Annual Message January 2010

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

January 13, 2010 – 6:30 p.m.
(Our normal schedule is the second Wednesday of odd-numbered months) NEW LOCATION: George Luciano Center, Cumberland County College

First Presentation of the New Year
Larry Niles, PhD, Conserve Wildlife NJ

Larry Niles, PhDShorebird Migration Characterization/Update—The Delaware Bay’s shores are a critical stopover area for six species of migrating birds including the red knot. The late May arrival of these birds coincides with the spawning of horseshoe crabs, producing one of the most dramatic natural phenomena anywhere in the world. Feeding on horseshoe crab eggs, the birds refuel and continue their journey to Arctic breeding grounds.

Each year, scientists, researchers, birders, and local volunteers gather from all corners of the globe to assist with the Delaware Bay Shorebird Project, to study the phenomenon which occurs here in southern New Jersey. Dr. Niles will be giving a presentation on the results of this year’s research.

Annual Message from CU President

As you know, our annual message used to be dedicated to the traditional recap of all the things we do throughout the year.  Now I simply have faith that you have read our correspondences and are up to speed, and instead I choose to reflect on something different.  So here it goes… patience, please!

Occasionally when someone meets me he asks the typical question, “So what do you do?”  Often I reply, “I work for Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, Inc.” It is not uncommon for a person who is not involved in the environment to respond, “Protect it against what?”  Often I cringe a bit when the question is asked in a tad of a challenging tone, as if to say, “Oh, so you’re one of those do-gooders with nothing better to do but tilt at windmills.” Or if you are an NPR fan like myself, as they say in the Whad’Ya Know rules, “itching for a fight.”

Over the years, I have found that the question is often asked in a confrontational tone by someone who neither sees nor cares.  Someone on a different page.  Meaning a person who arrogantly thinks the world is ripe for his exploitation. So the reason I cringe is because I know that either the person simply isn’t interested in the answer or he is looking for a confrontation.  Both of which seem to be a waste of time.

Interestingly, folks who appreciate conservation work seem to get it just from our name and dive into what kind of things are we doing.  Sometimes I have thought that since we are so proactive we ought to acquire a new name with a less provocative tone, like the Maurice River Watershed Association.  It would also be nice not to have to say my lengthy name followed by the lengthy name of our organization during introductions at meetings and for various testimonies, and have folks tell me my time is up before we even get started. Face it, it’s a mouthful.  Then, on the other hand, the name is a bit of a litmus test that quickly identifies the I Get Its from the I Don’t Get Its.

Now I will impart to you a piece of wisdom that was shared with me by an I Don’t Get It.  He told me, during the campaign for Wild and Scenic designation, that you have to bring out the vote – the choir, the already-committed, or, as I would say, the I Get Its.  The folks on your side.  Don’t waste your time on the naysayers; in our case, the I Don’t Get Its.  And do your darnedest to win over the undecided.  To follow this through to our overall mission  –  foster interest among those who are open to learning about it, and who care. In my 20s and early 30s I would have been quick to unsheathe my sword when challenged by an I Don’t Get It. Not anymore.

You might be asking yourself, “Where in the heck is all this leading?”  Well, first of all, in the previous paragraph I relayed to you what was a HUGE revelation to me.  Thankfully, I learned it in my late 30s and not yesterday. Organize the choir, recruit more singers, and ignore as best you can the sour voices you’re not looking to recruit.  Secondly, I learned it from a naysayer.  Meaning you can’t ignore them entirely and still watch your back.

Okay, so what’s in a name?  Well, in our case the name helped us identify you… a person who Gets It.  You understand, probably from our name alone, a lot about our mission. And I would like to take this moment to say how deeply indebted I am to you and to all our members who put a trust in us to try and do our best to collectively make a difference in outcomes for our regional ecological and cultural resources.  Maintaining a cultural and natural heritage is not an easy task. The cards are stacked against us, but we endeavor to make a difference – and we do.

In these fiscally hard times, as we read about the charitable institutions struggling to keep a roof over their heads, I am grateful to one of our Board members who observed as we discussed the pros and cons of taking on a facility, “ The out-of-doors IS our facility.  And it gives us limitless opportunities.”  So as we enter the New Year with lots of opportunities ahead of us, this will be the second piece of wisdom that I will ponder (don’t worry, I’m not limited to two pieces of wisdom; I’m only limited by the space and time to share them with you – lucky for you!).  There would be great benefits to having a facility, a Mecca of sorts.  But with it come some limitations, including fiscal drain and distraction from purpose, as you focus on leaky roofs and dollars to maintain them.  So anything we do in that regard would have to represent an incredible opportunity to expand our programming.

At this point I’m questioning myself, “Is this the best I could do for an annual message?”  Probably not, but don’t disregard my words.  Think instead about Margaret Mead’s statement, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  Think about the thousands of acres of property that have been protected around our watershed for your enjoyment.  It is the collective efforts of those of us who Get It that will determine our future.  Be it our regional, state, national or global heritage, we are in this thing together – exerting a change. Whether it’s a little or big difference, I’m happy to be in it with you!


