Quarterly Reporter June 2012

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

Next Meeting and Presentation – June 2012
Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 – 6:30 p.m.
George Luciano Center, Cumberland County College

“Reflections on the 2012 Spring Shorebird Season”

Volunteer Janis Traas shows off flag "ONE"Larry Niles of Conserve Wildlife Foundation, and lead author of the recently published Life Along the Delaware Bay, will discuss this year’s shorebird recovery efforts, including the re-capture of geo-locator birds that provided important scientific data about their astounding travels, and the new “Celebrate Delaware Bay” social media campaign.
Signed copies of the new book will be available for a $33.00 donation.

September 2012 Meeting and Presentation
Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 – 6:30 pm
Luciano Center, Cumberland County College
Topic: Rain Gardens, To Be Confirmed

Up-Coming Events for Members and Friends

Our monthly Birding and Botany Walks at Waltman Park have been fun and fascinating. We watched spring unfold with the emergence of plant-life, the arrival of spring migrant birds, our nesting Osprey, and an active Bald Eagle nest. We saw snakes and frogs, and most recently a rather lost-looking snapping turtle was almost hidden in plain sight on the edge of the trail. You never know what you might see with our wonderful naturalists, including Tony Klock (most Saturdays), Mary Fusco, Dee Shiell, Jane and Lillian, and our devoted “regulars” on the walks. Join us on the following dates:

Saturday, June 16th – 9:30 am
Tuesday, June 19th – 9:00 am
Saturday, July 21st – 9:30 am
Tuesday, July 24th – 9:00 am
No walks in August. They will resume the third Saturday in September.Lillian.armstrong@cumauriceriver.org at your earliest convenience.

Down Jersey Dinner DanceDo you have your tickets for the Down Jersey Dinner Dance? It’s $75 per person for a great night out! Click here for details, including the menu… As a matter of fact, the appetizers have been upgraded from what you see there. You’ll just have to come to find out what Chef Buono does with fresh crabmeat and avocado!

Our fun and casual Down Jersey Dinner Dance will take place on June 30, 2012 starting at 6:00 pm at the smartly appointed Greenview Inn, which is home to talented chef and owner Rob Buono. The setting is picturesque. The live band, Randy Friel and Friends, with John Workman and other local musicians, will be playing dancing tunes that many of us grew up with, mostly classic rock. During appetizers and dinner, the music will be mellow and suitable for conservation at your table. Then we’ll start to rock and roll. Put together a table with friends and help make this evening a success.

We will have beautifully-framed Audubon Prints for sale at $125 each, plus signed copies of the new book, Life Along the Delaware Bay. You will have a chance to try your luck at a 50/50 and there may be a couple of live auction items. We promise there will be no stopping the socializing and music for longer than 10 minutes, so put on your dancing shoes!

Make a reservation by emailing cureservation@gmail.com. You can also pay online here and designate your online payment to Down Jersey Dinner Dance, or mail your check to CU Maurice River, PO Box 474, Millville, NJ 08332. For more information, contact Lillian Armstrong, Executive Director at Lillian.armstrong@cumauriceriver.org or 856-305-3238.


Two Paddles Coming Up!
Saturday, July 14th, Covered Dish and Sunset Paddle at Union Lake Sailing Club
We’re joining forces with the members of the Union Lake Sailing and Tennis Club for a covered dish dinner at 5:00 pm, followed by a paddle on the lake at sunset. All are welcome for the dinner, whether you plan to paddle or not. This time, we’ll try something new. Instead of telling Lillian what you plan to bring, use the following guidelines:
Last names beginning A through I: Bring snacks, appetizers, salads
Last names beginning J through P: Bring a main dish
Last names beginning Q through Z: Bring a side dish or a dessert

If most folks follow the above, it will be fine if one or two stray a bit in order to make their specialty. Let’s give this a try and then we can rotate the assignments in the future. Please do still RSVP to Lillian Armstrong if you plan to attend (Lillian.armstrong@cumauriceriver.org or 856-305-3238) and if the alphabet is not working in our favor, she’ll let us know what is needed. If you don’t have your own kayak, contact Al and Sams Kayak and Canoe Rental at least one week in advance to arrange a rental (856-692-8440), which includes the required life jacket.

