February 2022

Posted by Blue Spring State Park CSO on

Friends of Blue Spring State Park – February meeting documents

 

Agenda

  1. Approval of January Minutes and Treasurer’s Report
  2. Comments about items in pre-meeting report – numerous action items

            Zoom account

            Manatee debrief items

            Firewood

            Polo shirts for board members

                        Fireflies

            Brick Fundraiser – final decisions & launch

            Staffing Lyonia, Bingo, Tabling, DeLand Water Festival

            Park requests

            Thursby flower proposal

  1. Confirm new officers (President – Karen Kellerman; Vice President – Heather Murphy; Treasurer – Sally Andrews; Secretary – Cora Berchem) (Stacey will remain our bookkeeper)

 

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Friends of Blue Spring State Park – Meeting Minutes from Annual Meeting

January 8th, 2022  In Person & Zoom

 

Present:

In person:

Missy Gibbs, Rich Hatton, Candia Flasch, Cora Berchem, Sally Andrews, Christine Lynn, Jackie Cheers, Trinket Mason, Darrell Thomas, Karen Kellerman, Kim Scott, Donna Cobb, Ken & Carroll Hoover, David Bottomley, Katherine Hallum, Diana Krygowski, Stacey Tyson, Laura Sherman

 

Zoom:

Heather Murphy

 

Meeting was brought to order at 9:00 a.m.

 

Introductions

 

Minutes from 12/06/21 were reviewed and approved.

 

Treasurer Report for $32,582.87 was read and approved.

  • $26,867.44 for park expenses.
  • $5,715.43 for manatee release/rescue ramp.

 

Membership Update/Website Update (Christine)

  • $800 came in through Shopify.
    • ($810 in donation and $115 in memberships (new and renewals)
  • Price for Shopify will go up
    • $29.00 monthly plan Shopify
    • $4.99 monthly Donation app
    • $19.00 monthly membership up to 100 memberships
      • Current $50.99/month x 12 = $611.88
        • Once we hit 100 memberships it gets bumped to $49/month up to 750 members which would put new monthly price at $82.99/month
        • $995.88 year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bingo

  • Is going extremely well, biggest fundraiser.
  • SMC will provide more adoption certificates as prizes (Cora).
  • Donna provided a script.
  • Motion made and approved to purchase a bigger box for supplies $20.

 

Newsletter

  • Missy and Rich working on next edition for February.
  • Missy outlines topics, Cora suggest article on rescue/release ramp (approved).

 

Lyonia Festival

  • CSO will participate, some have already signed up to volunteer, could use more help.

 

Manatee Fest

  • Preliminary volunteer schedule has been sent out, could use more volunteer help still. Email Connor if interested.
  • Decision made against paying for accommodation for the Mermaids.
  • Decision made against extra shirts for Bucket Brigade volunteers.

 

Bricks Fundraiser

  • Sally provides overview from webinar.
  • Ordering process will be through their website - $50 setup fee.
  • Discussion on how much to charge for the bricks. Motion made and approved for $95 and $175 for two sizes as a “Kick off Special” – may increase price later.
  • Connor working on flyer to announce this project at Manatee Festival.
  • People can order bricks from January 15th – April 15th (first round).
  • Bricks will go on the walkway to the Thursby House.
  • Darrell to inquire if park staff is allowed to help install these bricks (Park staff not allowed to handle CSO inventory anymore).

 

Park Requests

  • Pole to retrieve items from spring run – motion made and approved for $55
  • New rockers for Thursby House porch – motion made and approved for $1,000 covering the purchase of 6 chairs. Should inquire if Tractor Supply gives us a non-profit discount. Option to have a sign on the chairs “donated by” (Darrell will check if park service allows this)
  • Compactor – Motion made and approved to purchase one for $500

 

Saturday Tabling Events (Jackie)

  • January one has been cancelled.
  • Next one will be first Saturday of February (Feb 5th) – email Jackie to sign up for volunteering.
  • SMC provides manatee materials, will be stored in CSO shed (Cora).

 

Other

  • Trinket got the new tablecloth.
  • Updated rack cards, Bucket brigade stickers, Manatee stickers, window clings and magnets (Karen through Got Print and Sticker Mule) – motion made and approved to spend $700 total. Possibility of little business card-sized handouts for the CSO (Karen).
  • Handling donations: Stacey receives checks -> informs Trinket to send acknowledgements to donors. Trinket to work with Heather to streamline process to acknowledge online donors (either via email, postcard or letter)

 

Election of board and officers

  • No limit on how many board members.
  • Board members can not be park employees. Question whether they can be concession employees.
  • To be a board member, individual has to have been a CSO member and attending meetings for one year.
  • Will vote on officers at February meeting.
  • Term for officers is usually 2-3 years.

