Following coffee and conversation at 9:30 a.m., President Barbara Coleman called the General Membership Meeting of the Kirtlandia Society to order at 10:01 a.m. in the Rare Book Room of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. There was a large turnout of over 50 members, guests, Museum staff and Bob Segedi's Future Scientists to hear today's speaker, Roger Thoma.
Pam Keiper, Coordinator of the Science Resource Center, introduced the teachers, Becky Farrell and Lauren Peeples, who participated in last summer's Teacher Enhancement Program. Both are from St. Paul Lutheran School in Westlake. Each gave a brief description of their work and the kits they prepared for use in the SRC. These kits are very popular and are always out on loan to schools, and, therefore, the teachers were unable to bring them for demonstration at our meeting. Lauren's project was on "Ecosystems" and Becky's was on "Shore Birds of Lake Erie." Pam thanked Kirtlandia for its continued support.
Ann DuFresne introduced Bryan Fleck, age 13, to the group. Bryan is the 2003 winner of Kirtlandia's Natural Science Award at the Northeastern Ohio Science and Engineering Fair. Ann presented Bryan with a certificate and other prizes and she encouraged members to take a look at Bryan's impressive display, "Have You Seen Any Eastern Bluebirds Lately?" which he had set up for viewing. The project covered a 3-year period.
Treasurer Greenwald reported that there is a total of approximately $135,000 in our Investments and Endowment Funds. He deferred to Walt Stephens to report on the progress of fund-raising for this summer's Adopt-A-Student Program. Walt stated that we now have $14,539, and, therefore, an additional $2,261 is needed to make the program "fly." Ann DuFresne reported we are in good shape with 54 applicants this year. Two curators have chosen their students, and the remaining curators are reviewing the applications to determine which students will best fit their requirements. The program will commence in a month or so.
Jane Litt reported on behalf of the Education Committee. Their meeting this past Wednesday was postponed until May 7. She urged everyone to visit the newly dedicated Smead Discovery Center. It appeals to children of all ages.
Pete Church, Hospitality Chairman, reminded members about the "contribution box" at the coffee and donut table. This helps to defray Kirtlandia expenses for refreshments at our meetings.
Bob Taylor, Program Chairman, introduced today's speaker, Roger Thoma, who is Senior Curator of Crustaceans at OSU. He also does environmental work for the Ohio EPA. Roger's topic today was to have been "Fish & Crayfish of Lake Erie - What's Happening to Our Great Lake?" However, he decided to talk instead on "The Status of Ohio's Lake Erie Ecosystem." It is not a pretty story today. He spoke of the many factors contributing to this such as pollution, dredging, filling, and disturbance (boat wakes), as well as the exotic species that have been introduced into the lake. Man has altered the fish habitats much to their detriment. Through many slides he showed the effects (DELT - "Deformities, Eroded Fins, Lesions and Tumors") of these influences upon the lake's fish. He also elaborated on his methods for testing the quality of the water. Roger feels that there is hope, however, as programs are under way to clean up the lake, and water quality has improved in some areas.
After questions and answers, the meeting adjourned at 11:47 a.m.