SEEDS most recent Annual General Membership Meeting Minutes

SEEDS Annual Members Meeting

15 September 2015

Kathy Dodge called the meeting to order at 7 pm.

Kathy provided the Chair’s report, reviewing the reasons for SEEDS success over the years, with emphasis on the past year:

  • We hired an Executive Director, Jocelyn Cramer, who has helped our reputation grow and increased our outreach.
  • We have had visionary people who started SEEDS, including Michele Sands, our previous chair.
  • We have been positive, proactive, and inclusive, and events continue to support our mission: the Pope’s Encyclical encouraging combatting climate change, the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan, the huge drop in the price of solar panels, Wall Street banks warning that climate change will cost trillions and that we should leave fossil fuels in the ground, and the movement to divest from fossil fuels and create a just and sustainable economy.The members approved last year’s meeting minutes by a show of hands.Doni Hoffman provided the Treasurer’s report:
  • Our annual budget was more than $70,000, record-breaking for SEEDS.
  • We had the most successful end of year fundraiser so far, raising more than $10,000.
  • We received several grants; Doni enumerated these.
  • We raised $1000 from the rent party in May.
  • Our largest expense is salary, followed by administrative costs
  • We have a $42.333.48 balance as of the last bank statement.
  • Question: what expense do we have for the end of the year? Answer: just salary and regular expenses. We expect to roll over about $15000 into 2016.

Jocelyn reviewed the SEEDS board member list.

Jocelyn reviewed the positions up for election:

Corresponding secretary – 2 year term – Nomination: Mary Anne Carletta

Treasurer – 2 year term – Nomination: Doni Hoffman

Board Member at Large – 2 year term – Nom – Jamie Knecht

All listed were elected.

Jocelyn recognized some of our extraordinary volunteers:

  • Ella Horning – constructs, provides pictures for, and sends out the newsletter every month
  • Jim Sanders – does many things, including free solar evaluations for members (along with Jack Barnett) and home energy workshops
  • Pete Snyder – made the home energy assessment happen this summer, and even expanded that to non-profit buildings
  • Camari Gaines – does many things, including hand-written notes to members

Jocelyn reviewed notable accomplishments of the past year:

  • Home/nonprofit organization energy assessments –
    • Received 2 grants to expand
    • Will announce what non-profits will receive cash to complete the suggested energy conservation improvements
  • 882 email addresses on our email list
  • 518 likes on our Facebook page
  • Membership increased by 12 members since last year at this time, to 175 members total
  • We traditionally have 2 fundraisers:
    • A year-end fundraising letter sent by mail to the 600 names on our mail list
    • A rent party in the spring
  • We have our very first sustaining member this year!
  • There was a roast in which some of the proceeds were donated to SEEDS, due to Bob Mermell.
  • Brainstorming sessions on the 2nd Wednesday of every month. Everyone is welcome.
  • SEEDS needs:
    • Someone to help in the office
    • An additional person on the Finance Committee
    • A membership coordinator to help with thank you’s and records

Jocelyn reviewed highlights of our activities from the last 12 months:

  • Climate March in NYC (Sept 2014 – several members went)
  • Bethany Borough Building Upgrade (Bethany Library) (Oct 2014) – did the work for them with Bethany budget – plugged air leaks
  • Chamber of the Northern Poconos – Green Business Award (2014 winner was Wayne Memorial Hospital) – A group of employees eliminated Styrofoam from hospital completely!
  • Find It – Fix It! Forum – our first forum in Milford – The purpose was to save money on home heating.
  • How to Significantly Reduce Energy Costs at the Wallenpaupack School District with PPL & NEPA forum (Nov 2014) – Bob Rozema talked about the behavioral changes needed to reduce the heating and water heating bills for the schools. Savings are close to $600,000 per year with the geothermal system, plus $16,000 more with just behavioral changes. They almost cut their carbon footprint in half. The school district has 6 buildings, and they saved that $16,000 in just one of the 6 buildings. Now they are rolling it out to the other five. Bob cites the TEAMM students from Wallenpaupack and their suggestions to save money at the schools. Bob also noted they needed to replace a lot of equipment in the school district in any case, and the cost of the upgrades was not much more than the money they had to spend for normal maintenance replacement. (Another example given was the couple who saved $23 in a month just by putting one power strip on their television.)
  • Smart Landscaping – How Landscaping Can Save Energy forum – cosponsored by Audubon. Held in Honesdale with three speakers.
  • Green Cleaning forum at Damascus Community Building, with three speakers who talked about health and what substitutes to make to avoid toxic cleaning products.
  • Earth Day (April 2015) – We received the DEP EE Grant Notification that day.
  • May Fundraiser “rent” party – Silent Auction and SWAPAPALOOZA! Bob Mermell hosted, and it was a fun event. Local businesses also donated for this event. We will continue to hold this event.
  • Community Garden behind Ellen Memorial – SEEDS adopted the project, and Jane Bollinger continues to manage it. We want to spread the word about it.
  • Two Do-It-Yourself Solar forum series– one in Honesdale and one in Dushore.
  • SEEDS invested in the Clean Energy Co-Op (www.cleanenergy.coop), a local investment vehicle.
  • NCAC Awards Dinner (June 2015) – SEEDS was awarded runner-up for the environmental action award.
  • ROOTS & RHYTHM Festival – Cheryl and Stu Badner have worked on this for several years to increase recycling and composting and reduce the amount of trash produced.
  • NACL Theatre’s Weather Project in Honesdale Central Park (July 2015) – SEEDS and the Cooperage supported this.
  • 2015 Summer Energy Assessment Program – we had three students this past summer. We’ve done this program for 4 years, with 227 buildings assessed so far, and 18 summer jobs to students over those years.   We have expanded from residences to community buildings.
  • We will award two grants for improving energy conservation in the Community Buildings Program. The winners will be chosen from:
    • Wayne County Historical Society
    • Dessin Animal Shelter
    • Lacawac Sanctuary
    • Northern Wayne Library Branch
    • Hawley Library Branch
    • The Waverly Community House