 

Next meeting: February 7th, 2022

Adjourned 10:36 a.m.

 

 

Treasurer’s Report for January (see Excel file for full version

 

QTR ENDING  3/31/2022

Forward

Check

 

Date

Deposits $

Checks $

Balance $

# or

$32,582.87

card

1/3/2022

$145.05

$0.00

$32,727.92

Shopify Transfer Donations

1/4/2022

$0.00

-$27.80

$32,700.12

cc

No receipt

1/4/2022

$0.00

-$39.59

$32,660.53

cc

No receipt

1/5/2022

$52.25

$32,712.78

Stripe Transfer Membership

1/11/2022

$0.00

-$53.98

$32,658.80

cc

Catch Pole pick trash

 

1/11/2022

$0.00

-$13.89

$32,644.91

cc

Storage Bins

1/12/2022

-$50.99

$32,593.92

Shopify Recurring Transaction

1/12/2022

$110.90

$32,704.82

Stripe Transfer Membership

1/14/2022

-$462.00

$32,242.82

cc

No receipt Stickers

1/14/2022

-$200.00

$32,042.82

cc

No receipt Stickers

1/14/2022

-$29.00

$32,013.82

cc

No receipt Stickers

1/14/2022

-$119.61

$31,894.21

cc

No receipt

1/14/2022

-$23.41

$31,870.80

cc

No receipt

1/18/2022

-$900.00

$30,970.80

1225

Purchase of firewood

1/18/2022

$23.27

$30,994.07

Stripe Transfer Membership

1/18/2022

$23.97

$31,018.04

Shopify Transfer Donations

1/20/2022

$47.94

$31,065.98

Stripe Transfer

1/24/2022

$47.94

$31,113.92

Shopify Transfer Donations

1/25/2022

-$1,025.15

$30,088.77

1226

Sales Tax Fl. Dept Revenue

1/26/2022

$23.72

$30,112.49

Stripe Transfer Membership

1/27/2022

$14.14

$30,126.63

Stripe Transfer Membership

1/27/2022

-$596.39

$29,530.24

cc

 

1/28/2022

$23.97

$29,554.21

Stripe Transfer Membership

1/31/2022

$23.77

$29,577.98

Stripe Transfer Membership

1/31/2022

$72.22

$29,650.20

Shopify Transfer Donations

1/31/2022

$781.00

$30,431.20

Sale of Fire Wood

1/31/2022

$837.00

$31,268.20

Donation Box Manatee Ramp

1/31/2022

$110.00

$31,378.20

Penny Press Machine

1/31/2022

$2,314.00

$33,692.20

Manatee Festival Buses

1/31/2022

$2,572.85

$36,265.05

Manatee Festival Donations

$36,265.05

Regions    as of 1/31/2022

 

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Action Item: should the CSO purchase its own Zoom account for $150? (no discounts for non-profits). This way, no one has to depend on Missy’s account

 

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Manatee Festival Debrief (Missy)

 

Despite the cold weather (and damp on Saturday) and COVID reduced bus ridership, the Manatee Festival was a great success for the Friends; we netted $4,867 plus change between Manatee Festival busses ($2314), Bucket Brigade ($1911!), sales of mugs (sold like hotcakes) and stickers/magnets ($642), and 3 new family memberships ($75). Bus revenue was about half what it has been in the past.

 

Positive:

  • New tent and table cloths look great – should we get another tablecloth & runner for the other table?
  • Bucket brigade big hit – Gina brought in over $1000 over the two days! Should we consider giving willing manatee rovers a bucket any time they are out there to collect donations (not asking for donations, but giving people the choice)? Gina already volunteered for that
  • New donation items worked well especially the mugs, in the future we could add more stickers or patches. It was probably a good thing that we weren’t right next to SMC, even tho they didn’t have much free swag this year. If we are right next to each other, and they have free stuff, we won’t sell as much.
  • QR code worked great and so did the little handouts you made with the QR code on it

 

Improvements to be made

  • We need to update the trifold to correct typos and make sure it’s up to date (maybe redo every other year or so?)
  • For future events we may want to revive the Square for credit card swipes. Some folks wanted to buy items but had no cash. This means someone needs to have the bank app on their phone or device. How would we want to handle that? Do we want to get that set up before the Lyonia Festival?
  • For the next festival may want to make little handouts for Firefly event – lots of people were asking about that (we just directed them to the website)
  • The CSO member who is loading busses Sunday afternoon at Valentine Park needs to give the final tally (for both days) to the festival organizers and get the check from them. Darrell did it this time, but he isn’t allowed to do that anymore.

