Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
November 13, 2013
Draft for Board Review
Board Members Present: Michael Greene, Karen Guthrie, Sandi Janisch, Guy
Pacurar, Pam Rivette, Wendy Roberts, Sandy Scott (phone), Maryellen Sheppard
Board Members Absent: Glenna Blake, Richard Cooper
Staff Present: Mary Anne Payne, Jim Bailey, Erin Clark
Guests Present: Bob Bushansky, Kittie Meredith, Linda Brown, Lynelle Johnson,
Joyce Gilbertson and Gary Johnson
I. Call to Order: 4:10
a. Approval of Minutes as amended--Motion by Maryellen Sheppard; Second by Sandi
b. The agenda was reviewed and approved--Maryellen Sheppard/Karen Guthrie
c. Introductions: Bob Bushansky, newly elected member of MCRPD Board
d. Public Comment: None
Letter from MCDHF acknowledged meeting to discuss renewal of Winesong
contract and their agreement with the terms as presented. It will be voted on at
the MCDHF Board on November 25th. Acceptance is anticipated. Details of
contract are confidential.
f) Board check-in
! Nancy Housel announced that the vegetable garden is just 119 pounds short of
! delivering 5,000 pounds of food to the Fort Bragg Food Bank. She expects to
! reach that goal by year-end. Last year’s total was 2,000 pounds.
II. Informational Items
a. FOG Report: Kittie Meredith reported that FOG presented 3 checks to the Gardens
in November: $10,000 from wine raffle for improvements to entry garden; $4,600 to
purchase a cargo container to replace the Gardens’ container being used for Pack
Rat; $2,000 as a Festival of Lights sponsorship. FOG members will also supply treats
b. Committee Reports:
1. Education Committee: Chair Housel reported that after consulting with staff, they
have reduced the target number of public classes from 24 to 12-18 per year. Two
classes on raising chickens are scheduled for January 2014. The committee continues
to meet to review the Docent Handbook and prepare for a docent training in January.
Jim Bailey approved having garden sections reviewed by garden staff. Mary Anne
Payne will update the section on Conifers/the North Forest. Wendy Roberts reported
that most speakers are enlisted for the 2014 Master Gardener training. Becky Ellis is
assisting with applicant interviews. Twenty-three applications have been received.
2. Garden Advisory Committee:
Chair Scott provided a brief report on the charette led by Patrick and Jane Miller to
create a long-range plan for the Historic Corridor. An overall plan is needed before
installing the deer fence and expanding the vegetable garden with funds received
through My Garden. Michael Greene asked for a time frame for the fencing and garden
expansion. There will be more certainty about that after Patrick returns with a proposed
plan in early 2014; however, the garden staff hopes to begin the fencing project this
spring when the ground is still soft.
3. Finance Committee: Chair Scott cautioned the Board that there will be a reduction in
the cash flow graph over the winter months. In addition, as funds are expended for
trail improvement and fencing of the expanded vegetable garden the net from My
Garden will be reduced. Sandy still expects to end the year in the black. Mary Anne
Payne stressed that ending the fiscal year well depends on a successful Festival of
! Guy Pacurar has been very helpful in collecting sponsorships. He commented that
! this would be more successful if begun in late summer when lodging owners are in
! peak season rather than waiting until the season wanes and their cash flow is
! diminished. Lodging owners are being asked to offer discounted packages to
! potential guests and will be recognized on the Gardens website.
Mary Anne Payne reported that the annual appeal letter went out earlier than last
year. Responses to date are about $9,000 and are about $3,000 higher than last
year. She urged every board member to make a contribution to this drive. 100%
Board participation is important.
