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Science Iowa Minutes

June 15, 2022

6 p.m.


Call to order


Dan Chibnall called the meeting to order at 6:03. Also present: Ruth Henderson, Nathan Steimel and Tom O’Donnell. Nathan has a new email address.


Approve the minutes of the May 19, 2022, meeting. See:


Ruth moved approval. Nathan seconded. Carried unanimously


Treasurer’s report – Ruth Henderson


There have been two deposits, $200 and from PayPal, for $224.01. Balance is $1,123.52. ruth has paid $324 for event insurance but hasn’t yet submitted it for reimbursement. Costco also donated a $25 gift card. We may use it to buy water for the Science Festival Trail.


Tom suggested sending a fundraising plea before the festival. 


New business


Meeting with March for Science – Tom O’Donnell


Ingrid Paredes, a representative from the national March for Science (MFS) organization contacted Tom after seeing him on a National Science Policy Network call regarding the Science Policy Survey. Tom explained the history of the MFS and our connection to it, including our separation due to the national organization’s problems with nonprofit status. He suggested that we consider what we want to get out of a meeting with them or by affiliating with them. Dan agreed that the ball is in their court. He suggested that once we get on the schedule, we can ask Ingrid to establish an agenda. Dan said it’s important for us to remain independent so the national March for Science must make the case to us. Ruth asked if there was a history of problems with MFS. Tom explained their problems with nonprofit status and political activism.

Nathan looked at the MFS website and found they have 10 corporate sponsors and sell merchandise. He thinks there are many benefits from independence; perhaps we can choose what we’d like to do and whether to support their events without committing ourselves to supporting them completely.

Tom will check the When2Meet to see what time will work best for us and Ingrid. Ruth will see if she can add times when she’ll be available.


Old business:


2022 candidate survey – Tom O’Donnell


Tom gave an update on the state of things, including that we’re working with the National Science Policy Network, which absorbed Science Debate, to develop and promote our survey and help other states establish their own. A dozen candidates responded.


Science Festival Trail: Fundraising and updates – Ruth Henderson


Ruth suggested we look over the spreadsheet with contacts for possible donations from organizations. We need free items for the swag bags. She suggested universities may have items to donate. Dan will contact colleagues at the South Central STEM hub to see what they may have.

Ruth is getting some good responses to requests for organizations to exhibit. She has emailed and followed with phone calls. The Sierra Club, Conservation Districts of Iowa and SILT have said yes. Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and the Valley High School Greenhouse are maybes. She hasn’t received responses from the Iowa Department of Public Health, Polk County Public Health and Trees Forever. Nathan has a contact with Trees Forever that he will call. Ruth is seeking contacts with the Science Center of Iowa. Dan said he knows people and will check with them. He will contact Ruth on Slack about it. The DNR trailer is still uncertain; they’re seeking a carrier to deliver it. 

Dale Herzberg works with a robotics club; Nathan will contact him about participation. Tom will contact a Des Moines Botanical Garden board member about swag or participation.

We may need some folding tables and canopies for organizations on the trail. 

Five students have volunteered. Ruth suggested getting a popcorn machine and buying bottled water this time.

After the event everyone is invited to Ruth’s house. 

Ruth will provide a budget. Apart from the park rental and event insurance it’s not very expensive. A popcorn machine rental costs $50 for a tabletop unit and $100 for a cart.


Grant application research – Tom O’Donnell


Tom is continuing to investigate possible grants. We will need to tailor projects to their guidelines. 


Board election nominations – Tom O’Donnell


Ruth nominated Tom O’Donnell. Dan seconded. 

Dan suggested that since Tom is running unopposed, we may not need to do an election. Nonetheless, to ensure fairness we will put it to the membership; they can write in a candidate if they like. Tom will disseminate a Google form for voting and allow a week for responses. 

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