Quarterly Reporter September 2013

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

Pat Sutton leading last fall's Giant Tree Tour
Pat Sutton leading last fall’s Giant Tree Tour

Next Meeting and Presentation – Wednesday, September 11, 2013
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

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.

Flood Tide Oranoaken Creek
Flood Tide Oranoaken Creek

November Meeting: Wednesday the 13th,
Annual Meeting 6:30 pm, Presentation at 7:15 pm**
George Luciano Center, Cumberland County College

Clay Sutton on the 25-year Raptor and Waterbird Surveys

2012 marked the amazing 25th year that CU Maurice River has sponsored in-depth raptor and waterbird research and monitoring on the river. Join CU Maurice River member, well-known writer and biologist, and project leader Clay Sutton as he presents the findings of these long-term studies. This is the same presentation Clay Sutton offered as a featured lunchtime presenter at the prestigious Partnership for the Delaware Estuary’s annual Scientific Summit in January of this year. These ongoing studies are a principal method to monitor the health of the river – in effect “taking the pulse” of the Maurice River on a monthly basis, and are unique in our region. Expect a lively and scenic visual tour of the river and its rich bird resources, and some surprising findings from these 25 years of survey efforts. Clay will talk about the remarkable comeback of the Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon, the impacts of Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy on birds, and some troubling concerns regarding sea level rise on the Bayshore marshes.

*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.

** Except for the Annual Meeting and Volunteer recognition in November!

Up-Coming Events for Members and Friends

How to Spot ButterfliesTours of Private Wildlife Gardens in Cumberland County
September 14, 2013, 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Join gardening naturalist and author Pat Sutton for a tour of diverse gardens owned and created by a variety of CU members. Many have been planted with wildlife in mind, designed to lure in nectaring and egg-laying butterflies (and moths), nesting and migrant hummingbirds, hummingbird moths, migrant warblers and other birds, important native pollinators, and so much more. Come see a world of wildlife unfold in these lovely gardens that bring so much joy and pleasure to the garden owners.

The tour will depart from a location right outside downtown Millville, proceed in a loop around the river with a stop for lunch, and end where it began. Participants will be supplied with the location and details upon registration. The cost of the tour is $25 for members and $35 for non-members, and it will be limited to 25 participants. The tour takes place rain or shine. Please contact Lillian Armstrong to register, or 856-305-3238. You can pay in advance on our website www.cumauriceriver.org or by mailing a check made out to CU Maurice River to PO Box 474, Millville, NJ 08332.

Volunteers Needed for Outdoor Artists Day, September 14th in Mauricetown
This year’s Outdoor Artist Day will take place on the grounds of the Mauricetown Historical Society, 1229 Front Street, from 10 am to 4 pm, and not at East Point Light. Volunteers are needed for an informational table and Paint-a-Landscape. It would be great to have two crews; one for set-up ’til 1:00 pm, and another for 1 pm through breakdown. Please RSVP to Lillian at your earliest convenience.

Dinner at Winfield’s, Monday September 16th
Winfield's RestaurantPlease join us for a relaxed evening in downtown Millville on Monday, September 16th. We held a fundraiser just like this three years ago and it was so popular, we decided to do it again! Begin your evening at 6:00 pm by taking in the beautiful creations of our local artists at La Bottega Gallery, 508 High Street, where owner Mary Ann Cannon will donate 20% of proceeds for the night to CU Maurice River. Then, stroll down to Winfield’s for dinner at 7:00 pm. Winfield’s Restaurant Our goal is to have a successful fundraiser with very little fuss. No fancy invitations or postage, just a great night out with friends. The cost is $150.00 per person. Seating is limited to 80 people at tables that accommodate 4 to 6. As of today, about two thirds of the spots are already spoken for!

As you know, we’ve been mixing things up a bit. Last fall, we held a great fundraising event at the Greenview Inn. This year, the Ah Why Knot Awards were presented at our Pig Roast in May, where we also celebrated our volunteers – and it was free to all, with the exception of the always scrumptious food so generously offered by participants. So, we won’t be having a dinner at the Sailing Club in October. We do not anticipate another major fundraiser in 2013, so help us make this night a success!

You can make your reservations with CU volunteer extraordinaire by emailing Sue Olah or calling 856-327-5118. Pay online on our website, www.cumauriceriver.org, or mail a check made out to CU Maurice River to PO Box 474, Millville, NJ 08332.

