Kansas City Zoo Photo Club Meeting Minutes

February 19, 2001

Dan Paulsen called the meeting to order.  around 7:20 p.m. Dan asked if there was any old business.

Jim Redina explained that Malinda Welte had been working on our Web page, and that Brian Dowell and Denny Medley, two of our newer members, had offered to help. They have some suggestions on the site to share with us, and so they brought a couple of laptops and have asked us to take a look and give feedback on the mock-up site they have created. We will all have a chance to take a look later when we take a break.  

The speaker tonight was George Scheil, and  he is giving a presentation on butterflies.  George explained that he and his wife Alice, who was also present, are members of National Wildlife Federation. They have been to about 25 of the annual summits, have volunteered at Squaw Creek for the last 13 or 14 years, and formed Friends of Squaw Creek last year. It now has 180 members. They are the only charter Adopt Wild Child parents at the Kansas City Zoo.

George started his slide presentation with some interesting general slides of butterflies, some of which included a good view of the proboscis, which is like a drinking straw but is coiled when the butterfly is not drinking nectar. His slides included shots of cabbage white, cloudless sulphur, angel wing, tiger swallowtail, black swallowtail, silver-spotted skipper, painted lady, red admiral, hackberry, buckeye, and zebra butterflies.

George said they went to Mexico with Dr. Bob Pyle, who is a renowned lepidopterist. He was a Rhodes scholar in England. He has set up a sanctuary for monarch butterflies and is known in England and the U.S. He has spent a lot of time in New Guinea as well, and has worked to get people to raise butterflies instead of capturing them in the wild. Dr. Pyle has authored seven or eight books, one of which is on Big Foot. He lives in Washington State. He has followed butterflies in their migrations from British Columbia to central Mexico. George explained to us that all monarchs west of the Rockies go to Monterey in the winter and all east go to Mexico on their migration.

George said they went to Mexico to see the monarchs. They went from Houston to Mexico City, and then to Michoacan. They were there in February. He shared some shots of this area, where the land have been taken from rich landowners and divided among the Indians. In the lowlands were banana trees.

El Rosario is an area open to the public to which the monarchs migrate. It was incredible to see the hundreds or thousands of monarchs attached to the trees. George said they attach to branches in such large numbers that the branches hang straight down. Here they are in a semi-dormant stage.

There is lots of shade, making it hard to get good pictures.

George said that poor Mexicans have been  cutting the trees down and feeding cattle on.  the land. The number of monarchs that thus rest here is reduced; there is an effort to reforest the area. Two sites in this area  are restricted to scientific personnel, but one is open to the public. George painted out that butterflies are a barometer of human life.

The monarchs make the trip from Canada each fall, and the offspring fly back to Canada in the spring. In March to April, they leave Mexico and start north. Their reproductive systems are re-engaged, and they may get as far as Texas before they mate, lay eggs, and die. The second-generation heads north, lays eggs, and dies, and this cycle continues. It takes about five generations to reach Canada. The last generation lives about eight months, as opposed to three weeks for the other generations, and heads back to Mexico. That generation hibernates from August to March, and then starts north.

It is not known how they all reach the same spot in Mexico.

George then presented a slide show set to music, showing a trip he made to Pacific Grove and the Monterey Bay area in California, the other migration destination for the butterflies. His slides showed many butterflies resting on people's noses. George said the butterflies would stay for four to five hours (unless you are wearing sunscreen, in which case the butterfly will not stay).

As he concluded his very interesting presentation, George painted out that people often think it is neat to release butterflies at weddings. He discourages this, however, because they are usually not raised for the climate and will die.  

New business was discussed. It was noted that George Lepp would be in town on March 24 and 25 for a photography presentation.  The fee is $75 for one day if you register ahead of time ($85 at the door). If five or more register together, though, the fee is $50 for one day and $90 for bath days. Is there any interest in getting at least five people together? Jim said he would check into going at the reduced rate: if you are interested, talk to him.

We now have seven or eight people signed up for the Wolf Park trip. Bad news on the motel - they are 90 percent booked on that weekend, so they said they wouldn't give us a discount. [Note: Some of us managed to get a pretty good rate there anyway.]

