Updates from Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, Inc.
First Presentation of the New Year
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 – 6:30 p.m.
George Luciano Center, Cumberland County College
Clay Sutton, Author and Ornithologist
Bird Studies at “New Cape May”
A Modern Perspective on the Birdlife of Witmer Stone’s Beloved Old Cape May
Join us as Clay Sutton presents the FIRST program anywhere to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the publication of Witmer Stone’s famous Bird Studies at Old Cape May, published in 1937. Learn about the great ornithologist Witmer Stone, the many changes in our birdlife over the last century, and why Stone’s landmark book is still relevant today. By the way, Cumberland County and the Delaware Bayshore were very much a part of Stone’s Old Cape May study area. Clay will highlight and use the Red-headed Woodpecker as a case study in the how and whys of the changing status and distribution of birds in Southern New Jersey. The Red-headed Woodpecker has been a concern of CU, both in the recent Vineland solar array decision and on the property ultimately developed as a racetrack in Millville.
Clay Sutton is the co-author, with his wife Pat Sutton, of Birds and Birding at Cape May (Stackpole, 2006), which also includes Cumberland County, the author of the CU-sponsored Birding Cumberland, A Birder’s Guide to Cumberland County (2003), as well as many other titles. For 25 years Clay has led and conducted CU’s long-term bird monitoring research efforts on the Maurice River.
Annual Message from Board President Jane Morton Galetto
Well, each year we reserve space at the end of this annual message for remembrances of members who no longer grace the earth. This year has been especially unique for me, and for the organization, in that my husband and I sadly have both lost our parents. Nevertheless we were left with a wealth of wisdom in their absence. So I take the liberty of using this space to commemorate, and apologize if anyone objects to my decision. In six short months we lost CU members Enes and Peter Galetto, my in-laws, and my mother, Teresa Morton. All were great supporters of CU and our efforts. The Galetto Foundation, funded by Enes and Peter, gave generously on an annual basis, and shortly before Teresa’s death she donated the single largest individual gift to CU.
But the gifts that I would like to talk about are much more important than that. When I grew up I was given a huge amount of freedom to explore the great out-of-doors. I would spend the entire afternoon after school and all day in the summer in a stream near our home, in the woods every day! People tell me those were different times, and maybe they are right; we never locked our homes, either. At age 10, I paddled and sailed Union Lake unassisted and rarely with any rescue personnel available. Yet I believe that we now live in a time where folks expect to be protected, insured against any possible mishaps (well, with the exception of those crazy X game types). And with that protective attitude we sometimes protect our children so much and organize everything so thoroughly that we forget that life does not come with insurances. And the freedom to explore and take risks is the very foundation on which we LIVE, and on which America was founded. I was blessed to have had parents who let me explore and take those risks, although naturally they knew where I was ñ well, unless I lied.
Today’s youth, by and large, are not familiar with the out-of-doors and are deprived of those same experiences. Sometimes it is because their schedules are filled with other activities. Or possibly they live life through computer and TV screens, or grow up in areas far from nature. This separation leads to a serious lack of understanding about basic natural resources – where our medicines come from, our water, even our food. It is a total disconnect from nature.
Today, CU tries to fill that void and allow folks to explore the great out-of-doors. Yes, we take reasonable precautions. My point is not about risk-taking but rather about opportunities to broaden horizons and be introduced to the wonders of nature. But in spite of this mission, we nearly did not commit to Raptor Discovery Days this year because of lack of funding. When the Trustees found out, I thought they might want to string me and Lillian up, and my neck was feeling mighty tight. So we made a commitment, the same commitment my folks made to me – a commitment to give children the opportunity to explore. The generosity of many people will allow this to happen. We have accepted the financial risk, something taught to me by my father- in-law. We are acting for the good of the community, and in this sense my in-laws were the best role models. We have not stopped there; in developing our calendar we make that same commitment so that people of all ages can remember what it is like to be a child again, to hug a tree, paddle a boat, watch a bird, hike a forest and, yes, to have an advocacy voice in protecting that which we hold dear – Down Jersey.
I make the assumption that you don’t need an accounting of all that we do at CU. Hopefully you have been reading the newsletters and keeping abreast of all the good work we have been doing: kids’ programs, advocacy, fundraising, producing publications, our incredible website and its constant additions. So look over the calendar and join us in the fun and in making a difference!
