CU Reporter February/March 2009

Updates from Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, Inc.

March 11, 2009 – 6:30 p.m.
(Our normal schedule is the second Wednesday of odd-numbered months) Millville Public Library, Gant Room

This meeting only: George Luciano Center, Cumberland County College

Vineland Chemical Superfund Site
Ron Naman, EPA

Vineland Chemical Superfund SiteRon Naman, EPA Regional Project Manager Region 2, will present a short video and slide presentation about the EPA’s actions at the Vineland Chemical Superfund site. Site remediation staff from the Army Corp of Engineers will be on hand as well. The presentation will be followed by an opportunity for questions and discussion.

CU Update

Raptor Discovery DaysThis year’s annual Raptor Discovery Days, Cumberland County Winter EagleFestival and Chili Bowl were once again a success, thanks to you, our volunteers. Over seventy CU members participated in various capacities for this exciting, action-packed week.

Between February 4 and 6 we took approximately 500 local students hiking and birding on Natural Lands Trust’s Peek Preserve and Glades Preserve.  The children were very excited about being involved this year. A number of classes submitted artwork that was compiled into book form and presented at the Eagle Festival on Saturday.

The spring-like weather for this year’s Eagle Festival brought out a large number of happy participants.  CU took this opportunity to set up a 2-table display: one table featured our new Enviroscape and microscopes, etc., and a second table ran a revolving PowerPoint presentation on a flat-screen TV that highlighted the work of CU and our volunteers.

Chili Bowl and Eagle FestivalOnce again, the Chili Bowl was a success! Approximately 25 chilis arrived, from chipotle with oyster to vegetarian, to seafood to venison and buffalo, plus the standards that we all know and love, along with numerous appetizers, cornbreads, salads, and desserts.

Why not download our Chili Cookbook?

Our auction went well and featured several new live auction items, including a trip to Maryland to hunt for shark tooth fossils with biologist Larry Young and two shorebird trips with Conserve Wildlife’s Larry Niles.

We are working hard to hammer out the final tally for the event, but we know that the gross was in the vicinity of $12,000.

Thank you to all who participated in making this week a success, whether by leading hikes, attending the CU booth, cooking, setting up, bartending, cleanup, or donating auction items;thanks so much!

CU goes to Washington DC – Members Fred Akers and Jane Galetto went to DC to lobby for Wild and Scenic Rivers funding and support.  Fred represented the Great Egg Harbor River and the Maurice.  They were accompanied by Beth Styler of Musconetocong Watershed Association. In all they visited over 14 Congressional Offices and two Senatorial offices. Their general impression was that their efforts were received positively.

The Australian Shorebird Scientists – We have been especially concerned about the welfare of our friends in Australia.  The wildfires are the worst in history.  Each has lost friends to the fire.  Dr. Clive Minton reports that no one is untouched by the tragedy.  The country had experienced 14 years of drought and then some heavy spring rains heightened forest growth such that there was an unusual amount of fuel for the fires.  As of Clive’s last report, all the scientists that our volunteers have worked with are safe, although Susan Taylor had the fire finally retreat when it was only a short distance from her home.

Sitting Fine chairSitting Fine in 2009 is a fundraiser in which Citizen United is participating.  The Arts Village in Millville has a contest to decorate a chair for display downtown.  Our chair was a group effort by Jackie Sandro, Dave Fenili, Peter and Jane Galetto.  It is dubbed Chair Rails and is adorned with sora railbirds.  We hope you will visit it at the Marsh Hen across from La Bottega Gallery of Art.  You vote for chairs with change and dollars.  We hope our members will vote often.  The winner gets a $100 prize… in other words this is a case of RIVER PRIDE!  Hope you will check out our folk art chair; it’s a cutie.

The Bayshore Heritage Byway has been selected to be a Scenic Byway by the State of NJ.  We are presently working with other members of the Bayshore Coalition to submit an application to create a ComprehensiveManagement Plan.  The route will allow for the interpretation of cultural and natural features of interest to the traveler along the coast of the NJ Delaware Bayshore.

Associate Director Renee’s Note to Our Membership

Awards: Several environmental organizations have recently announced awards that pertain to our own CU President, Jane Galetto.

Jane has been chosen for the new Cumberland County Women’s Hall of Fame and will be one of the first individuals chosen for this honor, along with Nancy Sungenis of Bridgeton and Sharon Blasé of Vineland. This event will take place on April 22.

Also, the New Jersey Environmental Lobby (NJEL) has notified us that Jane is the 2009 winner of the Environmental Legacy Award. This award is bestowed annually upon one individual who has “created a long-term legacy that will benefit the environment and the residents of New Jersey.”

Additionally, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation has also announced its 2009 winners for the Women & Wildife Awards. The honorees are Dr. Mandy Dey for the Women & Wildlife Leadership Award and Jane Morton Galetto for the Women & Wildlife Inspiration Award, to be presented on March 22, 2009 in Hunterdon County.

Jane is often quite modest about her achievements, which is why I have personally taken the opportunity to address them myself in this newsletter. Working with her day after day, week after week, I see her sincere commitment and dedication to the causes she holds dear to her heart. She fights tirelessly and relentlessly to preserve the place we call home, “Down Jersey”.

Many of you may not realize the extent of her involvement. Jane puts in the equivalent of a fulltime job (and then some!) for CU, and participates on many levels—whether it is another nonprofit’s board, or state boards, or in Washington D.C. with Fred Akers, or at City Hall on municipal issues. She’s just as likely to be seen in a boat putting up an osprey nest, or on the ground photographing a frog or turtle whose image will inevitably wind up in a future PowerPoint presentation. So for all of her dedication, for all that she has accomplished for all of us, I say “Kudos”, and a very sincere “Thank You!”

– Renee Brecht, Associate Director

President’s Comments on Renee’s Comments (hey, you didn’t think I wouldn’t call rank and make an edit!)

I am indeed flattered to have been asked to accept these honors but I have not lost sight of the fact that it is you, the volunteers of Citizens United, that indeed accomplish the fine work of CU.  Without the devoted staff and consulting base that our organization is blessed with, our work would not be possible.  We are fortunate to have many professionals who devote countless hours to each success we experience, to each bit of fun we have in the great out of doors, and to every grain of sand, every leaf and each animal that finds safe harbor as the result of our collective efforts.

Volunteer Opportunities and Events:

March 28, 2009 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Adopt a swamp pink population/GPS volunteer training. Contact Renee at for more info.

CU on the River!