Quarterly Reporter June 2013

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

Next Meeting and Presentation – Wednesday, July 10th, 2013, 6:30 p.m.
George Luciano Center, Cumberland County College

Tim Shaheen, Purple Martin Landlord and Geo Locator Expert

Baby purple martin gets leg band
Baby purple martin gets leg band

The martins are coming! The martins are coming! Learn all about it at our July meeting. Tim is a dedicated purple martin landlord who mentors many prospective landlords in central NJ. According to CU member Allen Jackson, Tim is a huge reason that NJ has such a great martin program. He recently participated in York University’s Geo Locator Project, utilizing martins from his colony on the Navesink River. His program will include the details and photos of his team deploying the geo locators on 33 martins in 2011, and the data that was recorded from 11 of them when they were recaptured in 2012. We will see their migration routes and learn much more!

September meeting: Wednesday the 11th, member meeting 6:30 pm,
Presentation at 7:00 pm*
George Luciano Center, Cumberland County College

Moses Katkowski, Marine Conservation Coordinator for The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey
Program: Adapting for the Future of the Delaware Bayshore

Flood Tide Oranoaken Creek
Flood Tide Oranoaken Creek

Sea level rise, increased intensity and frequency of coastal storms, and flooding are all climate-related threats that affect the habitats, people and communities of the Delaware Bayshore. By understanding the local science behind these threats we can better understand and adapt to these changes so that the important habitats, culture and economy of the Delaware Bayshore are sustained into the future. The talk will examine the threats, science, needs and adaptation strategies that can be employed to preserve our unique environment and culture.

*Please note, the member meeting portion of our bi-monthly meetings is now kept to 30 minutes maximum to allow our guest speaker to start on time.

Up-Coming Events for Members and Friends

Saturday, June 22nd, Paddle, New Member Orientation, potluck and campfire! Make it a CU Maurice River Saturday. Please note, all members are invited to the paddle, potluck and campfire. New members since June 2012 will receive a special mailing about the day, and an invitation to a new member ìorientationî at 5:30 pm. The schedule for the day is as follows:

11:00 am to 2:00 pm: Paddle from the Menantico Ponds to Laurel Lake Beach Please direct your questions and/or RSVP to Jane about the paddle: forrivers@comcast.net or 609-774-5853.
5:30 pm: New Member Orientation at the home of Mary Ann and Tim Russell
6:30 pm: All members welcome for potluck and campfire at the Russellsí >br> Address: 805 N E Lakeshore Drive, Millville, NJ 08332 (off Buckshutem Rd., just north of Laurel Lake, CU Maurice River EVENT signs will mark the turn-off)

RSVP to Lillian Armstrong, lillian.armstrong@cumauriceriver.org, 856-305-3238, for the new member orientation and pot luck, and let her know what youíd like to bring.

2011 Float Your Boat Day - Jean Jones interviewing Bill Sheridan
2011 Float Your Boat Day – Jean Jones interviewing Bill Sheridan

Float Your Boat Day and Picnic at Lake Audrey, Monday, June 17th, 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The culmination of months of hard work by Bill Sheridan, Dave Fenili, Frank Kammerer, Bill Zane and Dave Slavin, with students from Port Norris/Haleyville School and (hopefully) Bridgeton Middle School will be this boat launching event and picnic. Bring some picnic items and join the kids and their families to celebrate the achievement of building a boat, and then setting it afloat for the first time.

Purple Martin Spectacular Weekend ñ Friday and Saturday, August 2nd and 3rd
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. The cost is $35 per person; please pay in advance so we can board smoothly. The trip lasts approximately 3 hours and takes place RAIN OR SHINE. Advance reservations are required. Contact Lillian Armstrong at 856-305-3238 or Lillian.armstrong@cumauriceriver.org to make a reservation. Pay online (under designation provide the date and purple marting cruise), or mail your check made out to CU Maurice River to PO Box 474, Millville, NJ 08332. Cruises depart from Longreach Marina, 2806 High St., Port Norris 6:15pm (please arrive before 6:00 pm). We can accommodate passengers with disabilities or other special needs if we are alerted well in advance. Last year’s tours sold out, so secure a spot now! Rain or shine, really! But please keep your fingers crossed for perfect weather.

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 are required for the platform. Bring your binoculars! In addition, rentals will be available from Al and Samís 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 or light sticks are highly recommended. Thanks to Maurice River Township for their support for the Purple Martin Spectacular!

