Citizens United
to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, Inc.

Citizens United is a volunteer, nonprofit corporation dedicated to the preservation and protection of the Maurice River watershed for the enjoyment of this and future generations. Founded in 1979 by local residents and incorporated as a charitable organization in 1986, we now number over 430 memberships.

Our membership is quite diverse, including biologists, teachers, lawyers, builders, historians, trappers, engineers and many others. This diversity affords us the opportunity to work in close contact with other environmental organizations, benefiting from their knowledge and expertise. We participate in many local, state and national cooperative conservation programs and serve on numerous government committees. Our members are also involved in keeping land trusts updated on possible land acquisition projects.

Officers
Jane Morton Galetto, President, 2015
Tony Klock, Treasurer, 2015
Irene Bird,
Assistant Treasurer, 2016
Laurie Pettigrew, Recording Secretary, 2014
Karen Johnson, Corresponding Secretary, 2014

and Trustees
Ethan Aronoff, 2016
Sue Fenili, 2015
Leslie Ficcaglia, 2016
Richard Jones, 2014
Sue Leopold, 2013
Suzanne Olah, 2016
Laurie Pettigrew, 2014

Mary Ann Russell, 2012
Mary Watkins, 2014
Dr. Mary Ann Westerfield, 2015

Staff
Doreen Homan, Office Manager

Officers

President-Jane Morton Galetto was instrumental in the incorporation of Citizens United in 1986. As President, Jane coordinates various studies performed by experts in flora and fauna, organizes volunteers in construction of habitat projects, arranges meetings with various land trusts and local property owners on land acquisition projects, conducts river tours for interested groups, and gives conservation presentations to school and civic groups. For 18 years Jane chaired the New Jersey Endangered and Nongame Species Advisory Committee she remains a committee member.  While holding the seat of chair she served on the Fish, Game and Wildlife Council (both are advisory to the New Jersey Division of FG&W, DEP).

Jane played an integral role in the passage of New Jersey's stringent 1987 Wetlands Law while serving on NJ Freshwater Wetlands Advisory Committee. She serves on the boards of the Bayshore Discovery Project, South Jersey Bayshore Coalition, and previously on the South Jersey Land Trust, Stockton Alliance, New Jersey Audubon Board, and The Nature Conservancy Bayshores Program. She has received numerous State and National awards for her conservation contributions. Jane has a degree in secondary education in social science from Elizabethtown College.

Treasurer - Tony Klock is a teacher in Voorhees, NJ. In additon to his work with CU, he currently serves on the board of trustees of the Bayshore Discovery Project. Tony is a 16 year volunteer firefighter in the Port Norris Fire Company. He and his wife Marcia have led student groups overseas as part of the People to People Student Ambassador program for the past 8 years. He is a founding member and officer in the Camden County Academy of Teaching and Learning. In his spare time, Tony enjoys bird watching, gardening, and natural studies.

Assistant Treasurer-Irene Bird is a retired elementary school teacher. At the RD Wood Elementary School in Millville, NJ she was instrumental in the creation of an urban habitat project, translating her love of gardening to the schoolyard. In her honor the school named the garden “Bird’s Nest.” This garden is a centerpiece in an urban revitalization project. Many neighborhood members participated with pride in the creation of this jewel. Irene has been active in Millville’s Shade Tree Commission, the Millville Women’s Club and the Countryside Garden Club. She is also a member of the Cumberland County’s Juvenile Conference Committee and Child Placement Review Board. In 1999 she was selected as teacher of the year for the Millville School District, and she was featured in NJEA Review Magazine. She is a graduate of Glassboro Teacher’s College (now Rowan University). Born in Latvia, Irene is proficient in Russian with some German and Latvian expertise. She raised her family in Millville. Her hobbies include gardening, embroidering, cooking and baking.

