Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves members and guests are invited to attend the annual general membership meeting this Saturday, Jan. 12 beginning at 11 a.m. EST at the Preserves Center.



Members are encouraged to bring guests who may be interested in becoming a Friend of the Preserves. After the meeting, everyone can enjoy assorted chili recipes including vegetarian chili.



During the meeting, Dylan Shoemaker, the new buffer manager, and Lisa Dlugolecki and Barry Townsend, two new resource managers on staff, will be introduced. Also present will be Kim Wren, stewardship coordinator, who will make a short presentation.



Key item on the agenda is the nomination and election of the2013 board of directors and a vote on a proposed amendment to the bylaws. Members will also receive a recap of 2012 accomplishments.



The theme for 2013 is "volunteerism." There are so many wonderful ideas that the board and staff wish to implement, but we need more people to step forward to help make these projects happen. At the meeting, you will have the chance to review and sign up for some of these projects and tasks.



·         Memberships: New memberships and renewals will be collected at the meeting: $15 for individuals; $25 for families; $10 for seniors (65 and older); $10 for students/researchers; $100 or more are sponsors. Donations are also accepted. Membership fees may qualify for a charitable tax deduction.



·         Board Election: One of the most important items on the membership meeting agenda is the presentation of the nominating committee's slate of candidates for the 2013 board of directors of the Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves and a vote by all attending current members for the new year's board positions. Currently serving on the board are Marcia Boothe, president; Charla Boggs, past president; John Ehrman, president-elect; Nick Baldwin; Bill Boothe; and Gene Cox. The Boothes, Cox and Ehrman will remain on the 2013 board as they serve their second year of a two-year term. The proposed slate of candidates for election to the board is William "Sonny" Chafin; Margaret "Margo" Posten; and Jody Wood-Putnam.



·         Amendment to Bylaws: Members will also vote on an amendment to the bylaws of the Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves.



The current bylaws state in Article V Section 1: “Members shall consist of any individual or business entity whose yearly dues are current. With dues being charged under the following categories: Student/Senior: $10; Individual: $15; Family: $25; Sponsor: $100; Patron: $250; Silver Benefactor: $500 or more; Gold Benefactor: $1,000 or more; Corporate Benefactor: $1,000 or more.”



The Board of Directors recommends the following amendment to the bylaws in Article V Section 1: “Members shall consist of any individual or business entity whose yearly dues are current with dues being charged as stated below or as stipulated by a majority vote of the Board of Directors under the following categories or as amended by a majority vote of the Board of Directors: Student/Senior: $10; Individual: $15; Family: $25; Sponsor: $100; Patron: $250; Silver Benefactor: $500 or more; Gold Benefactor: $1,000 or more; Corporate Benefactor: $1,000 or more.”



Purpose of this proposed change: From time to time, inflation will necessitate a small increase in membership fees. Also, currently there are no categories for lifetime or honorary membership levels.



·         Chili Potluck: After the meeting, please join the Friends for a potluck chili luncheon, prepared by fellow Friends members and free to all attendees. There will be several chili recipes including vegetarian that range from mild to hot.



You do not need to bring any food unless you wish to share some of your favorite fixings to go along with the chili. Be prepared to have a good time and meet fellow Friends!



If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Preserves Center at (850) 229-1787.