Waltman Park Birding and Botany Walks and Tuesdays on the Fly. Our Saturday walks continue on the third Saturday of the month at 9:30 am into the summer on the following dates: June 15th and July 15th. There will be no walk in August. Free and open to the public, and a great way to get a friend involved in CU Maurice River.

Our Tuesday walks are “On the Fly,” meaning that the walk leader may decide to take the group to another nearby wildlife viewing area. Recent walks have visited the Peek Preserve and Peaslee Wildlife Management Area. Meet at Waltman Park at 9:00 am and be ready for adventure! Future Tuesday dates are June 18th and July 23rd. No walk in August. Free and open to the public.

And, celebrate Labor Day with a sail on the A.J. Meerwald. CU Maurice River helps fill the boat on this special day, and our members receive a discount on the cost of the ticket. Current CU Members get $10 off adult & senior tickets, and $5 off child tickets. (Adults $30, Senior $25, Child $15) Call the Bayshore Center at Bivalve and make your reservation 856-785-2060.

Recent Events

May 18th, Pig Roast and Ah Why Knot Awards  a huge success! Over 130 people, including the international shorebird scientist team, enjoyed a lovely evening at the Galetto residence, where we shared food, drink and fun, while celebrating the dedication of the red knot recovery team as well as the dedication of CUís many volunteers. After thanking the scientists and volunteers, we also thanked the Fish Hawks, our amazing World Series of Birding team, who worked hard to score 142 species on a wet and stormy day. Then Lillian presented an Executive Directorís Award to Suzanne Olah, in recognition of her ìbehind the scenesî efforts in registering participants for the Down Jersey Dinner Dance (had to do that one twice!), the Chili Bowl, and dinner at Winfields after CRASH! Suzanne also masterfully handles the Auction software for the Chili Bowl.

Dee Shiel (middle) receives Ah Why Knot award from Bd. Pres. Jane Morton Galetto (left) and Ex. Dir. Lillian Armstrong (right)
Dee Shiel (middle) receives Ah Why Knot award from Bd. Pres. Jane Morton Galetto (left) and Ex. Dir. Lillian Armstrong (right)

And, the 2013 Ah Why Knot! awards went to:

Dianna “Dee” Shiell: Rarely does a new volunteer throw herself into an organization the way Dee has since the fall of 2011. We are so grateful for her support, and the “posse” of friends she has brought with her! Dee has led walks, built osprey platforms, assisted in osprey banding, joined the Eagle Nest and Bluebird Nest monitoring projects, cooked, and helped with kids’ programs including Elevate and Wild About Cumberland. She has carried out almost all of the possible details for the Chili Dinner and represented us at numerous festivals. Like many of our members Dee is also a super volunteer at the Bayshore Center at Bivalve. Somehow, she is also about to graduate to become a Master Gardener! In addition she is very active in her church. Thank you, Dee!

Dave Fenili: Years and years of boat-building, tent-hauling, easel-making, wood duck box-making, setting-up, breaking-down, in a pinch, and always with a smile. Dave has represented CU at numerous festivals with CU Paint-a-Landscape, helped with YMCA Camp Merrywood, and participated in all of the activities his wife, Sue (or “Sioux,” as we know her!), contributes to CU and to the community, including Vineland’s Shade Tree Commission and Environmental Commission. Like many of our members, Dave is also an amazing volunteer at the Bayshore Center at Bivalve. At the celebration, long-time friend and boat-building colleague Bill Sheridan provided remarks that put a tear in Daveís eye. Thank you for all you do, Dave!

Pete Galetto: It’s about time we all thanked Pete for everything he does, behind the scenes and right out in front. A stalwart osprey platform builder and tender, Pete has helped construct and erect EVERY osprey platform CU has made. He provides river tours and hand-crafts the clay bowls that are awarded to extra special volunteers at each Chili Bowl fundraiser. An active member of the Cumberland County business community, Pete is currently or has previously been involved with a host of organizations, especially as a board member or chair, including Inspira (formerly South Jersey Hospital systems), Hansen House, Sun Bank, Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA, All Saints Parish, St. Augustine Preparatory School, various chambers of commerce and more. In these roles he has been a strong advocate for protecting natural resources. He is also, of course, a gracious and welcoming host at the many CU events that take place at the Galetto residence each year, including the Ah Why Knot! awards this year. Thank you, Pete!