Saturday, August 4th, Guided Paddle on the New Oranoaken Paddling Trail
Departing from Beaver Dam Boat Rentals at 12:00 noon, this 3-4 hour paddle on a rising tide will be led by CU Trustee Laurie Pettigrew, who designed this and other paddling trails in the area in her position as Watchable Wildlife Coordinator for NJ Department of Environmental Protection. Watercraft are available for rent by calling Beaver Dam Boat Rentals, 856-447-3633. If bringing your own kayak or canoe, please plan to support this local family business with a $10 launch fee per boat. Participants are also invited to gather at a local eatery, The Waterfront Café at Newport Landing, for an early dinner after the trip. You can make your dinner reservation (BYOB) in advance by calling 856-447-1100; be sure to tell them that CU Maurice River sent you! Please make your paddle reservations with Laurie Pettigrew, 856-785-0592 (office phone number – please leave a message) or email laurie.pettigrew@dep.state.nj.us. She can also field any excursion questions you may have.

Purple MartinsPurple Martin Spectacular, Friday and Saturday, August 10th and 11th
Make your reservations now for our Evening Dessert Cruises aboard the Bodacious. Slowly cruise the Maurice River at sunset with local Purple Martin expert Allen Jackson and representatives from CU Maurice River. Reservations are required, $35 per person; please pay in advance. The trip lasts approximately 3 hours and takes place RAIN OR SHINE. Contact Lillian Armstrong at 856-305-3238 or Lillian.armstrong@cumauriceriver.org to make a reservation. Cruises depart Longreach Marina, 2806 High St., Port Norris 6:15pm. We can accommodate passengers with disabilities or other special needs if we are alerted well in advance. Last year’s tours were sold out early, so secure a spot now!

You can also view the Purple Martin phenomenon for FREE from viewing platforms graciously supplied by the Cumberland County Improvement Authority at the Mauricetown Bridge on CR 670 just west of the Route 47 Wawa. Starting at 7:00 pm on Friday and Saturday, see thousands of Purple Martins as they gather for migration. Volunteer naturalists from CU Maurice River will be available to answer questions and enhance your viewing experience. No reservations required for the platform. Bring your binoculars!

In addition, rentals will be available from Al and Sam’s Canoe and Kayak Rental at the Mauricetown Bridge. Please reserve at least one week in advance by calling 856-692-8440.
Suggested launch time is around 6:45 pm. Life jackets are required and included with rental, and flashlights are highly recommended. Thanks to Maurice River Township for sponsoring the Purple Martin Spectacular!

Volunteers Needed – Fourth of July, Millville Celebration, Noon to 5 pm.
Anyone willing to volunteer for a couple of hours on the Fourth of July to set up our pop-up tent and conduct Paint-a-Landscape on the Maurice River should contact Lillian ASAP 856-305-3238 or Lillian.armstrong@cumauriceriver.org. We may also host a walk or two along the river if we have willing volunteers. Please note, neither Jane nor Lillian can attend this event, so we would need volunteers experienced with the pop-up tent and Paint-a-Landscape pick-up, assembly, break down, and return of everything to the shed.

Volunteers Needed for YMCA Summer Camp Merrywood – A few days are still open
Again this year CU Maurice River will partner with YMCA Summer Camp Merrywood in Pittsgrove Township. CU volunteers, campers, and Y staff agreed that the experiential learning that took place last summer truly helped foster a sense of stewardship in the young campers, and it was fun. Camp begins June 18 and runs until August 24, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. CU volunteers are requested for a 1 to 2 hour lesson outdoors on either a Wednesday or a Thursday, starting at about 10:00 am, to share your love of the outdoors. Last year CU members taught yoga, leaf rubbings and ID, Paint-a-Landscape, how to use binoculars, bird identification, animal tracks, etc. Check your calendar and contact Sue Fenili, 856-691-7459 or 609-501-2581 to see if you can help. If you need suggestions for a lesson, Sue will have them!

An Amazing Few Months – So Much to Report!

Member Meetings
Our March and May member meetings were well-attended and the presentations were exceptional. Many thanks to our March presenter, Allen Jackson, who is now adding the recovery of Bluebirds to his repertoire. Mind you, that’s in addition to his work with Purple Martins. Which begs the question, when does this man sleep?! A fascinating collection of the poorly designed bluebird boxes vs. the more PRODUCTIVE DESIGNS capped off his extremely informative presentation. And in May, Bill Haaf of Chester County Citizens for Climate Change gave us just the right dose of downright terror about our earthly home under the threat of climate change, and some great suggestions about how we can play a role in protecting the planet. If you haven’t been coming to the bi-monthly meetings, you should! We work hard to make them interesting and topical.

