Roles and responsibilities of our volunteers

Introduction

The Thorndike Pond Conservation Association (TPCA) is governed by bylaws. This document outlines in more detail the various roles and responsibilities within the Association. It is intended to give Association members a better understanding of the many ways they can participate. The Association is incorporated and approved as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

 

Calendar

We maintain a calendar that describes the timing of association activities.

 

TPCA Board

The Association is governed by a 7-person board elected by the membership.

 

President

Current: Steve Magoun

Responsible for leading the Association under the Bylaws. Responsibilities include:

Oversee the operations of the Association

Organize and lead board meetings as necessary. Generally these are at least once/year, or more often as needed.

Appoint a nominating committee to nominate members for board membership

Lead the annual meeting.

By custom the President serves a minimum of (2) consecutive one-year terms.

Vice President

Current: Lisa Frantzis

Assists the President in oversight and operation of the Association, and serves as President if the President is absent. By custom the Vice President serves a minimum of (2) consecutive one-year terms, and then stands as candidate for President.

Secretary-Treasurer

Current: Jim Banghart

The Secretary/Treasurer is an elected board member. Responsibilities include:

Pick up mail at our PO Box about once every other week.

Paying bills (10-12/year)

Making deposits (10-15/year)

Maintaining our bookkeeping; we use Quicken and must make entries for each check we receive (about 100 or so per year) and for each check written.

Filling out an annual report; that takes about a half hour with the benefit of Quicken.

Complete annual filings for the state and feds; that takes about a half hour each. We make an annual filing with the state on a form called the NHCT-2A (New Hampshire Charitable Trust) and with the feds on a 990-N. Our fiscal year starts July 1.

Complete 3 mailings a year:

Notice of the annual meeting; about 2-hours with prep

Minutes of the annual meeting; about 2-hours with prep

Fund solicitation; about a half hour.

Sending out other mailings as needed, usually written by someone else (like a lake host request for volunteers).  This might add up to an hour or two per year.

Keep track of our membership with new owners and address, phone or email changes.  This might add up to an hour a year.

Attend board meetings, the same as any other board member.  Typically, this takes an hour and a half once a year and maybe another hour with email exchanges.

Maintain the TPCA website at https://www.thorndike.org

 

Board Members: elected to staggered 2-year terms

Current: Jim Potter

John Brouder

David Nash

Jinnie Russell

Board members, which include the President, Vice President, and Secretary-Treasurer, control the activities of the Association. The board meets annually or as needed and conducts additional discussions via e-mail.

 

Lake Host

Each year the TPCA participates in NH Lakes’ Lake Host program. Lake Host is an educational program designed to keep invasive species out of bodies of water. The program works; for example, in 2015 a Lake Host found variable milfoil on a boat and prevented it from entering Thorndike Pond.

The Lake Host Program is one of the most important ways the TPCA can preserve the beauty and quality of Thorndike Pond. We need your help as a volunteer!

Lake Host Roles: There are several roles within the Lake Host program:

Lake Host Coordinator (Jim Potter)

Paid Lake Host

Volunteer Lake Host

Camp Coordinator (John Brouder)

Volunteer Coordinator (Skip Cornelius)

Grant Writer (Paul Santos)

Data Entry (Paul Santos)

Ramp Material Coordinator

Trainer

We generally split the responsibilities among several people.

Lake Host Coordinator: The Lake Host Coordinator is a member of the TPCA who serves as the “point person” for the Lake Host program. The Lake Host Coordinator is responsible for the Lake Host program on the pond, including hiring paid Lake Hosts and coordinating with NH Lakes. The Lake Host Coordinator is ultimately responsible for ensuring that there is Lake Host coverage on the pond.

The Lake Host is also responsible for signing and approving timesheets from Lake Hosts before they are sent to NH Lakes. We maintain a gmail account (TPCA Lake-Host <thorndikepond.lakehost@gmail.com>) for this purpose, and for recruiting paid Lake Hosts.

