Quarterly Reporter March 2014

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

Next Meeting and Presentation – Wednesday, March 12, 2014

After publication, Pat Sutton’s presentation was rescheduled
to Wednesday, April 9th, same place and time.
Member meeting 6:30 pm, Presentation at 7:00 pm*
George Luciano Center, Cumberland County College

Pat Sutton, Gardening with Native Plants

Pat SuttonBy March, many of us are itching to get out and play in the dirt, although it might still be a bit too cold and/or windy. However, it’s the perfect time to start planning something new in your garden, and Pat Sutton is the perfect person to give you some ideas about native plants that will attract birds and butterflies to your garden.

Native plants often adapt better than non-native plants and can be easier to grow, and this is a rare opportunity to get Pat’s tips at a free presentation in Cumberland County!

Pat’s presentation will be preceded by a brief introduction to Manomet’s Celebrate Delaware Bay initiative, by project coordinator Laura Chamberlin.

Also, mark your calendars now for Saturday, August 23rd, the Tour of Wildlife Gardens in Cumberland County, led by Pat Sutton. Details to come.

Edward Compton House
May Meeting and Presentation – Wednesday, May 14th
**Special Location: Mauricetown Historical Society**
Headquartered in The Edward Compton House
1229 Front Street
Mauricetown, New Jersey
Member meeting 6:30 pm, Presentation at 7:00 pm*

It’s graduation week at Cumberland County College, so we are very grateful to the Mauricetown Historical Society for offering to host our May meeting. Learn about the history of Mauricetown, take a walk on the grounds, and we’ll catch up on our busy May schedule as well.

*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

Chili Bowl! Chili Bowl! CHILI BOWL!! Saturday, March 8th 2014 at Rosary Hall, Saint Padre Pio Parish, 4680 Dante Ave (at the corner of Cornucopia) in Vineland – 6:00 pm.
Chili guyBy the time you receive this newsletter via email or snail mail, we’ll be checking our recipes, gathering a few last minute items, and otherwise getting super-organized for this year’s Chili Bowl and Auction. (Or maybe you’ve already attended the Bowl, and you’re admiring your winnings!) A tremendous amount of work by volunteers goes into the Chili Bowl, and we hope you will be there!

To date, everything has come together beautifully – our Auction Items in particular are stunning. Baskets of goodies of all kinds, works of art – glass, paintings, pottery, second to none – and EXPERIENCES! Experiences include Osprey Banding, A Dolphin Boat Trip, trips on the Maurice from Capt. Dave of Maurice River Cruises, local restaurant gift certificates, and a really nifty package for a Philadelphia Flyer’s game, including parking passes, tickets, and special guest passes, plus much, much more.

The Chili Bowl and Auction is our largest fundraiser of the year. Don’t miss it! 15+ flavorful chilis (including 3 vegetarian), plus appetizers, bread and cornbread and desserts, and the same crazy live auctioneer… who might that be? And same price, $25 per person.

Please register in advance by emailing cureservation@gmail.com or calling Suzanne Olah at 856-327-5118, and then pay for your tickets online. At this point, there are probably only a couple of dozen tickets left, so make a call soon! Tickets purchased less than one week in advance will be waiting for you at the door.

Wild About Cumberland!
Tuesday and Wednesday,
March 25th and 26th, 2014
After our great success in 2013, CU Maurice River is again partnering with the Bayshore Center at Bivalve, The Nature Conservancy, Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge and PSEG to give Cumberland County 4th graders a great day of indoor and outdoor environmental education. Teachers, students and chaperones will be treated to a half day outdoors on nearby trails with CU leaders and 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 students might encounter. Click below for an informative and heart-warming slide show.


2013 Wild About Cumberland Trail Guides
2013 Wild About Cumberland Trail Guides

Additional CU volunteers are more than welcome to help on the outdoor walks, and perhaps at a couple of the indoor stations. A number of active and retired teachers have already signed up! Please contact Lillian if you are interested and willing! Also, if you would like to make a donation toward this fantastic event, it would be most welcome to help us cover the costs of buses, live birds and facility expenses. Last year, individual member contributions accounted for a wonderful 35% of expenses!

