Quarterly Reporter December 2012 / Annual Message 2013

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

Next Meeting and Presentation – January 2013
Wednesday, Wednesday 9th, 2013 – 6:30 p.m.
George Luciano Center, Cumberland County College

“An Introductory Presentation on Post-Capture Digital Workflow:
or What the Heck Do I Do Now That I’ve Clicked the Shutter “

Mike Hannisian
Join us for an informative and colorful presentation by Mike Hannisian, who has been a Professor of English, a civil trial lawyer, the executive director of a non-profit organization, and a high school math teacher. He has been a naturalist since 1970 when he first traveled to the Rockies, and a photographer since the late 1960s. For many years Mike has taught birding workshops, led and organized national and international birding tours, and has more recently begun teaching photography courses. This presentation will feature his fantastic photographs, and his insights on how best to improve your photographs with software, post-capture.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013, Meeting and Presentation, 6:30 pm
Luciano Center, Cumberland County College

“Kevin Karlson Presents Visions: Earth’s Elements in Bird and Nature Photography”

Everyone has visions, and some of these have the power to transform our lives. This visual and musical program contains an exciting collection of bird and nature images that reflect the personal visions of nature by eleven contributing photographers as perceived through the camera lens. These images are themed to the elements of the planet: earth, fire, air and water, and include some of the finest action and behavioral photographs available. The unique theme and musical interludes in this program will capture your fancy and take you on a riveting visual ride through the world of birds and nature.

Up-Coming Events for Members and Friends

Eagle FestivalCumberland County Eagle Festival – Saturday, Feb 9th, 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., at 12 noon TNC staff will lead a walk at the Commercial Township Estuary Enhancement site, and at 5 p.m. the day finishes up with the traditional Owl Watch led by Mike Crewe of NJ Audubon and others. The indoor portion of the festival is held at the Mauricetown Firehall. Visitors will have a chance to see displays, local art, and merchandise from many different organizations and vendors. Crab cake 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. Once again, the 2013 speaker line-up is great:

10 am Kathy Clark, NJ Endangered Species – ‘Status of Eagles’
11 am Peter Winkler, ENSP – “Using GIS to Investigate New Jersey’s American Kestrels”
1 pm Rob Bierregaard, Distinguished Visiting Research Professor, UNC-Charlotte – ‘Osprey Migration – There and Back Again’
2 pm Erica Miller, DVM, Conserve Wildlife – ‘Perils for Eagles’
3 pm Mike Hanissian, Photographer/Naturalist – “Photographing Butterflies and Dragonflies”

CU will need volunteers for our table indoors and also skilled birders to assist at the 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 guy8th Annual Chili Bowl and Auction – Feb 9th at 6:00 p.m. Follow a chilly day of birding and the owl walk 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 typically feature approximately 25 chilis, including the standards that we all know and love, plus 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. Chefs are needed for chili, appetizers, cornbread, and brownies/cookies, as well as volunteers for kitchen & setup/cleanup help. Additional auction items are also needed, as are 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. We would also love to have a timeshare item or vacation house opportunity. To donate an auction item or a sponsorship, contact Jane at 856-327-1161 or forrivers@comcast.net. PLEASE purchase your tickets in advance to avoid a line!

Get together a table and register early by emailing cureservation@gmail.com or calling Suzanne Olah at 856-327-5118 and then pay for your tickets either online at www.cumauriceriver.org, (click on ìJoin Usî and then ‘Donate Here,’ and 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.

Beginning this year, due to new health department rules, we will be required to prepare and store our chilis in certified kitchens. The planning committee is meeting this week to discuss the logistics for a number of chili-making parties. Please look out for emails about this, or contact Lillian for details, and join the fun!

Introducing! Wild About Cumberland! On March 19th and 20th, 2013 CU Maurice River is partnering with the Bayshore Center at Bivalve (aka Bayshore Discovery Project) to give Cumberland County 4th graders a great day of indoor and outdoor education. This program replaces and augments the programs previously known as Raptor Discovery Days and Eagle Fest Education Days. Teachers, students and chaperones will be treated to a half day outdoors on nearby trails with CU leaders/volunteers, and a half day indoors at the Bivalve Center with sessions that emphasize ‘sense of place’ and environmental education centered on our local habitats and the species they might encounter. CU volunteers are needed to help on the outdoor walks. Please contact Lillian if you are interested and willing!


