Annual Message 2007

First Presentation of the New Year
An Inconvenient Truth– A Global Warning
a Paramount Pictures Production

Many folks in our area did not have the opportunity to see the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth – A Global Warning. We shall be viewing this 96 minute compelling view of the planet Earth’s future at our January 10th meeting at the Millville Public Library.  The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the airing of the documentary shall be at 7 p.m.  The production is described as “a wake up call that cuts through myths and misconceptions to deliver the message that global warming is a real and present danger. An Inconvenient Truth brings home Former Vice President Gore’s persuasive argument that we must act now to save the earth.  Each and every one of us can make changes in the way in which we live and become part of the solution.”

Annual Message
In the past we have used this annual message to share the many remarkable things that CU has accomplished.  This year has many similarities to the previous ones.  We have continued with our past commitments such as building boats with inner city youth, banding osprey, organizing festivals, updating the website, instructing teachers, advocating for preservation and so much more.  But we think it is the differences that really make this year remarkable.

Tricia Dufford receives an "Ah Why Knot Award" form CU pres. Jane Galetto and VP Berwyn KirbyWe have now completed a full year with the talents of Associate Director Renee Scagnelli.  This allowed us to complete things that formerly we had not done. Primarily these were activities that focused on camaraderie and building organizational capacity.  Over 4000 hours of volunteer service were logged and we took the time to salute some exemplary members’ efforts with the “Ah Why Knot” awards.  We also had our first true fundraising dinner, a chili feast in which participants had a tasty fun-filled experience. And volunteers trimmed trails and gave student interpretative hikes.

CU graphic designer and member Donna Vertolli poses with winners Dick goldstine and Bill Sheridan at award dinnerOur education program was ramped up a few notches with the addition of RAFT and AHEC workshops.  These are summer enrichment programs for youth in Vineland and Millville. We also held some teachers’ workshops.  We were able to make known to the community what we were accomplishing through a greater number of press releases and the like.  And we received a number of honors. The Bayshore Discovery Project dedicated  the 2006 Bay Days to CU, The Nature Conservancy gave us a certificate of appreciation for our trail maintenance efforts, an Emmy Award was conferred for the NJN documentary Reflections of a Bayshore Painter – Glenn Rudderow, and each of our “Ah Why Knot” recipients received a Congressional Recognition.

CU President/Director hams it up with Emmy AwardBusiness strategies consultant Dave McCann has been leading the Officers and Trustees though a series of management workshops designed to create a work plan aimed at organizational longevity.  We seek to continue our professional growth by attending capacity-building workshops.  A grant from Geraldine Dodge administered by the Watershed Institute is assisting in these efforts that we have dubbed “A Giant Step.”

Eagle FestivalBetween our last newsletter and this annual message a great many other activities took place: presentations, organizational meetings on the Eagle Festival, Raptor Discovery Days, fundraising meetings, three board workshops, organizational meetings with our nine Partnership Wild and Scenic River Partners, and lobbying in Trenton for the renewal of the Garden State Preservation Trust to name a few.

One item on which we will elaborate is the Maurice River Campfire Recollections, primarily because of the great enthusiasm our members had for the event. The affair was held on October 26th with Jeanette Burcham generously allowing us the use of the Burcham Farm for the evening. On hand were Bob Francois of the Millville and Cumberland County Historical Societies, Bob and Judy Moore of the Mauricetown Historical Society, and local archaeologist Dick Regensburg. Frank and Joanne Murphine and Tim Russell stoked the flames and Tim gathered the “just right” sticks for roasting marshmallows. Local Millville Lakeside School student Jonathon Echevarria and Renee Scagnelli, our Associate Director, treated the gathering to some violin melodies. With approximately sixty folks in attendance, the conversation was lively. There were plenty of marshmallows and weenies for everyone! Our thanks to all who participated in various ways, whether it was in preparation, clean-up, or a story contribution!

Because so many people indicated that they would love for this to be a recurring event we have made arrangements to hold a spring campfire at Parvin State Park. The date for that is Thursday, April 26, 2006, from 6:30 to 9:30, so be sure to mark your calendars! To volunteer or register for this event contact Renee Scagnelli @ 856-305-3238 or

New Roster of Officers and Trustees
It gives me great pleasure to introduce this year’s officers and trustees as elected at the November 2006 meeting.  You will notice some new officers.  Although Gerry Barsotti has stepped down from her role as Treasurer, she is helping to transition our material to the newest member of our team, bookkeeper Sue Munafo.  Gerry and Steve Testa did a wonderful job of transferring our books over to computer accounting.  Anthony Klock will now be taking on the position of Treasurer.  Tony is a fourth grade teacher with a great deal of passion for the out-of-doors, teaching, birding, travel, and CU’s mission.

Karen Johnson will be taking on the role of Corresponding Secretary.  If you have ever done NJ Audubon Society’s “Sunday Morning at Turkey Point,” you know Karen; in fact you likely knew her giggle before you knew her.  Karen leads nature walks and has the kind of enthusiasm that brings greater understanding to the natural world.  Karen works at Upper Cape May County Library.   She is constantly learning more about the fauna that inhabit our local environs.

President’s Closing Remarks
Normally I dedicate my closing remarks to members who have passed on. This year we lost John Barbose whose passions we spoke of in our last newsletter. So it seems fitting to close with the remarks of his wife Mary Lou, our former Corresponding Secretary, who served us in that position for many years.  Her dedication to the CU mission is best conveyed in her own words, “I have always considered my ‘help’ to CU as an honor for me – something I was proud of: a small personal contribution to a very worthy cause – and I hope that in the near future I can somehow again contribute to CU’s mission.”  It is my hope that each of our members in some way shares Mary Lou’s sentiments and that we can each make a contribution to the future of our region.

It seems fitting that at this point I share the newly crafted Mission Statement as created by the organization’s leadership.

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

Eagle“Citizens United is dedicated to protecting the watershed of the Maurice River and the region known as Down Jersey, thereby enabling current and future generations to enjoy the environmental, recreational, cultural and scenic resources of this Wild & Scenic global treasure.

“CU empowers individuals, organizations and neighboring communities to promote the region’s enduring well-being and quality of life.  CU invites participation and fosters responsible stewardship.  CU supports education, awareness, and informed decision-making utilizing field work, research, and advocacy.”

Trustees Officers
Ethan Aronoff President Jane Morton Galetto
Sue Fenilli Vice President Berwyn Kirby
Leslie M. Ficcaglia Recording Secretary Donna Dailey
Steve Eisenhauer Corresponding Secretary Karen Johnson
Richard Jones Treasurer Anthony Klock
Joanne Murphine Assistant Treasurer Irene Bird
Ed Pio

If our mailboxes are any indicator of what is customary, often members of organizations make a thank-you donation for a year well done.  So we invite you to consider CU in your end of the year offerings and we have enclosed an envelope for your consideration, in the hope that you too might adopt a new tradition.  For those of you who have not given yet here is an opportunity before the year ends!

Each of us wishes you a healthy and happy New Year.

Jane Morton Galetto

CU on the River!