CU Reporter June/July 2009

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

July 8, 2009 – 6:30 p.m.
(Our normal schedule is the second Wednesday of odd-numbered months) Millville Public Library, Gant Room

Presentation By
Author Lorraine Kiefer, Owner Triple Oaks Nursery

Lorraine KieferGardening Naturally—Learn the difference between gardening naturally and gardening organically. Lorraine will talk about how to garden naturally, and introduce us to some of the guests that might frequent our gardens when we garden naturally, as well as why they are important. She will also have a limited number of plants available for purchase.

Lorraine is the author of Best Garden Plants for New Jersey. Lorraine’s presentations are always a real crowd pleaser so come early to find a seat!



CU Update:

Setting the net for shorebirdsHost the Scientists– Our volunteers were on the scramble from May 12 – June 2 with our international and national shorebird scientists. We made over 700 meals and logged over 335 hours. Over 46 volunteers were involved and countless others donated time in one way or another; i.e., the Bayshore Discovery Project’s crew, local farm stands, Winfield’s and Lucia’s restaurants. We are grateful for all the many ways in which our members get involved—everything from leading hikes, collecting shorebird data, baking desserts, field trips—you name it!

New Members Orientation– A special thank you to the Russsells and Leopolds for putting together such a pleasant New Members’ Orientation. Attendees enjoyed a nice meal and a PowerPoint presentation about our activities. They are ready to get involved! After the orientation, a number of attendees stayed on for travel to a vernal pond for the annual frog slog. It was all great fun.

Frog Slog– This continues to be a popular event each year. Fred Akers of the Great Egg Harbor Watershed and Renee Brecht lead this educational and wet foray into the world of vernal ponds and amphibians each spring. Over 30 people attended this year’s Frog Slog, including local Cub Scouts Troop #138. CU was also represented at the Great Egg Harbor Watershed’s annual Frog Slog at Sahara Sands.

Barn Studio of Art– Always a beautiful and idyllic setting for the artist, CU representatives spent the afternoon at the Barn Studio for the Summer Art Festival, both at the booth, and with our Paint a Landscape activity.

Paint-a-Landscape at Lake AudreyBay Days– Thanks to our volunteers who participated in this year’s Bay Days! On the evening prior, we attended the ribbon cutting ceremony to recognize the opening of a bridge that leads to the nearly renovated shipping sheds. On Saturday and Sunday, we found ourselves at three different venues: Bivalve on Saturday, and Lake Audrey and the Mauricetown Fire Hall on Sunday. We used our new easy-set tent for cover for our volunteers on Sunday, as well as our new Paint-a-Landscape easels. The easels were busy all day long on Sunday, with the line to paint at times several people long!

Birding & Botany Breakfast Walks– These walks have been well-received and are a great way to start the morning! We have seen blue herons, yellow warblers, and other wildlife as well as a number of beautiful wildflowers in bloom. The walks run through July 21— we hope you will come out and join us!

BYOB Kayak trip/Potluck/Campfire– By the time the newsletter goes to press we will have held our first Bring Your Own Boat event of the year, on the Maurice. We anticipate it to be great fun, as it always is! We look forward to seeing you at our next BYOB on July 19.

The Bayshore Heritage Byway– is now available on the NJDOT website:

Osprey nest near duck blindOsprey updates– We have banded chicks on about two thirds of our nesting platforms. It is too soon to tell how productive the year will end up being in terms of numbers. We are not expecting a banner year. See our next newsletter for final details. A number of people have travelled to the platforms. In particular, three interns were given an introduction to osprey banding – Idris Fredison of Suriname, Pablo Lobera of Mexico, and Calvin Brennan of Michigan. They were very enthusiastic about their experience. Additionally, our chili auction banding winner was Lillie Ghidiu. Lillie brought along her twin sister Anne and longtime CU member and artist Anne Feinstein. They were great troopers during what was about four hours of banding.

Osprey Nest Anecdotes-are now available online. A pdf of all the documents may be downloaded by clicking on “Download all stories.” We hope to have them available on Google Earth eventually.

Wood Duck Boxes– CU volunteers placed 3 wood duck nesting boxes on Millville’s Riverwalk between Brandiff and Sharp St. A special thanks to Liz Nicke of Millville’s Park System for her support in our habitat efforts. CU members installed boxes made by last year’s RAFT participants, a youth program in Vineland. Boxes were fabricated by Roy Kaneshiki and Jane and Peter Galetto. Placement of the boxes was made possible by the volunteer efforts of Jimmy Vertolli, Stan Traas, and Dave and Sue Fenili.