I’d like to close by thanking our Trustees, officers and our new Executive Director, Lillian Armstrong, for their efforts and support during 2011.
A Message from Lillian Armstrong, Executive Director
Just a quick note to say my first six months have been busy and exciting. With each major event, like the Purple Martin Spectacular and the Ah Why Knot Dinner, I am learning more and more and having the opportunity to meet many of you in person. I am particularly grateful to Jane for her guidance, insights and patience, and to the Board of Trustees, who have given of their time to participate in planning for a sustainable future for CU Maurice River. We’re looking forward to a fun and eventful 2012, with all of your favorite events, and a few new ones. And, you’ll be hearing about a book launch for a very special publication about the people and wildlife of the Delaware Bayshore. So much to look forward to! As always, feel free to contact me if you have questions and/or suggestions. Happy New Year, everyone!
Volunteer Opportunities and Events
Join us for slides, videos and stories from the Costa Rica Travelers, Tuesday, February 17th, 6:30 pm upstairs at Winfields. They zip-corded, they crossed flooded rivers, and saw sooo much cool stuff, this is going to be fun and informative! Yes, you will want to go to Costa RicaÖ Dinner is not included, but if you would like to dine at Winfields before or after, we suggest making a reservation well in advance at either 5:00 pm or 7:30 pm by calling 856-327-0909.
Eagle Festival Education Days Feb. 8th and 9th (formerly known as Raptor Discovery Days)- We are excited to announce that CU Maurice River will be sponsoring at least two days of field trips and class sessions for school groups. In the past this event has introduced 500-700 students to the wonders of nature. Once again we will need volunteers to assist outdoors with hikes, birding, and general crowd control. The original source of funding for this event diminished some 2 years ago so we are cobbling together the funds from special donations, grants and generous members of CU. We are committed to the event, and would certainly welcome additional special donations. To see a slide show of past raptor field trips click here. Please contact Lillian Armstrong Lillian.email@example.com, 856-305-3238 if you would like to volunteer one or both days.
Cumberland County Eagle Festival – Saturday, Feb 11, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. with a 7 a.m. Sunrise Walk at Turkey Point led by CU Trustee Karen Johnson. Four staffed viewing sites will be open throughout the day, walks with NLT Steve Eisenhauer and Brian Johnson begin at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and, at 5 p.m. the day finishes up with the traditional Owl Watch led by Pete Dunne and Michael Crewe and docents of the day. The indoor portion of the festival is held at the Mauricetown Firehall. This year the family programming has been enhanced so bring children and grand children. Visitors will have a chance to see displays and merchandise from many different organizations and vendors. Crabcake and fried oyster sandwiches, along with other goodies, will be on sale throughout the day. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under, paid at the door. The presentation line-up is as follows:
9 a.m. Woodford – Cedar Run Refuge – Hunters of the Sky
10 a.m. NJ Endangered and Non Games Species Biologist, Kathy Clark- Faster Than An Eagle – Peregrine Falcons
11 a.m. NJ Audubon, Michael Crewe – Winter Birds of Cumberland
1 p.m. NJ Conservation Foundation – Emile DeVito’s Snakes of the Pine Barrens
2 p.m. Conserve Wildlife Foundation- MacKenzie Hall, Bats of New Jersey
3 p.m. NJ Audubon, Pete Dunne – Pinning the Name to the Raptor – In Interactive Approach
CU will need volunteers to represent us at our table, and also 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 for the Eagle Fest, contact Lillian.Armstrong@cumauriceriver.org or call 856-305-3238.
Chili Bowl and Auction – Feb 11, 6:30 p.m. Our annual fun-raiser is held immediately after the Owl Watch! Follow a chilly day of birding with a bowl (or two or three) of chili and some good spirits at the Mauricetown Firehall! Tickets are $25. The last three years were sold out, so we highly recommend getting those tickets early. Our Chili Bowls feature approximately 25 chilis, including the standards that we all know and love, and varieties that range from vegan to elk and more, along with numerous appetizers, cornbreads, salad dressings, and desserts. The auction is always full of cool things and is lively and fun-filled. Bring your check books – this year’s items are super. Chefs are needed for chili, appetizers, cornbread, and brownies/cookies; as well as volunteers for kitchen & setup/cleanup help. Auction items are also needed, as well as sponsorships. Perhaps you are able to offer an experience-oriented excursion? Previously such excursions have included eagle and osprey banding, trips to botanic gardens, history and pine barrens plant tours and other biological and cultural outings. Pay in advance for less waiting! And, we upgraded our software and have a team of folks in training to get you out the door faster!