Jane Morton Galetto

I present to you your 2009 roster:

Trustees Officers
Ethan Aronoff President Jane Morton Galetto
Donna Dailey Recording Secretary Diane Amico
Berwyn Kirby Corresponding SecretaryKaren Johnson
Sue Fenili TreasurerAnthony Klock
Leslie Ficcaglia Assistant Treasurer Irene Bird
Tom McKee
Richard Jones
Mary Ann Russell

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION We ask that you consider CU in your 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.

MEETING DATES for 2010 – Note that the new location for this year’s meetings is the George Luciano Center, Cumberland County College; please mark your calendars!

January 13, 2010
March 10, 2010
May 12, 2010
July 9, 2010
September 8, 2010
November 10, 2010

MEETING WEATHER ADVISORY – During the winter months our regularly scheduled meetings will be canceled if Millville Public Schools have issued a foul weather closure.  If weather has gotten nasty late in the day please exercise good judgment. Should you have any further questions feel free to call Jane at 856-327-1161.  Have a safe winter.

CU Updates:

Bald EagleEagle Festival – Feb 6, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. with a 7 a.m. Sunrise Walk at Turkey Point with Karen Johnson; four staffed viewing sites open throughout the day; walks with NLT Steve Eisenhauer and Brian Johnson at 10 and 12:30; and a 5 p.m. Owl Watch with Don Freiday.  The indoor portion of the festival is held at the Mauricetown Firehall . Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. This year’s keynote speaker is Laurie Pettigrew, “Watching Wildlife in New Jersey,” with a book signing at the CU table to follow. Other speakers include “Digiscoping: Wildlife Photography Through a Telescope” by Zeiss Optical; “Bald Eagles-Life After Federal De-Listing,” by Kathy Clark, NJ Endangered Species; “Birding Fieldcraft: Clothing, Gear, & Tips for Better Birding,” by Don Freiday, NJ Audubon; “Birds and Birding at Cape May: The Cumberland Edition,” by Clay and Pat Sutton (book signing to follow); and “The Owliest Place I Know,” by Pete Dunne, NJ Audubon.  CU needs volunteers to represent us at our table, and skilled birding docents to assist at viewing sites.  Volunteers at the table typically help out for 2 to 3 hours, giving them plenty of time to enjoy the remainder of the festival.  To volunteer, contact Renee at . More information on the Eagle Festival can be found online at the County’s website.

Chili guyChili Bowl-Feb 6, 6:30 p.m. Our annual fun-raiser! Follow a chilly day of birding with a bowl (or two or three) of chili and some good spirits! Join us after the Eagle Festival at 6:30, at the Mauricetown Firehall. Tickets are $20. The last two years sold out, so we highly recommend getting those tickets early. Last year’s Chili Bowl featured 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, salad dressings, and desserts. The auction is always full of cool things and is lively and fun-filled. Chefs are needed–chili, appetizers, cornbread, and brownies/cookies; as well as kitchen & setup/cleanup help.

We receive everything from fine art to re-gifted or duplicate Christmas gifts. Auction items are also needed, as well as sponsorships. Or perhaps you are able to offer an experience-oriented excursion? Previous such excursions have included eagle and osprey banding, trips to botanic gardens, history and pinebarrens plants tours and other biological and cultural outings.

If interested in tickets, or in volunteering, contact Renee at 856 305 3238 or If you’d like to donate an auction item or a sponsorship, contact Jane at 856 327-1161 or

ParrotfeatherParrotfeather– Work continues to find a means of eradicating this invasive Amazonian aquatic plant. U.S.Fish & Wildlife Service has agreed to contribute the labor and necessary pesticides for treatment during the growing season through a Partner program that allows them to work with private citizens. It will be necessary to contact landowners about the program, educate them on the issue, and try to enlist their cooperation.

Officers & Trustees meeting– The officers are embarking on an effort to increase the opportunities for our members to enjoy the out-of-doors as well as to increase our advocacy, education, research and overall capacity to do good work.  The process is carefully linked to our mission and goals as defined by your board.

Keep it Green– We would like to thank our members who voted to continue NJ’s program for purchasing wildlife and recreational areas for our citizens.  As you likely know, the vote carried by a very small margin.

ATV Bill– The bill continues to take serious shifts by continual amendment.  As of the writing of this newsletter the bill is more designed to create parks than to protect habitat and public property. This is a sad change in what originally looked like a good piece of legislation.

Website Offerings:  CU’s Google Earth Osprey project is now featured on Google Earth’s Gallery. You can view it by going to Google Earth’s Gallery website and typing in “Osprey” and downloading the file. You can also download the kml to utilize with Google Earth (you must have Google Earth installed) at

Winter walkVolunteer Opportunities and Events:

Birding & Botany Breakfast Walks- These walks were well received and are a great way to start the morning! A number of members requested that we do these walks seasonally, so that we can see the progression of natural phenomena throughout the year.  Join us on the Maurice River Recreational Trail on  Tuesdays at 9 a.m. for a three-week series, from January 5th – January 19th! Meet at Waltman Park on Brandriff Ave.

