MINUTES OF THE GENERAL MEETING OF THE AUSTRALIAN NATURALISTS NETWORK
Held at “The Lea”, Hobart, on Saturday 25 October 2014 commencing at 4.00 pm.
- Opening and welcome
ANN Interim Steering Committee (ISC) member John Gregurke (FNC of Ballarat) opened the meeting and welcomed those present.
- Attendance and apologies
Sixty-eight naturalists were present, drawn from the following network member groups:
|Alice Springs FNC (3)
||Dubbo FNC (2)
||Qld NC & Fassifern FNC (1)
|Ararat & District FNC (2)
||FNC Victoria (2)
||Sale & District FNC (8)
|FNC Ballarat (8)
||Geelong FNC (3)
||Stanthorpe FNC (Qld) (5)
|Bendigo FNC (2)
||King Island FNC (2)
||Tasmanian FNC (1+)
|Castlemaine FNC (2)
||Latrobe Valley FNC (3)
||Toodyay NC (WA) (2)
|Central North (Tas.) FNC (1)
||Launceston FNC (3)
||Western Aust. NATS (18)
Clubs represented at the 2014 Get-Together but not at this meeting: FNA of Canberra & ACT, Hamilton FNC (Vic.)
Bruce & Estelle Adams, Cary & Joan Breakey, Peter & Norma Garlick, Russell & Pat Green, Bob Read, Dick & Shirley Southcombe.
- Appointment of chairperson and secretary for this meeting
John Gregurke (FNC of Ballarat) took the chair, explaining that ISC Chair Russell Green (FNC Victoria) had resigned from the committee in June 2014.
ISC Secretary Phil Rayment (Latrobe Valley FNC) recorded the minutes.
4.1 2012 Get-Together, held in Canberra, hosted by FNA of Canberra Inc.
Phil Rayment noted that the highly successful and rewarding 2012 Get-Together held in Canberra had drawn on its extensive range of natural history experts, institutions and field sites to provide an excellent program. The need for careful financial planning for Get-Togethers was highlighted by the fact that 61 out-of-ACT folk finally participated despite there having originally been 78 deposit-paid registrations.
4.2 ANN Web-master
John Gregurke reported that the ANN website incorporates the register, minutes of committee and general meetings and information about past and future Get-Togethers. He requested submissions of reports and photos from the 2014 Get-Together – photo files should be limited to approx. 200MB. Photographers would be acknowledged unless individuals expressly requested that their names not be shown.
Following discussion of the privacy issues involved, it was decided that a planned group photo of the 2014 participants to be placed on the website should be accompanied only by a list of represented clubs, and not names of the individuals.
4.3 ANN Register Coordinator
John Gregurke reported that the ANN Register has recently been updated and now includes information for around 56 natural history groups. Since 2012, some newly found clubs have been added and some have ceased operation. Network clubs have been provided with hard copies as an alternative to website access. John stressed the importance of regularly sending him updates to published information.
4.4 SEANA Treasurer re ANN Camp Account
Denis Thurgood (FNC Ballarat) explained that the ANN Camp Account currently holds approx. $4500 (mostly in a term deposit) being in the main the balance of funds from the Victorian High Country Get-Together organised by SEANA. The account was originally set up with small subscriptions when the register was first developed by Dick Southcombe. The account is being drawn on to cover steering committee expenses.
The practice has been for each Get-Together host club to forward seed funding (to cover venue deposits, etc.) to the next host, and the Tasmanian FNC is asked to forward the relevant funds via Denis Thurgood to the 2016 host club, the WA NATS.
Motion: That the four above reports be received.
Moved Peter Dalman, seconded Geoff Lay and carried.
- General business
5.1 Draft statement of purposes of ANN
The following draft Statement of Purposes for the ANN was approved by the ISC for consideration at this general meeting, and circulated to network member groups.
