CU Reporter April/May 2010

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

May 14, 2010 – 6:30 p.m.
(Our normal schedule is the second Wednesday of odd-numbered months)
NEW LOCATION: George Luciano Center, Cumberland County College

Presentation By
Matthew McCort, Herpetological Associates: Spring Breeding Amphibians in NJ

Tree FrogMatthew specializes in the ecology of reptiles and amphibians of the northeastern United States. He is a qualified bog turtle surveyor in New Jersey and has done research and surveys for endangered, threatened, and rare wildlife species throughout the northeast as well as in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Aruba. Mr. McCort will be giving a presentation on the spring breeding habits of New Jersey’s amphibians.

CU Updates:

The month of May is an action packed month for our organization. Members have a host of opportunities for involvement. We will be making meals for shorebird scientists and helping collect some of the pertinent data on the birds’ health and migration. We will also be sailing on the AJ Meerwald, frog slogging, hiking, and more. We hope you will take part in some of the activities. This newsletter will give you information about what you might enjoy.

Parrotfeather Planning continues for the eradication of Parrotfeather, an invasive aquatic plant. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Partners program, the City of Vineland, and the Vineland Environmental Commission are joining with CU to this end. A meeting with property owners took place on March 30th to orient the attendees about the negative aspects of this invasive species.

The City of Vineland recently sent each landowner a copy of the USFWS property owner’s agreement; signing allows access to the individual’s property. It is a voluntary program, and we are hopeful that many property owners will participate.

In conjunction with this project, Renee has completed the addition of an aquatic weed & an aquatic gardening section to the CU botany site. This will help people to select native or noninvasive exotic species for their waterscapes.

CU is now on Facebook. If you are on Facebook, stop by and say “hello!”

Public lands clean-upCU members participated in the 19th Annual Public Lands Cleanup. Member Ed Pio organized a cleanup at East Point Lighthouse and surrounding area, attended by Allen Jackson, Jill & Sarah Mortensen, Meredith Koenig, Grace Richter, and Bill Garwood. CU also was instrumental in arranging for Millville Boy Scout Troop #4’s adoption of the Menantico Ponds area for this and future clean-ups. Thanks to all who participated!

Associate Director Renee Brecht and President Jane Galetto have given several presentations: Wildflowers of Southern New Jersey for approximately 60 individuals at the Gloucester County Gardening Club; Rare Plants of Southern New Jersey –Salem County Nature Club; Rare Plants of New Jersey and Invasive Plants of New Jersey– Millville Senior High School Enviro-thon team. The Rotary Clubs of Bridgeton and Vineland were also given a presentation about the activities of Citizen United. Both clubs are very active in their respective communities and were extremely receptive and engaged.

Several new volunteers attended this year’s Adopt a swamp pink population training and monitoring efforts for this year are currently in full swing.

Philadelphia Botanical Club field tripGerry Moore, PhD., Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Renee Brecht led a Philadelphia Botanical Club Field Trip on Spring Wildflowers of Cumberland County that was open to CU members. An extensive population of southern twayblade orchid was noted, along with swamp pink, and spring ephemerals. Several CU members attended.

The ospreys have returned to their nesting sites and we appear to have picked up a few extra pair. On the river walk the new platform erected in the fall is vacant, oh well maybe next year. We do expect to see birds perching on it to eat herring. Tony Klock, Peter and Jane Galetto changed guards. Additionally Chris Duffy, Eddie DiPalma joined them in straightening nesting poles. Incubation is underway in most nests. So we are hoping for an excellent season.

Our Breakfast Walks resumed from April 20 through May 4. Sadly, local vandals burned one of the bridges, near the wood duck box and the osprey platform that CU volunteers put in place. The walks continue, commencing from the dam side of the park, but nonetheless, the disregard for the area shown by this abhorrent act saddens us.

Rails to Trails: we have been participating in meetings, discussing opportunities to develop trail networks along abandoned railroad beds. The County of Cumberland has been working with a consultant to determine possible options. There are many stakeholders that have been giving input into the process and eventually a draft plan will be presented to the public for comments.

We are excited to inform you that our award-winning Down Jersey curriculum has been distributed to the Millville Public Schools, thanks to volunteers Dave & Sue Fenili, Ed Pio, and Allen Jackson. Two hundred thirty-four packets were distributed, and one school requested more materials for students Additionally, 24 packets were delivered to the Educational Informational and Resource Center in Sewell.

A Member Survey, designed by trustees Mary Ann Russell and Sue Fenili, was distributed via email to our mailing list in an effort to glean a greater understanding of how we might better serve our membership. Thank you to all who completed it!