Due to the importance of this role and the need to respond quickly in the event of an issue with paid hosts, this role should be held by someone who is on the pond throughout the summer.

Paid Lake Host: Each year we hire 2 or 3 people to work part-time at the ramp, generally on weekends. This ensures we have Lake Host coverage during the busiest times. Paid Lake Hosts are hired by the Lake Host Coordinator, but are technically employed by NH Lakes. This allows NH Lakes to handle all of the payroll and taxes. As part of their training, they are required to download an app onto their cell phones which contains the means for reporting their timesheets directly to NH Lakes. This same app also contains the means for creating a boater report for each time they encounter a boat either entering or leaving the Pond.

Volunteer Lake Host: TPCA members are encouraged to volunteer their time as Lake Hosts to augment the paid Lake Hosts. This is an easy, enjoyable way to help ensure the quality of the pond. We use a calendar on the TPCA website to coordinate volunteer sign-up. Volunteers may choose what time they work. These volunteers may also download the Lake Host app onto their cell phones, and may use it to create boater reports. They do not use the timesheet aspects the paid hosts use, but they are responsible for sending an email to the current Data Entry person using Volunteer Time/Match sheets (or equivalent) data. In addition, those volunteers that do not use the Lake Host app should also email their boater report sheets to the current Data Entry person.

Camp Coordinator:  To increase the coverage by both camps, one person will serve as the coordinator and be more present and active with the camps. The camps have generally reviewed this as an environmental experience which might be considered optional but should be made to consider this as a responsibility as the heaviest users of the lake and the members most affected by invasive species. The goal is for one person, committing an hour or at most two a week. Typically, the camps provide two volunteers for at least one or two hours during the middle of the day on the weekdays that the camp’s operation is able to do so.

Volunteer Coordinator: To increase the number and hours of volunteer participation, another member should be responsible for the volunteers. It was pointed out that having a training session on a few mornings made volunteers feel more obligated to participate. At this point, the coordinator can take care of any volunteer paperwork required by NH Lakes, and also inform the volunteers about their reporting duties. We have found over the years that we prefer a carrot to a stick approach to get more volunteers.

Grant Writer: This is a one-time annual submittal, not very time consuming but provides a good portion of what is needed to fund the program. This usually happens early in the year and relies heavily on the previous season’s grant information, provided after the season is over, by NH Lakes. This submittal also requires us to set the pay rate and the number of hours we plan to have for our paid positions.

Data Entry: All data on volunteer efforts (e.g. Volunteer Time/Match sheet), and the boater survey sheets for those volunteers that do not have the NH Lakes app, must be submitted. However the timing of entering this data is much more lenient than the paid host timesheets, so the volunteer's reporting to the Data Entry person can be delayed and/or cumulative over time. The email address of the Data Entry person is provided to all volunteers. Both the amount of volunteer time and the number of boats processed has a direct impact on the size of the grant award.

Ramp Material Coordinator: At the ramp we have a chair, a box for storing required materials, a sign, and an umbrella. They need to be put out each spring, put away in the fall, and stored for the winter. In addition some items need to be occasionally repaired or replaced. It takes a half hour for each transition and a few hours at most during the season to do this.

Trainer: This position may not be needed, depending on how well are are able to staff the coordinator positions, because NH Lakes has a training video available online.  Coordinators are encouraged to have sessions where they show the video to encourage its use, get people involved and committed, and ensure they get the training.

 

Lake Host Coverage

In past years we’ve had paid coverage on weekends (8hrs/day) and Holidays. Weekends and Holidays are most important from the perspective of boat traffic.

We defined the ideal coverage as:

●      Early mornings (6-8am) and late afternoons (4-6pm or 5-7pm), 7 days/wk

●      All day Sat+Sun (6am-6pm)

We rely on the camps to provide midday coverage during the week during the times the camps are in session, and strive to get other volunteers to fill in whenever possible for them.

Lake Host Funding

At the beginning of the year we write a grant for paid Lake Hosts from NH Lakes. In 2020, we received $1450/year towards paid lake hosting. The TPCA contributes an additional $1000/year toward paid lake hosts. We get ‘credit’ with NH Lakes for having volunteer lake hosts and inspecting boats. The more volunteering we do, and the more boats we record, the more credit we get.

