009 as it was for 2008, no meeting in May and July, in January and February the meetings are the 4th Monday of the month rather than the 3rd Monday of the month with the meetings being held at 2:00 P.M. in the meeting room at PEAR Park, the January meeting will be 26th, 2009 and the February meeting, 23rd, 2009. Other meetings are the third Monday of the month... Seconded by Ed., carried unanimously. Ron then brought up saying there is a new initiative in the state called Florida Bird Initiative. It is a service of bird conservation here in Florida and Ron feels with our efforts here at bird conservation that it would be appropriate to enter our 4 areas here, Scrub Jay site; Meadow Restoration site; Bluebird Trails and Mary’s River and Corridor Restoration and he has drawn up a short description of each of these attached to the announcement and would like the other chairs to look over and then put them on line.

Recent Part Visits and Upcoming Events: December 7, Gallus lead bird watching on the trails.

Ron said the Highland Lakes Garden Club will be here in February for Scrub Work. Next Meeting on Monday, January 26th, 2009 at PEAR Park starting at 2:00 P.M.

Motion to adjourn by George, seconded by Ed, carried, Meeting closed at 4:20 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Eleanor Hall, Secretary