ORV legislation– CU President Jane Galetto testified in Trenton before the Senate Environment Committee. The bill was pulled from the Senate docket since procedurally any revenue-generating bill has to be passed by the Assembly first. Thus, the bill will be addressed in the lame duck session after the November elections. Jaclyn Rhoads, Director of Conservation Policy for the Pinelands Preservation Alliance, has stressed that our energies should be directed toward identifying more Assembly representatives to co-sponsor the bill. A special thank you to Fred Akers and Jaclyn for all the leadership they have given to this effort.

Holly Farm– We continue to monitor as well as advocate for the preservation of the Holly Farm tract. The BPU has heard briefs from our legal council from the Columbia University School of Law Environmental Law Clinic.

Pinelands Commission-CU Member Gerry Moore, PhD., Director of Science, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, and Associate Director Renee Brecht have been participating in a project that maps roadside rare plants throughout the Pinelands, which will be used to present to municipalities along with a BMP for roadside maintenance. They recently attended a meeting at the Commission and subsequently mapped Cumberland County Pinelands roadside populations for the project, as well as meeting the Atlantic City Press to profile the concerns.

Meetings and webinars-We have been busy!Jane and Renee continue to attend various meetings and webinars, such as the Eagle Festival Debriefing, East Point Lighthouse Planning Committee, Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, South Jersey Bayshore Coalition, New Jersey Audubon, Endangered and Nongame Species Advisory Committee, webinars on a host of topics that aim to increase our capacity to do good, etc.

CU along with fellow South Jersey Bayshore Coalition Members met with Larry Baier of the Division of Watershed Management to discuss sewer service areas and the State Wastewater Management Plan.

CU President and Secretary of State, Nina WellsAdditionally, the South Jersey Bayshore Coalition toured Secretary of State Nina Wells focusing on opportunities for visitors to appreciate wildlife resources.

CU is participating on the Millville School Board’s siting committee reviewing environmental aspects of candidate locations for a new high school. Each site has its own set of obstacles and assets; at this point, the sites were ranked by the Committee and given to the State Development Authority for review.

Botany website– Work continues on the botany website with dynamic pages that show what is in bloom and in fruit during various time periods in the growing season. To date, the end of September is completed.

Cumberland Reminder– Keep your eyes open! We have started a column in the Cumberland Reminder to enhance people’s familiarity of natural resources and our stewardship efforts. Articles will be authored by members with knowledge on various topics.

Accounting Meeting– Our business team of Dave McCann, Steve Testa and Sue Munafo continue to seek the best means of tracking our fiscal health. Entering into the new fiscal year July 1, 2009 we will have a new system of accounts that we think will best reflect our efforts in a monetary sense.

Volunteer Opportunities and Events:

Birding & Botany Breakfast Walks– Tuesdays through July 21, from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Meeting at the Waltman Park in Millville on the Brandriff Avenue side.

July 10, 2009– Elevate program – if you have boating skills, art skills, teaching skills, or a great deal of experience with youth this day is for you!

July 7, 2009– 7 a.m. – 8 a.m. Birds & Botany Breakfast Walk, Waltman Park

July 11, 2009 – Millville Summer Fest on the River. 11-6 p.m. Volunteers needed!

July 14, 2009– 7 a.m. – 8 a.m. Birds & Botany Breakfast Walk, Waltman Park

July 19, 2009– BYOB Kayak trip. Contact Renee for more information.

July 21, 2009– 7 a.m. – 8 a.m. Birds & Botany Breakfast Walk, Waltman Park

Aug. 8, 2009– Botany Trip, Manumuskin River, Menantico Creek, and Muskee Creek Watersheds. Philadelphia Botanical Society; open to the public. Trip leaders- Dr. Gerry Moore, Brooklyn Botanic Garden & Renee Brecht, CU. For more information see

September 12, 2009 Wildflower ID workshop– Vineland Public Library. We are collaborating with the Vineland Public Library and the Vineland Environmental Commission to offer this opportunity. Participants will learn how to use Newcomb’s Field Guide for Flowers to identify wildflowers, and are encouraged to join us at Willow Oak Natural Area to practice their newfound skills. Preregistration required.

