Annual Message 2008

First Presentation of the New Year
Brent Burke, Program Manager
The Nature Conservancy
Planning for NJ’s Future

Millville Public Library
January 9, 2008 at 6:30 p.m.- Gant Room

The New Jersey Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has developed a new approach to conserving the most ecologically important places in the State.  Chapter staff and trustees have worked to complete a new three-year Strategic Conservation Plan that will guide the work of the New Jersey Chapter.  The primary objective for this plan was to identify high-level strategies that contribute to the effective conservation of priority areas in New Jersey by abating critical threats and improving the status of biodiversity.  Join Brent Burke from The Nature Conservancy for a presentation on TNC’s Strategic Conservation Plan for New Jersey with a special focus on the Cumberland Forest and the Southern Pine Barrens.

Annual Message from CU President

We are busy getting ready for 600 children to enjoy the great out-of-doors during the three days leading up to the February 2nd Eagle Festival.  So things are wonderfully hectic here between our workload and the usual holiday planning.  This time of year makes me think of all the things I have to be grateful for:  in particular, the wonderful friends I have made through Citizens United.  We have so many marvelous volunteers who accomplish so many great things.  Hopefully, you have been reading about them throughout the year in our CU Reporter.

We all know that volunteerism and camaraderie are inexorably linked and continually on the upswing.  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, participating in ornithological surveys for over 20 years, and so much more.  But rather than a recap of the year, I want to focus on some of  the things that happened that were different and some of the things that took place since our last newsletter.

Every year a number of our members help with the shorebird studies on the Delaware Bayshore.  But this year we made it a concerted effort to host our international visitors, as they pursue their quest to save “our” local species.  This was volunteerism and camaraderie at its best!  The staff of the NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Program and NJ Conserve Wildlife orchestrated these studies and we played a major role in “hosting and feeding the scientists.”  If you didn’t participate you will surely want to in ’08, for it was just great fun!

This was the first year Citizens United entered a team in the World Series of Birding.  We took 2nd place in the Limited Geographic Area, having identified 151 different species while confining our search to Cumberland County!  And speaking of birds – CU  also funded the banding of Purple Martins under the direction of Allen Jackson. This year alone, he and the folks he mentors have banded over 6,000 purple martins in New Jersey.  Because of his efforts, over half of the purple martins banded in North America are banded here in NJ.  Your membership contributions and a grant from the National Park Service enable this activity to continue.

This past year Renee Brecht (formerly Scagnelli) has had a number of major experiences worthy of note.  Drum roll, please… When you next see Renee congratulations are in order for she has just graduated Suma Cum Laude with a BS in Social Science from Bethany University, Scotts Valley CA (obviously earned via correspondence).  And yes, the change in name will shortly result in a change in e-mail address. So stay tuned.

Additionally, Renee has recently started a swamp pink volunteer adoption service with our members that is essentially a monitoring program.  So for all you budding botanists, this is your chance to have some fun in the field.

The Chili Bowl dinner is right around the corner and we hope you will be one of our chefs or help out in some fashion.  Please contact Renee at 856-305-3238 if you wish to lend a hand.  See the enclosed flyer for additional details.  EARLY reservations are eligible for a prize. Yippee!  Just a reminder, we still need sponsors and auction items.

We have expended quite a bit of energy on advocating off-road vehicle legislation that would result in penalties that are “true deterrents” to destructive and illegal use of ATVs, snow mobiles, dirt bikes, cars etc. in the wild areas of NJ.  Presently, these activities are illegal but most of the vehicles are unmarked and the fines are simply seen as the cost of recreation.  We were instrumental in getting the bill out of the Assembly Transportation Committee and will continue to pursue passage.  It might even happen in the lame duck session.  If not, the Pinelands Preservation Alliance has identified a Senate sponsor for ’08.  This is the closest the conservation and enforcement communities have come to a solution.   Maybe we can prevent more of our Wildlife Management Areas, parks and forests from becoming moonscapes!

One event that we failed to mention in the last newsletter was the relocation of an osprey platform on September 30 by a group of hearty souls.  This was the first time a number of us essentially went “swimming” in a nest moving effort!  The platform had become inaccessible from the ditch we have used for the last 17 years.  Inaccessibility means poor maintenance and poor maintenance can mean less productivity, so we took on the task.  The volunteers in attendance were Greg Honachefsky, Scott Eves and his nephew Gramm, Tom McKee, Tony Klock, Tim Russell, Rob and Donna Dailey, Peter Galetto and yours truly.  And then there was longtime member Tim Jacobsen who literally missed the boat.  Being the kind of guy not to twiddle his thumbs he used the time to install a radio in my daughter’s car!  Now if that doesn’t speak to the quality of our volunteers, what does?

