Frederick County

Forest Conservancy District Board

December 13, 2021 Meeting Minutes

Those present: Tom Anderson, Vince Perrotta, Bethany Dellagnello, Sonia Demiray, Dawne Howard, Bruce Phillips, Ginny Brace, Claude Eans, Mike Kay, Dakota Durcho

Welcome to our December ‘Dinner” Meeting. In the past Vince has held this annual dinner meeting at his home. COVID interrupted this meeting last year and this year we decided to dispense with dinner, however we enjoyed dessert and good cheer, then began our December business meeting.

  1. Call to Order: Vince called the meeting to order.

  1. Membership: The big news with membership is that this meeting marks the final time Mike will serve as the Executive Secretary of the Board. Dakota Durcho will be taking over this position beginning in January, 2022. Dakota has worked 5+ years with the Forest Service mostly as a Forester in Frederick County. Dakota will be responsible for the Frederick Office of the Washington – Frederick project. Aaron Cook will be the lead Forester, assuming the duties of Project Manager in the Washington – Frederick project. Aaron has many years as the lead forester in Washington County and serving as the Executive Secretary of the Washington County Forestry Board. Also, we have finally been able to replace the Forest Ranger position vacated when Kevin Moore retired at the end of 2019. Our new Forest Ranger position will be staffed by Cody Nelling beginning on December 29, 2021. Cody will be stationed at our Frederick Office location at Gambrill State Park. Finally, Forester Bob Schwartz has recently accepted a classified position with the Maryland Forest. Along with his other duties, Bob will assume the lead in landscape based Stewardship Projects including the Catoctin Stewardship Initiative and another project soon to be launched in Washington County. Good luck Dakota, Aaron, Cody, and Bob!

  1. Treasurer’s Report: We had 3 deposits from the Second Sunday tree walk totaling $79.76 and $.13 interest deposited. There were no expenditures. The account balance is now $5,716.70.

  1. Logging Site Exams: Mike mentioned that one plan has been received at the Stronghold Property. Mike will coordinate the visit for next week via email.

  1. Catoctin Stewardship Initiative: Mike mentioned that interested parties met at Gambrill on December 8, 2021 to discuss the development and administration of a CSI website. Mike Hinchcliffe, (resident of area) and Jenny Willoughby, Frederick City Sustainability Manager will most likely collaborate on this project. Some options for the website administration include, partnering with the DNR, Forests for the Bay, or setting up a private website.

  1. Urban Forestry: Bethany mentioned that the Second Sunday Tree Walk series was successful and the December tree was held yesterday. Bethany and Sonia mentioned how popular these tree walks have become and how the Board is receiving special requests such as providing the tree walk for the Garden Club in Montgomery County. Bethany said that while she is happy to lead these walks it might be a good idea for other members to consider stepping up so they could lead the walks as well in case Bethany is not available or a special walk is booked. Bethany and Bruce measured some local trees for the Big Tree Program which, while being large trees, were nowhere near the size to be notable on the Big Tree registry. Everybody was happy that our white oak won the first “Wolf Tree” designation for the Big Tree program. Any tree within the 6 state Chesapeake Bay watershed region is eligible for this award, so our tree was very special. Bethany was also highlighted during John Bennett’s Urban Tree report during the State Association meeting in November.

  1. PR Activities: Sonia mentioned that the Frederick News Post ran articles on the Big Tree Program, Prescribed Burn on the Frederick City Watershed, and the Catoctin Stewardship Initiative. Sonia will be interviewing Park Manager, Mark Spurrier for an upcoming article on DNR Careers and to help promote the NRCC Camp. Additional articles planned for the Green Section include, Winter Tree Identification (1) and Forest Cover Types found in Frederick County (5). In addition, Sonia will issue a Press Release on Dakota Durcho to all regional media in January, and one on the Wolf Tree program highlighting the New Market White Oak that won the original designation.

  1. Nature Notes: Sonia mentioned that Sue Guynn is retiring as the Nature Notes editor. The new contact person will be Josh Smith. Mike explained how Nature Notes generally works. Nature Notes articles are sent to Lori for editing and Dave Barrow chooses an appropriate accompanying photo if one is needed. Then the article is sent to Sue to be published. We need to work on providing more articles for publication. Lori and Dave B. discussed the process of the nature notes. Turns out we have a duplication of effort occurring, where Lori would edit the Nature Note then send it on to Dave B. to prepare the webpage and find an appropriate picture with credit for the article. Dave B. then send the nature note and photo to Frederick News Post who edits it for publication. Lori and Dave B. decided there was no need to duplicate effort, so Lori has stepped away from the process. All future Nature Notes should be sent to Dave B. and he will send it on to FNP when ready. If FNP changes the wording they will send the revised NN to Dave B.

  1. New Business:

    • We had a discussion on the Board’s membership. Dakota will be taking over as Executive Secretary beginning next month.

    • After 17 years serving as the Chair of the Board perhaps Keith may be looking to step away from this position to concentrate on being a regular member of the Board. Likewise with Dave Barrow, as Dave has been holding down this position for 2 plus years along with that of webmaster. Board members discussed having term limits so that a prospective member might be more willing to volunteer for the Executive Committee knowing that it will not become a lifetime commitment. Most thought that a 2 or 3 year term on the Executive Committee would be appropriate. Hopefully we can discuss changes to the Executive Committee at our January meeting. Members also thought that we should be trying to identify new potential members.

    • Mike wanted to convey how privileged he has been to be involved with the Forestry Board for the last 32 years. Mike appreciates the friends he has made and the numerous special projects he has helped with, as a Board member. Mike indicated that Claude Eans was present at the first meeting he attended in April, 1989 and at his final meeting in December, 2021. Mike also mentioned that he plans to stay active with the Board as a volunteer and is looking forward to future activities.. After our discussion we went over to the Christmas nook to see what Santa had left for us, soaps, jewelry, jellies and jams, nuts, ornaments, pastries, cards, etc. as gingerbread men danced in our heads… Merry Christmas everyone!

  1. Next meeting: The next meeting of the Board will be on Monday, January 10, 2022 at 7:00 pm at the Friends Meeting House in Frederick.