Waltman Park Walks and Tuesdays “On the Fly” Resume in March, and continue through July
Join us at Waltman Park, off Brandriff Ave. in downtown Millville, for nature walks with our knowledgeable leaders. On Saturdays, we take the paved river walk, and on the following Tuesdays, we’re likely to venture to another location nearby for a different wildlife-viewing experience. The dates are as follows:

  • Saturday, March 15th, 9:30 am, Waltman Park Walk
  • Tuesday, March 18th, 9:00 am, Tuesdays on the Fly, meet at Waltman Park and venture to a different location
  • Saturday, April 19th, 9:30 am, Waltman Park Walk
  • Tuesday, April 22nd, 9:00 am, Tuesdays on the Fly, meet at Waltman Park and venture forth on Earth Day!
  • Tuesday, May 20th, Tuesdays on the Fly, meet at Waltman Park

**No Waltman Park Walk on Saturday, May 17th, due to the Pig Roast

Pot Luck and Campfire at Laurel Lake, Saturday, April 12th, 5:30 pm
campfireWe had a great campfire at Laurel Lake in April two years ago, and we’re doing it again in 2014. Their Club House offers some indoor prep space and restrooms, and the sandy beach is protected and delightful for an evening of conversation, singing and eating around the fire. Please RSVP to Lillian (email Lillian or call 856-305-3238) and let her know what you would like to bring. The Club House is located on Lakeshore Drive, just off Buckshutem Road near the Silver Run intersection. It’s easy to find; CU signs will guide you and/or call Lillian for directions.

Adopt-a-Swamp Pink Training, Saturday, April 26th, 10:00 am – noon
Join Dennis Hamlin of USFWS, Renee Brecht of ALS, and other volunteers for Adopt-a-Swamp Pink Training at Shaw’s Mill Pond. This exquisite, nationally rare member of the lily family has its stronghold in our region. CU volunteers join others in an effort to maintain healthy populations by monitoring its presence and recording any threats. We do this project under the umbrella of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. New volunteers welcomed! Please email Lillian if you would like to attend. She’ll share the specific location and let you know what you need to bring.

OspreyAs an aside, amidst this cold and snowy winter, it’s hard to believe some of our favorite birds will be arriving from their wintering grounds soon. Be on the lookout for the first Osprey on the Maurice and report it to Jane or Lillian, and we’ll post in on our FaceBook page!

Explore Belleplain State Forest with Lillian on Wednesday, May 7th, 7:30 am.
It has come to her attention that some of her Cumberland County friends have not visited Belleplain during the peak of Spring migration! Come on along for a 2-3 hour exploration with Lillian to some of the best neotropical migrant and NJ nesting bird locations in this expansive State Forest. Meet in the parking lot at the Office off Rt. 550 (directions provided on request), and plan to carpool, as we’ll hit the best spots by car and then spend awhile walking and listening. To RSVP email Lillian.

The shorebirds are coming!!!
And of course, the arrival of the shorebirds will be closely followed by the arrival of the international shorebird team starting around May 9th. Our generous shorebird team chefs, please email Jane or 609-774-5853 at their earliest convenience and let her know what dates work, and what you’d like to prepare. Other folks are welcome to supplement a main dish with a salad, dessert or side dish. If you’re interested, but you’ve never done this before, give it a try. We can pair you with an experienced shorebird chef, and you’re sure to enjoy an evening of camaraderie and fun with the team. Folks who would like to offer some type of cultural experience to our international visitors are welcome to let Jane know of that, too.

Also, keep an eye on the news as applications have been made for several shorebird and horseshoe crab habitat restoration projects along the Bayshore. Last year’s emergency efforts on Cook’s Beach and Moore’s Beach in the wake of Sandy appeared to work brilliantly. Who knows what further removal of rubble and pilings, coupled with fortification of the sandy beaches, might do for our beloved horseshoe crabs and shorebirds!

2013 WSB Team Left to Right Johnson, Klock, Sutton and Pettigrew
2013 WSB Team Left to Right Johnson, Klock, Sutton and Pettigrew

The CU Fish Hawks will be back in action in the World Series of Birding on Saturday, May 10th.
This has become an extremely successful fundraiser for CU Maurice River, which will again support our Raptor and Waterfowl Surveys on the Maurice River, conducted by Clay (“New Knee”) Sutton and Jim Dowdell. Please consider an on-line donation to the team. Last year Tony, Laurie, Karen and Clay scored an amazing 142 species on an incredibly difficult day of wind and rain. They persevered because of their love of CU and because of your support and encouragement! You can support the team in one of three ways: 1) take a gamble and make a pledge per species, 2) send any flat dollar amount, and/or 3) help us find sponsors for the team! A new CU Fish Hawks t-shirt design is in the works for those who contribute $100 or more. Contact Lillian with your pledge per species, or visit the donation page of the website to send a flat pledge for the team, or pop a check in the mail. Go Fish Hawks! Go Fish Hawks! Go Fish Hawks! Go Fish Hawks!