Our grand finale was the presentation of the President’s Award to Jean Jones, by Jane Morton Galetto. Jean Jones served as a reporter for local and regional newspapers for over 30 years. We all remember her bylines and her attention to the community. As a matter of fact, Jean was instrumental in the development of CU’s first-ever brochure.

Jean covered the townships of the bayshore and all their evening meetings. When no other reporters did so, she was steadfast in making sure all the municipalities, no matter how small, were represented in the press. Many an editor gave in to her pitches that these towns’ stories needed proper coverage. Also a well-known member of the historical community, Jean has always had a deep interest in natural and cultural resources and has served on the Cumberland County Cultural and Heritage Commission for over 25 years. She may be best known for her devotion to the restoration of East Point Lighthouse. She also assisted in a number of archeological surveys, and wrote the historical section for the Conservation Plan for the Manumuskin River Watershed & Charting a Course studies that were compiled by the NJ Conservation Foundation. Her work was the basis for the Manumuskin’s nomination as a Wild and Scenic River and its ultimate designation as such.

Jean has always prided herself on being an “unbiased” reporter. However, we know where her heart is, as her many stories have brought a clearer understanding of the wonders of our area to a multitude of readers. For any story in which it was appropriate to have a voice of compassion or commitment, Jean knitted words that would engage the reader. Jean’s commitment to journalism along the bayshore and in Cumberland County remains unmatched. Thank you, Jean!

Thank you to all the many, many volunteers who helped with set up, wood-chopping, cooking, carving, providing appetizers, side dishes and desserts, clean up and singing around the drizzly campfire. As usual, it is all of you who make an event like this a success.

Wild About Cumberland

Wild About Cumberland! March 19th and 20th were special days on the Bayshore as over 400 Cumberland County 4th graders descended on the Bayshore Center at Bivalve (BCB) and nearby trails on PSEG property on Berrytown Road. Teachers, students and chaperones were treated to a half day outdoors on the trails with CU leaders/volunteers, and a half day indoors at the Bivalve Center with sessions that emphasized ìsense of placeî and environmental education focused on our local habitats and the species they might encounter. Staff from The Nature Conservancy worked closely with PSEG staff, who were already on site repairing the dike, to clean up the trails and make safe passage for the kids in a couple of very wet spots! This full day program of environmental education was made possible through the coordination of CU Maurice River, curriculum and activity development by the BCB, live bird programming by Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge, and by generous donations from the Martha Susan Grant Memorial Trust, Holly Beach Public Library Association, Chemglass Life Sciences, LLC, Chuck and Mary Jane Slugg, the South Jersey Cultural Alliance and the additional generosity of many of our members. Many thanks to all the partners and CU volunteers who made it happen for the kids of Cumberland County.

CU Maurice River also celebrated Earth Day, Monday April 22nd, with a free showing of CRASH: A Tale of Two Species at the Levoy Theatre, followed by Dinner at Winfieldís. With great thanks to Vince Bianca and the staff and volunteers at the Levoy Theatre, as well as Renee Brecht, who hatched this idea way back in February while she was working at the Levoy, the evening turned out to be great fun! Over 200 people attended the screening, which was followed by a terrific Q&A session with Larry Niles and Mandy Dey, two of CUís 2012 Red Knot Award winners. All petition signatories were sent to the offices of Senator Van Drew and Assemblyman Albano. A large contingent of attendees concluded their evening with a dinner at Winfieldís where the staff and chefs worked hard to accommodate a full house arriving pretty much all at once!

2013 Fish Hawks
2013 Fish Hawks

And our thanks go out to the 2013 CU Fish Hawks, Karen Johnson, Tony Klock, Laurie Pettigrew and Clay Sutton – 142 Species! Here is Laurie’s synopsis of the day.

It’s over! We officially stopped at 6:50 p.m. after 19 hours of birding. Our last stop was a swing down Maple Ave. in Dividing Creek for late waterfowl migrants and possibly a woodcock. We got a common loon – our last bird! That was after Karen and Clay pulled a scarlet tanager out of thin air on 555 after being skunked all day – having had scarlet tanagers on every street corner on Friday. Some days are just like that! We ended the day with an official tally of 142 species – not bad for a Cumberland Co. (we participated in the limited geographic area category) day whose weather was a constant challenge.

