Quarterly Reporter December 2015

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

Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Meeting 6:30 pm Presentation at 7:15 pm
George Luciano Center, Cumberland County College

Jane with birdA Grand River
by Jane Morton Galetto, CU Maurice River Board President

Jane Morton Galetto will kick off this year’s series of lectures with a presentation about the Wild and Scenic Maurice River. This will be an overview of the watershed and the outstanding resource values included in its comprehensive management plan. The presentation is a springboard for our Maurice River Stewardship Series, developed to inspire residents to become better stewards of our waterways. A Watershed Institute Grant is enabling portions of this year’s programs, which will be closely linked to outings. We will start by defining what makes our watershed region a national treasure.

A field trip on February 16th to the Millville Historical Society will supplement this presentation (see Upcoming Events).

Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Meeting 6:30 Presentation at 7:15
George Luciano Center, Cumberland County College

Fred Akers

Watershed Management – Land Use and Water Quality
by Fred Akers “Watershed Fred” Administrator, Great Egg Harbor Watershed Association

Mr. Akers will expound upon the character of the Maurice River watershed and its challenges that include storm water runoff, contamination and water level depletion. He will also explain how each of us can promote watershed health by the way we manage our properties.

Fred is a graduate of Drexel University where he received a BS in Business Administration. He is currently the River Administrator for the Greater Egg Watershed Association and Harbor Council, a position he has held since 2002. In this and other civic and environmental positions, Mr. Akers has worked to promote healthy river systems through research, education, and by increasing public awareness of the unique and valuable natural resources in our area.

This presentation will be supplemented by a topical outing on Saturday, April 16th, 2016 at the City of Millville’s Waltman Park. There we will explore superior and inferior examples of land use practices and discuss curbing erosion, run-off, and point source and non-point source contaminants on private property.


We may have some impromptu excursions when mild winter days are forecast, so keep checking those email announcements!

Victor Emanuel Nature Tours

We will also be emailing a poll about possible eco-adventures to see which group trip with Victor Emanuel Tours, a top notch wildlife tour company, would most interest potential travellers. So if you would like to go on an exotic CU adventure with other members be sure to let us know your preferences.

Tony Klock, Mary Watkins, and Jane Morton Galetto will kick off the 2016 walks on January 9th at 10 a.m. at Turkey Point. Tony, Mary Watkins, Jane Morton Galetto, Christine Brown, and Sue Fenili will all be leading and/or co-leading other walks so check the calendar for dates and times.

Bringing Nature HomeTime to read! Prepare for our Book Circle and the May 7 presentation by Doug Tallamy by reading his book Bringing Nature Home. This book addresses the staggering impacts of our lawn-friendly culture. But better yet it offers ways for all of us to play a role in turning around present landscaping practices with marvelous results. If you haven’t already done so, be part of the solution and reinvent your landscape with native plants. Come on April 21st, when Suzanne Merighi will lead the CU Book Circle at Millville Public Library in exploring this topic. Copies of Bringing Nature Home are available at our office for $16.00, or order it through AmazonSmile.com and designate Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, Inc. as your nonprofit of choice. CU has organized this super series of events and we don’t want you to miss out.

Eagle Festival February 6th – A Lovely Day
For this event we anticipate that there will be five staffed viewing sites open throughout the day. The Nature Conservancy, The Natural Lands Trust, and NJ Audubon will lead walks.

The indoor portion of the festival is held at the Mauricetown Fire Co., and will include interesting talks on related topics as well as wildlife presentations. Visitors will also 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.

Volunteers are needed at the five outdoor viewing sites for 2-3 hour shifts, and indoors at our information table for similar periods of time. Please contact Karla at 856-300-5331 or email her at karla.rossini@cumauriceriver.org if you would like to help out. NJ Audubon will be coordinating the outdoor stations, and we will pass your name and contact information along to them for scheduling.

