Annual Message January 2000

Dear Members and Friends,

We hope your holidays were pleasant.

Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, Inc. has an extensive list of projects for 1999-2000. Permit us to review some of the more noteworthy of these:

We have completed a 370+ page teachers’ curriculum entitled Down Jersey Celebrating Our Sense of Place that was designed to accompany the Down Jersey research and film project. This project was developed in partnership with the National Park Service’s New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route, and will be distributed to 200 schools in Cumberland, Salem, and Cape May Counties. It encompasses 2 years of exhaustive work and is one of our most ambitious products to date. So far the response has been enthusiastic. The unveiling of this packet took place at Wheaton Village on November 16, 1999.

NJN (New Jersey Network) is still airing Down Jersey. The short version of the film is shown on a viewer-selected basis at Fort Mott and at a tourist information area on the Garden State Parkway and continues to be well received.

We have contracted with the University of Delaware to conduct a maritime survey of the New Jersey Delaware Bayshore. This study is being carried out under the supervision of the National Park Service – New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route office. Ultimately the intent is to develop interpretative displays and another film with NJN.

NJN and Citizens United have secured funding for a video about local artists’ depictions of Bayshore landscapes. NJN producer Louis Presti (Emmy Award winning producer of Down Jersey) and CU have pursued this project for over a year. The Cumberland County Freeholders approved a grant from the National Park Service and we have contracted with NJN. The video is expected to be complete in the spring of 2001. We are very excited about this innovative project.

The osprey colony results were sensational this year: 52 chicks were banded in 20+ nests. Of an additional 20 nests that we built for PSE&G, 12 were used and 5 of those definitely produced chicks. The 6 nests we constructed for NJ’s Bureau Emergency Management are in place and 3-4 are active! The nine platforms we built for the state endangered and nongame species program we assume have some tenants.

We have begun our 13th annual raptor waterfowl survey.

We will be making a donation to the Natural Lands Trust for an observation platform on the Maurice River Peek Preserve, once they receive their permits. This will give Citizens United a location for public education on the Maurice. Ideally, we would like to have a lecture series for the Peek Preserve aimed at school children.

We continue to host field trips and make classroom presentations.

The 1999 Annual Connie Jost Memorial Art Scholarship award winner was Cumberland Regional High School senior Megan Piontkowski. Ms. Piontkowski was selected by a panel of professional artists to receive this honor. Not only was Megan’s artwork exceptional but she is also a straight A student! Her art instructors at Cumberland Regional are Betsy Tasker and Darlene Gates. Ms. Gates described Megan as being involved in a wide variety of school activities. Beyond her fine art skills she has been involved in theater, band, German club, and the National Honor Society. Gates says of Megan, “She is a delight to have in the art room. Her enthusiasm, willingness to try new things, and engaging personality combine to make her a pleasure to teach.”

Recently, we designed and built easels for students and artists to use at PSE&G’s restoration site boardwalks – they attach to the railings on-site.

We published a new brochure, which we think is the best to date.

In our film Down Jersey , Ecologist /Scientist Dr. John Teal of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute offered these observations:

“Any conservation program depends upon there being lots of people involved. You have got to have people who are promoting the conservation, the local groups who want to see something stay unspoiled. Then you have to have government, that is willing to back this up and support it. You have to have people who can provide the wherewithal to do it. And a very important aspect to all of these things, all these conservation efforts, is that you have to keep doing it. Development, destruction only has to happen once. Conservation has to happen again and again and again.”

In many ways, our conservation efforts surpass these ingredients for success. The multitude of important projects outlined above represent one of the most ambitious years in our 20 years as an environmental organization.

We begin the New Year with the following slate of:

President Jane Morton Galetto
Vice President Berwyn Kirby
Recording Secretary Gladis McGraw
Corresponding Secretary Mary Lou Barbose
Treasurer Steve Testa
Assistant Treasurer Barbara Strauss
Ethan Aronoff
Leslie Ficcaglia
Robert Johnson
Richard Jones
Berwyn Kirby
Gladis McGraw
Joanne Murphine


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