We have been working on our new membership brochure and will shortly have an “Ask a Friend to Join Month.” We will send you a brochure and your job will be to recruit a friend.  Now, doesn’t that sound like fun?  Seriously, this will give you an opportunity to do some of your favorite CU activities with a buddy.  The brochure was made possible by a pass-through grant provided by the Geraldine Dodge Foundation administered by the Watershed Institute.

We have a new storage shed that just arrived and we will be filling it up with some of the CU things that have taken over our members’ homes. This shed was made possible by a grant from the Norcross Foundation.

We continue to do all the mundane and very necessary work of a non profit and I won’t bore you with all the details. These include but are not limited to corporate insurances, federal and state filings, financial audits, tax forms, event insurance, hall rentals, federal contractor registration, state licenses, grants and the list goes on.

Each year we take time to say goodbye to some dear friends of the organization and to welcome the new leadership into our ranks.

This year we have earmarked two members who made contributions to the health of our organization and who are now departed.

Most of my interactions with Randy Calovi came from our families’ business gatherings.  Randy was a banker, loved numbers, and was smitten with horse racing and business.  But more than anything else Randy was a devoted family man.  Everything revolved around the happiness of his family.  He constantly answered CU’s plea for support from the banks he so adroitly managed.  We are indebted to his generosity and wish his family well.

Adelaide Salvo-what can I say about a woman who was like a second mother to me during my teenage summers?  She was first and foremost a lady, a diplomat and a dedicated mother and wife.  She loved animals and was generous to individuals in need.  Travel, reading and painting gave her great pleasure.  When her husband passed away a few years ago, Adelaide was grief-stricken, but she secretly confided in me that the dog would now be allowed upstairs and in bed with her, something Santo pointedly forbid.  Adelaide had the great gift of making the best of tragic situations.

The Salvos always had the best parties of the year — parties where everyone felt welcome — family parties.  I think these get-togethers are in many ways why I enjoy entertaining and gathering diverse groups of people to enjoy each other’s company. Their daughter Faith and I paddled and sailed Union Lake many a summer.  But no one paddled a canoe like Uncle Santo and Aunt Adelaide; their j-stroke was pure poetry in motion.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, the paddle never leaves the water and when executed correctly it results in a flawlessly smooth forward progression.  They would effortlessly pass Faith and me to our sheer amazement and frustration as we beat the water madly to catch up.   In her final years Aunt Adelaide went though so much suffering and pain but she handled it with the same grace that she and Uncle Santo handled their canoe.  Today, I simply choose to envision them gliding through some great cosmos together with Uncle Santo saying, “Now Adelaide – you must …” and her replying with her usual poise, her knowing smile and a pleasant, “Yes Santo,” and finally both of them being quite content just to be once again in each other’s company.

We send our sincerest condolences to the Salvos’ four children, Kemble, Nona, Faith, and Jonathan and their families.

I am pleased to announce that we have a new trustee in our ranks, Tom McKee of Mauricetown, NJ.  Tom’s enthusiasm and background make him a super addition to our leadership.  Many of you have met Tom at our campfires as a folk musician and some of you know him from birding activities.  Tom has volunteered during our Raptor Discovery Days helping to introduce school children to nature.  Also he has helped with Elevate’s annual field trip, a summer event where young people are exposed to a variety of experiences including canoeing, kayaking, seining, bird watching, painting, motor boating and other fun stuff.  Tom is a graduate of Rutger’s Cook College with a degree in Environmental Science and worked at the NJ Department of Environmental Protection for 25 years.  His contributions at the NJDEP have included hazardous waste cleanup and watershed management.  In the watershed management area he used his knowledge of geographic information systems to identify properties that should be investigated for furthering the Maurice River’s greenway.  Currently, Tom works as a consultant assisting clients in matters related to hazardous waste cleanup and wetlands permitting.

Steve Eisenhauer recently retired from our board of trustees.  As most of you know he is Director of Land Protection in Southern NJ for the Natural Lands Trust.  In this capacity he plans to continue to partner with us on field trips and other projects.  We are most enthusiastic to continue our relationship with NLT.

I present to you your 2008 rooster:

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

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION We ask that you consider CU in your end of the year giving.  Your donation may be mailed to CU, PO Box 474, Millville, NJ 08332

The Officers and Trustees wish you a healthy and happy New Year.

Jane Morton Galetto

CU on the River!