February 16th will mark our first Tuesday on the Fly of 2016. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to tour the Wood Mansion and the Union House with Bob Francois of Millville Historical Society. Bob will give us historical background on the founding of Millville, and Jane Morton Galetto will be making the natural resource connections for interesting insights into our cultural foundation.

Postcard of Wood Mansion

February 18th – Presentation: Landscape Design With Wildlife in Mind by Naturalist Pat Sutton at Winfield’s Restaurant (upstairs) in Millville from 6:30 pm-7:45 pm. This program is open to the public and is part of the Watershed Stewards Program. If you would like to eat before or after the presentation you may choose one of two time slots – 5 pm or 7:45; be sure to reserve with the restaurant beforehand. Adult beverages can be purchased during the presentation. Non-members’ suggested donation is $25.

Join Tiara Campbell, NJ Watershed Ambassador and former CU Maurice River intern, on Friday, February 26, 2016 from 1:30-4:30 pm at the Millville Public Library for a stream-monitoring workshop. During this program you will learn about the factors that affect streams and how to visually assess the healthiness of a waterway. The workshop will include an interactive presentation and field visit (weather permitting).

March 29th Tuesday on the Fly. Our destination is yet to be determined so stay alert for the email notifications. If you are not already on our email list and wish to be included, please contact Doreen Homan at doreen.homan@cumauriceriver.org or at 856-300-5331.

Chili guyMARK YOUR CALENDARS for the 11th Annual Chili Bowl – Saturday, April 9, 2015 at Rosary Hall, Saint Padre Pio Parish, Dante Ave. in Vineland – 6:00 pm. Chefs are needed for chili, appetizers, cornbread, and brownies/cookies, as well as volunteers for kitchen and setup/cleanup help. Please donate auction items. Perhaps you are able to host an experience-oriented excursion? Previously such offerings have included eagle and osprey banding, trips to botanic gardens, history, vacation accommodations, Pine Barrens plant tours, and other biological and cultural outings. We would also love to offer additional vacation house opportunities. If you know of sponsors or would like to sponsor an event yourself, please let us know. To donate an auction item or a sponsorship, contact Jane at 856-327-1161 or forrivers@comcast.net.


CU once again coordinated the Annual Congressional Summit on September 21st, while the Bayshore Center in Bivalve was selected to host the daylong event. Primarily members of the South Jersey Bayshore Coalition were in attendance. Five main presentations were given before lunch and six topics were presented in the afternoon. The themes ranged from a focus on the Bayshore to national topics. Here is a sampling of the issues: depletion of the Cohansey Kirkwood Aquifer, Bayshore Resilience and Recovery Plan, shorebird and horseshoe crab restoration, positive economic implications of restoration projects, land and water conservation funds, state wildlife grants, monarch butterflies, the future of Wild and Scenic Rivers, the transportation bill, oyster recovery and more. Congressman Frank LoBiondo was receptive, interested and extremely informative. He also gave us an update on happenings in Washington. Over 20 representatives from 14 different environmental organizations participated, including local, state, and national groups. We have been coordinating this program since at least 2001.

In 2006 Fred Akers and Omni Engineering conducted a study of the Parvin and Tarkiln Branches for CU. This was a 319 H federal clean water study. Because of the recent EPA concerns with contamination related to the Killtone site in Vineland, these studies were provided to the EPA investigation team.

On October 5th and 6th, 2015 CU Maurice River’s Program Manager, Karla Rossini, attended the Third Annual Delaware River Watershed Forum at the University of Delaware. The presentation line-up included development of a watershed-wide vision, updates on work underway around the region, and practical guidance for environmental organizations.

CU Maurice River applied to and was approved for membership in the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed on November 2, 2015. The Coalition was formed to bring together the nongovernmental community throughout the Delaware River Watershed to share information and to coordinate efforts and advocacy around joint interests. Through membership with the Coalition, CU Maurice River can show its support for the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act (DRBCA), which would create a program to organize protection and restoration activities across the entire watershed, and also set up a competitive grant program to fund a range of projects, including water quality improvements, public access, and outreach and education programs.

