CU Reporter June/July 2011

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

July 13, 2011 – 6:30 p.m.
(Our normal schedule is the second Wednesday of odd-numbered months)
George Luciano Center, Cumberland County College

Presentation by
Jamie Cromartie
Insects In Southern NJ: Past, Present and Future
(The presentation follows meeting approximately 7 p.m.)

Insects are among the most distinctive members of the fauna of the pine barrens, but their distribution and abundance are changing along with the rest of our environment.  To protect the most distinctive elements in the future we will need to keep managing our landscape in the face of many forces, both natural and human-caused.

Jamie Cromartie, Ph.D., has been a well-known Stockton professor since 1974.  Since he began at Stockton he has been studying insects on the campus, at Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge, and in the Great Egg Harbor Watershed.  Most recently the American Entomological Society, of which he is President, has been doing an insect survey of the Franklin Parker Preserve in Chatsworth.  His varied expertise is in environmental studies and focuses on ecology, entomology, population biology and environmental issues.  His doctoral work at Cornell University was in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

CU Updates

What a month we had in May! We started off with over 13 countries being represented at the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network 25th Anniversary Celebration (WHSRN).  About 300 folks were in attendance.  The South Jersey Bayshore Coalition and Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences hosted the event at the newly-renovated Bayshore Discovery Project’s shipping sheds and docks.  Over 20 CU volunteers helped prepare a spread of food for the event.  We also helped with some of the pre-event details for the WHSRN Council, Manomet staff, and supporters who arrived early on.

Celebrated were the many places where efforts are constantly being made to maintain habitat for migrating shorebirds.  The first preserve in this hemispheric network was the Delaware Bayshore.  We heard from scientists based throughout the hemisphere who seek to give the birds suitable stopover habitat. Manomet Board President Dean Steeger accepted a Citizens United Ah Why Knot award on behalf of Manomet for their establishment and subsequent maintenance of the reserve network.  The perils of the red knot and its drastically declining numbers were highlighted.  Ex-Secretary of the Treasurer and birding enthusiast Hank Paulson was our keynote speaker.  He addressed a “nature deficit” and the need for every individual and corporation to think and act in terms of sustainability, since we have reached a tipping point of crisis proportions in which the fate of the world’s natural resources is imperiled.

After the event the shorebird study team settled into their annual monitoring of shorebird success on the Delaware Bayshore stopover.  As in past years our members treated these national and international visitors to some Down Jersey Hospitality.  Approximately 50 members cooked over the month of May, preparing an estimated 1000-plus meals.  It was an unbelievably generous show of hands and talent.  Way to go, gang!  Clive Minton of Australia wrote, “The team’s happiness was in no small measure due to all the things Citizens United does to make our stay pleasurable.”

Here is a sampling of what we shared with our members and visitors: A frog slog that dazzled the two veterinarians from Chili and the African birding tour guide. A make-a-paper-weight event at Wheaton Arts involving six of our visitors. The pig roast was attended by about 120 persons and was deemed a great success.  The birding walk, birding sail on the AJ Meerwald, and dolphin viewing trips all were terrific.  Music night, Thanksgiving Dinner, and some traditional fare evenings were a big hit. Oh, yes, Thanksgiving in May, you ask?  We do this to show our thanks for all that the team does and to allow our foreign visitors to see a major US holiday’s fixings. These were all great cultural experiences with a strong regional flavor.

It is hard to highlight all the very special meals and fare; each year our members outdo the previous offerings.  We had native species of quail, elk, deer, lots of local seafood, and even Bill Dudley’s trophy striped bass.  I hear tell that one night there was a bit of a parrothead flare; enough said.  Be assured that the scientists get a lot more work than play in.  In fact, our cooking allows them to work very long hours.  But we hope our hospitality gets them coming back to do the important work of  helping to sustain shorebird populations.

Executive Director – Big News Breaking Soon!
The Executive Board and Personnel committee met a number of times during late May and early June to interview candidates for the position of CU’s first executive director. Some great people applied so it was a tough decision. Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement; learn who will lead CU into the future.  We know you will share our enthusiasm for this great selection.

Upcoming Events

Fourth of July Millville- Volunteers Needed
Millville is having an old fashioned 4th of July Celebration from noon until fireworks at 9:30. The event is complete with music, line dancing, pie-eating contests, three-legged race, crafters, food, a beer garden, a parade and more.  We will have a tent at Waltman Park from noon until 5, complete with CU Paint a Landscape and two nature walks, at 1:30 and 3 p.m.  If you would like to represent CU for a two-hour time slot during the celebration please contact Jane .  If you want more details on the event check out the Glasstown District’s website.

Purple Martin Time
It won’t be long before Allen Jackson starts his marathon of placing 8000 bands on purple martin chicks.  Allen, we hope you are eating your spinach; some of the landlords are reporting hundreds of chicks!

