Quarterly Reporter – September 2019

to be held at
George Luciano Center, Cumberland County College
Wednesday, September 11, 2019 – Meeting 6:30 pm
Presentation 7:15 pm

Kristen Meistrell
NJ Audubon
The Bog Turtle and Its Habitat

Kristen MeistrellKristin Meistrell is the Stewardship Project Manager, South Region, for NJ Audubon. She works closely with the Stewardship team on habitat management, restoration, and stewardship on both private and public lands, aiming to create healthier ecosystems while also restoring and managing for native wildlife and plants. Her focus is primarily on wetland enhancement, grassland and forest management, invasive species control, and best agricultural practices. Prior to joining the staff at NJ Audubon, she worked at NJ Div. of Fish and Wildlife, Endangered and Nongame Species Program, on herptiles, including the bog turtle, with which Kristin does radio telemetry studies. Find out about this fascinating reptile and its unique habitat needs.

November 13, 2019

Presidential Awards for Volunteer Service
New Trustees and Elections

Presidential Awards will be awarded to members who have earned 100 or more hours of service.

Existing trustees whose terms expire in 2019 and who are nominated for service until 2022: Suzanne Olah, Irene Bird, Ethan Aronoff, Leslie Ficcaglia, and Vicky Tomlin. All 2022 candidates are returning board members.

Sitting trustees from the cohort of 2020 consist of Jody Carrara, Gary Moellers, Dennis Palmer, Mary Steinacker, and Tom Talalaj. The 2021 cohort consists of Jane Morton Galetto, Sue Fenili, Tony Klock, and Mary Ann Russell.


Jane Morton GalettoJane Morton Galetto
Board President, CU Maurice River – presents:
What Makes CU Tick – 40 Years of Volunteerism

As a celebration of CU Maurice River’s 40thAnniversary, our Board President will talk about the devotion of volunteers and the beginnings of CU Maurice River. Come hear some stories and relay some of your own.

Attention delegate members: the election of trustees and officers will take place at the November 2019 meeting. Please return your proxy.


Paddle the Muskee Creek on September 7th

Muskee River Pinelands Stream Creek

The Muskee is the smallest of our four Wild and Scenic designated rivers. It is clearly a jewel. On this short paddle, participants will explore the diversity of aquatic and wetland flora. Paddlers are reminded that they need to provide their own craft and wear life jackets. To rent a kayak contact Al and Sam’s Canoe and Kayak. If you have a paddling partner and can help load a canoe, CONTACT the CU Maurice River office to explore the possibility of lending one of CU’s canoes. Keep an eye out for details in upcoming emails. Reservations are required.

Annual Outdoor Artists Day

Outdoor artist in Mauricetown

The Annual Outdoor Artists Day will take place in Mauricetown on September 14th. Held at the Mauricetown Historic Society, this event is a great mix of history and out-of-doors enjoyment. Tour the historical society, try some Cowboy coffee by Bob, paint or enjoy watching artists create on location, and walk around some of the earliest homes in our region. This is where the sea captains lived, many of whom made voyages that circumnavigated the globe. You may get a sense of stepping back in time. CU will have an art activity for event visitors and an ambassador table for prospective members; call or email Doreen 856-300-5331 if you are interested in volunteering.

Historic Lighthouse Cruises

Miah Maull Light (historic photo)
Miah Maull Light (historic photo)

We will hold two Historic Lighthouse Cruises on the Delaware Bay aboard the Bonanza II on September 22nd& 28th. It is anticipated that five lighthouses will be visited: Brandywine Shoal, Fourteen Foot Bank, Miah Maull Shoal, Elbow, and Cross Ledge. Departure is from the “Fortescue” Dock #5 and the trip will be from 3:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. Return should be just in time to catch the best part of the sunset from the Fortescue beachfront. Snacks of fruit, nuts, cheese, veggie dip, dessert, and soft drinks will be available. This has been a favorite event so be sure to make your reservations soon. Each trip is limited to 50 people; cost is $50 a person.