Recording Secretary - Laurie Pettigrew - is a long-time CU member. She has been a state wildlife biologist for 26 years with the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife. She is author of NJ’s Wildlife Viewing Guides and as such is intimately familiar with the wildlife of our state and with helping people to appreciate it. In recent years, Laurie managed the creation of grassland habitats on Wildlife Management Areas. Hundreds of acres in Southern NJ offer habitat to early-successional species, many of which are in serious decline. Laurie helps the public interpret a variety of habitats and their benefits. Further she recruits volunteers who do surveys to monitor the success of these newly-created habitats. She has coordinated Wildlife Conservation Corps members in a wide variety of wildlife habitat projects on Wildlife Management Areas. Laurie holds a master’s degree in Wildlife Recreation and Nature Tourism from the University of Wisconsin. 

Corresponding Secretary - Karen Johnson is well known for her interest in birds and nature; she shares her enthusiasm with others in an inspirational way.  An Associate Naturalist for the NJ Audubon Society's Cape May Bird Observatory since 2002, Karen leads walks at the northern end of Cape May County at places like Jake's Landing and Belleplain.  In Cumberland County her winter hikes at Turkey Point and spring meanders at a variety of locations are a much-sought-after experience.

For many years Karen has been involved in the Purple Martin and Raptor/ Eagle Festivals.  In 2007 she was a key leader for the three student education days which are held just prior to the Eagle Festival.  This year, during these Raptor Recovery Days, over 500 students were introduced to birding and other habitat interpretation by CU leaders.

The NJ DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program has used Karen's keen birding skills to assess the population of Red Shouldered and Cooper’s Hawks as well as Barred Owls and Black Rails in the Southern NJ Bayshore Region.  She also has completed a census at both Buckshutem and Peaslee Wildlife Management Areas for breeding grassland birds. Beginning around 2002 she has surveyed American Woodcocks for the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge.

Karen lives with her husband, Brian, in Eldora where they have created a special backyard habitat which attracts many bird, butterfly, insect, turtle and frog species.  In August up to 100 migrating Ruby-throated Hummingbirds search for nectar in their yard.  She and Brian have opened up their property to educate others about ways they too can provide a haven for local and migrating wildlife species. We are lucky to have so dedicated a naturalist on board.

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Trustees
Ethan Aronoff
is the Director of Human Services for Cumberland County helping to oversee several contracts derived from $5.2 million in federal and state funding coming into the county for human service providers. He taught social studies for nine years and was executive director of the Millville YMCA for five years. He has held several appointed and elected public management positions, notably: two terms on the Millville City Commission. He has also participated on the planning board and an ad hoc master plan committee. He is also an advisory board member of The Nature Conservancy which oversees nearly $7 million. He was a town manager in Maine and Massachusetts. He has written columns for local newspapers. Ethan has held positions with United Way, Millville Public Library, Shade Tree Commission, First United Methodist Church, Maine Audubon - Penobscot Valley Chapter (president), Scout Merit Badge counselor and committeeman, Millville Kiwanis Club, Bayshore Discovery Project, several work related committees and boards, several national conservation groups.

Sue Fenili Family, students and the environment - no three words could better describe the priorities of Sue Fenili.  She is a teacher who places students’  “sense of place” first and foremost.  Learning in Sue’s classroom is a pride-building experience which involves the defining  of self within a person’s community.  Concern from both a civic and environmental perspective are of primary importance in her curriculum. The self esteem and community pride are evident in all the classroom interactions and in every thank-you note that visitors receive from her students.  Sue is modest about her achievements, be it in establishing Kids Against Pollution, acting as an Environmental Commissioner or Shade Tree Committeewoman in Vineland, winning a County Teacher of the Year Award, or contributing to many Educational Committees including CU’s Down Jersey - Celebrating Our Sense of Place.  

But she holds nothing back when asked about her occupation, remarking ,“I have the best job in the world; imagine getting paid for what you love.  I’m a teacher and I have the best students!”  Visiting her class will make a believer out of the most skeptical individual: “Yes, being a teacher is – terrific, cool.”  On her bio she describes herself as being “just a little wife, mother and teacher who loves nature, who is a proud teacher of third graders at Silver Run School (Millville).”  But to those of us who know her best, she is a world-traveler zip-lining atop the rain forests of Costa Rica, skipping among butterflies and poisonous snakes to help scientists in far-off lands on Earthwatch vacations - but most importantly she is a Teacher Extraordinaire.