After a dismal start, the day produced some amazing birds and we got most of the iffy birds we had scouted in the previous weeks and days. Of course we missed some too! Karen “the Bird Whisperer” Johnson, whose ears are legendary, found birds between the raindrops and thunder. Some of the notable species included bay-breasted warbler, red knot, eastern meadowlark, and Cooper’s hawk. We missed northern gannet, hooded warbler, American kestrel, and wood duck. Such is the big day! In spite of the many showers and thunderstorms that made the day a soggy mess, we all had a great time and look forward to birding on future “big days.”

THANKS to those of you who donated to Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River to support the Fish Hawks on our quest to find the most species for our category. Your donations will fund the ongoing (25+yrs) research done by Clay Sutton (of the Fish Hawks) and Jim Dowdell to identify population trends of keystone species on the Maurice River. If you haven’t donated yet but would like to, please go to www.cumauriceriver.org and click on the link for donation. Go to the “other” category and post your donation for “the world series of birding.” Your support is critical and oh so appreciated!!

All in all, we spent a remarkable day birding Cumberland County. It was a vivid reminder of how important New Jersey is to wildlife, especially migratory wildlife who face special challenges (including the weather). We counted the number of bird species we saw today, but during our quest to count birds, we also saw an incredible number of mammals, amphibians, reptiles (Tony saved a rat snake and many species of turtle from becoming flattened today), and insects during our quest. Our wildlife is diverse, and in many cases, plentiful. Thank you for helping to keep it that way.

Right now, this puppy is exhausted! I’m heading to bed!!

If you made a pledge to the CU Fish Hawks and you have forgotten the amount, please contact Lillian or 856-305-3238.

Odds and Ends and More Good Stuff!

An impromptu walk called by Dee Shiell on Monday, April 1st at the Maurice River Bluffs was well attended! Let us know if you want to lead an impromptu walk or paddle this summer, Given at least one week lead time we will alert CU members. We hope CU participants enjoyed the Rain Barrel Workshop, Saturday, April 6th, and the Adopt-a-Swamp Pink Training on April 29th. Many thanks to the CU Volunteers at Wheaton’s Eco-Fair on May 4th, where we scored a record number of new email notification requests! The annual Frog Slog on May 17th attracted 30 people, about 20 of which were under the age of 10 – what a hoot! Thank you, Fred Akers!

Many thanks to the volunteers who braved a cool and soggy day after the Pig Roast to help folks connect with the horseshoe crabs and shorebirds at Reedís Beach and Cookís Beach on May 19th. The Wetlands Shorebird and Horseshoe Crab Festival would have been much less festive without us on Sunday! And, by the time you receive this newsletter, Bay Day and Barn Day, back-to-back, will be over. Right now, weíre looking forward to another BIG weekend!

Habitat Monitoring Is In Full Swing – Many volunteers have also spent time prepping the osprey platforms and wood duck boxes, monitoring eagle nests, bluebird trails and swamp pink ñ thank you for keeping an eye on our beloved flora and fauna! Listen to our podcast on Dead Trees by clicking here, then select the play arrow.

Whose the punk rocker? A baby blue bird of course. - picture by David Lowenstern
Whose the punk rocker? A baby blue bird of course. – picture by David Lowenstern

Also, many thanks to all the chefs and helpers who have made the shorebird banding season more comfortable for the team of international volunteers. You probably have no idea how many times Jane and Lillian are told about the chaos that previously ensued at the “shorebird house” in the evenings after a long day in the field. “So, who’s going to cook tonight?” No response. “What does anyone want to eat?” Lots of responses from soup to nuts “It was unmanageable.” They are sooo very grateful for the meals and camaraderie our volunteers provide, and we sincerely hope you all enjoy getting to know them, too. Over 50 cooks were involved this year, not counting the pig roast.

Members of CU’s Board of Trustees wrapped up the workshops at the LaSalle Nonprofit Center’s Nonprofit Resilience Institute with a session on fundraising in April. Members of the Membership and Marketing committee attended a presentation by Rowan’s College of Communications and Creative Arts, Department of PR and Advertising on Wednesday May 8th. Among other things, we were encouraged to make more use of social media (not surprising) and to work on creative ways to attract new members and volunteers. Want to help on that front? Let Lillian know!

And, congratulations to Donna Vertolli, Greater Millville Chamber of Commerce “Outstanding Citizen” for June 2013. Donna has been a member and volunteer for CU Maurice River since 1988. She will be celebrated at the Chamber luncheon on June 12th.