 

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Firewood – Action Item (Missy)

 

Park staff is no longer allowed to handle park merchandise, and so currently, visitors who purchase firewood are being sent to the shed to get their own wood. This is not visible from the Ranger Station, and so leaves us open to some theft. Do we want to purchase a larger bin for wood to go near the Ranger Station? is that something the park would agree to? If we went in this direction, we would need some kind of system to ensure that CSO or park volunteers regularly filled the bins.

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Polo shirts for board members (Karen)

Not all board members have CSO polo shirts, others need new ones. Need to see who would like one, sizes, etc. Karen is getting prices from LRS (did the t-shirts). Action Item: who needs a polo shirt?

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Fireflies (Sally)

 

Jackie and Trinket are checking the shed today to see what supplies we have for firefly event: glow sticks, glow bracelets, shirts, paperwork, etc.

 

Also suggested that if we sell our CSO shirts ourselves (at the monthly table?) it would give us an opportunity to talk about what we do and maybe bring in more members. If so, we should have more firefly tshirts made (Action Item)

 

Action Item: Use of online store for Fireflies (Christine)

We can utilize the website to make any event that requires tickets a seamless option to get into the event and gain entry into the park.  Firefly is a awesome time to take advantage of this option on our website.  We can create upsells for merchandise and enhance our footprint of what items we accept donations for. 

 

Here is a basic breakdown of the steps:

  1. Verify dates, times of event, and we can set a set # of tickets eligible for the event with a buffer for anyone that rather pay at the park for the event
  2. Set up multiple options in Shopify for each specified date and the cost
    1. We would include a disclaimer that your ticket is only available for event entry on the date that you selected (due to this being a seasonal thing no refunds or date swaps allowed and we can emphasize that this is only for the event and you still are responsible for the park entry fee etc) – something like that for verbiage)
    2. The ticket can also serve as the dashboard pass for those staying in the park to display on their dashboard for extended stay – but I would suggest we give them something at the ranger station for their dashboard so they can carry their ticket with them for item #4 suggestions.
  3. Customer would have the order page emailed to them and they use that as proof of purchase to enter for the event.  The rangers would just need to verify the date upon entry and collect the entry fee _ or if we wanted to combine we can do that as well (discussion with park)
  4. We can include an “upsell” before they check out on Shopify with their firefly tickets to give a donation of x amount for a bracelet, x amount for a shirt, etc.
  5. We have the CSO table with all merchandise and ticket purchasers go to that table to pick up their merchandise that they already prepaid for (we can put that info on the ticket so they know where to pick up their merchandise).

 

WHY?

This will help eliminate the hassle of money exchange on site for ticket sales and relieve the stress of having a ticket booth at multiple locations in the park. This will also reduce the number of staff needed on hand for the event – allowing more to enjoy with their own families.  This will also give us a visual reporting tool and be able to see in advance how many will be in attendance, with a buffer of course for those to show up at park without a ticket.  We will need to work with the park on the # of parking spots available etc.  (we have the option to make everyone go online to pay as well to eliminate the money exchange entirely)

 

While this will not prevent ALL money exchanges, this will greatly reduce the impact of having to exchange money all night.  We can build the suspense of FOMO for people to purchase their merchandise upfront utilizing the website, flyers throughout the park, and social media.  This will encourage people to prepay in advance.

 

Think of it like a concert, you purchase a ticket for a specified concert event that starts at x time at x location.  You cannot buy tickets for the concert at the door, must purchase online beforehand.

 

 

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Brick Fundraiser (Sally)

Regarding BricksRUs - we need to get together everyone that needs to be involved to set this up: someone needs to pay our setup fee and go through the setup process on BricksRUs website.

 

Action Item - Now we need to setup the Online Ordering System and fill out the Donor Questionnaire. PayPal is an option but need information. Who will be the contact person?

 

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Lyonia Wildlife Festival Feb 12th (Karen)

LYONIA WILDLIFE FESTIVAL 10AM-4PM  at Lyonia Environmental Center, 2150 Eustace Ave, Deltona FL

9:30AM to 12:30PM (includes Set-Up)

12:30PM to 4:00PM (includes Break-Down)

NOTE:  The Park will also be having a table at the Wildlife Festival, hopefully we will be next to them again this year.