Leslie Ficcaglia is a returning trustee, having acted briefly in that capacity in 1987-88. For almost twenty years she served as a member of The Maurice River Township Planning Board, was its chair for the last seven years of her tenure, and continues as vice-chair of the Cumberland County Planning Board. She was a member of the Wild and Scenic River Task Force, a trustee for the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions; she is Cumberland County’s appointee to the Pinelands Commission and chairs its Personnel and Budget committee. She also sits on the county Tourism Council; serves as chair for her township’s Environmental Committee; and is a member of The Nature Conservancy’s Delaware Bayshores Advisory Council. Because of her interest in fostering ecotourism as a means of protecting the area’s resources, Leslie developed and maintains a website about the Maurice River area. Retired from her former profession as a psychologist, she is presently a portrait artist, and she was the founding chair of the board of the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts. For her individual contributions Leslie was awarded a 2003 EPA's Environmental Quality Award. Leslie has a bachelor’s degree from NYU and a master’s degree in psychology from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. Her biography appears in Who’s Who in America. Her husband, Tony, is part of the Delaware River Keeper water testing program.

Richard Jones is a New Jersey licensed professional engineer and certified municipal engineer. He has a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering and Construction Technology from Temple University. Richard is employed by the City of Millville, NJ as Assistant Municipal Engineer. His primary responsibilities are the planning, design, and management of municipal projects from implementation through completion. In his 30 years experience with the City, Richard has worked on a diversity of projects including civil and building construction, transportation systems, utility distribution, parks and recreational facilities, urban site design, and waterfront development. His primary responsibilities over the past decade have been the planning and design of Millville's urban infrastructure that serves the Glasstown Arts District including downtown streetscapes, public plazas, waterfront park, boardwalk, public marina, and bikeway trail. Richard also participates regularly in planning and environmental studies and works closely with state and federal agencies on various permitting and regulatory issues. He presently serves on the Northeast Wild & Scenic Rivers Partnership and participates in the Delaware Estuary Program. He previously served on the Federal Wild and Scenic River Study Task Force for the Maurice River and its Tributaries and was instrumental in the development of Millville's Local River Management Plan. Richard has a special interest in waterfronts, and over the past 20 years has independently studied the planning, design, and economics of numerous waterfront communities and projects throughout North America.

Susan Leopold is a retired educator who has worked as a teacher, reading specialist and principal. She is an avid skier, cyclist, traveler, and bird watcher. She and her husband John tend a thriving Purple Martin colony and have helped with bird banding. Susan helps coordinate the Chili Bowl Dinner, cooks dinner for the shorebird scientists, assists with Elevate and has participated in a great many Citizens United events.

Suzanne Olah retired from the City of Millville, Department of Revenue and Finance, where she served as the appointed Tax and Utilities Collector. She remains active in consulting and training for municipalities and is involved with a variety of related associations. Suzanne is the treasurer of the MDC/Main Street Board and chair/board liaison for the organization committee.

Suzanne completed her studies at Rutgers University, Edward J. Bloustein School, Center for Government Services, where she has taught Government Policy and Finance since 1997. She also chaired the Education Committee, where she continues to serve as a board member.

Suzanne is treasurer/secretary on the board of directors for PAFA Community Services, which is committed to enabling and supporting people with developmental disabilities and other special needs. She has also served on the board of directors of the Shirley Eves Center. She is currently a member of the Millville Library Board and the Laurel Lake Property Owners Association board.

Suzanne has been an active member and volunteer for CU Maurice River for several years. She has mastered the auction software used for our Chili Bowl fundraiser, and has offered to take reservations for numerous events over the past two years. We are extremely appreciative of her attention to detail and friendly demeanor.