! In response to a question about the decline in admissions, Mary Anne responded that
!this past summer had fewer tourists to the area than expected. It was also a weak
season for nursery sales throughout the region. Most businesses report reduced
4. Personnel Committee: Chair Sandi Janisch reported that the committee met with
! Mary Anne Payne for a mid-year review of progress toward established goals. Things
! are proceeding well against these performance measures. No written report is made
! at this point in the cycle. A full annual review will be completed in the spring.
c. Marketing Presentation: Mary Anne and Erin Clark reviewed what the Gardens is
currently doing in the way of advertising/marketing. Erin presented a Powerpoint
presentation with images of the attractive, updated ads that are being used and
descriptions of both paid and unpaid placements in local and national print
publications, websites, radio and the web. Post cards are mailed and are also
distributed in the area by hand. Rack cards are being developed for educational
programs. MCBG remains the leading attraction in Mendocino County as rated by
TripAdvisor. It even receives positive reviews on Yelp, which is known largely as a
complaint billboard. It is very difficult to measure response to specific placements, but
easy to see that the Gardens’ exposure to target audiences has increased. At
present, $20,000 is budgeted for general marketing plus sums included in budgets for
the store, nursery and events.
! Guy made the suggestion that departing guests be asked about their visit and offered
! a small flyer, business card or bookmark encouraging them to use the Gardens
! website, sign up for e-blasts and write a TripAdvisor review. He says this strategy has
! greatly increased the number of reviews for his Inn.
a. Nominations and Elections:
Co-Chair Richard Cooper was unable to attend due to a business conflict. Wendy
Roberts encouraged all present to contact him with suggestions of potential Board
candidates. Sandi Janisch observed that this committee cannot have Board Co-Chairs.
Composition is dictated by the By-Laws that say that “at least one (1) member shall be a
Board member.” Wendy Roberts will followup on this.
b. Executive Director’s Report
Mary Anne Payne reviewed key points from her Executive Director’s Report. She
encouraged every board member to help get people to Festival of Lights. Every night
there will be live music, a hot supper available at Rhody’s Café, sweets and hot drinks
at the Holiday Treats booth, adult libations, live music, wreaths and centerpieces for
sale along, special items from the nursery and store and marshmellows around an open
fire along with surprises. Don’t forget the Preview Party on December 5th that raises the
funds that allow children to attend for free!
There will be a Conifer Day at the Gardens on Saturday, May 3rd to celebrate the fact
that MCBG has been designated as a Reference Garden by the American Conifer
Society. This event will include speakers, workshops and special guided tours of our
collection. Conifer Day will work collaboratively with the Rhododendron Show, Noyo
Chapter, which starts officially the following weekend. This is the largest Rhododendron
show in California and underscores that this area is a special place to grow them.
c. Recommendation to table fundraising event policy
Board President Roberts repeated the commitment made at the October meeting that
there would be no vote on this policy until it had been discussed in a meeting between
MCRPD and MCBG representatives. It is unclear how the newspapers reached the
conclusion that it would be voted on at today’s meeting or why this proposed policy is
being described by some as “a restriction of public access” when there has been
virtually no demand for fundraising events in the past.
Guy Pacurar asked that Talking Points be developed to guide Board members in
responding to rumors that are circulating and the questions they raise.
IV. Closed Session: MCRPD Discussion
V. Report Out from Closed Session: Various aspects of the MCRPD/MCBG
relationship were discussed. A hand-out was distributed showing the MCRPD Mission
and successive versions of the MCBG Mission, including the 2012 version presented
with the Vision and Values statements that were developed during workshops led by
Geisce Ly. MCRPD and MCBG Missions differ in significant ways, as do their funding
sources. Wendy Roberts and Sandy Scott will request a short meeting with the MCRPD
ad hoc committee with the goal of returning in January with a mutually agreed-upon
trained facilitator to review documents related to the history of the relationship and
discuss what we hope to accomplish and how we will proceed to work together more
VI. December Agenda: We will have a short meeting on December 11 followed by the
Staff/Board holiday potluck from 5:00-7:30 in the tent. Please rsvp to Carmen and let
her know what you would like to bring. Immediate family members of the board and
staff are included.
Meeting adjourned to close session: 5:30 p.m.
Returned to open session and adjourned: 7:00 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by
Board President Wendy Roberts and
Director Mary Anne Payne and
on behalf of Secretary Blake who was
unable to attend this meeting.