To Register and purchase tickets: Please register with Suzanne Olah at 856-327-5118 and then purchase your tickets either online, please designate ìChili Bowlî in the box provided on the web page, or mail your payment to CU Maurice River, PO Box 474, Millville, NJ 08332.
To volunteer and/or bring a food item: contact Lillian (Lillian.Armstrong@cumauriceriver.org)
To donate and an auction item or a sponsorship, contact Jane at 856 327-1161 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Birding & Botany Morning Walks – This year’s Millville Riverfront Walks have a new format. They will take place twice monthly, from February through November and excluding August. The walks will be at 9:30 am on the third Saturday of the month targeting families and friends, and also at 9:00 am the following Tuesdays, primarily for adults and home schooled children. Additional walks and outings will take us to other locales.
On December 12, 2011 the Greenwich Tea Burning Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution presented its National Conservation Award to Jane Galetto at their annual holiday gathering in Bridgeton. The award is dedicated to the preservation of the natural resources of our country, its soils, mineral, forests, waters and wildlife. Jane accepted the award recognizing that it really represents the accomplishments of the many volunteers who devote countless hours to CU’s mission.
The South Jersey Bayshore Coalition continues to meet with a number of environmental organizations on topics of mutual interest. Of particular note at our most recent meeting was the attendance of a representative from the League of Conservation Voters. He was compiling a report of what is important to the NJ environmental community. He perceived our concerns to be in many cases unique to the Bayshore. We hope that candidates for public office will be evaluated based on some of the concerns we shared. It was also suggested that a ‘dirty dozen’ list of legislators be compiled as it has proven to be a very successful tool in other places nationally. Another topic discussed was the need to prioritize locations for solar power; that is, where it should be encouraged and where it would be counter productive. We discussed the fact that incentives should be given for roof tops, existing parking lots, landfills, and possibly brownfields, and that using farmland and/or deforesting is counterproductive to societal interests.
On November 16th, we attended a planning board meeting in Vineland to address concerns regarding the total deforestation of a wooded property in order to accommodate 80+ acres of solar power. Of particular concern is the endangered Red-headed Woodpecker’s use of this habitat in Southern Vineland. We asserted that it would be clearly a ìtakingî of the species.
CU Maurice River is an active participant in the creation of the Corridor Management Plan for the Bayshore Heritage Byway, a collaborative effort with NJDOT, ANJEC and members of the community. Public meetings will be held the third Thursday of each month beginning in January to explore different aspects of byway development and engage individuals and businesses in the development process.
The Board of Trustees gathered on Wednesday, December 7th to work on the 2012 calendar and discuss recognition of major donors and volunteers, among other matters.
The presentation of Season’s of the Maurice was given to Mt Pleasant School. The students seemed extremely engaged as they have been studying about watersheds in their classroom. In the spring we are planning to take the same students on a walk along the Riverfront in Millville.
We are represented in the PSEG reviews of the Estuary Enhancement Program‘s progress toward restoring the Delaware Bayshore’s wetlands to productive ecosystems. At this point all but one of the marsh areas has achieved the desired vegetation for fish production.
Don’t forget to use Good Search.com and GoodShop.com to make your on-line shopping count throughout the year. Not nearly enough members are participating and it’s so easy. More than 1,600 top stores including Amazon, Toys R Us, Best Buy, Apple, LL Bean, and more will donate a percentage of virtually every sale to Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, Inc. Just go to http://www.goodsearch.com/goodshop.aspx, designate Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River as the cause you support and then click over to your favorite store. You pay nothing extra – and you can even save money as GoodShop lists thousands of money-saving coupons and free shipping offers.
GO GREEN and receive newsletters like this via email, saving CU the cost of paper and mailing. And, just think, the online version has color pictures!! Contact Lillian.Armstrong@cumauriceriver.org if you would like to discontinue receiving newsletters via snail mail.
MEETING DATES for 2012
Second Wednesdays of the odd numbered months from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Cumberland County College, Luciano Center
January 11, 2012
March 14, 2012
May 9, 2012
July 11, 2012
September 12, 2012
November 14, 2012
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 on the River!