Laurie Pettigrew - is a long-time CU member. She has been a state wildlife biologist for 26 years with the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife. She is author of NJ’s Wildlife Viewing Guides and as such is intimately familiar with the wildlife of our state and with helping people to appreciate it. In recent years, Laurie managed the creation of grassland habitats on Wildlife Management Areas. Hundreds of acres in Southern NJ offer habitat to early-successional species, many of which are in serious decline. Laurie helps the public interpret a variety of habitats and their benefits. Further she recruits volunteers who do surveys to monitor the success of these newly-created habitats. She has coordinated Wildlife Conservation Corps members in a wide variety of wildlife habitat projects on Wildlife Management Areas. Laurie holds a master’s degree in Wildlife Recreation and Nature Tourism from the University of Wisconsin. 

Mary Ann Russell- Mary Ann Russell is a retired educator. She has worked as a teacher, principal, curriculum supervisor and superintendent for Downe Township Schools and as a district curriculum coordinator for the Bridgeton Public Schools. She was a member of the Bridgeton Library Board, and currently serves on the boards of the Millville Public Library, the Laurel Lake Property Owners Auxiliary, and C U. Mary Ann is known as one of the chief coordinators of the Chili Bowl Dinner, and has represented Citizens United at a great many events. Mary Ann and her husband Tim have hosted the new members’ orientation and campfire recollection events at their home on the Maurice River. They are both directors in the Laurel Lake Property Owners Association. 

Mary Watkins works at South Jersey Hospital Systems as a dialysis nurse.  She has an intense interest in the outdoors.  She has led nature walks for CU, attended our events, and helped with the preparations for the Western Hemisphere Reserve Network 25th Anniversary Celebration. She has a degree in vocal music education form Glassboro. She was an opera singer and served on the board of Greater South Jersey Chorus.

Dr. Mary Ann Westerfield completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Medicine from The Pennsylvania State University and obtained her Masterís degree from The University of Georgia. After living out of state for 15 years, she moved back to southern New Jersey and has since completed her Doctorate Degree in Innovation and Leadership from Wilmington University. Mary Ann is the Dean of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Agriculture, and all of the Healthcare programs at Cumberland County College. This academic division houses the environmental science and sustainable energy programs. Mary Ann has environmental and wildlife protection ìin her bloodî and has a history with CU since it was founded in 1979. Through growing up on the banks of the Menantico, being raised by her parents Berwyn (co-founder of CU) and Kay Kirby in a pristine paradise, having Tom Brown as a mentor, and getting married with the incoming tide on the first point of Schooner Landing, Mary Ann has an established civic commitment to preserve the environment and protect wildlife.

Staff

Doreen Homan joined Citizens United as the Office Manager In April of 2014. However, Doreen has been working for Citizens United for 28 years, mailing the newsletters, renewal letters and maintaining the membership list. Doreen and her husband, Carl moved back to New Jersey in January of 2014. They had lived here in New Jersey until the summer of 2002 when they left and moved to Virginia then onto West Virginia. While in those states she worked for 5 different companies as a Bookkeeper, Office Manager, and Accounts Receivable Manager. In 1986 she became the General Manager of Cumberland Technology Enterprise Center (CTEC), New Jerseyís 1st Business Incubator with offices in both Millville and Vineland. While in that position she was actively involved in the Vineland, Milllville, and Cape May County Chambers of Commerce. She served as President of the Millville Chamber. She has also managed a large Bulk Mail Center and worked for Xerox for 13 years in many different management positions.

Doreen grew up in West Virginia and graduated from West Virginia University with a BA in Secondary Education, with teaching fields of Biology, Physical Science, and Home Economics. She spent many hours on her grandparentís farms, helping with the gardens, and wandering through the woods and trails of the scenic areas where the family farms resided. She is glad to be back in Southern New Jersey where it is flat and the rivers, bays, and oceans are close by.

 

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Key Advisors and Volunteers

Trustees Emeritus