MICA Annual General Meeting 2008
Held on June 10, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at the Lunenburg Yacht Club
2008 MICA Award Winner
HERMAN'S ISLAND -- Lunenburg MLA Michael Baker is the first recipient of the first Mahone Islands Conservation Association Award, in recognition of his commitment to MICA's mission of preserving and enhancing traditional access to the islands.
"The Mahone Islands Conservation Association Award honours an individual or group who has worked hard and made an outstanding contribution in helping MICA pursue its mission," said MICA chairman John Meisner, at its recent annual general meeting. "There is little doubt that MICA was able to accomplish so much in a short period of time because of the outstanding personal and professional commitment of this individual."
For his part, Michael told the crowd that he was honoured to receive the award, but felt that there were "a number of people in this room who are more deserving".
"It's been a privilege and a pleasure to work with the executive, past and present, because of the degree of commitment and professionalism they have demonstrated," Michael continued, calling his part in arranging meetings and supporting MICA's mission as a "labour of love".
"I love Mahone Bay and the islands and feel that the time to preserve them for posterity is now."
John told the capacity crowd that Michael met with members of the newly created board in May 2003, and besides helping secure meetings with Natural Resources and other cabinet colleagues, he gave them valuable advice on how to pitch to government officials.
"He told us to make a very clear proposal and use lots of pictures," joked John.
Five years later, MICA has been instrumental in the public acquisition of Long, Snipe Centre, Dry, Backmans, Coveys and Andrews Islands. In addition, MICA partnered with the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL) in acquiring the northern tip of Mason's Island - next to the parcel already owned by the municipality. MICA members and supporters have raised nearly a half million dollars to help acquire these islands, which are owned by the province or MODL, with stewardship falling to MICA.
"Michael, you have been a true friend and supporter of MICA and have been instrumental in creating this legacy for all Nova Scotians to enjoy," John told the Lunenburg MLA. "For this tremendous contribution, we are all very thankful."
For his part, growing up alongside Mahone Bay, and avid boater all his life, Michael was equally appreciative of what MICA has accomplished in the short time it has been in existence. He also praised his Tory colleagues for embracing land protection for Nova Scotia's natural treasures.
Michael was presented with a plate especially created by Mahone Bay potters Pam Birdsall and Tim Worthington. The caption reads: "For supporting MICA's mission."
Nominations for the award can be made by any MICA member, and must be submitted by the Annual General Meeting next June. For details, watch our website.
Report of Directors
In its 6th year since incorporation as a Society, MICA has made significant accomplishments towards our Mission. Partnering with the Province of Nova Scotia for the purchase of Andrews Island in the fall of 2005, and the joint acquisition of Backmans and Covey in 2007, meant that these three prime islands would be protected and available for public use in perpetuity.
This past year MICA has assisted with the acquisition of additional prime island properties - first, with Municipality of the District of Lunenburg in the acquisition of the northern end of Masons Island, adjacent to the existing Masons Island property owned by the Municipality.
Secondly, MICA was approached by the Long Island Preservation Society regarding a donation of Long, Snipe, Dry and Centre Islands. We were very pleased to have assisted with and facilitated the donation process to the Province by the LIPS group. We intend to recognize this generous act of the Society at the MICA reception on July 18, 2008 at the LYC.
The Gala Dinner and Art Auction held on November 9, 2007 was another huge success. It was the 5th such event, contributing solidly to our fundraising and providing an evening of fun and fellowship.
Stewardship ReportIn closing, I would also like to thank our dedicated Directors and committee members who have devoted so much time and energy working for our organization.
The Stewardship Committee is working with the local office of the Department of Natural Resources to ensure the islands are properly respected. MICA has signed a Stewardship Agreement with the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg for the recently acquired Masons Island property. The Coastal Protection Seminar with the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, Chester Chapter, held on May 10 of this year generated positive feedback.
The Membership and Public Relations Committee has been active building the membership, publishing the newsletter and maintaining MICA's excellent web site. During the past year, we exhibited at the Classic Boat Festival in Mahone Bay and the Halifax International Boat Show.
Finance and Acquisition & Administration Committee
The Finance, Acquisition and Administration Committee reviewed the by-laws with suggested 'housekeeping' revisions. The by-laws were e-mailed to members for consideration and mailed to the remaining membership and passed at the AGM Numerous presentations were made to groups and organizations to promote MICA's mission and to solicit partners for specific projects.
MICA has contributed nearly four hundred thousand dollars to date towards our acquisitions. This is a very significant amount of money raised through general donations, the Dinner and Art Auctions and through specific fundraising campaigns. We offer our sincere thanks to all who have donated to make our acquisitions possible.
With one director, Anne Bailly, stepping down, the list of directors for 2008-2009 is John Meisner, Michael Ernst, Georg Ernst, Sherry Swinamer, Bryan Palfreyman, Sherrill Harrison, Barbara Wuertz, Brom Hart, Karen Janigan, Colin Mann, Brenton Aulenback and our new director, David Nicholson.
Looking Ahead for 2008
It is important that MICA continue its mandate by acquiring island properties in Mahone Bay. This can be accomplished by direct acquisition with a major funding partner, by donations as was done by LIPS or by conservation easements. Our message continues to be - if we don't act now, it will be too late. MICA is currently working on projects, which, if successful, will complement the acquisitions already completed. These projects are currently confidential but will be announced when appropriate, at which time the fundraising campaign for them will also be announced. For the coming year, planned activities include continuing the work of expanding our membership, maintaining the stewardship of our islands in conjunction with the province and municipality, documenting the history and developing a database of the islands and of course planning for the 6th Gala Dinner and Art Auction this fall.
MAHONE ISLANDS CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION
John Meisner, Chair