The purposes of the Australian Naturalists Network are:
i To increase knowledge of, and encourage the preservation and protection of the natural environment.
ii To foster and promote communication and cooperation between Field Naturalists Clubs and other natural history groups from all states and territories of Australia.
iii To initiate and encourage member clubs to host biennial Get-togethers which further the appreciation and study of natural history.
iv Maintain and publish a register of Field Naturalists Clubs and other natural history groups from all states and territories of Australia.
v To support and promote conservation issues, advocating well-researched strategies.
vi To be acknowledged as a responsible apolitical voice on environmental matters.
vii To encourage the establishment of new natural history clubs.
viii To provide and disseminate natural environment information, at whatever level required, in pursuit of the above items.
The draft was read out. In discussion, it was acknowledged that its scope is broad-ranging, and deliberately so.
Motion: That the draft statement of purposes as circulated and read be adopted by the ANN.
Moved Eddie Dell, seconded Geoff Campbell and carried unanimously.
5.2 Election of office-bearers for 2014-2016
Motion: That the management group for the ANN be henceforth named the ANN Steering Committee, to have the same responsibilities as earlier assigned to the ANN Interim Steering Committee.
Moved Claire Dalman, seconded Elva Letts and carried.
The meeting chair called for nominations to fill four executive positions for 2014-2016, namely Chairperson, Secretary, Web-master and Register Coordinator. (The SEANA Inc ANN Camp Account is managed at present by the SEANA Treasurer, currently Denis Thurgood (FNC Ballarat).)
Chairperson: Nominated – Pam Ghirardi, moved Eddie Dell, seconded Lucy Mandyczewsky and declared elected.
Secretary: Nominated – Phil Rayment, moved John Gregurke, seconded Jannie Lay and declared elected.
Web-master: No nominations were received from the floor.
(Note added later: Subsequent to the meeting, Robert Read volunteered to take on this role, and the executive accepted his offer.)
Register Coordinator: Nominated – John Gregurke, moved Phil Rayment, seconded Wayne Clarke and declared elected.
5.3 Nominations for ordinary membership of Steering Committee for 2014-2016
Steering Committee ordinary membership is at present deliberately flexible. At ANN 2012, it was agreed that the committee should preferably include at least one member from each state/ territory having clubs that have participated in ANN Get-Togethers, supplemented by past and present SEANA Committee members who have attended at least one Get-Together. It was agreed that this process should continue for the time being.
5.4 Arrangements for the 2016 ANN Get-Together
Roz Hart (WA NATS) confirmed an offer from the Western Australian Naturalists Club to host the 2016 Get-Together in the Perth region, to be held during the last week of August and the first week of September. The WA NATS would welcome any suggestions for the event, with contact details to be available on their website. The Tasmanian FNC will provide some feedback on what/ what not to do based on their experience.
In discussion, it emerged that participants would welcome some spare time during Get-Togethers, such as an evening off, or preferably a half-day free near the middle of the program.
5.5 Host Club for 2018 ANN Get-Together
Those present were asked to nominate regions suited to a future Get-Together, with suggestions including the Flinders Ranges, the Eyre Peninsula, the Grampians and Otways, the Kimberley and some NSW options.
John Gregurke indicated that the clubs based in Ballarat, Geelong, Ararat and Hamilton would in the lead-up to the 2016 Get-Together investigate the possibility of running an event in 2018 focussing on the Grampians, the Otways and the Surf Coast.
In discussion, it was agreed that there is a need to provide a range of accommodation options/levels. Also there was strong agreement that all excursion participants should travel by coach, without trailing private vehicles.
5.6 Natural environment issues of concern at a national level
Two issues of concern raised in discussion:
* The absence of a Minister for Science in the current federal government, which potentially limits input on natural environment issues and implies a devaluation of issues which require a scientific perspective;
* The possibility that the current federal government will move to hand back powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to the states, thereby limiting the possibility of taking a national perspective on conservation matters.
The secretary to write to the Prime Minister and Minister for the Environment to highlight these concerns.
5.7 Motion of thanks to the Tasmanian FNC
Motion: That the Tasmanian FNC be thanked for hosting an extremely well organised, rewarding and enjoyable 2014 Get-Together, with an excellent program of speakers and field trips.
Moved Phil Rayment, seconded John Gregurke and carried with acclamation.
- Next meeting
The next general meeting will be held during the 2016 Get-Together in Perth, hosted by the WA NATS.
Phil Rayment, Secretary, ANN Steering Committee
phone: 03 5174 1730