2021 ANNUAL MEETING
August 21 annual meeting a welcome change to a challenging year
ONAPA members returned to its annual in-person meeting in August after skipping last year’s get-together due to the COVID pandemic.
The eighth annual event drew 51 attendees to the West Woods Nature Center in Geauga County. Guy Denny and Jennifer Windus covered ONAPA's accomplishments in 2020-21, detailing partnerships and covering how pandemic challenges were met. A short business meeting gave an overview of an organization that is fiscally sound with an individual membership of 1,234 from 26 states. ONAPA also has 43 member organizations that support its mission. Its largest expense, the Stewardship Assistants program, enables the organization to directly improve the state’s natural areas and preserves.
According to Windus, ONAPA was one of the few organizations that did not interrupt volunteer operations, continuing to run its stewardship program throughout the pandemic. With adjustments designed to keep project participants safe, ONAPA partnered with several organizations as well as the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves to continue work in the field. Over 50 volunteers fought invasive plants, restored habitat for threatened species, monitored preserves and surveyed rare plants.
After lunch catered by the local Heinen’s, keynote speaker Lisa Rainsong engaged her audience with an audio-visual feast of the singing insects, crickets and katydids. Four field trips rounded out the event: a tour of Triangle Lake Bog and Kent Bog with Denny and Windus, a walk through Mentor Marsh with David Kriska, a visit to Geauga Parks’ Frohring Meadows with Linda Gilbert, and a study of lichens with Ian Adams just outside the nature center.