SMA Directors’ Meeting Minutes
January 19, 2022
In attendance: Directors Ara Jerahian, Al DiSabatino, Bob Dodge, Howie Marshall, James Shields, Russ
Pinizzotto, Kerry Kertes, Forest Sumner and Rob Burgess and Club Members Jon Wallace, Dwight
Lanpher and Maame Andoh. A quorum was present.
The minutes of the December 4, 2021 meeting were approved.
Follow-Up on Action Items:
- Regular Star Party Program at Neptune Drive: Jon Wallace provided more detail regarding how the program would operate and the number and assignments of volunteers needed. Jon estimated that a minimum of 5 or 6 would be required. There was discussion as to whether 6-7 programs from March – November was too ambitious. Jon made the case we need to have a plan, pursue volunteers for the various slots and see if we can generate enough to staff the program. If we cannot, then we do not go forward. It was agreed that Saturday nights would be best. He supplied his outline and a draft sign-up sheet and invited comments:
ACTION ITEM: provide feedback on the plan to the board and Jon.
- Other celestial club events for 2022: James recommended the following events for club activity in 2022:
- Int’l Dark Sky Week – April – event at Kettle Cove
- Space Day – May 6
- Total Lunar Eclipse – May 15/16
- Int’l Observe the Moon Night – Oct 1
- ’mores with M&Ms – Mars and Moon – Congress Sq Park – Dec 7
- Solar Observing – TBD – LL Bean (to be arranged) March and/or October. ACTION ITEM: Rob/Ron to follow up with LL Bean.
- Committee roles and priorities: Rob reviewed the “SMA Committees and Responsibilities” document dated 11/27/21. There was discussion about the need to balance out directors on these committees as, for example, the Membership Committee only has Al as a member. This will be done as we fill in with new directors. James suggested that under the Membership Committee any new member welcome letter/communication include an encouragement to participate in our outreach efforts, through star parties, etc. Russ also suggested that the Fundraising Committee responsibilities include sending annual reports to all foundations that had previously provided funds to SMA. Otherwise, the document, as amended, is the current guide for club committees.
- Members’ Addresses for communication purposes: Al reported that this information is currently available on NSN.
- Report on how other clubs recruit volunteers: Rob reported he had spoken to Dwight for his perspective being a liaison to all Maine clubs as well as NH and some MA clubs. Dwight suggested a NSN video dealing with recruiting. He said there was no silver bullet but that clubs with more tangible activity such as star parties seem to do better in generating volunteer support.
The meeting agenda set forth upcoming speakers. The February program still needs to be
developed with a primary speaker. ACTION ITEM: Rob will follow up with George in possibly providing
the second phase of his Astrobiology lecture. He will also check with George Whitney to see if he
might provide a talk on some of the latest telescopes and eyepieces. Kerry will also resend the
contact information on two possible speakers: one part of the JWST team (now retired) and the
second a part of the Curiosity Rover arm system. Howie will also confirm whether Fred Martin might
be available for February.
Rob also suggested a different approach to find speakers – the Board should affirmatively
choose topics it thinks would be of most interest to the club and then have the Program Committee seek
out speakers. Our current method, which has worked fairly well, has been driven by happenstance.
While this can continue to serve us, a more affirmative approach would likely serve us better.
The schedule of upcoming events was set forth on the agenda. James reported that the
Bradbury Mountain event has been rescheduled to 1/27/22. He also reported that the Girl Scouts
opportunity for science badge assistance has been filled by another party. ACTION ITEM: James will
follow up with Jocelyn Hubbell regarding how we might collaborate with her and the Parks & Rec
Dept and their telescopes in state parks.
James also reported he collaborated with the Waterboro Library on the inauguration of the new
library telescope with an event on 1/8/22 involving 10 people. He reported there is an event at Kettle
Cove on Feb 4 with the Falmouth 4 H club. Another Star Hike with the Scarboro Land Trust is scheduled
for March 24. ACTION ITEM: James will provide announcements to the club on these events to solicit
Dark Sky Committee:
Rob reported that he had connected with the Dark Sky Maine team and plans to attend their
meetings going forward so that we are aware of their activities, and vice versa, as we work
collaboratively on fighting light pollution.
Al reported that renewals are running about the same as last year, and that non-renewers are
being outpaced by new members. ACTION ITEM: After we get past the grace period for renewals the
Committee will provide an analysis of attrition and what is to be learned from it.
Treasurer’s Report/Finance Committee:
Bob reported $12,856.92 in the club treasury, supplemented by renewals, $104 in donations
from the Ladies Adventure Club event in December, and $1,750 in proceeds from the sale of donated
equipment. Rent has been paid to Teens to Trails through March 31, 2022.
Ara reported that the Celestron 11 Edge OTA is still for sale. There was no interest in the club to
buy it. Ara will now send an email to all Maine clubs’ presidents to see if they’d promote its availability
to other clubs in Maine. At the conclusion of that process the scope will be posted on Cloudy Nights.
Use and sale of other equipment will then be followed up on.
Rob reported George Bokinsky and Forrest Sumner have indicated their intent to retire from the
Board. (Subsequently, Rob heard from Rowan Goebel-Bain and his reluctant decision to also resign
given his studies and his inability to fully participate as a board member.) ACTION ITEM: Board
members are asked to recommend replacement directors. Rob will put out a general announcement
that new board members are being sought.
The meeting concluded about 9 p.m.
Next Directors’ Meetings for the year (all on Wednesdays at 7p.m. via Zoom):
February 16, 2022