Please be on the lookout for your membership renewal
If you normally renew your membership in the first half of the calendar year, you are probably wondering about the whereabouts of your annual appeal letter. Its absence is because we are making a shift in our membership renewal strategy. All members will receive an appeal around the same time in July and August, which is the beginning of our fiscal year, and the initial appeal will be followed by timely reminders. We believe this approach will be more efficient and cost-effective. Now, even though we didn’t want to hit some of you up twice in six months, this doesn’t mean you get to skip a year! You are welcome to make your donation at the usual time. Otherwise your July renewal will include a combined request for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. If you’re not sure about the timing of your last donation, please feel free to contact Lillian.

CU Maurice River Advocacy Update

In 2008 the NJ Legislature enacted a moratorium on the harvest of horseshoe crabs. The crabs had been severely overharvested for use as bait for a number of years, which resulted in their numbers plummeting below what is necessary to sustain the shorebirds’ reliance on their eggs as a food source. Shorebirds stop over on the Delaware Bayshore during their northern migration from South America to their Arctic nesting grounds. Unless horseshoe crab eggs are plentiful they are not able to bulk up sufficiently to reproduce or in some cases even to complete their journey. Many other measures were taken prior to an out and out moratorium, but all proved to be inadequate.

Senator Van Drew has drafted legislation to lift the moratorium. At the time of this newsletter’s printing Van Drew’s legislation has not been released from committee.

Removal of rubble at Moore's Beach to enhanced horseshoe crab habitat
Removal of rubble at Moore’s Beach to enhanced horseshoe crab habitat

To learn more about horseshoe crabs, listen to our pod cast by clicking here then select the play arrow.

Regarding The Holly Farm, on April 14th in Morristown, NJ at the NJ State Appeals Court, our case was finally heard. At the time of this newsletter, the presiding judges had not made their ruling. Again our challenge is that the Board of Public Utilities inappropriately allowed the Holly Farm to be sold by the utility company to a developer. As you may recall, the NJ Division of Rate Counsel shared our position, as did the head of the BPU. However the other BPU membersí votes carried against our position.

The Bayshore Heritage Bywayís Corridor Management Plan was presented to all three counties impacted by the initiative – Cumberland, Salem and Cape May. The Counties and many individual municipalities have already endorsed the plan by resolution. We seek to have all signed on in the next month or so. The document may be viewed on line at http://www.lardnerklein.com/BHB_index.html.

Remembering Our Friends Now Departed

Captain Irving ‘Bill’ Rich
We were saddened to hear of the passing of Irving ‘Bill’ Rich on March 4th. On March 8th he would have been 91. Captain Rich was a decorated WWII P-47 Thunderbolt Pilot and flew numerous missions in Europe. He trained at Millville Army Airfield and after the war he was a flight instructor with the Army Air Corps at Millville. His proudest accomplishment was establishing the Millville Army Airfield Museum. His likeness is featured in Sam Donovanís mural at the Millville Airport, which commemorates the lives of those who trained there. Professionally Bill was engaged in a great many endeavors. He was proprietor of JEDMR Rich Construction Co., William Rich Auto Sales, Capitol Concrete, and was also Director of Streets and Roads in Vineland. He was predeceased by the love of his life, Blanche Black (March 2011). Bill enjoyed boating, fishing, golf, his family and people. Bill exemplified, beyond all else, a realìgentleman.îHe was truly the greatest generation – true grit. He often encouraged our leadership to stay the course in protecting the areaís resources in a very ìcaptain-likeî fashion.

Margit Holsworth – by Dave and Sue Fenili
On April 24, 2013 the world lost long-time CU member Margit Holsworth, but the memories that she helped create will last forever in the hearts of those who knew her. The first thing you would notice about this little lady was her infectious smile. And yes, she was a perfect example of big things coming in small packages. Margit was a veritable font of knowledge about ìlife.î Her enthusiasm about the natural world was infectious, and she was a wonderful teacher who led by example. Margit seemed to glow as she led walks through her beautiful gardens, and talked about the plants that she and her beloved husband ìCharlieî grew. Going for hikes was a special treat that always led to discoveries of new birds, rocks, plants, and other fauna. Margit and Charlie were two very exceptional people, and pages could be written about their love for family, friends, causes, and dedication to all of Godís creatures, great and small. May their inspiration live in those left to ìremember.î

Go Green and save us some green!
Thanks to those who recently opted to Go Green! 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 and links! 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 certain special mailings and invitations via USPS.

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.

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!