Monarch Mania, Saturday, September 28th
As you may have heard, there is grave concern about monarch butterflies. Their winter habitat in the forests of Mexico has been decimated by logging, and many folks around Monarch Butterflyhere have remarked that they have seen only one or two so far this year. We will be holding our annual event on Cape May Point on Saturday, September 28th from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm. We hope for the same arrangements as last year, viewing a tagging demonstration in a private wildlife garden and then exploring the neighboring streets for roosting areas. Fingers crossed that the plentiful goldenrod and warm summer have been good to the monarchs who managed to make their way to North America. Please RSVP to Lillian, and she will provide details closer to the date.

Paddle and Campfire, Saturday, October 12th
Start your day with a beautiful paddle from Waltman Park starting at 9:30 pm and ending at the Galetto residence at about 1:00 pm. Then go home, take a nap, make a goodie, and come back to the Galettos’ for a potluck and campfire at 6:00 pm. Please contact Jane for details on the paddle and RSVP to Lillian for the potluck. Let her know what you’d like to bring, or check in closer to the date to find out what we need.


Waltman Park Birding and Botany Walks and Tuesdays on the Fly.
Our Saturday walks start again on the third Saturday of the month at 9:30 am into the fall on the following dates: September 21st, October 19th and November 16th. There will be no walk in December. Free and open to the public, the walks are 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. Meet at Waltman Park at 9:00 am and be ready for adventure! Future Tuesday dates are September 24th, October 22nd and November 19th. No walk in December. Free and open to the public.

Recent Events

CU Volunteers and Students Float Their Boats
CU Volunteers and Students Float Their Boats

June 17th Bill Sheridan and his collective of volunteers from CU and the Bayshore Center at Bivalve hosted Float Your Boat day. This year the students from Haleyville/ Mauricetown and Bridgeton Middle Schools made Peace Canoes that they launched from the shores of Lake Audrey. The boats floated well and the paddlers were a proud bunch, having constructed the boats themselves in a fulfilling experience. Many skills are acquired through the process: measuring, sawing, mathematics, gluing, sanding, painting, assembly, team work, mentoring, following directions and much more. A special thanks to Bill, David Zane, Dave Fenili, Frank Kammerer, Steve Gates, and others for guiding the kids through many weeks of construction of the boats. Also thank you to all who helped the day of the launch.

The June 22 Potluck, Paddle and New Member Orientation was a great success. We had 15 paddlers who traveled from Menantico Ponds to near the entrance of Buckshutem Creek. The paddle was great fun, relaxing and we saw terrific plants and wildlife. We had about 10 new members attend the orientation and campfire – all at Tim and Mary Ann Russell’s home. About 40 folks in all attended the campfire and potluck, singing, eating, and enjoying the super moon show – the closest and largest full moon of the year. A fact like that evidently doesn’t escape our membership and it made for a bit of a howling success. A special thank you to the Russells and all the chefs that make these campfires super. You won’t want to miss the next paddle and campfire!

It is a banner year for osprey on the Maurice River. This year Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, Inc. banded a record 81 chicks in 37 platforms. A number of other platforms had active pairs but failed to produce young. The prior record for osprey banded by CU Maurice River was 74. Since March, volunteers put in over 60 hours of active osprey management, including changing predator guards, straightening nesting platforms, removing fishing line and banding chicks. There are a few osprey plans we have for this fall. If you are interested in getting muddy, swinging around a hammer, lifting a platform and all that kind of fun stuff, email Jane. Also read our electronic notifications for opportunities along these lines.

Our wood duck boxes did not seem to get any action this year and it would help to have a member who would like to take over the duty of monitoring three boxes this coming spring at the Riverfront walk in Millville. This involves knee-high boots and the ability to read a tide chart. Contact Jane if you are interested.

And the Purple Martin Spectacular on Friday and Saturday, August 2nd and 3rd, was indeed SPECTACULAR! When Allen Jackson alerted us that the birds (how few or how many he did not know) were staging well south of their normal spot above the causeway bridge, Jane, with the cooperation of our partners in Maurice River Township, quickly took action to relocate the platform to the south side of the bridge. Some minor “alterations” to the landscape were made to optimize viewing for folks on the platform. Meanwhile, there was some concern that there simply weren’t all that many birds around. Well, in keeping with Allen’s saying, “The Martins never disappoint,” once again the skies were clouded with birds. The boat trips were so delightful – and really the best way to experience the birds this year – that we added an additional trip on August 10th, which sold out. Many thanks to the volunteers on the platform and our partners, Maurice River Township, ANJEC, the Cumberland County Improvement Authority and NJ Audubon for making the weekend a success.