SEEDS will assist with deciding what needs to be done to help these organizations achieve energy improvements and monetary savings.

Guest speakers Stu and Cheryl Badner discussed the Roots & Rhythm initiative this year: Think, Before You Throw. Stu and Cheryl own a waste consulting firm in Greentown and have donated their time to Roots & Rhythm.

  • They reviewed startling facts on waste from Chris Jordan’s book, Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait
    • 106K aluminum cans used in the US every 30 seconds
    • 2M plastic beverage bottles used in the US every 5 minutes
    • 1M plastic cups used on airline flights in the US every 6 hours
  • They added more facts about the effects humans have on the earth from Oberlin’s web site on recycling.
  • They discussed the history of recycling at Roots & Rhythm:
    • 2009 – the volunteers couldn’t keep up with the sorting demands of the recyclables, so all went into the trash
    • 2010 – they sorted all the trash at the end of the festival until 2 am to pull out recyclables. The festival earned a Waste Watcher Award (its first) from Professional Recyclers of PA (PROP), but the volunteers couldn’t do that again.
    • 2011 – they added professional signage (Think, Before You Throw), and the Recycling Committee was established. They still did a lot of sorting by hand.
    • 2012 – they incorporated food waste recycling so that a lot of “waste” was rerouted to composting. That got Roots & Rhythm a second Waste Watcher award.
    • 2013 – signage improved, and the Sustainability tent was added. The Recycling Committee changed their name to the Sustainability Committee. They shifted in thinking to helping educate people, not pawing through trash. The containers were marked for trash, recyclables, and compostables. Volunteers helped educate festival-goers about what goes into what containers.
    • 2014 – Roots & Rhythm is now considered a “near zero waste” festival because of the ongoing “greening” efforts.
    • 2015 – Food vendors were officially asked to use only compostable and recyclable serviceware & packaging. Styrofoam was cut down dramatically. There were only 329 lbs of trash from 5000 attendees, compared to 760 lbs in 2013 and 1200 lbs in 2010. Almost double the number of bags of food waste and compostables were collected, compared to the number of trash bags.
      • 2008 – 4260 lbs of trash, 0 recycling & compost.
      • 2010 -1200 lbs trash, 200 recycling, 0 compost.
      • 2015 – 320 lbs trash (only 15 bags of trash), 250 lbs recycling, 900 lbs compost (29 bags).
    • For the future, they have a goal of zero waste.
    • The attendees discussed the presentation. The general theme was that composting should be an everyday event. Jack commented that State College, PA, has a composting system.   Jamie Strunk thinks that our community should have a composting site. Michele pointed out the Wayne County Fair waste seems insurmountable, but asks if we could approach the organizers about composting. Jamie Strunk pointed out that the Roots & Rhythm food vendors registered under a defined set of expectations, which he repeats several times in the communication with them. Cheryl told us that the committee made signs that said “EcoFriendly Food Vendors” and gave them to the vendors that changed something about the way they operated. Stu informed us that some green manufacturers provided significant discounts to the food vendors that complied
  • Pete Snyder and Kathy Snyder performed a skit as God and St. Francis about the ridiculousness of some modern day lawn care practices.
  • Jocelyn mentioned that we plan to work with Wayne County Building Association this year, and will have a lighting forum this fall.
  • Jocelyn adjourned the meeting at 8:27 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Anne Carletta