CU Reporter November/December 2005

Meeting January 11, 2006 6:30 p.m.
(Normal schedule, second Wednesday of odd-numbered months)
Millville Public Library, Gant Room

A Presentation
Ted Nichols New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife

During the late 1990’s, sudden and dramatic declines of wild rice in Maurice River marshes were noted.  Many factors were suggested for causing this decline including changes in water chemistry, depredation by blackbirds, and growing season grazing by various potential marsh herbivores.  An experiment conducted during 2000 by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife clearly implicated herbivory by resident Canada geese as the cause for the decline of wild rice.  An additional experiment conducted during 2001 showed that extensive damages to valuable wetland marshes could be minimized through implementation of a Canada goose Integrated Damage Management Program (IDMP).  Since 2002, an IDMP has been successful in restoring and maintaining these valuable wetlands.

Ted Nichols has been a wildlife biologist with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Waterfowl Ecology and Management Program for 13 years.

Immature bald eagleEagle Festival and Chili Dinner
This year the annual Raptor Festival has a brand new name: the Cumberland County Winter Eagle Festival. You’ll want to show up on February 4th, 2006, for a terrific event.  Speakers will be Pete Dunne, Pat Sutton, David Mizrahi and noted wildlife photographer/biologist Kevin Karlson. For the outdoor enthusiast walks are scheduled with Pete Dunne (sunrise, at 7 a.m.), Pat Sutton, and CU’s own Steve Eisenhauer. Exhibitors and vendors will be on hand and food will be available. Registration starts at 8 a.m. at the Mauricetown Firehall and admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children under twelve.

What tops a great day of February birding? A hearty chili dinner and good spirits!

Following the Eagle Festival, CU will be sponsoring a fundraiser that promises to be a lot of fun. Mark that date in your calendar, and be sure to purchase your tickets, as seating is limited. The date is Saturday, February 4, 2006, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Featured speaker is Clay Sutton, and we’ll have an auction to boot! Tickets for the dinner and talk are $20.00 and they’ll be on sale at the Eagle Festival registration table that day.

We are in need of volunteers of all sorts! There is something for everyone. For those of you who enjoy cooking, we need green salads, desserts, breads/rolls, and chili. We’re good on vegetarian chili, but we need meat chili, mild or five alarm, venison or other specialties!

If cooking isn’t your bag, we need people to set up the hall (tables & chairs)—and clean up afterwards.

We are looking for auction items too! Perhaps you are a store or restaurant owner, woodworker, or artist, or decoy maker, or even a quilt maker, and would like to donate an item (tax-deductible!) for our auction. We’ll make sure your business’s name is on our evening program.

Haven’t found a niche yet? Don’t worry, there is still plenty more left to do!  Other volunteer opportunities include:

  • Selling tickets before the event
  • Selling tickets at the registration table the day of the Eagle festival
  • Manning the CU booth at the Eagle festival
  • Sell tickets at viewing sites at the Eagle festival
  • Taking tickets at the dinner
  • Carding people (we’re in the process of procuring a license for beer & wine)
  • Bartending (beer & wine only)

Maurice River Bluffs Blazin’ the Bluffs & Trimmin’ the Trails
DON’T MISS IT! This is an exciting opportunity to help blaze a new trail at the Maurice River Bluffs Nature Preserve. Help Citizens United as we work with The Nature Conservancy to implement the design of a new trail that spans this beautiful preserve. Be a part of the fun as we create public access points to breath-taking views atop the 30-foot bluffs that make that make this preserve truly a unique gem of the Delaware Bayshores. Bring along gloves, appropriate attire, lunch, and a beverage. Date: Saturday, January 21, 2006. Contact Renee to sign up (see contact details above).

Wild and Scenic River representatives prepare to launch at NLT Peek Preserve for a kayak tripRepresentatives from Partnership Rivers Meet – The Great Egg Harbor and Maurice River Watershed hosted the nation’s Wild and Scenic River coordinators’ annual meeting.  On November 1 & 2 representatives from the eight National Park Service rivers converged on the Maurice and Egg Harbor River Watersheds.  We discussed projects of common interest and federal support for the Partnership Rivers. A special thanks to Fred Akers for setting up the notifications and agenda for the meeting.  CU trustee and Natural Lands Trust Assistant Director of Stewardship and Protection Steve Eisenhauer was kind enough to host one day at the Peek Preserve including a kayak trip.  Jane Galetto provided a tour and Fred made meal arrangements for the two days.  We reviewed what  each of the partnership rivers needs and what they achieve each year with their current budgets.

At premeier of Rudderow, Film Editor and Assoc. Producer Jeff Rwisley, Glenn Rudderow, and Co-Producers Jane Morton Galetto and Louis PrestiNJN CU Production Reflections of a Bayshore Painter – Glenn Rudderow was a wonderful success.  The documentary film has aired a number of times on NJN.  Artist Glenn Rudderow masterfully captures the spirit of the region we call home.  His paintings are not simply a reflection of the Bayshore; rather they are insightful glimpses of what the artist sees and feels and in turn what the viewer experiences.  Over 350 people attended the live showing at the Cumberland County College performing arts center.  CCC, NJN and CU hosted the live event.  The evening was a first-rate fun time with music provided by Sun Bank and dessert and festive back drops provided by CU, NJN, Cumberland County Public Information, the National Park Service, PSEG, and AcculPrint. The College’s theater, conference center staff and catering service were professional, gracious and most accommodating, going beyond all expectations!  New Jersey Audubon was kind enough to see that each family received a copy of the new Wildlife Guide to the DE Bayshore.  NJN sold every copy of the DVD they had available and took orders for more.  The evening was made possible by the generosity of Larry and Suzy Merighi, Lois and Rick Abbott, the Hallissey Family, Laura and Bob Johnson, David Manders, AculPrint Inc. Sun Bank, CU’s Membership and the NJN Foundation. Thank you to all the many officers, trustees and CU volunteers who made the evening possible.  Most importantly we are grateful to Glenn and his wife Carol for opening a portion of their lives such that we might witness Glenn’s creative genius and share it with a larger audience.

Settlement on Proposed Racetrack Achieved Mid-November – CU, NJ Audubon, and the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions achieved a settlement agreement with the NJ Motorsports Park developers.  Aspects of the development that were defined were a sunset racing curfew on the raceway (with the exception of two annual events), a larger buffer and sound wall between the oval track and the wildlife management area, a one-hundred-acre grasslands preserve, traffic deceleration lanes, increased vegetated buffers, shielded lighting and the like.  These modifications addressed many of the apprehensions we had regarding the effects that the proposed racetrack would have on wildlife and residents.  We would like to thank all concerned parties for working on these difficult compromises in addition to our fellow conservation organizations and the motorsports developers. We are especially grateful to the skills and leadership of the Rutgers Environmental Law Clinic as orchestrated by Carter Strickland.  The resolution of this matter is a tribute to the necessity for citizen involvement in a public process.

CU in the New Year!