Fixing our Water WoesOn Friday October 9th, 2015 CU’s Karla Rossini attended ANJEC’s 42nd Annual Environmental Congress at Raritan Valley Community College Conference Center in Branchburg. The Congress is a statewide gathering of municipal environmental commissioners, state and local officials, members of New Jersey’s environmental organizations, and others concerned about our state’s environment. The congress included workshops, exhibits, speakers and much more. The forum brought together environmental commissions and non-profits and presented a wealth of networking opportunities.


Phillip Leonetti and Vincent ZanghiPhillip Leonetti and Vincent Zanghi, senior students at Saint Augustine Prep, did their senior summer projects with CU Maurice River. They helped collect samples of dragonflies for the NPS mercury testing, built osprey platforms, cleared off platforms that were overbuilt, and assisted with Elevate and the like. Both are interviewing at colleges now and we wish them well in their future studies. Thanks, Phil and Vinnie!

Allen Jackson, our Wildlife Management Director, never stops working on projects. He has been coordinating the trail work at Wheaton Arts and removing invasive species at Alcyon Park in Pitman. Recently Allen was elected the President of the Blue Bird Society in NJ. This year he put in over 900 hours coordinating and doing habitat work – wow!

Canoeing iconJane and Allen met with Jay Eisenhauer and staff members of Cumberland County Guidance Center to investigate the possibility of establishing a nature trail on their premises.

Steve Eisenhauer of the Natural Lands Trust has been seeking our input on their Maurice River Water Trails mapping. CU has agreed to maintain signage for the trail.

Waltman ParkWaltman Park Brochure
Tiara Campbell, our outgoing student intern, worked on a number of interesting projects while at CU. She mapped out all the bluebird trails and purple martin housing using GIS software. She also wrote copy for a Waltman Park map and guidebook. Leslie and Jane have collaborated on edits to the copy and member Donna Vertolli is working on a design.


The Fall Fundraiser at La Bottega Art Gallery and Winfield’s on September 14th was a smashing success; it raised about $10,500. A special thank-you to the Events Committee, especially Larry and Suzy Merighi, who did a splendid job of recruitment and coordination.

The AJ Meerwald Labor Day Sail was well attended. We thank the Bayshore Center at Bivalve for making the boat available to CU members at a discount. And we also thank our joint volunteers, Tony Klock and Kathy Michel, for pointing out birds; around 50 different species were spotted from the AJ.

Monarch ButterflyOn Saturday, September 26th Monarch Mania was very well attended. Once again there was a good turnout from families: of the 33 individuals 7 were family groups. A number of participating non-members joined our ranks by taking advantage of the free price structure for members. Mark Garland of NJ Audubon’s Monarch Watch did a terrific job of interpreting the monarch migration. Mary Watkins, Jane Galetto, and Christine Brown led a fun and interesting walk at Cape May Point State Park. Each year this event generates a large number of participants.

September 12th Annual Artists’ Day in Mauricetown suffered from rainy conditions, but what the weather lacked seemed to be compensated for in volunteer participation. That may sound odd but our volunteers’ numbers just kept building throughout the day as earlier shifts chose to stay on. Program Manager Karla Rossini has developed a fun activity to accompany the CU Paint-A-Landscape. You might call it C US Paint-A-Mural; folks just come up and add to an existing landscape. Karla gets the large canvas started with a bit of background and folks just keep filling in more details.

October 10th was a big day for those who chose to both paddle and attend the campfire. The paddle had 24 participants and the campfire had over 50. The food was once again superior and the stories at the campfire and music made for a fun time.