Purple Martin Migration Spectacular
On Friday and Saturday, August 12 and 13, CU will be key in hosting the viewing of this migration event.  We are working with Maurice River Township, the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions and The Natural Lands Trust, with assistance from ANJEC. Special thanks go to the National Park Service’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Program and Cumberland County Improvement Authority for their support as well.

The viewing platform and dessert cruise aboard the Bodacious will start at 6:15.  Cost for the cruise is $35 per person.  You may send your reservation and check to CU, PO Box 474, Millville, NJ. Be sure to specify the date, number and names of those in your group.  Or you may purchase your reservations on line with a credit card at

If you have questions call Jane at 609-774-5853.

Blue Bird Alert
Southern New Jersey has probably the best bluebird habitat in the State.  Thanks to CU member Allen Jackson and a few other concerned individuals, we now have a newly-established “New Jersey Bluebird Society”.  The NJBS is an affiliate chapter of the North American Bluebird Society, the national organization that coordinates and works with state chapters in the US and Canada for the benefit of bluebirds.

The NJBS’s mission statement notes that the “goal is to produce a healthy and productive bluebird population in New Jersey by establishing trails that are located in suitable habitat while utilizing and promoting recommended bluebird management practices (proper housing, protection from predators, and nest monitoring).  To accomplish this goal our objectives will be to:

  • provide expertise and guidance to trail monitors and bluebird enthusiasts;
  • monitor population trends from year to year by surveying the number of young fledged from nest boxes; and,
  • provide public education about bluebirds to interested people in the State.”

Allen reports that the NJBS is in the process of creating a website which will be the primary way to disseminate information as the organization grows and accepts new members.  Look for more information in the future.

For the time being, Allen Jackson ( or 856/327-4861) can provide further information to people interested in this new organization.

On the Legislative Front
Along with our conservation brethren across the country, we have been advocating for what is grouped as “Function 300” of the federal budget.  This constitutes the US’s “natural resources budget,” which spans programs in the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce and other departments.  It represents a 100 year bi-partisan effort to conserve the nation’s natural resources.  In 2010 it involved a tad over 1% of the budget.  Anyway, it is currently caught in the turmoil of Congressional budget planning.  Conservation groups are pushing for a solution to secure our enjoyment of natural resources into the future and to free up the funding.

Additionally we are working with other Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers to keep this National Park Service program properly funded.

Bayshore Heritage Scenic Byway
There will be a kick-off meeting in Trenton on July 11 for the Bayshore Heritage Scenic Byway.  On July 12th we will likely tour the proposed route with consultants Lardner/Klein Landscape Architects, who have been selected to work on a management plan for the byway.

Youth Camp Volunteer Opportunities
Sue Fenili has been scheduling CU members to lead youth activities at YMCA Camp Merrywood.  We are excited to partner with the Cumberland-Cape-Atlantic YMCA in Vineland.  If you are interested in helping out or leading an out-of-door activity contact Sue at 856-691-7459

Waltman Park Nature Walks are in full swing; check out the calendar.  Note the summer walks start at 7 a.m. – in order to beat the heat!

What Else Happened in May and June?
Well, mixed in with all the aforementioned activities we ran our annual new members orientation at Tim and Mary Ann Russell’s home.  This event was hosted by nearly as many volunteers as attendees… leave it to CU to come through with a strong welcome!

Bay Day Tony Klock, Sue Fenili and Sue Leopold led walks at Waltman Park.  Member and State Biologist Laurie Pettigrew led a birding walk at Heiserville Wildlife Management Area.  We lobbied the Freeholders to retain County funding for open space.  Some members reviewed plans for a public ramp on the Menantico River and made their concerns known at a hearing in Maurice River Township.  Attorney Todd Heck represented aspects of the Wild and Scenic Comprehensive Management Plan in which the ramp plan is considered inconsistent, as did Trustees Richard Jones, Berwyn Kirby and others.  Volunteers represented CU at the Eco Fair at Wheaton Arts, Bay Day at the Discovery Project and Art Day at the Barn Studio.  In fact a total of 30 folks were involved, thus explaining why they are not all listed here – oh, my.

Sailing Lake AudreyOn May 27th many of our CU and Bayshore Discovery Project volunteers participated in the Float a Boat Day at Lake Audrey. This event was marked by local school children and their mentors showing off and sailing boats made in the Building Kids program.  Hats off to Bill Sheridan for developing this whole project and organizing the recent event.  Members Frank Kammerer and Dave Fenili were involved over several months.  Others helping out were Sue and John Leopold, Sue Fenili, Meredith Koenig, Cheryl Healy, and Jane Galetto.

Those planning to go on the Costa Rica trip met at the Leopolds’ home for an orientation/planning meeting.  The logistics for the trip are coming together well and the group is understandably very excited about their upcoming adventure.