Coopers hawkRaptor Discovery Days– Feb. 3-5 This year’s program is already booked to capacity by local classes attending this popular program. Volunteers are needed to assist outdoors with hikes, birding, and general crowd control on Natural Lands Trust’s Peek Preserve and Glade Preserve. Contact Renee if you would like to help.

Adopt a swamp pink population- Monitoring begins in late March-late April. If you are interested in this program, contact Renee. Volunteer training at Shaws Mill on March 27, 10 a.m.




January 5, 2010 9 a.m. Breakfast Walk, Maurice River Trail
January 12, 2010 9 a.m. Breakfast Walk, Maurice River Trail
January 13, 2010 6:30 p.m. Bimonthly meeting, Larry Niles, Shorebird Update, Cumberland County College, Luciano Center
January 19, 2010 9 a.m. Breakfast Walk, Maurice River Trail

February 3-5, 2010 Raptor Discovery Days
February 6, 2010 Eagle Festival and Annual Chili Bowl

Sun Rise Walk, Turkey Point, 7 a.m.
Firehall Presentations & Displays, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Owl Watch, 5 p.m.
Chili Bowl, 6:30 P.M.

March 5, 2010 1:00 p.m. Country Garden Club, Franklinville Community Center, “Southern NJ Wildflowers”
March 9, 2010 7:00 p.m. Salem County Nature Club, Rare Plants of Southern New Jersey
March 10, 2010  6:30 p.m. Bimonthly Wednesday meeting, Cumberland County College, Luciano Center. Speaker, Karl Anderson: Mammals and Skulls of New Jersey
March 27, 2010 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Adopt a swamp pink population/GPS volunteer training, Shaws Mill

April 20, 2010 9 a.m. Breakfast Walk, Maurice River Trail
April 27, 2010 9 a.m. Breakfast Walk, Maurice River Trail

May 1, 2010 Philadelphia Botanical Trip, Western Cumberland County—spring wildflowers. Led by Renee Brecht & Dr. Gerry Moore
May 1, 2010 Wheaton Arts Eco-Fair
May 4, 2010 9 a.m. Breakfast Walk, Maurice River Trail
May 8, 2010 Birding Field Trip, location TBA
May 11, 2010, 9 a.m- 12 p.m. Master Gardener’s Club Presentation on Identification of Native Plant Species
May 12, 2010  6:30 p.m. Bimonthly Wednesday meeting, Cumberland County College, Luciano Center. Tentatively, Reptiles and Amphibians of NJ
May 14, 2010  5:30 New Members Orientation and 7:30 Frog Slog
May 15, 2010 World Series of Birding
Mid May-beginning of June 2009 Host the Scientists
May 29, 2010  CU & Host the Scientists Hiking trip/Pig Roast and campfire, tent, 50/50
May 31, 2010 Memorial Day Birding Sail

June 12 and 13, 2010  Bay Days Festival (date tentative)
June 26, 2010 2 p.m. BYOB (Bring your own boat), Maurice River, followed by a potluck (Vertollis), & campfire downstream

June 29, 2010 7 a.m. Breakfast Walk, Maurice River Trail
July 6, 2010 7 a.m. Breakfast Walk, Maurice River Trail
July 10, 2010 Millville Summer Fest on the River
July 13, 2010 7 a.m. Breakfast Walk, Maurice River Trail
July 14, 2010  6:30 p.m. Bimonthly Wednesday meeting, Cumberland County College, Luciano Center
July 18, 2010 1 p.m. BYOB (Bring your own boat) kayak trip, Muskee Creek

August 7, 2010 Philadelphia Botanical Trip, Maurice River Trail, led by Renee Brecht & Dr. Gerry Moore
August 13 and 14, 2010 Purple Martin Festival, date tentative
September 8, 2010  6:30 p.m. Bimonthly Wednesday meeting, Cumberland County College, Luciano Center
September 11, 2010 10:00 – 1:00 Community Event Room VINELAND LIBRARY Botany ID workshop followed by field walk
September 18, 2010 East Point Lighthouse Open House
September 25, 2010 Cape May Point State Park Butterfly Walk

October 5, 2010 9 a.m. Breakfast Walk, Maurice River Trail
October 7,  2010 Fall Historical Recollections Campfire. Oct 8 raindate Location TBA
October 12, 2010 9 a.m. Breakfast Walk, Maurice River Trail
October 19, 2010 9 a.m. Breakfast Walk, Maurice River Trail
October 23, 2010 6:30 p.m. Ah Why Knot Awards Dinner

November 2, 2010 7 p.m. Swamp pink presentation at Dallas Lore Nature Club
November 10, 2010  6:30 p.m. Annual meeting, Cumberland County College, Luciano Center

CU on the River!