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Science Iowa minutes

February 5, 2023

3 p.m.


President Dan Chibnall called the meeting to order at 3:02 p.m. also present: Treasurer Ruth Henderson and Secretary Tom O’Donnell


Approve the minutes of the November 15, 2022, meeting. See:


Ruth moves approval. Dan seconds. Approve unanimously. 


Treasurer’s report – Ruth Henderson




Ruth collected the new checks from Kaitlin. Ruth made a $50 donation. She paid the Iowa Environmental Council $125 for our membership. Balances: $120 in business savings and $1,824.13 in checking.


Tom moves approval. Dan seconds. Approved unanimously.


New business


Upcoming events – Ruth Henderson

February 27: Environmental Lobby Day with the Iowa Environmental Council. She is working on a trifold display instead of a sign. Tom will send her a JPEG of the candidate survey homepage image. She’ll also have information on the Science Festival Trail.  Tom will write a blurb about the candidate survey. Ruth will advertise the festival and seek organizations to join. She needs to update any flyers.

April 1: Indianola Sustainability Fair. Anita Christensen from Citizens’ Climate Lobby contacted her to exhibit. It costs $10 for a table and will be held at a middle school. Organizations aren’t allowed to do any sales because they want to emphasize the sustainability theme. Ruth will bring a laptop and gather email addresses. 

Nathan Steimel joined at 3:11 pm.

April 7-8: Darwin Day. Nathan may go to this in Iowa City. Ruth says it would be nice if one of us can go and support it. Board members Maurine Neiman and Laurie Neuerberg are both involved. The board decided we should ask them what we can do to support the event. Dan will contact them.

Dan ensured the trail festival is on the STEM hub master calendar.


Annual meeting/elections – Tom O’Donnell

The annual meeting is scheduled for next month. Under the bylaws, Ruth is up for election along with Maurine, Laurie and Nathan. Since Laurie and Nathan just joined the board a year ago, we can wait another year for elections for their spots, so Ruth and Maurine would be the only ones standing for election. Our first step would be to issue a Google form seeking nominations from the general membership. We would review the nominations and take nominations from the floor at our March meeting, then hold elections and announce new members in April. Dan will email Tom to iron out details


Tax return: Ruth has filed. We discussed whether to change Science Iowa’s official address. This came up because Kaitlin had to receive the new checks. Tom found that changing the address with the IRS is easy. It can also be changed via updates to the Iowa Secretary of State. But should we change it for our banking address? We discussed a post office box, but that could cause issues with checking it if officers live away from the box. Ruth said a box may pose problems if we receive packages there, but she usually puts her home address on any orders of festival trail supplies anyway. We decided that as long Kaitlin is OK with maintaining her address as the registered address, we can stay the same. 


Old business:


2023 Science Festival Trail – Ruth Henderson

Ruth has expanded the list of organizations invited. Some have responded. She will send another email. We need to start working on publicity. Dan asked about public radio sponsorship announcements. Tom said we used them for other events, such as the Science on the Stump forum, with little success. Ruth has asked organizations to put the event on their websites and asked them to invite other organizations. Robotics groups haven’t yet responded. We’d like to get on the morning show TV shows if we can, but it’s not clear what programs are available. Tom will examine their websites. Dan suggested emailing science teacher contacts in the metro area, hoping to spread the word through teachers. Ruth will do the virtual backpacks again and get on online datebooks and community calendars. Music: Ruth is considering a small jazz ensemble. Nathan said the new Valley High orchestra teacher is always seeking something for her students to do. He will contact her. Julie Meachen from DMU will speak, so maybe we can work with them to publicize the event. Ruth will ask Meachen. 

Dan and a friend are developing a science film festival at the Varsity theater. The friend, Ben, is working on promotional materials, likely consisting of Iowa public radio ads and a social media campaign. Dan will see what is planned and seek examples we can follow.

Last year Kate Garner helped with press releases but we got a late start. Tom will contact her to see if she can help.

Dan will ask his STEM Hub colleagues if there’s a way to piggyback on their visits to STEM gatherings around the state.

Ruth will talk to IEC about getting onto their calendar when she’s at lobby day.


Mission statement revisions

Dan tweaked what was on the website. Ruth wondered whether people would take issue with our statement of nonpartisanship. Mission statements she has examined are much shorter. We settled on: Science Iowa promotes science in the public interest through publicly supported research and evidence-based policy.

Tom asked Dan about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Dan will look to see if there are grants up our alley.



Ruth has started some grant applications, She’s applied to Polk County Farm Bureau and Costco. She’s working on Kum and Go and Kemin. Tom will ask Kate Garner for advice on corporate sponsors. Tom also will contact Integrated DNA Technology again.


Adjourned at 4 p.m.

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