A year-end Note from Board President Jane Morton Galetto

As we embark on a new year full of possibilities I get excited about all that we have in store for you, our members. We are going to add new things to the calendar and put a new twist on some old stand-bys. Lillian and the Trustees are constantly looking for ways of improving our service to you and the community. Our board members bring different perspectives on how to have fun and at the same time stay committed to protecting resources. After more than a year of working closely with Lillian I feel confidence that our Personnel Committee has made a great selection in choosing her as our Executive Director. Lillian is committed to the mission, accountable to the membership, and enjoys nature — a winning combination. We can’t tell you often enough how much we appreciate all your efforts to keep the organization vibrant. This year a young team from Rowan’s School of Communications will be studying CU and giving us their assessment on ways in which we can improve our marketing and communications (see below). It should be informative and fun to explore their take on us! But no matter what discoveries they make, it is you our membership that will remain the backbone and spirit of the organization. For this we thank you. May your holidays be filled with wonder and Happy New Year!

A year-end Note from Executive Director Lillian B. Armstrong

I find myself saying, ‘Wow,’ all the time when it comes to CU Maurice River. Just, ‘WOW!’ To me, in a word, it gathers up my feelings of awe and appreciation for the incredible group of people I have now become part of, and from whom I have been given encouragement, advice and a great deal of support. As I look back on the year, I am astonished at what we have accomplished – maybe I’ll get used to it next year. But for now I remain in awe. The most profitable Chili Bowl ever, the launch of Life Along the Delaware Bay, a great fund-raising effort with the CU Fish Hawks in the World Series of Birding, a brand-new fundraiser in the Down Jersey Dinner Dance, and so many additional gatherings and community outreach efforts, with CU volunteers at Wheaton’s Eco-Fair, Bay Days, Barn Days and others. We are out in the community! And, we are having fun doing good. Very best to all this holiday season, and a joyous New Year 2013!

Sneak Preview of 2013 Calendar
As we focus on our biggest fundraiser of the year, the February 9th Annual Chili Bowl and Auction, here is a preview of other upcoming events. A more detailed calendar will be provided on our website, and via our email list as events are finalized, and in the March 2013 newsletter.

9th: 6:30 PM, Member meeting at CCC with photographer, Mike Hannisian
9th: 8:00 am to 4 pm, Cumberland County Eagle Fest
9th: 6:00pm to 9:30 pm, Chili Bowl and Auction
16th & 19th: 9:30 am, Birding and Botany at Waltman Park
13th: 6:30 pm, Member meeting with Kevin Karlson
16th: 9:30 am, Birding and Botany at Waltman Park
19th & 20th: Wild About Cumberland
TBD: Rainbarrel Workshop
TBD: Maurice River Cruise
TBD: Campfire at Laurel Lake/New Member Orientation
TBD: Adopt-a-Swamp Pink Training
More details as they are available!

CU Maurice River News and Updates

CU Maurice River Accepted into Nonprofit Resilience Institute
CU Maurice River was one of a handful of organizations accepted into LaSalle Nonprofit Centerís Nonprofit Resilience Institute, a free series of monthly workshops for the Executive Director and Trustees, which is being funded by the South Jersey Community Foundation. So far, we have attended workshops on the life-cycle of a nonprofit, Board Bootcamp, and finance for nonprofits. Future workshops include strategic planning, board members, effective programs and fundraising. These workshops already have been extremely valuable. By attending the workshops we can also apply for an operating grant!

CU Maurice River Receives Grant from The Watershed Institute
With funding from CU Maurice River and our National Park Service Partner River program, Clay Sutton and Jim Dowdell have been conducting avian use studies on the Maurice River for 25 years, and a comprehensive report is near completion. We thought it was an opportune time to invite a partner to help CU Maurice River celebrate this achievement, the results of which unveil a number of findings, including how salt water intrusion and sea level rise impact avian use in the watershed. The Watershed Institute of NJ has granted us $5,000 toward our outreach efforts to document and market the results, and create a 16-page summary report ñ quite a challenge given that the full report is over 90 pages! The full report and the summary will be available on our website. Clay Sutton will be the featured speaker at the Partnership for the Delaware Estuaryís bi-annual Science and Environmental Summit in the lunchtime spot on Monday, January 28th. Look for more news on this!