For paid events please go to the Events Page of our website and select the proper date and number in your party. If you do not have email access please call the office to sign up (856-300-5331).


Fall Fundraiser at Winfield's Restaurant

The Fall Fundraiser at Winfield’s Restaurant taking place on Monday, September 30 is sold out. Thank you all for your enthusiasm.


Paddle on the river

Paddle in the morning, campfire & potluck in the evening. Campfire – In the evening at 5 p.m. join us for a campfire potluck on the shores of the Maurice River at the Galettos’ home. Time and location of paddle is to be announced. The anticipated paddle was subject to fallen trees. For the pot luck bring campfire chairs, instruments and a dish to share. RSVP necessary; call or email Meghan at 856-300-5331.

CU 4th Saturdays

Naturalist Tony Klock Dragonfly Sampling Volunteer Manumuskin

The reinstituted 4thSaturdays along the Maurice River Bicycle and Walking Trail have brought out our trail lovers – and newbies to boot! Our regulars are an extremely friendly bunch, so don’t be shy about joining in the fun. A number of participants have been packing a lunch to enjoy a picnic at the family-friendly Glasstown Brewing Co. afterward. The walks meet at 9 a.m. at Waltman Park. Tony Klock is the main leader and led these walks in March, April, June and July. However, many of our other naturalists have engaged too, further enriching the experience.


August 24, September 28 (National Waterways Cleanup), October 26, and November 23. Enjoy the seasonal changes in this urban oasis.


Attention Volunteers

The Annual Outdoor Artists Day will be held in Mauricetown on September 14th. See “Upcoming Events,” above. Email Doreen Homan if you would like to get involved.

End of Summer Neighborhood Wildlife Garden Clean-up as well as the site preparation for the installation of a raised bed and a curbside garden bed in the hell strip. Friday, September 6th at 9:30 a.m.; meet at 213 North Third Street in Millville, the site of the garden.

neighborhood garden

Work parties are scheduled for Wednesday September 25thand October 23rd – activities are to be announced.

Karla Rossini and Tom Glynn remove a tire from the Wild and Scenic Maurice River at the volunteer work group held on June 11th.
Karla Rossini and Tom Glynn remove a tire from the Wild and Scenic Maurice River at the volunteer work group held on June 11th.

National Waterways Cleanup will be held on September 28th and will take place along the Maurice River Bicycle and Walking Trail. Volunteers will meet at Waltman Park in Millville; more details to follow.

2019 Volunteers examining dragonfly nymphs
2019 Volunteers examining dragonfly nymphs

National Park Service Dragonfly Nymph Sampling – Our volunteers will be engaged in a collection of dragonfly nymphs as part of a nationwide air quality study. Since 2011 the University of Maine, in partnership with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Schoodic Institute, and the National Park Service, has been conducting a nationwide study on mercury contamination in America’s natural resources. This project involves collecting dragonfly nymphs and analyzing them for mercury in order to better understand mercury distribution in the U.S.

Cheryl Howell the Master Netter Dragonfly Sampling Manumukin
CU Maurice River volunteer and “Master Netter” Cheryl Howell has played a fundamental part in the organization and implementation of this year’s program. She has helped with everything from site checks, to the preparation of gear, to brainstorming improvements, and training of many new volunteers on netting technique. Thank you, Cheryl!

Immature dragonflies remain in their nymph form for a number of years and are exposed to any mercury in the waters in which they live. The contaminants that bioaccumulate in their system can be measured and thus are an indicator of air and water quality. Vaporized mercury becomes airborne when fossil fuels like coal are burned. Precipitation, dust, or gravity bring this element down to the ground. In some portions of the United States, like the lakes of the Adirondacks, it has killed off large numbers of fish. Mercury also bioaccumulates up the food chain especially in fish, and eventually humans can be exposed to its ill effects. Mercury poisoning causes neurological symptoms such as nervousness, irritability, numbness, memory issues, depression, tremors, metallic taste in the mouth, and nausea. Children are especially susceptible to developmental disorders, and doctors recommend that pregnant women avoid eating certain fish that tend to have higher mercury contents. This year’s collection took place on Tuesday, August 27th, Thursday August 29th and Friday, August 30th. If you like to wade, net cool creatures, and ID critters this activity is likely designed with you in mind (happening concurrent with newsletter).

