Annual Message January 2001

Dear Members and Friends,
The Trustees and Officers of Citizens United hope you and your family have a happy and healthy holiday season. Permit us to review for you what has been an extremely productive year.

National Award
Citizen United was awarded an EPA Environmental Quality Award for our newest educational program. Over 120+ teachers have participated in 6 workshops learning how to use our teachers’ curriculum: Down Jersey – Celebrating Our Sense of Place. Recipients of the packet were asked to estimate the potential number of teachers they will introduce to the packet and the number of students they are likely to introduce to the activities. These are the astounding figures from the first 122 respondents: 28,871 students and 2,573 teachers. And these numbers represent the minimum because many teachers stated, “throughout Southern New Jersey”, “unlimited” or plus signs after their estimates. Furthermore, most estimates were annual yet teachers will be utilizing the packet for years to come.

Field Trips
College classes continue to take field trips with us to explore the river and be introduced to river advocacy. Cumberland County College professor Dr. Timothy Jacobsen’s physical science class followed our suggestion to investigate the character and health of Parvin Branch.

Website and Hotline
We have entered the technology information era with a very polished and professional web site. Check it out at Take time to explore its many updates. We also added an e-mail hotline that enables us to notify over 160 of our members and friends quickly and affordably about many issues which may need immediate action.

With great enthusiasm and participation Citizens United, the Vineland Environmental Commission, and the Vineland Nature Club advocated that City Officials sell property to The Nature Conservancy. This additional 400 acres is adjacent to the existing Willow Grove Lake preserve and accompanying greenway.

Hats Off to Pittsgrove! We were contacted by Pittsgrove resident and CU friend Don Penza, when the proposed Township Master Plan called for inappropriate residential densities along the Maurice River, Willow Grove Lake and Still Run. The Township Master Plan Advisory Committee felt that they needed to adopt the plan before the New Year and held a meeting at the height of the Christmas program time – December 18. We put out an e-mail hotline and in true Citizens United fashion you responded. Don was already working with Nick Mesiano.Our best lead came from Arthur Shalick, who suggested we get in touch with Herb Wegner of Pittsgrove. Then we contacted Upper Maurice River dynamo Suzanne McCarthy, who represented CU and the Upper Maurice with her well-honed expertise. This great leadership network resulted in about 100 interested residents turning out to encourage the Advisory Committee to rethink the proposed densities. The Committee took public comments till 10 p.m. and from 10- almost midnight they deliberated and implemented improved densities. Now that’s teamwork! Congratulations to our Pittsgrove comrades and the Committee for ending our year on a high note. Fa La La!

We continue to advocate that telecommunication towers and other commercial land uses should be sited outside of the River Conservation / Management Zones. Thus far Millville has adopted an ordinance prohibiting towers in the zone.

CU/ NJ Network Movie
NJN and Citizens United are currently creating a movie about local artists’ depictions of Bayshore landscapes. The program shall probably be aired late in the Spring; we will keep you posted. We are exploring the possibility of a live premier and hope you will be able to attend.

The osprey colony results were sensational this year: 47 chicks were banded in 20+ nests. Last year we banded 52 chicks.

Raptor Festival
We are participating with the Cumberland County Department of Planning and Development Staff, representatives of conservation and tourism organizations, and members of the State Nongame and Endangered Species Program in the planning and implementation of a Winter Raptor Festival. It will be held Saturday, February 24 2001 at the Mauricetown Firehall. Field trips will be staged at various sites along the river and bay environs and presentations will offered on the topics of raptors by such luminaries in the field as Clay and Pat Sutton. Jane Galetto will also be speaking about CU’s osprey program. A wide range of exhibitors will be on hand, including rehabilitators with live raptors, and activities for the children. So mark your calendars for a day of “cool” fun.

We have begun our 14th annual raptor waterfowl survey.

Maritime Survey
We have contracted with University of Delaware to conduct a maritime survey of the New Jersey Delaware Bayshore.

A panel of professional artists selected Cumberland Regional H. S. student Lauren Frieze as the year 2000 Connie Jost Memorial Art Scholarship Award winner. Lauren is a talented young artist and we wish her the best in her studies.

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
Ethan Aronoff
Leslie Ficcaglia
Robert Johnson
Richard Jones
Berwyn Kirby
Gladis McGraw
Joanne Murphine

In past years we have dedicated this space to remembering devoted members who have departed our company. Often we don’t learn of a member’s death in a timely fashion and therefore miss a wonderful opportunity to tell you of their great enjoyment of the natural world around them. This year we lost a very important influence on the work of our organization – our president’s father Walter D. Morton. For many of us each time we look at an osprey platform we will remember his enthusiasm in developing a new design which is now prominently used throughout the state. And we shall remember him slogging through the mud, and ultimately in a weakened state almost succumbing to its entrapments. Recently his brother Robert wrote asking that we erect a platform in his name; we haven’t the heart to tell him that his daughter believes they are all erected in his honor.

Parting Thoughts
The esteemed newsman Charles Kuralt, famed for his reports from the small towns and back roads of America, stated, “I started out thinking of America as highways and state lines. As I got to know it better I began to think of it as rivers. Much of what I love about the country is a gift of rivers. America is a great story, and there is a river on every page of it.” This year we continue to share this story throughout the Southern New Jersey region in an effort to perpetuate the gift of rivers for future generations. Our journey is as winding as the bends in the rivers we protect. We advocate protection at board municipal meetings, visit classrooms with slide shows, hold teacher workshops, document wildlife, sample water, give informative presentations, pick up trash, offer art scholarships, produce films, canoe, testify at congressional hearings, pass paddles, count birds, climb osprey nests, band chicks and generally try to be a part of America’s great story. Today, many of our local decision makers still think in terms of highways and state lines as the region’s most important attributes. Our efforts focus on keeping river resources a priority and developing a stewardship for the pages of America’s story. We thank you for being part of that story and wish you the happiest of new years.

Meeting dates for 2001
Wednesday, January 10, 2001
Wednesday, March 14, 2001
Wednesday, May 9, 2001
Wednesday, July 11, 2001
Wednesday, September 12, 2001
Wednesday, November 14, 2001
All meetings will be held in the Crafts Building at Wheaton Village at 7:30 p.m.

MEETING WEATHER ADVISORY- During the winter months our regularly scheduled meetings will be cancelled if Millville Public Schools have issued a foul weather closure. If weather has gotten nasty late in the day please exercise good judgment. If you have any further questions feel free to call Jane at 327-1161. Have a safe winter.