CU Maurice River to be a ‘client’ of a Rowan University Senior Class Project
With thanks to CU Trustee Ethan Aronoff, who has been a Rowan ‘client’ before with another nonprofit that gained some great advice, CU has been accepted as a client for a senior class project in Rowan’s College of Communications and Creative Arts. First, in January, a team of CU folks will make a presentation to the team of students who will be working with instructor Lillian congratulates IreneAsadeh (aka: Asi) Nia-Schoenstein in the Department of PR and Advertising. In February, the students will conduct market and organizational research, which may require our asking YOU to be involved in a focus group or online survey. Be on the lookout for that, and weíll share their ultimate recommendations with you when we receive them at the end of the semester in May 2013.

In the category of awards and recognitions, the November 2012 edition of Field and Stream Magazine recognized Jane Morton Galetto as one of the monthís three ‘Heroes of Conservation.’ As always, Jane credits CU’s amazing volunteer corps for all of the organizationís accomplishments, and she wishes to thank Bill Garrison for nominating her. Also, Irene Bird, our assistant treasurer and much-loved member, was recognized this week as the Millville Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Citizen of the Month.

Wonderful Fall Events – all the way around!

Thank you to our volunteers at East Point Artists Day! Wow, we couldnít have asked for better weather, which made for a delightful day of talking up CU and encouraging kids to ìPaint a Lighthouse.î Many thanks to Elayne (the bee magnet!), Tommy T, Doug, Meredith, John, Cheryl, Dee and Mike.

Our long-awaited Down Jersey Dinner Dance took place on Sunday, September 16th and a great time was had by all! Over 100 people attended and enjoyed delicious food and drink, relaxed on the outdoor patio, browsed and purchased from a selection of beautifully framed Audubon prints, and participated in a silent auction featuring a highly collectible original painting by regional artist Glenn Rudderow. Adding in the 50/50, which Laurie Pettigrew and Tim Russell so capably handled, we made approximately $5,000! Extra special thanks to Mary Ann Russell, Sue Leopold and Suzanne Olah for their expert planning and organization. And, we danced the night away with Randy Friel and Friends playing some great rock and roll favorites. Lots and lots of fun, even on a Sunday night.

Tagging a monarch butterflyMonarch Mania took place Saturday, September 29th at Cape May Point. We started our afternoon with a very special Monarch tagging demonstration by Louise Zemaitis of the Monarch Project. Bill and Edie Schull were kind enough to lend us their fabulous front yard, a wildlife habitat gem, for our presentation. We enjoyed perfect fall weather, and while observing the Monarchs, bird migration was in full swing. There were approximately 13 warbler species in the front yard alone, as well as a constant stream of hawks overhead. Our round-about stroll through the neighborhood on the Point finally took us to an amazing Monarch roosting site where thousands of Monarchs decorated pine and cedar branches in the warm afternoon sun. Thanks to the Schulls and to Karen Johnson and Tony Klock for helping on the walk around town.

Prior to the October 6 campfire a small group of dedicated paddlers learned about the riverís agrarian past while navigating the labyrinth created by what were once farm ditches. We were treated to the antics of kingfishers and other river denizens. At dusk boaters were joined by a larger group for campfire fun and a meal. Everyone had a delightful time. Be sure to bring your family and friends to the 2013 campfires!

And, the ‘best ever’??? Ah Why Knot! Volunteer Dinner was on Saturday, October 20th at the Union Lake Sailing Club. Why was it the best ever? We’re not sure, but thatís the rumor. Maybe it was Suzy Merigh’ís fantastic green beans with tomato and feta. Maybe it was the music by John Workman. Maybe it was the outstanding service at the bar. Maybe it was the flower arrangements that Mary Ann Russell created. Maybe it was Jane’s incredible slide show. Maybe it was the appetizers, or the tender filet mignons, or the moist and yummy salmon prepared by the Fenilis, or Tony Klock’s signature roasted potatoes. Or the desserts? Ah wait, maybe it was our gracious Ah Why Knot Awardees, Larry Niles, Amanda Dey, and John Leopold and our Presidentís Award winner, Leslie Ficcaglia. Yes. That’s it. And the much-deserved Executive Directorís Awardees, Karen Johnson and Irene Bird. And all of our Presidential Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) Winners, Irene Bird, Sue Fenili, Dave Fenili, Mary Fusco, Leslie Ficcaglia, Karen Johnson, Tony Klock, Susan Leopold, Suzanne Olah, Mary Ann Russell and Dianna Shiell (Bronze Award winners for over 100 hours), and the one-and-only Allen Jackson, a Silver Award Winner for over 250 volunteer hours. Whatever the reason, it was a fun and lovely night in which we celebrated the spirit of volunteerism at CU!