Field Trips, Field Work & Fun
Many thanks to Karen and Brian Johnson for leading a fabulous tour of Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge on an overcast, chilly day on March 17th. Our patient participants shared any and all outdoor gear found in their vehicles, and were rewarded with great views of a perched Peregrine Falcon, lovely winter ducks and much more. Biologist Laurie Pettigrew also led us knowledgeably on trips to Peaslee Wildlife Management area on April 28th, and Heislerville/Matts Landing on Wednesday, May 2nd, both trips featuring the incredible variety of birds that can be enjoyed during prime-time spring migration in South Jersey.

And, our April 1st cruise on the Maurice River aboard the Osprey was also fantastic. It was the perfect day to see arriving Osprey, as well as Bald Eagle nests that were well under way. Thank you Captain Bob Lubberman for donating the proceeds of this cruise to CU’s ongoing support of Eagle Fest Education Days. Expert naturalists Dave Lord and Tony Klock kept us up on all the birds and wildlife, and Jane provided detailed cultural and historic information.

On April 11th, Jane Galetto was recognized for her contributions to the community by the Greater Millville Chamber of Commerce at its monthly luncheon. Jane graciously accepted the honor on behalf of CU Maurice River’s outstanding members and volunteers, without whom we would be unable to pursue our mission.

CU's youngest member, Nadia, at Laurel Lake campfireBusy members enjoyed a double-header on April 14th, with Adopt-a-Swamp Pink training at Shaws Mill Pond in the morning and a Pot Luck and Campfire at the Laurel Lake Clubhouse in the evening. Thanks go out to Renee Brecht and Wendy Walsh of USFWS for leading the Swamp Pink training. The pot luck and campfire was really enjoyable thanks to the efforts of fire-master Tim Russell, as well as Mary Ann Russell, and to our wonderful musicians and the whole gang who brought great food, great company, and helped with clean-up!

On Sunday, April 15th, CU Maurice River was delighted to participate in the Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s (CWF) Women and Wildlife Awards ceremony at the picturesque Prallsville Mill in Stockton, NJ on the banks of the Delaware River. Lillian provided an introduction for Leadership Award winner and CU Trustee Laurie Pettigrew, whose 25+ years at NJDEP have resulted in countless wildlife-watching and outdoor experiences for people of all ages. Also receiving an award that day was Dale Rosselet of NJ Audubon, for her years of Environmental Education. Dale was instrumental in the creation of CU Maurice River’s Down Jersey – Celebrating a Sense of Place Teachers’ Curriculum, among her many other accomplishments.

CU Executive Director attends Press Conference at Union Lake

On the advocacy front, CU Maurice River joined the American Littoral Society, ANJEC, New Jersey Conservation Foundation and South Jersey Land and Water Trust at a press conference at the public boat launch at Union Lake on April 14th. The goal of the event was to bring attention to the potential for extensive Sewer Service Areas in otherwise pristine upland forest that is utilized by threatened and endangered species, and that performs the important function of filtering water that enters Millville’s drinking water system. The event garnered a good deal of media coverage and CU is continuing to attend city planning commission and county planning board meetings related to the Sewer Service Area proposals. This will be a long process and we will keep members apprised.

Jane and Lillian have also been attending monthly planning meetings that will result in the publication of a Corridor Management Plan for the Bayshore Heritage Byway. The long process is coming to a close with a series of public meetings in June, and we look forward to seeing the finished product this fall. Once the plan is adopted, it should open up funding opportunities to allow the implementation of suggested projects and opportunities for natural and historic interpretation.

And thank you to all of our Wheaton Arts Eco-Fair volunteers on May 5th. A great time was had by all, especially the kids who brought home their pinecone, peanut butter and seed bird feeders.

May 11th, 2012: A Really BIG Day!
How is it possible that CU could have four events on the same day? What’s that? A quadruple-header? That’s exactly what happened on Friday, May 11th.

Governor Whitman exchanges signatures with Live Along The DE Bay authorsThe morning was devoted to the launch of the fantastic new book, Life Along the Delaware Bay. CU Maurice River provided significant funding to the publication of this book, especially by bringing a grant from Sun National Bank and financial participation from the National Park Service Wild and Scenic River program, in addition to our own monetary contribution. The event, which was co-sponsored by CU Maurice River and Conserve Wildlife Foundation, was held at the Bayshore Discovery Project. Governor Christine Todd Whitman travelled from the farthest reaches of north Jersey to provide a moving keynote speech, which was preceded by equally moving commentary by Rick Harris of the National Park Service; Tom Geisel, President and CEO of Sun National Bank; and Larry Niles, lead author.