Walks at Waltman Park and Tuesdays on the Fly have been well-attended. The Park continues to provide seasonal interests that keep our topics and sightings varied. This year’s fall foliage was especially nice. The mast year (super abundance of fruits and acorns) was all the chatter. Tuesdays on the Fly also visited Batsto’s museum and its grounds, and went on the mansion tour; then participants lunched on the Mullica. The Fly also took us to Fortescue for an interesting morning of beachcombing, history, and nature study. Sarah Johnson posted two fun slideshows of these trips on the web.

CU Maurice River ambassadors and representatives attended the NJEA Family Involvement Day on November 14th at Lakeside Middle School. We made excellent connections with teachers and other involved community members while collecting email addresses from event staff and attendees.

Lakeside Middle School’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) coordinator Sandra Lokuta contacted CU to organize presentations about the Maurice River for her students. AVID’s mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society. On November 19th and 20th, Karla led five presentations at that site.

We have submitted a number of grant requests and approached some corporations about helping to finance some of our projects and needs. Quarterly we submit reports for reimbursement for some of the work that we contract for completion with the National Park Service.

Each year we write up a narrative of CU’s activities which accompanies our tax submissions. This narrative is very extensive and can be found on the federal website.

We also submitted responses for a National Park Service publication marking 20 years of Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers.


At the Annual Meeting the following members were recognized for their outstanding volunteer service to CU Maurice River: Leslie Ficcaglia, Suzanne Olah, Doreen Homan, Bill Sheridan, Dave Fenili, Carl Homan, Mike Golla, Wendy Walker, Mary Ann Russell, Sue Fenili, Mary Watkins and Dave Zane. Allen Jackson and Jane Morton Galetto were recognized as lifetime achievement award winners. Each of the individuals listed have donated over 125 hours.


On January 28th – Volunteer Ambassador Training Party at 6 p.m. at the Galetto Residence. Folks interested in representing CU at events as well as seasoned representatives are asked to join us for an evening of exchange. Contact doreen.homan@cumauriceriver.org or call 856-300-5331.

March 19th – Waltman Park Walk and Clean Up. Please contact Karla Rossini by email – Karla.rossini@cumauriceriver.org or by phone – 856-300-5331 if you are interested in helping.

Wild About Cumberland 2015

Wild About Cumberland – March 22th & 23th
This year we will once again partner with the Bayshore Center at Bivalve, The Nature Conservancy, Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge, and PSEG to get Cumberland County 4th graders into the great out-of-doors. 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 focus on local habitats and species.

CU volunteers are needed to help on the outdoor walks and perhaps at a couple of the indoor stations. Please contact Karla Rossini at 856-300-5331 or email karla.rossini@cumauriceriver.org if you are interested and willing!

This year many of the costs of the program are being covered by a National Parks Service Centennial Grant. We welcome additional gifts to help underwrite this and other student programs.

Join your fellow CU members
on this Giving Tuesday, December 1

Annual Meeting Election Results
(the respective term endings are in parentheses)
Jane Morton Galetto, Board President (2018)
Suzanne Olah, Treasurer (2016)
Irene Bird, Assistant Treasurer (2016)
Corresponding Secretary, Karen Johnson (2017)
Recording Secretary, Susan Leopold (2016)

Ethan Aronoff (2016)
Leslie Ficcaglia (2016)
Richard Jones (2017)
Mary Watkins (2017)
Sue Fenili (2018)
Tony Klock (2018)
Mary Ann Russell (2018)

Congratulations to the Newly Elected Trustees
Tom Talalaj (2017)
Jody Carrara (2017)

Click here for our calendar online for any changes or updates.

Address Changes
Please keep us posted on any changes in your email address. Our emails contain a helpful stream of reminders and updates that you won’t want to miss.

Membership Info
Do keep your membership up-to-date and/or invite a friend to join. Membership is set at $20 for individuals and $30 for families, although our average annual donation is approximately $75. Mail your check to PO Box 474, Millville, NJ 08332 or join online at www.cumauriceriver.org.

A special thanks to all those who give the equally important gift of your time. We couldn’t do this without you!

CU on the River!