Osprey nest platformPre-Hurricane Sandy Osprey Nest Project: Lillian here – I don’t know what you were doing the weekend before Sandy, but I was somewhat caught off guard, and clearing mine and my parent’s yards of anything that might fly through the air. Not so for a stalwart team of Osprey nest builders and placers, organized by Jane. CU Maurice River volunteers built four platforms and installed three on PSEG sites at Thompsonís beach on October 27th and October 28th. And not without a few glitches in the wet weather and increasing winds! Many thanks to all involved including Jimmy Vertolli, Tim Russell, Judy Nelson, Dee Shiell, Walt Birbeck, George Kumor, Tom McKee, Pam Higgonbotham, Jane and Peter Galetto, and Ryan and Rob Dailey. Looking forward to the return of the Ospreys next spring to see if they adopt their new accommodations.

On November 1st, about twenty of us gathered Upstairs at Winfields for a presentation about the Galapagos Islands by international nature tour veterans Louise Zemaitis and Michael O’Brien. Amazing! Louise and Michael gave a fantastic overview of every island that will be visited on the July 2013 trip to the Galapagos. Although it will take a few years for some of us to save up for such a trip, we think and hope it turned some heads for the 2013 voyage.

Breaking News: Victor Emmanuel Nature Tours (VENT) has extended the deadline for early registration to January 15, 2013, and increased the discount for CU members who register by that time from $500 to $1000! If you are interested in the trip, which takes place in July of 2013, please contact Lillian (856-305-3238, Lillian.armstrong@cumauriceriver.org) immediately for all the details and information.

On Saturday, December 1st a sold-out crowd enjoyed GIANTS AMONG US: CAPE MAY COUNTY’S BIGGEST TREES with the incomparable Pat Sutton. Everyone had a fantastic time. We measured every tree we visited including what is probably the second largest Black Cherry in the state, over 22 feet around, and many other huge trunks. There was plenty of tree-hugging and we were treated to a kettle of Bald Eagles as we gazed up at a big old Tulip Tree near Dennisville on this beautiful and mild fall morning. We will look to repeat this tour if we have enough interest. Please let Lillian know.

CU Maurice River Advocacy Update

Over the past several months, the delineation of Sewer Service Areas, which is part of the State plan and is regulated/overseen by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, has been the main focus of our advocacy efforts. The SJ Bayshore Coalition hammered out a comment letter for the December 11th NJDEP hearing and we continue to work on a much more detailed submission for the record. In Cumberland and Salem Counties, we feel strongly that some of the areas the counties have submitted to be future sewer service areas are too environmentally sensitive to be included, and if the NJDEP elects to place them into potential sewer service areas, they (NJDEP) will be in violation of their own Waste Water Management Plan Rules. A special hats off goes to to SJBC members Matt Blake of the American Littoral Society and Fran Rapa of New Jersey Conservation Foundation for pulling together our thoughts and concerns into a comprehensive document.

Also, CU Maurice River has provided financial and staff in-kind support to the NJ Keep it Green Campaign, which is a state-wide effort to promote legislation for long-term funding for our parks, forests, open spaces and natural resources. Lillian has been an active member of the Communications subcommittee, which works on key messaging on events and broader issues. Most recently, KIG announced that the NJ State Assembly passed two important bills, A3369 and A3370. These bills provide a total of $123 million in Green Acres and Blue Acres funding for a range of park, land and water protection projects throughout the state. They include more than $26.8 million for projects to buy out flood-impacted properties in both in-land and coastal areas and to protect undeveloped coastal watershed and riparian lands to help prevent future flood damage.

Once again on October 11th, 2012 the court decision on the Board of Public Utilities litigation regarding the Holly Farm was postponed. This time, it was because the developer who hopes to develop the Holly Farm presented a challenge that one of the hearing judges has a conflict of interest. We do not know the outcome of that challenge at this time.