I will be double checking with Connor if the Rangers are bringing our supplies again this year, or if we need to transport them?

 

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Bingo

I received 3 reports of Bingo income (282, over 300, and 333, so just over $900 since the last CSO meeting)

 

We need to have a log book of the income that is received – page 33 of CSO Handbook

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Saturday Tabling at the Park (Jackie)

-Brought in $132 on the 5th, despite drippy weather. Sold three more mugs. We should buy more of those!

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Park purchase requests (Connor) Action items

Radios & batteries (really low)

Park swag (District not providing that this year)

Ranger Station landscaping

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Thursby House flower proposal (Connor)

Blue Spring State Park Raised Wildflower Beds

 

Request

Blue Spring State Park, BSSP, would like to apply for a grant to build a wildflower garden in front of the Thursby House.  The grant should be submitted by the CSO.  Katherine Hallum has volunteered to write / submit the grant, oversee the project, and submit quarterly reports. 

 

If BSSP is awarded the grant, 50% of the money is distributed when the grant is awarded. The balance comes at the end of the contract cycle.  It is requested that the CSO fund 50% of the grant with the intent of being reimbursed. 

 

It is also requested that the CSO fund the material cost for building the flowerbeds.  It is anticipated that the grant will cover the cost of the flowers and signs but not the cost of the flowerbeds.  A rough estimate for the cost for the flowerbeds is $3,300.

 

Proposed Project

Blue Spring State Park, BSSP, would like to build a wildflower garden in front of the Thursby House.  The Florida Wildflower Foundation offers a grant called, “Viva Florida Landscape Demonstration Garden”.  It would benefit BSSP to be awarded this grant which would partially cover the cost of the garden.  The grant requires an educational aspect

 

Volunteers at the park will build two raised flowerbeds in front of the Thursby House.    One flowerbed will be on the right side of the stairs and will measure 27.5’ by 6’.  A second flowerbed will be on the left side of the stairs and will measure 16.5’ by 6’.  The flowerbeds will be in front of the porch and will enhance the entrance to the Thursby House.  The flowerbeds will be made from composite wood, and they will be filled with good quality topsoil.   This is required due to poor soil conditions near the Thursby House.  The flowerbeds will be painted white to match the house.  

 

A request has been sent to Lindley’s Garden Center to design the flower beds and provide a cost for the flowers and plants.  A response is expected by mid-February. 

It is anticipated that the grant will cover the cost of the flowers.  If BSSP is awarded the grant, funds will be distributed in June 2022 and work on the flowerbeds will start around that time.  The end of the grant cycle is one year later, and the balance of the awarded funds will be distributed.

 

The cost to build the flowerbeds includes the composite wood, plus the hardware, paint, dirt, and mulch.  This cost will not be funded by the grant.  The design of the actual flowerbeds has not been finalized so the cost is estimate at this time.  The estimate is detailed and includes the cost of the multiple components needed for the construction.

 

Per the requirements of the grant, only native plants and Florida wildflowers can be used in the flowerbeds.  There will be some informative signs within the flower beds.  To educate the public about the role of native wildflowers and plants.  The grant encourages ecological value.  This means having a variety of plants that bloom at different times during the year to provide food for pollinators, birds, etc. 

 

One condition of the grant is to have trained volunteers maintain the gardens.   It is anticipated that a few volunteers from the Deland Garden Club will help.  Additional volunteers are needed and am looking for Master Gardeners who would like to help. 

 

Below are pictures of the location and a potential raised garden design.

 

 

 

Summary

Blue Spring State Park is requesting assistance from the CSO to help win the Viva Florida Landscape Demonstration Garden grant.  It is requested that the CSO fund 50% of the grant with reimbursement at the end of the grant cycle.  Also requesting that the CSO fund the material cost of building the flowerbeds.  This cost is not fully determined but the estimate is $3,300.

 

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Something to consider for the next meeting: In the past we have discussed purchasing a low power radio station that would provide info about wait times, manatee numbers, park news, etc. while they wait in line to get into the park. When we last discussed it, we were not in the financial position to purchase it (at that time, it would have been close to $2,000). I think we are in a position to consider it...it is likely to keep those people waiting in line calmer/happier if they know how long they might have to wait...they won’t be sitting there steaming.

 


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