CU Reporter March 2002

Wednesday, March 13, 2002
Wheaton Village Crafts Building, Millville 7:30 p.m.

Guest Speaker
Ms. Lisa Solberg
Biological Technician, Endangered Species
US Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, NJ Field Office

Ms. Solberg will be discussing the responsibilities and role of the US Fish and Wildlife Service in New Jersey, with an emphasis on the protection and recovery of federally listed species found in the Maurice River watershed. Don’t miss this fascinating presentation!

On February 9th the County’s Raptor Festival was very successful. About 1000 individuals were in attendance. Congratulations to the County Planning and Development staff, especially Pam Griner, Kim Wood, and Glenn Nickerson. Special assistance for the day was provided by Leslie Ficcaglia who helped to plan the event, Gladis McGraw and Joanne Murphine who assisted at our information table, and Jane Morton Galetto who made a presentation on osprey and helped at one of NJ Audubon’s viewing sites. During the Raptor Festival a new eagle’s nest was discovered at this site! Special kudos to Diane Jones and Karen Williams who were the site leaders.

One of the main communities in the watershed, Millville, has adopted a resolution calling for no more purchases of open space in their municipality. The City has cited the need for tax revenues. Sadly this thinking is counter-productive. Both the NJ Sportsmen’s Federation and NJ Fish and Game Council have voted to indicate their displeasure over this type of ill conceived action. We have received many appalled reactions from conservation groups statewide. Open space does not diminish tax dollars; in fact economics show that developed space is more likely to drain tax dollars while open space preserves them. The need to provide schools, public safety, road maintenance, trash collection, sewage and the like is a heavy fiscal burden to municipalities. The lands that CU has been a proponent of preserving all have these aspects in common: no municipal sewage, sensitive flora and fauna, critical habitat, critical value wetlands, and zoning that permits primarily homes, not business or industry. If these spaces were developed as opposed to preserved they would have been a major drain on tax dollars. Millville is not alone in clinging to the fallacy that the tax ratable chase can be won. This type of erroneous thinking is still pervasive in communities with large amounts of open space. Over the coming years we shall try to do a better job of educating people about the importance of open space.

On February 7 the Countryside Garden Club enjoyed a presentation by Jane Morton Galetto on ospreys. Member Lorraine Keefer of Triple Oaks Nursery was kind enough to set up the program. There was a packed house for the occasion. The Club made a generous donation to our coffers in return.

Our educational consultant Christine Raabe has set up two workshops: one with the Scotland Run Nature Center in Gloucester County and the other with teacher Alessa Contino in Hopewell. She also completed two more large workshops, one in Tuckerton and the other for the Association of NJ Environmental Educators. So the big news is that our curriculum is being used statewide. At a recent NJ Department of State workshop on improving communities, our documentary was touted as an example of what other areas can do to make a difference. The previous director of the Wheaton Village Down Jersey Nature Center, Jack Shortlidge, is now employed in Chicago where he introduced our curriculum to a group which is using it to build community pride. The Natural Lands Trust recently got a grant from the National Park Service and the dollars allow them to continue to implement our program in local schools.

Board of Trustees Update

The Board of Trustees recently met to discuss topics of watershed-wide importance. We are reviewing portions of the newly proposed CAFRA regulations. We shall advocate to ensure that aspects of the adopted Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management plan begin to be implemented.

And we have decided to reaffirm/ clarify our position in regard to the protection and preservation of open space. This is consistent with our past positions on development projects which we found to be inconsistent with our mission of protecting the watershed for the enjoyment of future generations.

Our concern about maintaining the character of the bayshore, especially the area for which we are responsible- the Maurice River Watershed, remains the focus of our advocacy.

Message from the President

Dear Members and Friends,

I have struggled over how to deliver the news of the death of Citizens United’s first president, Keith Chain, at the age of 49. The cause of his death was pancreatic cancer. Keith served as CU’s president from our corporate beginning in 1986 until August of 1990. The officers and trustees encouraged him to stay at the helm; he was a good leader and was instrumental in taking the organization from an informal grassroots coalition to a registered charitable nonprofit organization. Key in this effort were Todd Heck, Steve Testa and Keith. Without Keith’s leadership this evolution would not have been possible.

For many years our brochure encouraged people to join using a quote that Keith liked: “The stewardship of the Maurice River is in the hands of those who elect to participate in its preservation.” These words still ring true today.

Keith worked at Wheaton Scientific for 24 years. When I visited him these four things struck me: his kindness to those who reported to him, his dedication to his job, his tidy work area and the physical energy he added to every task. When he wasn’t walking briskly from place to place he was swiveling continually in his chair to address the inquiries of his fellow workers. Keith was a fan of the Beatles, and the Cowboys. He loved animals and affectionately referred to his three cats as “the girls.” Two of them, Sadie and Martha, were named after Beatles songs.

I remember Keith as a person who would always make me laugh in the face of adversity. Recently I delivered flowers from CU to him in the hospital. Even though he was clearly suffering he still had me laughing.

His passion was golf and I am told he was an accomplished player. He and his brother Todd spoke of golf outings past and hopes of future tee times. If there are golf courses in the hereafter I know where you’ll find Keith.


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

The family has elected Citizens United, PO Box 474, Millville or the SPCA, Sherman & Orchard Roads, Vineland, NJ 08360 to receive memorials in Keith’s name. We are grateful for their generosity.

CU on the River!