We talked about renting a van for the trip, but that turned out not to be practical, so Dan said we need about three people to drive.  Crystal Nederman said she could drive, and Dan said he could take a car. The covered bridges are a couple of hours away from Wolf Park, on the way home. Some people want to try to take photos of the bridges too.

The Raytown Community Festival of the Arts is Sunday, April 1, and they are looking for artists. It is $10 to enter and you can call (816) 356-4902 if you are interested.  

We then reviewed members' slides. Sheila Rohrer had some from a trip to Thailand. She showed some of a Buddhist monastery that takes care of Siamese tigers that people have given up as pets. She was there in December.  She said the Siamese is a little smaller than the Bengal tiger. Dan had some slides of ice on the trees from last Saturday while he was at Ernie Miller Nature Park, using a 300mm lens and Kodak 100 ES film. Terry Fretz had some shots of birds at Smithville and eagles fishing at the Lawrence outlet mall by the river. Malinda had some slides of a trip to Shreveport, including the American Rose Center. Downtown Shreveport has many nice murals on the buildings and she had some shots of that as well.

We took a break and ate cookies provided by Jim. During this time, members roamed about looking at pictures brought in by others and checking out the mock-up of the Web site.  Linda Williams brought prints of butterflies, and Marie Bohndorf and Linda Hanley also had some pictures to share.  

The final topic for discussion was the Web site. After reviewing the laptop displays, everyone seemed to agree that the site presented would be great. Brian and Denny passed out a handout describing benefits and details, and gave a short presentation on it.  The benefits would include the ability for the club to send mailings of items such as the newsletter to e-mail addresses, rather than via the U.S. mail, which would cut costs. We can also link to galleries where we can sell our works.

We would have our own domain name for the site. We need to come up with one. It would end in ".org" since we are a nonprofit organization. We talked about a name - it would be good to have the KC Zoo in the title, but we need to check with the zoo about doing that first. Something like "kczoophotoclub.org" was discussed, but the shorter the name, the better. Jim volunteered to check with the zoo on the use of the name.

The Web site hosting service, Hosting Matters (www.hostingmatters.com), that Brian and Denny are proposing to use would give us space for up to about 400 photos in the 1/2 to 1 megabyte range. We could have our own domain with content controlled by us.  We could also have our own e-mail addresses via that site at no additional charge.

It costs $20 a year for the domain name; the hosting site would charge us a yearly amount as well. The price presented was a 50 discount on normal fees, however.

We discussed how we will maintain the site on an ongoing basis. Brian and Denny said they would be willing to help with setting up the galleries and maintaining the site, if we would upload our own pictures via a scanner, a digital camera, or a commercial lab. They estimated that they could have the site up and running within a month of getting the go-ahead to do it.

How do we protect our images on the Web?

One way is to not scan at a high resolution.  You can also put a copyright statement with your name on the image.

Jim said we will probably need a program on file management for photos.

Jim moved that we proceed with the Web site as discussed. Malinda seconded and the motion passed.

Jim said we need consensus on what to put on the site. Do we want to limit the content of our images? We have specific guidelines on displaying our work at Deja Zoo, etc. Jim said the emphasis should be on zoo photography: we should keep content in the animal/nature area.

This was discussed in more detail. We have broadened what we display at Deja Zoo to be not just KC Zoo animals. We show other animals as long as the work is captioned, and we allow nature photos too. But we do want to be sensitive to the zoo sponsorship, especially if we use the "KC Zoo" in the name.

The group seemed to agree that as long as the work was captioned, non-KC-Zoo animals and nature photos would be okay. But we could also have a page devoted to the KC Zoo collection and then separate member galleries for other images. We might also want to require a certain percentage of each member's work be KC Zoo animals.

We may want to have a contest each month for the image to display on the opening screen of the Web site.

It was also moved, seconded, and successfully carried that we pick up Brian, Denny, and Malinda's club memberships for their efforts on the Web site. It was a group effort and they have done a great job so far!

The meeting adjourned around 9:20 p.m. The next meeting will be on March 19 at 7 p.m.

* Tracy Goodrich