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

Pig Roast and Ah Why Knot Awards With the International Shorebird Scientist Team!
Pig Roast and Ah Why Knot Awards
With the International Shorebird Scientist Team!

On May 17th, 2014 all members and volunteers are invited to attend the annual Pig Roast and Pot Luck with the international shorebird team, where we will also present our Ah Why Knot Awards. This is always a great party at the Galetto residence, and it is open to all members! Please email Jane and let us know if you would like to bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert. Alternative entrÈes, in addition to the roast pork, especially vegetarian options, are also especially coveted and welcomed. Folks may arrive starting at noon for help with set-up, and then 2:00 pm for a paddle or some time outdoors. Dinner will begin around 5 pm, followed by awards and then general merriment around the campfire at the Galettos’.

Celebrate Memorial Day, Monday, May 26th, 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. Call the Bayshore Center at Bivalve to make your reservations: 856-785-2060.

Frog Slog Preparedness
Frog Slog Preparedness

The annual Frog Slog with Fred Akers, a.k.a. “Watershed Fred,” will take place on Friday, May 30th from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm at the corner of Mays Landing Road and Union Road, Vineland, also known as Bennett’s Mill. Discover the secret life of frogs on this night excursion. Learn to identify frogs by their breeding songs and more. Come with a flashlight and be prepared for wet, frog-sloggy conditions – knee high mud boots or higher preferred. Free and open to all ages. KIDS LOVE THIS EVENT! Touch tanks available! Please register in advance with Lillian,or call 856-305-3238.

They’re all fun, and they’re all IMPORTANT

CU Maurice River Joins the reTURN the Favor Partnership
to rescue stranded Horseshoe Crabs
Training scheduled for April 5th, 1:00 pm
at the Bayshore Center at Bivalve
As our members know, for millions of years the Delaware Bay has played host to the largest concentration of breeding horseshoe crabs in the world. But since the early 1990s, the species has experienced a rapid decline due to overharvest. Making matters worse, thousands of horseshoe crabs die every year after being overturned by waves or getting stuck in bulkheads or other hazards. While we are grateful that NJ has existing policies to prevent the disturbance of migratory shorebirds, that also means certain beaches are closed to human activity during peak spawning season, making it challenging to rescue the overturned or impinged crabs.

To solve this, the reTURN the Favor program was developed in May of 2013. Led by The Wetlands Institute and the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife, it allows sanctioned volunteer groups to rescue stranded horseshoe crabs from closed beaches, as well as beaches that are not closed. As an official partner, CU has “adopted” the area around East Point Light as its primary horseshoe crab rescue area. East Point is not a closed beach area, which makes it easier to rescue crabs, many of which get caught in the pilings of the boat ramp. Volunteers are welcomed and encouraged to attend other crab rescue efforts, all of which will be posted on a central website currently in development. Interested volunteers should plan to attend the training session on Saturday, April 5th at 1:00 pm at the Bayshore Center at Bivalve to learn about the project, the activities required, and most importantly, how to input your data online each and every time you visit the beach and surroundings to rescue the crabs. Please email Lillian if you plan to attend the training, or if you have any questions.

It’s Festival Time!!
May and June are some of the busiest times for festivals in our region, and CU Maurice River supports our like-minded partners in the area by having a presence at their festivals and events. Please consider volunteering to represent CU Maurice River at an informational table (including a fun activity) at any or all of the following events:

  • Saturday, May 3rd – 9 am to 4 pm Eco Fest at Wheaton Arts (leaf painting and pinecone birdfeeders)
  • Sunday, June 1st – 10 am to 4 pm Barn Day (Paint-a-Landscape)
  • Saturday, June 7th – 10 am to 6 pm Bay Day (Paint-a-Lanscape and more)

If you’re interested in volunteering, please email Lillian. You can volunteer for a couple of hours, or the whole day, or anything in-between.

Also, join the boat-building team, led by Bill Sheridan, boat-builder extraordinaire, who is making some new vessels at local schools. If you’d like to help support this fantastic effort to make a sea-worthy (or at least lake-worthy) boat, please contact Bill directly at 856-327-1513 and he’ll explain when volunteers are needed – which is a couple of times a week starting now through early June.