Again this year, the students who attended YMCA Camp MerryWood had a special treat. Eleven volunteers from Citizens United presented weekly environmental education activities that helped young people discover the area near the Maurice River and appreciate their environment. Each week brought a new activity for the campers to learn and enjoy. They created Bogolanfini (cloth painted with mud), and decorated their own tote bags with different colored muds and stencils. Another week they were guided to identify the flora and fauna around camp, and they did nature prints using block printing ink, brayers, and matte board. Looking for and identifying birds and signs of animals was a special treat, and a lesson that will last a lifetime. One week the young campers made their own kazoos, and made music with their hands, mouths, brooms, guitars, and a fiddle. Biodiversity was a big hit with the group as they discovered pine cones, seeds, berries, and nuts, and noted that life would be pretty boring without variety. During a recent rain storm everyone at camp gathered in the great hall to watch a presentation on the Maurice River’s natural history. They also learned a great deal about sources of pollution as they were introduced to an EnviroScape. A special round of applause to everyone involved in this year’s effort to help make our young people become stewards of their environment, especially the amazing Sue Fenili who organizes it all, with the help of her trusty sidekick, Dave.

And congratulations to our friend, CU member, and sister on the river and bay, Meghan Wren, for completing her historic 13-mile SWIM across the Delaware!

CU Maurice River Advocacy Update

Jane and Lillian attended public hearings in Millville and Maurice River Township related to proposed land transfers of properties currently owned by The Nature Conservancy, which would be transferred to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife and managed as Wildlife Management Areas. After polling the Trustees, CU’s prepared statement was in favor of the transfer, especially because NJDEP has the ability to enforce certain usage provisions and TNC does not. CU Maurice River also expressed the need for extreme sensitivity to nearby landowners, many of whom are the very people who sold or donated their properties to TNC’s safe-keeping. Many are especially concerned about hunting, which is not allowed on TNC properties, but is allowed on NJDEP Wildlife Management Areas. CU advocated for increased buffers if hunting is to be allowed. We stressed the importance of the properties’ remaining as open space in perpetuity and for passive recreation rather than active, and for continued prohibitions on off road vehicles.

Great news on the preservation front. You will recall that back in the winter of 2011 a company proposed building an asphalt plant on 80 acres in the Orange St. Industrial Park in Millville. Residents filled Millville City Hall echoing concerns that we at CU Maurice River addressed. The property was owned by Durand Glass Manufacturing and lies adjacent to the Menantico Ponds Fish and Wildlife Mangement Area and land preserved by The Nature Conservancy (proposed to become part of the Menantico WMA). After a number of failed attempts to come to agreements with developers it is not surprising that Durand Glass saw fit to sell the property for its highest and best use – preservation. This is just a continuation of Durand’s respect for the environment. If you recall, in June of 2012 the company made $40M worth of upgrades to their existing facility, in conjunction with their 30th anniversary as a Millville property owner. The investment lowered emissions at their plant, making it the cleanest of its kind in the world. So a special vote of thanks to the company. And a thank you to all the Edgewood Acres and Holly Heights folks who enabled this to happen.

A Special Thank-you from Lillian
Lillian would like to thank the whole CU community for the outpouring of love, support and kind thoughts when her father died after an 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She and her mother, Valentine, thank you all from the bottom of their hearts.

Member Input Requested for 2014
Over the next few months, we will be planning next year’s calendar of events. Have an idea for an event or fundraiser? A speaker for one of our member meetings? A community event where CU should have a table? A new approach to attracting new members? We’re all ears! Contact Lillian or Jane or any CU Trustee with your ideas!

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 – which includes lots of color photos and links! If you are not on our email list, please send your email address to Lillian Armstrong, 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.

CU DuesThe Annual Membership Appeal was recently mailed and many of you have already responded. Thank you for your generosity!

As summer winds down, 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 couldnít do all this without you!

CU on the River!