It was a remarkable morning, and our thanks go out to the CU volunteers who provided scrumptious finger-foods, as well as hands-on help of all kinds. Along with our friends at CWF and BDP, it was truly a team effort and a highly successful one.

You can order books directly from Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s website here.

That evening, Mary Ann and Tim Russell hosted the 2012 New Member Orientation (thank you!), which was followed by the annual Frog Slog at Bennett’s Mill with Fred (“Watershed Fred”) Akers of the Great Egg Harbor Watershed Association. Lillian and Laurie Pettigrew attended BDP’s “second Friday” celebration to promote CU’s mission and activities. Approximately 30 people enjoyed a very brief presentation and had the opportunity to ask lots and lots of questions about everything from shorebirds to terrapins and the cycles of the moon.

Fish Hawks WSB TeamAnd then, it was Saturday, May 12th: The Return of the CU Fish Hawks in the World Series of Birding 2012
Our CU Fish Hawks, WSB veterans Karen and Brian Johnson, Tony Klock, and Clay Sutton brought out their best by birding from 12 midnight until 9 pm, identifying 150 species within the boundaries of Cumberland County. What an incredible job they did! Thank you, Fish Hawks! Their efforts and CU’s member pledges raised over $6,000! The team admits to having a great time, so maybe, hopefully, they’ll go out again next year. Goooo Fish Hawks!

And then, it was shorebird season…
The shorebirds and scientists converged on New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore starting right around May 11th and 12th. And by all accounts, it was a grand few weeks. The weather was stunning for the better part of the season, and the thank-yous to CU’s volunteer chefs were overflowing. As Amanda Dey, who coordinates the program for CWF, rightly stated, “A well-fed team is a happy team. A happy team is a productive team.” There were many special nights at the Reed’s Beach sanctuary for the international team of scientists and local volunteers, due to the delicious dinners provided by CU volunteers. CU also hosted several of the scientists on the Memorial Day Birding Sail aboard the Meerwald. All chefs, hosts and scientists were invited to the annual pig roast, which included river tours, a campfire, Cindy Ahearn’s awesome band and leisurely paddles. The day was begun with a bright and early birding walk led by Tony Klock and concluded with a moth walk lead by Dr. Dale Schweitzer. Thank you one and all. If you would like to cook for the shorebird team next year, please let Jane know.

Paint-a-Landscape at Bay DayLast but not least, thank you to our Bay Day and Barn Day volunteers
What a perfect day we had on June 2nd for Bay Day. Thanks to our volunteers, we had lots of kids enjoying Paint-a-Landscape on the dock, and we had a really good time greeting new friends in the “mud room” with our displays. Likewise, Sunday June 3rd turned out to be spectacular for the Barn Studio’s Outdoor Artist Day. Again, CU volunteers came through and we enjoyed the water-color creations of children young and old.

And finally…
Mark your calendar and save the date of Saturday, December 1st for a very special tour of the Giant Trees of Northern Cape May County with the incomparable Pat Sutton. This trip will be limited to 20-25 people and will cost approximately $30 per person. More details will be available closer to the date.

The CU Reporter is now the CU Quarterly Reporter!

Your CU newsletters will now arrive quarterly in March, June, September and December. We will keep them packed with useful and timely information while CU saves some money on postage and paper, which we may use for follow-up mailers for specific events. We also take advantage of Constant Contact for email announcements. If you are still getting the print version of this newsletter and want to opt for a green only emailed edition let us know. If you are not on our email list, please send your email address to Lillian.armstrong@cumauriceriver.org at your earliest convenience so we can keep you up to date on the latest CU news and information.

And, don’t forget to keep your membership up to date. It means a lot to us. Dues are set at $20 for individuals and $30 for families. But as a matter of fact, the average membership donation in 2011 was an amazing $75.00! Your generosity continues to encourage us to work that much harder. Mail your check to PO Box 474, Millville, NJ 08332 or pay online here.

And thanks to all those who give the equally important gift of your time.
We couldn’t do all this without you! CU on the River!

Second Wednesdays of the odd numbered months from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Cumberland County College, Luciano Center
July 11, 2012
September 12, 2012
November 14, 2012