Osprey camCU presented a program on osprey to the Dallas Lore Sharp Nature Club. Using the wonders of internet technology, they also were treated to member Hugh Richard’s osprey cam on the river.  This real-time camera, focused on a nesting site in Maurice River Township, is making big news and you can visit it online at  It provides an intimate look into the raising of an osprey family. Both of the parents in the nest were banded by Jane and Peter Galetto; one is 5 years old and the other is 9.  As of June 20 all three chicks are surviving; the first egg hatched on June 4th.  The youngest will have a real struggle for survival. Its little craw is on over-stuff as of 4:30 today so we are hopeful. We suspect they are experienced parents that possibly were the same birds which nested on the Whibco dolphins last year.  Now they are atop a boat lift on Hugh’s property, formerly Four Star Marina.

Renee Brecht led our first bicycle trip.  There were a total of 14 hardy participants who braved the sand roads of Bevan Wildlife Management Area.  Folks reported having a great time. If our bicyclists are interested in having more trips we are looking for trip leaders.  Call Jane at 609-774-5853.

Two calendar items that have not taken place yet but will occur prior to the arrival of your newsletter are the Kayak Trip and Campfire (described in past newsletters), and Pat Sutton’s talk.  Updates are sent via email but for those of you who are relying only on the postal service and who don’t make meetings, you may have missed the fact that Pat is coming. Sorry!

On a Personal Note
I would like to thank the members for their kind notes of condolence to me and my family upon my mother-in-law’s passing.  Your gifts in her honor, fruit baskets and cards really lifted our spirits. Enes Galetto, Mom, was all about family, faith, community and of course cooking. She did the hardest job of all very well; she was a superb mother, and in fact she was a great mother-in-law and grandmother.  Mom led by example, spoke little but said a lot. We miss her but are happy to see her three months of suffering end.  She was a faith-filled person, and we as a family are confident that she is welcomed with open arms.  Many of you ask about my father-in-law. He really misses Mom, his lifelong companion.  But he sticks to his usual schedule, and as he observed about Mom during her brief illness, “Hey, she’s ninety.”  What Dad leaves out is he’s ninety, too.  Go, Dad, go.

Other opportunities for involvement can be found on the calendar.


Meeting Dates for 2011

Second Wednesdays of the odd numbered months 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Cumberland County College, Luciano Center

January 12, 2011
March 9, 2011
May 11, 2011
July 13, 2011
September 14, 2011
November 9, 2011

June 7, 2011 Presentation, Seasons on the Maurice, Dallas Lore Sharp Nature Club
June 11, 2011 Bay Day
June 18, 2011 Nature Bike Trip, Bevan WMA, Meeting Shaws Mill Pond. 10 miles.
June 22, 2011 Pat Sutton speaks at Winfield’s
June 26, 2011 BYOB Paddle, Meet at Waltman Park at 11:30, Campfire around 5 p.m.
June 28, 2011 7 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Breakfast Nature Walk Waltman Park (note: earlier time to beat heat)
June 28, 2011 7 a.m. Birding and Botany Walk

July 4, 2011 12 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Millville 4th of July Riverfest
July 5, 2011 7 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Breakfast Nature Walk Waltman Park (note: earlier time to beat heat)
July 12, 2011 7a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Breakfast Nature Walk Waltman Park (note: earlier time to beat heat)
July 13, 2011 Bimonthly Wednesday meeting, Cumberland County College, Luciano Center
Speaker- Jamie Cromartie- Insects
July 23, 2011 10 a.m. Philadelphia Botanical Field Trip, Cape May County

August 6, 2011 CU BYOB Paddle Trip
August 12, 13 2011 Purple Martin Migration Spectacular 6:15 p.m.-8:30 p.m. viewing platform at the Mauricetown Bridge. Plus cruise leaves from Port Norris 6:15 p.m. and lasts  approximately 3 hours, reservations necessary for boat.

September 3, 2011 Lake Audrey Day
September 14, 2011  6:30 p.m. Bimonthly Wednesday meeting, Cumberland County College, Luciano Center
Speaker- Rick Dutko, Bats
September 24, 2011 Cape May Point State Park Butterfly Walk
September 27, 2011 9 a.m. Breakfast Nature Walk Waltman Park

October 4, 2011 9 a.m. Breakfast Nature Walk Waltman Park
October 8,  2011 Recollections Campfire. Location TBA
October 11, 2011 9 a.m. Breakfast Nature Walk Waltman Park
October 15, 2011 6:30 p.m. Ah Why Knot Awards Dinner, Union Lake Sailing and Tennis Club Speaker Jeff Alpert, Riverside Management Practices

November 9, 2011  6:30 p.m. Annual meeting, Cumberland County College, Luciano Center

December 2, 2011 – TENTATIVELY a Wine Tasting Event

CU on the River!