Ambassadors are needed for the October 18th Annual Associate Artist Show at the River Renaissance Center for the Arts. Member artists will display their works in the gallery. CU is sponsoring the show and will have an information table for outreach, from 6 pm to 9 pm. Many local artists portray the environs that we seek to protect. Their painterly works help further an appreciation of our rich natural history. Come support the artists! Call or email Meghan at 856.300.5331 if you would like to volunteer.

ghost trapCU Maurice River is going to host another Ghost Trap Removal Training Session in partnership with the Wetlands Institute in October. We are currently in the process of planning the particulars of this event. All willing participants can play a role in helping the diamondback terrapins, but we are especially looking for volunteers with boats. Watch for an email soon, or contact Karla Rossini for information. Ghost traps are untended derelict traps that keep capturing non-target creatures. They are found on the marsh plain and in the waters.


CU Saturdays

Bert Hixon Belleplain Jill Mortensen NaturalistBert Hixon has been helping out with Purple Martin cruises for many years as a NJ Audubon Naturalist. Starting in 2019 he has also offered to lead some of our land adventures. On June 8th he took a group of 27 enthusiastic nature lovers through Belleplain State Park on The Birds and Trees of Bellplain. Bert really engaged with attendees and feedback was extremely positive. Then on August 17th Bert led a group at Cape May Point State Park. There he guided 24 participants through forest and along beach habitats, spotting wildlife and expounding on the local flora. We look forward to Bert’s continued participation.

West Side Park Vineland Dragonfly

Steve Glynn Naturalist On June 15th Steve Glynn led his first CU Maurice River outing, Darting Dragonflies. Steve brought participants to some of his favorite Bayshore haunts and took time to see that each person got good looks at these aerial acrobats. He also provided an identification guide for the species that the group would most likely sight as well as a post-trip report that was sent out to all members. The experience was well-received.

Pat Sutton Garden Native Plants CaterpillarsThe July 13th The Greener Garden Tour by Pat Sutton at her garden in Goshen did not disappoint. Both morning and afternoon were fully booked shortly after we announced the opportunity. The group got to see firsthand what a difference one backyard can make. If you want to begin your own backyard habitat, pick up one of our Eco-alternative guides for watershed residents entitled Protecting Down Jersey Rivers. You can either stop by the office or access the online guide at www.cumauriceriver.org.

The July 27th activity was a paddle in which we viewed the Maurice River Bicycle and Walking Trail from the river. We traveled to the face of the Union Lake Dam. The variety of wetland plants and creatures was astounding. The paddlers also cheered on the efforts of CU Volunteers Tom Glynn and Bo Gardner as they repaired a river trail’s safety railing’s pickets.

Purple Martin Staging Photo by Robert Coifman
Purple Martin Staging Photo by Robert Coifman

Purple Martin Spectacular

This year we scheduled six purple martin cruises. Five went off without a hitch and one was cancelled due to anticipated foul weather, which proved to have been a wise decision. All five cruises were fully booked. The purple martins were fantastic and the sunsets were icing on the cake. Each year this event introduces a number of prospective members to CU Maurice River. Many people enjoyed our naturalists and staff hosts, and we hope it encourages them to become more familiar with the other special qualities of our area.

CU Maurice River and South Jersey Butterfly Blog volunteers helped monitor the Sleepy Orange colony at Dix WMA in Cumberland County. This group was led by Naturalist Steve Glynn, who has been tracking the success of the colony and working to protect the naturally-occurring stand of American senna (senna hebecarpa), a host plant for the Sleepy Orange, for the last few years.

