Central Arkansas Astronomical Society
Board Meeting Minutes
June 14, 2014
1. CAAS participation in the Dark Sky Park Coalition
2. Change in Club meeting nights in 2016
3. Review of RRORRT budget
4. Club member management ideas
5. Bylaws adoption
6. Hosting the MSRAL Conference in 2015
CAAS participation in the Dark Sky Park Coalition
On April 30, Bruce McMath, Darrell Heath and several other CAAS members met with individuals from UALR, UCA, Arkansas Tech University and the Arkansas Heritage Commission to form the steering Committee of the Arkansas Dark Sky Park Coalition (ADSPC). The goals of the ADSPC are create a greater awareness of the benefits of dark skies and advocate for their protection, and to establish one or more “Dark Sky Parks” in the state. The board voted on the Society’s participation in the coalition. Bruce McMath made a motion for Inclusion in the coalition and Rocky Togni seconded. The motion passed with full support of the board.
Change in Club meeting nights in 2016
Bruce McMath facilitated a discussion on changing the CAAS meetings to help promote more dark sky viewing on those nights. It was put forth that changing the meetings from the 2nd Saturday of each month beginning in the summer of 2016 to the Saturday falling near the last quarter moon would promote more participation in observing after the club meetings and continue to provide dark skies on club nights for another approximately sixteen months, at which time he proposed it should be changed again to the last quarter Saturday, etc.
Jim Dixon brought up the matter of our partnership with PMSP and WHSP. Any changes to club meetings should avoid conflicting with star parties. Jim suggested submitting available dates to the state parks early in the year to avoid conflicts. It was also put forth that the October 2014 Board meeting should set the dates for the 2016 meetings so that they can be made available to the parks and others. Changes in meeting nights will be published to the membership on the CAAS website, Night Sky Network newsletter and the CAAS member list serv.
A subsequent resolution was set forth:
On June 14, 2014, CAAS Board voted that going forward, after the current year, club meeting nights, should be changed when necessary, at approximately 16 month intervals, so as to provide moonless observing opportunities on club nights to the extent reasonably practical. Beginning in early 2015, the current meeting night will largely provide such conditions into the summer of 2016 at which point the second Saturday will approach the first quarter moon. At that point the meeting night should be changed to the Saturday of the month near the last quarter moon, providing another approximately 16 months of predominantly dark sky nights.
When the Board will meet in October 2014 to discuss the 2015 calendar, it should also set meeting nights through 2016, which practice should continue going forward so that potential dates for public star parties can be made available well in advance to coordinating entities.
Bruce McMath made a motion to pass the above resolution. Jim Dixon seconded the motion. The resolution passed.
Review of RRORRT Budget
Jim Dixon and Stephen Caldwell reported on the budget situation of the RRORRT project. As of June 14, 2014 the River Ridge Observatory Robotic Research Telescope project has spent $3,321.89 on construction and equipment. The project is set to finish the construction and installation phase under budget. The money for RRORRT was made possible by individual donations and a grant from the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium.
Club Member Management Ideas
Bruce McMath reported on his research and development of a Member Management system for the club. The goal is automate dues payment, build a member roster and contact list and help with member management and retention efforts. CAAS currently uses the NASA Night Sky Network program. Bruce reported on the advantages and limitations of the NSN, and his communications with The NSN on improvements. Bruce also cited his using a new member letter and the encouraging results since it’s implementation.
The CAAS Bylaws were amended and put in force October 2013, but were never formally voted on and adopted by the Board.
Bruce McMath made a motion that the Board adopt the Bylaws. Carl Fryaldenhoven seconded the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.
Bruce McMath, Chris Lasley and John Reed recently attended the MSRAL conference in St. Louis. They reported on the conference to the Board and the subsequent Monthly meeting. The Board was asked to support a measure for CAAS to officially host the conference in 2015. The conference will be held on the UALR campus on June 5, 6 and 7. Bruce McMath and Darrell Heath will co-chair the effort.
Bruce McMath made a motion for CAAS to host the 2015 MSRAL conference. Jim Dixon seconded, and the motion was carried by the Board.
The Society hosted the MSRAL conference in 1995 and 2001.
The Mid-States Regional Astronomical League is comprised of astronomical clubs and societies from Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas and Arkansas.
Board Members and Officers in Attendance
CAAS Members in Attendance
Meeting minutes prepared by Stephen A. Caldwell, CAAS Secretary