To get involved in any of these unique opportunities register with Renee Brecht, Associate Director, CU via email or call her at 856-305-3238

Natural Events for the month of July:

  • Blueberries and huckleberries ripen.
  • Morning sounds are whip-poor-will, owl, robin, wood thrush, red-eyed vireo, and pewee. Evening sounds are Fowler’s toads, carpenter frogs, cicadas, katydids, and crickets.
  • Ospreys are fledging.
  • Bog asphodel, now found only in New Jersey, blooms in early July in Pinelands savannahs.
  • Butterflies: spice bush, wood satyr, blue-eyed grayling.
  • The first brood of monarch butterflies is emerging from their chrysalis.
  • Many turtles are laying eggs, and raccoons, skunks, and opossums are digging up and eating them.
  • Breeding and nesting season for birds ends this month except for goldfinches and late bluebirds
  • Thistle plants are beginning to seed; goldfinches gather thistledown for nesting materials
  • Listen for the feeding calls of young barred and great horned owls.
  • Yellow warblers begin to head south in July; migration is complete in August

Natural Events for the month of August:

  • Perseid meteor shower – August 12.
  • Sweet goldenrod, early goldenrod, cardinal flower, and other late-summer flowers bloom.
  • Sensitive joint vetch, a federally protected plant that grows along the Manumuskin, blooms.
  • Great blue herons return from their rookeries.
  • Purple martins begin roosting in phragmites along the Maurice River in preparation for their southern migration. Don’t miss the festival on the 14th and 15th!
  • Red knots pass through New Jersey again on their southward migration to Chile. Adults are still in breeding plumage.
  • Fall raptor migration begins in mid-August with small numbers of several species, including American kestrels, ospreys, and bald eagles.
  • Gray squirrels give birth to second brood.
  • Early warblers migrate south through New Jersey.
  • American goldfinches finish nesting late in this month
  • Second brood of hummingbirds begins to appear at feeders.
  • Birds are feeding on fruits of flowering dogwood trees.

Adapted from CU’s Seasons on the Maurice, Gloucester County Nature Club, A Pine Barren Odyssey by Howard Boyd, and Bits of a Batsto Year by Annie M. Carter

Memories of special people:

In the last month, we lost some very special members as they have departed this earth. Emil Van Hook was a former mayor of Millville and a staunch advocate for his City. For many years, we had gone to Emil for advice on planning board matters and, well, just about anything to do with City government and state planning. Emil was clearly a person who cared deeply about his hometown in everything from business to family life. Our condolences to his loving wife Ellen and their two sons Andrew and Jeffery.

We also mourn the loss of George Garrison. He and his wife Ida were longtime members of CU. George was a retired lieutenant of the Millville Police department. He was a lifelong resident of Millville. George loved gardening and deer hunting—especially with his sons. He was very fond of the Holly Farm tract and wished to see it preserved. George and Ida had five children: William Garrison and his wife Chris, Daniel Garrison and his wife Tammy, Barbara Romanishin and her husband Pete, Bruce Garrison and his wife Cathy, and Lynn Pritchett and husband Spencer, and 11 grandchildren.

Many of our members are very involved in our sister organization, the Bayshore Discovery Project. Tragically, a young crewmember Tanya Orme died in a car accident. A number of you met Tanya at our Shorebird Scientist Campfire. Everyone enjoyed her musical skills and outgoing personality. A number of you met her during our AJ Meerwald Sail, and some of you who volunteer at the Project knew her very well. Her skills in the arts were evident on Bay Days as many signs bore her artistic strokes. Tanya’s family lived in Florida. She touched a great many folks in her brief time here in our area.

Gardner (Gar) Stubee also lost his life in this tragedy. Many of you know Gar’s father, Stu, from his volunteer efforts at the Bayshore Discovery Project. And I suspect some of you knew Gar. He and member Greg McGraw were cousins. Although I did not know Gar, so many folks have spoken to me about his sweet personality, his levelheaded manner, and his accomplishments in his trade as a surveyor with his father. It is especially tragic to lose two such young people so swiftly without warning. I have been very moved by how these individuals touched so many folks’ hearts in their brief years; Gar 31, and Tanya,  24.

Our condolences to all the families whose lives have suffered these great personal losses. May many wonderful memories sustain these great people’s spirits.

CU on the River!