From Jane: Part of the work that we do at Citizens United involves budgeting and planning. A good deal of effort was put into our internal budgeting and matching our activities to the budget categories used by the National Park Service. Jane had peddled this job to Renee as cake – at this point I’m in the dog house; need I say more. By the way the dog house isn’t all bad these days in that our female Brittany Spaniel just had 9 pups.

On the Advocacy Front

The Board of Public Utilities voted to allow Atlantic Electric’s Holly Farm* property to be transferred to a developer. There are future salvos for this project to dodge and we intend to levy the appropriate objections until the property is preserved. We will be asking our members to step up to the plate on various occasions. A full press release is available on our website regarding this disturbing decision. *Clarification: we call this tract the Holly Farm primarily because local folks know it by that name. In fact, the holly trees are no longer maintained in a farmed fashion and it is only a small portion of a much larger property. Furthermore, the expanse is part of an even larger forest complex that includes Belleplain State Forest, TNC’s Manumuskin Preserve, Peaslee, and Menantico Wildlife Management Areas.

The Vineland Environmental Committee held a public meeting to present the draft Natural Resource Inventory to the public. Renee attended this meeting and submitted suggested edits and additions.

Member Opportunities

Birding with LaurieBirding with Laurie – May 8, Peaslee WMA, with principal State biologist Laurie Pettigrew. Meeting 8 a.m. on Weatherby Road just east of Tarklin Road.

New Members Orientation –On May 21, new members are invited to an orientation so they can learn more about the opportunities for involvement in Citizens United’s activities. The event will be held at the Russells’ home on the Maurice River. Immediately following the event, folks who would like to attend the frog slog are welcome to carpool to that experience as well. An RSVP is necessary for the New Members Orientation; email Jane at or phone 609-774-5853.

Hosting the Shorebird Scientists– Presently, for all but about two nights in May we have CU members who are providing dinners to the local and international shorebird scientists as they monitor the horseshoe crab / shorebird phenomena. There are still some cooking opportunities left, especially for desserts. The Pig Roast on May 29th is open to members who provided meals, collected data, or in some way aided the international scientists. It includes a morning hike, a pig roast, kayaking, a campfire / sing-along, and the like. Attendees provide side dishes. The entire event is really fun and is our way of getting together with the NJ & Delaware scientists and the international visitors and simply saying “thank you” to those of you who work in May to make this a very special month. Further, we make an All USA Thanksgiving Dinner on May 15th. This is a unique day of CU members helping with banding and dinner. If you wish to be involved, please call Jane at 609-774-5853 or email

Do you like Dixieland Jazz? On May 19th Filomena’s in Buena will have member Jennifer Swift’s brother Herb Roselle’s Dixieland band. To make reservations call 856-697-7207. This is not an official CU event but Jennifer has offered to take our international visitors to hear some true USA music so we thought it might make a fun night for CU members.

Frog Slog– Friday May 14, 2010 7:30 p.m. Follow signs from the intersection of Union Road and Mays Landing Roads (Bennetts Mill). Waterproof boots and a flashlight are suggested. Look for the CU signs. Contact Renee at for more information.

Memorial Day Sail– For the past few years, between scientists and CU members, we have filled the AJ Meerwald on Memorial Day morning for a Birding Sail. If you haven’t experienced this event, grab your binoculars and come join in the fun in this year’s sail – Monday, May 31 – 8 a.m. till noon. A number of CU’s birders normally help to point out various species. Hoisting the sails and enjoying an oyster simply adds to the fun. Reservations are required. The tickets are discounted for CU and you must mention that you are a member. Tickets generally sell for $35 and $30 for seniors, the CU special is $25 for adults, while kids sail for $15.

Numerous volunteers needed—Bay Days, June 12 & 13—to represent CU at our booth, and for the Paint a Landscape activity. Contact Renee at 845 305 3238 or to volunteer.


Jane Morton Galetto


March 4, 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 16, 2010 Vineland Rotary Club, Jane Morton Galetto presentation
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 22, 2010 Bridgeton Rotary Club, Jane Morton Galetto, presentation
April 24, 2010 Philadelphia Botanical Trip, Western Cumberland County—spring wildflowers. Led by Renee Brecht & Dr. Gerry Moore
April 27, 2010 9 a.m. Breakfast Walk, Maurice River Trail

May 1, 2010 Wheaton Arts Eco-Fair
May 4, 2010 9 a.m. Breakfast Walk, Maurice River Trail
May 8, 2010 Birding Field Trip, Peaslee WMA
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. 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
June 26, 2010 12 p.m. BYOB (Bring your own boat), Menantico Ponds to the 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 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!