Tuesdays on the Fly

Return the Favor 2019 Tom Glynn Dale Schweitzer East Point Heislerville

June 4th was a combo of ReTurn the Favor Walk and a Tuesday on the Fly. Surely horseshoe crabs were grateful for this decision. Our volunteers have a great deal of enthusiasm for saving horseshoe crabs from impingements and inversion. By June 12th volunteers had collectively already saved over 100,000 horseshoe crabs!

On July 2nd participants went to the Elephant Swamp Trail in Elmer. The walk is along an old railroad bed, beginning on Elmer Borough property and then entering the Elmer Lake Wildlife Management area skirting Muddy Run. Afterwards participants enjoyed lunch at the Elmer Diner.

Karen Williams Neighborhood Wildlife Garden 2019 Naturalist Caterpillar

The August Tuesday on the Fly was postponed until August 20th. The Neighborhood Wildlife Garden was surveyed for insects. This will act as a basis for creations of checklists and scavenger hunts and other interpretative materials. Of particular note was the diversity seen at this first-year urban greening project. We found many caterpillars, 13 species of butterflies, and a variety of other garden insects. A special thank-you to CUMR Naturalist Karen Williams for joining us and leading the IDing. We will be conducting more of these surveys in the years to come. This is a great way to learn about the species that are supported by the backyard habitat you’ve been working on.

Work Party

On Tuesday, June 11th a clean-up work party went to the Muskee Creek. Tide levels were not as cooperative as anticipated, but nevertheless the crew had a good degree of success. Canoes and kayaks were used to access areas that had trash.

CU Social

Brett Ewald of NJ Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory treated us to some Avian Delights on July 18th at Winfield’s Restaurant. His topic was our region’s raptors. It was a full house and he kept the audience rapt with the beauty and natural history of our large predators.

Play Streets

Child painting at Neighborhood Wildlife Garden Play StreetsOn Wednesdays this summer we participated in the Millville Holly City’s Development Corp. (HCDC) Playstreets program. The Neighborhood Wildlife Garden that our volunteers installed on 3rd Street in Millville is adjacent to the Playstreet location. We sponsored activities for youth participants with the help of a current grant from HCDC. Staff set up programs, our table, and an event tent at the garden. Volunteers led a host of different projects. The fun activities included paper tubes decorated to resemble different species of butterflies and caterpillars. Special thanks to Sue, Dave, and Scott Fenili, Tony Klock, Wendy Walker, Susan McKenna, Diane Rogers of the RRCA, Lisa Swift, Kathy Geiger, Christine Brown, Cheryl Lalancette, Carol Sibley, Annette Nestler, and our youth ambassadors Kennedy and Aimee Elwell.

On Thursday, August 15th, volunteers Tom Glynn, Tony Klock, Cheryl Howell, Marian Jordan, and Kathy Geiger led the Library Summer Camp participants on a nature walk along the Maurice River Bicycle and Walking Trail. Over 50 campers were in attendance plus their chaperones.

For each of the upcoming events watch for emails for specific details.
If you don’t have internet access, contact the office at 856-300-5331.


Annual Barn Day

June 2nd CU Ambassadors represented CU Maurice River at the Barn Studio’s Annual Barn Day. It was as always a great mix of artists and art appreciators. Thank you, Barn Studio and Ambassadors.

Muskee Creek

On June 20th Karla Rossini attended a Greater Vineland Chamber of Commerce Green Committee meeting where a local water testing business expounded on the services they provide and on regulations in NJ.

15th Annual Elevate


Elevate is a youth summer enrichment program, based in Vineland, whom we host on the Maurice River. This year it took place August 22nd. We had 23 volunteers who made it a great day of summer fun for the children and their families. The Millville Fire Department and Inspira EMS professionals monitored the paddling experience. Staffed stations of activities were enjoyed by youth, chaperones, and parents. This time we had third generation participation! There was also a small contingent of participants from our volunteers’ families. We have encouraged this for the past few years and the mixing of visitors with some of our members’ families is building a greater sense of community.