 

Dam Oversight

Current: Steve Magoun

The TPCA owns and is responsible for the dam that manages outflow from Thorndike Pond into Stanley Brook. The dam is located on the north end of the pond, within the Camp Wa-Klo property.

The dam needs regular inspection, and historically has needed repair every 10 years or so. Dam repairs are the TPCA’s largest expense, and can be in excess of $100,000. Formal inspections are conducted every 3 years by the NH DES Dam Bureau. They do not mandate that we be represented and will send us their report in any event.  But it is best for us to be there to answer any questions, to hear what they have to say, and to ask any questions.

Important: The dam is located on the private property of camp Wa-Klo. Any and all access must be coordinated ahead of time with the director of Wa-Klo.

Responsibilities:

Inspect the dam regularly throughout the year, including after large storms. Look for obvious damage or deterioration. Look for encroaching vegetation and organize removal (either via volunteers from the TPCA or from Wa-Klo).

Coordinate board removal in the fall (day after Columbus Day) and reinstallation in the spring (last week of April). The Drawdown Policy is listed on our website.

Work with the NH DES Dam Bureau for inspections and repairs.

Coordinate repairs to the dam as required by the Dam Bureau.

 

Water Quality Testing

Current: Jim Banghart

 

We do water quality testing 3 times per year. One of those is with a state tech as part of the NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) Volunteer Lake Assessment Program (VLAP) program. Sampling takes about 2-hours. 

 

Samples must go to the testing lab in Concord.  We do this in cooperation with Gilmore Pond.  With a budget cut the state can only visit a pond every other year but because they can do both ponds, we get them to test our lake every year.  When they come they take the samples back.  Then with the cooperation with Gilmore, we split the other two trips to Concord so we only have to go once per year.  There is also a half day of training each year. It is not mandatory, but is worthwhile because there are interesting presentations.

 

Weed Watching

Current: Jim Potter (lead), Anne & Jim Banghart, Lisa Frantzis, David and Alisa Nash, Patty Scholl, Roberta Schnoor

The weed watchers survey the entire shoreline of the pond on a regular basis in an effort to quickly identify any invasive species that might appear. Each member of the team has an assigned area of the shoreline to monitor and is expected to patrol that area at least once a month. Weed-watching is a great way to learn about the plants on the pond.

The lead coordinates the assignments as volunteers change and does the report and tells the membership at the annual meeting.

 

Canada Geese Officer

Current: Anne Banghart

The primary responsibility of the Goose Officer is to register with the State of NH to obtain a Resident Canada Goose Nest & Egg Registration Number. This registration allows for nest and egg depredation around the pond under state guidelines and with the permission of owners whose properties are affected.

The registration is done annually and is only valid from March 1 - June 30.

Over the course of the spring the goose officer, along with a team of volunteers, monitor the shorelines for signs of goose nesting. If found, it is the responsibility of the goose officer to obtain permission from property owners to attempt degradation of the nest/eggs per state guidelines. Egg destruction is reportable to the state.

The goose officer encourages shoreline owners to apply harassment techniques which discourage goose habitation and serves as a resource concerning any issues thereof.

The goose officer also provides a report on goose + loon activity at the annual meeting.

 

Whittemore Island Liaison

Current: Anne Banghart

This person is the liaison between the Monadnock Conservancy, which owns Whittemore Island, and the TPCA. The responsibilities include regular visits to the Island to assess for any potential hazards that might affect visitors to the island and to monitor the visitor log to ensure sign-in sheets are available. Completed sign-in sheets are then forwarded to the Conservancy office in Keene as necessary. Contact between the Conservancy and the TPCA liaison is otherwise done on an as needed basis.

 

Ice In/Out Reporting

Current: John Brouder

We report the ice-in and ice-out dates to the state, which keeps historical data. It requires someone who is here regularly in the winter months.