Potluck and Business Meeting
Thursday, Sept. 22, 7:30 PM
Long Branch Nature Center
625 South Carlin Springs Road
Please bring a dish for six, and come prepared to discuss the future of the Washington Area Butterfly Club. All are welcome, including those who have been inactive since the 1990s, those who have participated this year, those who have kept up their dues, and those who have not.
What field trips are forthcoming?
Should we launch a WashButterflies Facebook page?
Is anyone willing to be secretary and mail hard-copy Club news, meeting announcements, and/or membership renewals, or should we not send any physical mail and instead do all of these things electronically only?
Should we keep the dues at $18, or should we reduce the dues?
Should we meet less often in Virginia? Should future meetings include any particular sites other than Long Branch in Virginia and Audubon Naturalist Society in Maryland?
Should we alter our meeting schedule?
In our first year, we decided to hold most meetings on the fourth Thursday evening of the month, in large part to avoid conflicts with the monthly meetings of other nature organizations. These monthly meetings have taken place in September, January, February, March, and sometimes April and/or May. We also traditionally meet at Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) on the second Saturday morning of November. Occasionally, we have met at ANS on other Saturday mornings as well.
Long Branch became our main meeting place because it was near the geographic center of the seven original people who were interested in forming a club. These seven (not all from Virginia) had met at a talk by Jeffrey Glassberg at the old National Wildlife Federation headquarters near Vienna in 1996. This was followed by a meeting of the three co-founders and then by an organizing meeting that was attended by most of the original seven and by several people who had met at Nate Erwin’s USDA class on butterflies in DC.
Glassberg had offered seed money to establish a chapter of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA). However, several people at the organizing meeting objected to NABA’s then-strict policy against netting and collecting. The majority of the attendees rejected affiliating either with NABA or with the Butterfly Society of Virginia, which is headquartered in the Tidewater area. The Club also has never had the resources to establish itself as a tax-exempt charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Therefore, dues and contributions are not tax-deductible.
Those who did want to affiliate with NABA attempted to establish a NABA chapter in Maryland, but the chapter has been mostly inactive. At last tally, a little over half of Washington Area Butterfly Club members lived in Virginia, about a third lived in Maryland, and the rest lived in DC.
Our co-founder and long-time secretary-treasurer, Pat Durkin, moved out of the area last year. Because Pat was hard to replace, we stopped collecting dues and sending meeting announcements by postcard. This year, Beth Johnson agreed to take over as treasurer, but we still have had no secretary. If we continue to have no secretary and no regular mailings, we could make a virtue of necessity and reduce the dues. Our major expense has been for these mailings. The Club has also occasionally given small fees to speakers from outside of the Washington area and has given financial support to a very few research and conservation activities.