Board Highlights

We had the usual business stuff: treasurer’s report (keeping our head above water, paying our bills), membership report (a few more members than at the last report), Voice Editor’s report (we need more stories) and webmaster’s report (we are almost entirely recovered from the hack of our site).

One of the best parts was the request from the West Virginia Cave Conservancy for an organizational seat on the Board seat.  Our bylaws allow for individual and organizational members.  Organizational members may ask the Board for a Board seat.  The West Virginia asked; the Board said YES!!! and we recognized Randy Rumer as the group’s representative.

We decided to hold the annual membership meeting and elections at the Board Sunday morning of the 50th anniversary celebration at Canaan Valley (September 17th.). We will decide later whether or not to convene a fall board meeting at some later time in October and/or by conference call.  President Cindy appointed Bill McNeel, Cindy Rank, and Marilyn Shoenfeld as a nominating committee.

Cindy Ellis reported on her visit to Marietta College for the presentation of Mary Moore and Joe Rieffenberger’s bequests to Marietta, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy. She related several stories family and friends told at that gathering and that led to Board members at the Yew meeting to share more memories of the Rieffenbergers for some newer board members who didn’t know Joe or Mary – good laughs all around.  Cindy E will make a presentation at the 50th anniversary celebration, recognizing some of the major donors that have graced the Conservancy and elaborate on this most recent and overwhelming gift of the Rieffenberger bequest.

Since the spring board meeting the Executive Committee approved spending $1,000 to support the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition and their efforts as part of the statewide Public Lands Coalition Frank also explained more about the activities of the coalition and its financial needs while waiting for grants expected from the Pew Foundation and Patagonia.  WV Sierra Club and WV Rivers Coalition are both helping with finances in the interim and we decided to spend an additional $3,000 to participate via our membership in the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition in support of the Public Lands Coalition.

Hugh reported on progress on Hiking Guide.  We may be ready to print the 9th edition late this year; Kent Mason has offered some of his great color photos which could be included in the middle of the new edition.  If we run out of books before we get the 9th edition finished we will do a limited reprint of the 8th edition.

The 50th Anniversary Celebration is September 15-17 at Canaan Valley State Park and Conference Center. Cindy Rank reported that Dave Saville has been working as the event planner and coordinating with the Marilyn, Jackie, Adam, Bill and Cindy in putting flesh on the bones of the outlines we’ve previously talked about at Board meetings. She reminded the board that we all need to reach out to the people and organizations that we agreed to contact, to search our archives for any pictures to bring to the weekend, to offer ideas and assistance in arranging and conducting roundtable discussions or outings during the weekend.  All Board members are asked to write a brief bio to send to John along with a picture for the September Voice which may double as the program for the 50th weekend. Randy Kesling offered to scan pictures if needed; Hugh is waiting for contact information from Dave for Marc Harshman for the poet’s roundtable. Cindy Ellis will do a presentation about the many generous donors and in particular elaborate on Mary Moore and Joe Reiffenberger’s lifelong commitment to the Conservancy including their recent incredible bequest. She will also share birding responsibilities with LeJay and Jackie at the weekend.  Jim VanGundy agreed to do anything the planning committee wanted him to do – from registration duties to leading roundtable discussion on topics he’s knowledgeable about.  Jim, Cindy R, Randy K and others agreed to reach out to local papers with an invitation to the 50th…. Rick suggested a press release – with photos if possible. Cindy said she’d contact Vivian about putting it out and urged everyone to refer people to the website for information about registration and additional program details as they develop.

In addition to our business and organizational matters we had issue reports.  We had reports on what we are doing on gas (mostly pipelines), coal, renewable energy, and the legislature.

During lunch Yew Center Director Erica told us about the Center, and how an informal community groups (now a 501c3 organization) sought and found a conservation minded company – one that shared the community’s vision of conservation, education, and place-based prosperity — which bought the 500 acre property and is leasing it to the community for a small fee.   We had nothing but praise and appreciation for the food, friendly atmosphere and accommodations both for the meeting and for overnight lodging a few of us took advantage of. Our thanks to Director Erica Marks, Innkeeper Marlyn McClendon, Hospitality Coordinator Robin Tywoniw, and Caretaker Clay Condon, — and little LuElla for her charming baby smiles and happy cooing.  Learn about the Center at:

The door prize was a porcelain coaster from Lewisburg. Bill McNeel won.