Very soon, Sue Fenili will be looking for volunteers to bring an outdoor and/or artistic experience to the young campers at YMCA Camp Merrywood in Pittsgrove Twp. Sue has developed an outstanding partnership with this YMCA-based camp, in which different CU volunteers present weekly activities that help young people discover the area and appreciate their environment – talk about fun and rewarding! The YMCA camp runs from mid-June to mid-August. Please email Sue if you would like to volunteer or call her at 856-691-7459. Thank you in advance for your help.

CU Maurice River Advocacy Update

Although the past few months have been a little quiet on the advocacy front (December was decidedly quiet!), please know that CU has been working diligently “behind the scenes” on a couple of things, and we have continued our involvement in and support of efforts associated with the South Jersey Bayshore Coalition, our local Bayshore Heritage Byway, and the state-wide Keep It Green campaign to secure long-term funding for our parks and open spaces.

On January 23 Cheryl Reardon of ANJEC and J. Galetto attended a State Byways workshop at Monmouth Battlefield State Park. There we reviewed the newly released NJ Scenic Byway Program Guidebook designed to help communities and program managers to understand the key aspects of byways. These are picturesque driving routes that have been designated for their special scenic, historic, archaeological, recreational, cultural or natural qualities. Roadways are connected together in order to tell a story unique to that region. We focused on getting a greater understanding of tools and programs available for our use as we explore how to take the next step and implement our byways plan.

In addition, we provided important letters of support to our partner organizations for major grants focused on the watershed, including coastal management planning for the mouth of the Maurice River, horseshoe crab and shorebird habitat restoration, and a study of the deposition of arsenic in the river. Through our work with the SJBC, we are also making our voices heard on the restoration of funding for the State’s recreational trails program. Volunteers may be needed on some of these projects, and we will let you know as we learn how they unfold.

Recent Events

Bald Eagle Trail Walk with Tony Klock, Saturday, December 18th
Some 20 folks braved a chili (oops, I meant “chilly” – go figure) day on the Bald Eagle Trail on Turkey Point. We enjoyed learning about plants and signs of animal presence, saw some great birds, and ended the walk with two Bald Eagles soaring overhead. Thank you, Tony!

2014 Cumberland County Winter Eagle Fest , February 8th
What a super day we had! Thanks to all the CU volunteers who worked out at field sites and in the Fire Hall. Attendance was the best in several years, and a great time was had by all.

Upstairs at Winfield’s, Feburary 19th, with Mark Garland
A huge thank-you to Mark Garland and the staff of Winfield’s for making this such a lovely Wednesday evening. Early birds had a chance for some great food and conversation with Mark, and the presentation itself was attended by 18 people – all of whom were inspired to take a trip to the tropics to see some fantabulous birds – and more! We’re pondering some eco-travel options for CU members… more information to come.

Third Friday at the Riverfront Renaissance Center, February 21st
Many thanks to our volunteers for representing CU Maurice River at the February Third Friday event. They noted the beautiful new exhibit that mixed authors’ prose and art works with delightful results. Thanks Wendy, Mary and Mike!

Congratulations to Vineland’s Hometown Heroes!
Pat Witt, Charlie Loyle and Jane Morton Galetto, CU Maurice River members and our fearless leader, will be among those honored at the 2014 Vineland Hometown Heroes Awards, to be celebrated at a dinner on Friday, March 15th at 6 pm, at Merighi’s Savoy Inn, Landis Ave. and Union Rd. Tickets can be purchased at The Grapevine office, across the parking lot from Larry’s II Restaurant & CafÈ, 907 N. Main Road in Vineland or by calling 856-457-7815. Come on out to celebrate the tireless efforts of the Hometown Heroes! (Lillian will receive Jane’s award in her absence.)

Lastly, please mark your calendar for Saturday, June 21st, the First Day of Summer 2014, and a full day of CU Events. Walk in Waltman Park, paddle the Maurice River, and/or join us for a pot luck and campfire at the Russell’s on the river, where we will welcome our new members from the past year. Details to come.

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! So simply email us and let us know you want to be removed from the USPS list. This applies only to newsletters; you will still receive certain special mailings and invitations via USPS.

If you know a friend that would like to be added to these electronic emails have them email Lillian and let her know they want to be added to our email list.

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!