Rain Garden Installation

In 2018 the Rutgers Water Resources Team and CU Maurice River partnered to draw up rain garden designs for 3 local businesses; one of these was Cumberland Family Medicine Associates. On June 5th, under the leadership of Dr. Chris Obropta and with Holly DiMuro’s direction, The Water Resources Program and Dr. Jill Mortensen installed this project which will help water to percolate into the ground, returning it to the aquifer filtered of contaminants. Thank you, Rutgers and CFMA, for all that you do to protect the Maurice’s water resources.

Water Quality and Quantity in The Maurice River Watershed

June 13th CU Maurice River was invited to speak at a Flood Defense meeting hosted by American Littoral Society, NJ League of Conservation Voters, and ANJEC. There Karla Rossini presented on the importance of water quality and quantity in supporting the outstanding natural and cultural values of the Wild and Scenic Maurice River, while highlighting the significant role the implementation of eco-friendly practices can have on our area’s continued health.

The City of Millville and Green Infrastructure

On Monday, August 19th Karla Rossini met with The City of Millville’s Parks and Public Properties’ Commissioner Bruce Cooper and Manager Samantha Cruz to consider green infrastructure options in the City.



Willow Grove Paddle Still Run

On Saturday, June 29th the Willow Grove Lake paddle was picture perfect. Our participants marveled at the many species of plants and were treated to numerous bird songs. Of note was the prothonotary warbler’s “sweet, sweet, sweet,” and many got a great view of this lovely songbird. Thanks to Al and Sam’s Boat and Kayak Rental for hosting our launch site.

Later the weather took a turn for the worse and we had to move to Plan B for what was to be a campfire at the Burcham Farm. Attendees were treated to an evening at the Galettos’ so we could take shelter indoors if necessary. The weather improved and we were able to enjoy the out-of-doors after all.


Jane Morton Galetto has been meeting with various local businesses to offer them opportunities to support CU Maurice River’s efforts.

People continue to participate in supporting CU in the most imaginative of ways, whether cooking chili, direct giving, bequests, remembrances of loved ones, watching birds, donating objects, memberships, membership incentives, or most recently Xspero™.

Please call the office if you would like to join a special group of supporters who donate monthly to CU through auto-withdrawal. It’s simple and avoids the waste of paper, gas, and mailings. It’s also greener and helps us in a big way. Some folks like the budgeting approach to giving and we want to accommodate members’ various preferences. We understand that many givers prefer a paperless approach.

XsperoXspero™ – Amazingly Simple!
No Cost to Donor, All Gift

Xspero™ is simply a fantastic way of supporting CU or even a different local charity, although naturally we hope you would select us. You just purchase a certificate on your smart phone and spend it at the specified store or restaurant. Then your selected charity gets 20% of the sale at no cost to you. It pays for the advertising of the store and everyone wins. And you pay NOTHING ADDITIONAL.


Kindly help us by ensuring that your membership is 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. Thank you!

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


We continue to contract with the National Park Service on implementing aspects of the Maurice River Wild and Scenic Rivers Management Plan since c. 2004. Prior to this we were awarded NPS Partnership grants beginning in 1996.

We also continue to work with Green Acres on preservation efforts.

CU is involved in coordination and planning for the October Forum of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed.

In mid-September the Egg Harbor Watershed Association will be hosting a Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers forum. It will be held over several days. Our Program Manager and Board President will be in attendance.

Much of November and December is devoted to creating and scheduling the calendar for 2020. Topics and presenters are secured for next year. Reservations are set up for a variety of venues for future programs and events.

Sunset Purple Martins 2019 by Tony Klock
Sunset Purple Martins 2019 by Tony Klock