On December 11th, Jane attended a site visit with Maurice River Township officials and others to see how the beachfront restoration of Thompson’s Beach is progressing. For many years, CU Maurice River has been advocating for making this beach suitable for shorebirds and horseshoe crabs. As an NJ Fish and Game Council and ENSP Council member, Jane has relentlessly pushed for a conclusion to this project. At this point, all parties seem to be in agreement on the next steps for this project, and we thank Maurice River Township and the Division of Fish and Wildlife, for their perseverance in this effort on behalf of wildlife on Thompsonís Beach.

We continue to have exchanges with Congressman LoBiondo’s office and the National Park Service regarding Wild and Scenic River funding. The Maurice River still does not get its fair share of funding and we are deeply concerned about future funding levels.

Annual Memories

Each year we share some memories about a few departed members who all share some things in common: a love of the out-of-doors and a love of family.

Carl Sprengle was a faithful member of Citizens United for over 20 years. A graduate of Rutgers University in Camden, class of 1955, he was the president of WECOM, Inc. in Glassboro and former owner of Carl’s Country Store in Cross Keys. He and his wife Marguerite offered their property as a launch site for tours of the Maurice when the river was a prospective candidate for the National Wild and Scenic Program. He loved the river and saw the vision of what could be. And his hospitable nature was passed on to his son Eric who, with Diana, has shared the property for kayak trips and their famous BBQs. Carl was a great host and had a smile for everyone; he was a friendly person with a great sense of humor. He looked for solutions and not problems, which gave him a great spirit. Remembering this generosity, his family decided to celebrate that in many ways, including asking that gifts in his memory be sent to CU. We thank them for their continued kindness.

Zinaida “Zina” Chiola was one of our members who did not participate in CU except in one very important fashion: she faithfully supported our efforts through renewing memberships for herself and her husband Mike each year. However, she was not a stranger to quite a few of our other members. In fact, many will remember her from Chiola’s Pharmacy or from the other pharmacies that she managed when the family business was retired. A 1965 graduate of Pierce School of Business, Zina loved gardening, gourmet cooking and her family. She constantly looked out for the health and wellbeing of the community and she will be missed.

Dorothy Slack was a long time attendee at our meetings and a generous supporter of CU. She had five children and most middle-aged folks would have gone to school with one of them. Many of us will remember her characteristic approach to fashion; she set her own style with saddle shoes, bobby socks and an A-line skirt. She was a brilliant woman who graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1939, a time when few women sought higher education. She loved sports and played tennis well into her later years. She was a student of nature and loved birding. Each year she participated in the annual New Year’s Day bird count. Dot also touched many lives. She was a consummate volunteer. During tax season she assisted seniors in preparing taxes at Millville Library. In addition she was active in numerous community organizations, including Meals on Wheels, YMCA, Girl Scouts, PTAs, Cape May Bird Observatory and Union Lake Sailing Club. Many of us will remember her and husband Neil best for their guidance on the square dance floor, where they insisted that we all participate and “get it right.” If there are binoculars in heaven Dot has got them strapped on.

The passing of Sarah Blom Krause marked the loss of our oldest member, and possibly one of our sharpest! She was nearly 102 years old and active up ‘til her last breath. Sarah was a member of CU for nearly a fourth of her life. She was a 1932 graduate of Temple University with a degree in musicology, and was a devoted member of her synagogue where her musical talents were legendary. On the board of Newcomb Hospital, she was active in Red Cross and also served as president of the Hebrew Women’s Benevolent Association, of which her mother and grandmother were founding members. Her passing makes her younger husband Ted our oldest member. And please note that he goes to his office each day and continues to give excellent advice on insurance. We know Ted really misses his Sarah.

Go Green and save us some green!

Frog gift If you are still getting the print version of this newsletter as well as receiving it via email, we encourage you to opt for the green only emailed edition ñ which includes lots of color photos! If you are not on our email list, please send your email address to Lillian.armstrong@cumauriceriver.org, and let us know if you would like to be removed from our USPS mailings. This applies only to newsletters; you will still receive special mailings and invitations.Please think of CU Maurice River in your year-end giving, or give the gift of membership to a friend. Membership is set at $20 for individuals and $30 for families. Mail your check to PO Box 474, Millville, NJ 08332 or pay online at www.cumauriceriver.org. 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!