Quarterly Reporter – December 2019

Presentations/ Workshops
George Luciano Center, Rowan College of South Jersey Cumberland Campus (formerly CCC)
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Meeting 6:30 pm, Presentation 7:15 pm

Ask us how you can get your property designated as Stream or Wildlife Friendly.

Workshop #1 – Composting to Reduce Yard and Kitchen Waste
Workshop and Presentation
Team Effort

Susan McKenna South Jersey Land and Water Trust and CU Maurice River partner to host a composting presentation and workshop. The Cooperative Extension of Cumberland County’s Extension Department Head and Agriculture & Natural Resources County Agent Salvatore Mangiafico, Ph.D., will give a presentation on soil health while also highlighting the importance of composting for watershed integrity. Directly following the presentation, Karla Rossini and Susan McKenna will lead a composting workshop, where Salvatore Mangiafico, Ph.D.each participant will construct a trial compost container that they can install on their property. We hope that you will join us not only to learn about the positive effects waste reduction can have on the environment, but also to test out composting at your residence and see if it is a stewardship initiative you would like to implement long-term. Turn your yard and organic kitchen waste into soil for your native garden beds. The presentation is free. There will be a minimum cover for the workshop for the raw cost of the materials. Be on the lookout for an email with more details.

Workshop #2 To Be Announced
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Meeting 6:30 p.m.
Presentation at 7:15 p.m.


Holly Farm

Green Acres Buys the Holly Farm

Holly Farm“The prize plum that has eluded us for so long has become a reality. After 30-plus years of CU Maurice River’s intense advocacy, the Governor, the NJ DEP, and Atlantic Electric have made this monumental addition to the surrounding preserved lands a reality.” – CU Board President Jane Morton Galetto

Just a few days before Thanksgiving, Governor Murphy, DEP Commissioner McCabe, and the NJ Natural and Historic Resources Group’s Green Acres program bestowed a great gift on the citizens of NJ – The 1400-acre Holly Farm tract. The property will be part of the Menantico Ponds Wildlife Management area, completing some 5500 acres and connecting it to an existing 28,000 acres of previously protected land which surrounds it. Governor Murphy captured the importance
of the acquisition well. “Safeguarding New Jersey’s interconnected open spaces and diverse ecosystem is critically important in protecting our environment,” said Governor Murphy. “In addition to protecting endangered species, our open spaces have the capacity to store large amounts of carbon emissions and absorb water to reduce flooding in our communities. Through the acquisition of the Holly Farm, we are able to preserve New Jersey’s natural resources and become more resilient to the devastating effects of climate change.”

We have been sharing with our members the great variety of local and national news media that covered this preservation success. We hope to have a celebration of some sort to commemorate this momentous occasion.

Governor's Environmental Excellence Award20th Annual Governor’s
Environmental Excellence Awards

The ReTurn the Favor Program has been recognized with the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for the coordination of this Bayshore-wide effort to help in the recovery of the horseshoe crab population. Way to go, Laura Chamberlain, Lisa Ferguson, all the partnering organizations, and of course the army of volunteers that are doing this important work! CU Maurice River attended the award ceremony as a longstanding program partner, helping to get 100s of volunteers engaged in the program and trained on its practices. Each year CUMR focuses its recovery efforts on the many beaches surrounding East Point Lighthouse, including long stretches of pristine shoreline and waterfront properties where leftover rubble from previous dwellings trap horseshoe crabs. CUMR volunteers dedicate time to rescuing horseshoe crabs all throughout New Jersey’s bayshore region, but on our adopted beaches in 2019 alone we saved over 17,000 crabs together and devoted nearly 600 hours to this citizen-driven project.

WOW -The Holiday Match Is Happening

Match art

Members have until the end of 2019 to give donations that will be matched up to $20,000. Help propel us to our goal; please donate to the Holiday Match. This is the third consecutive year of this challenge. Every year our members have met or exceeded the goal, but honestly it takes a lot of participation, so we hope if you have not yet participated you will.

Donate here


The 15th Annual World Famous Chili Bowl
Saturday, April 18 at 6:00 p.m.
Rosary Hall, Saint Padre Pio Parish, Dante Avenue in Vineland

Chefs are needed for chili, appetizers, cornbread, and desserts, as well as volunteers for kitchen and setup/cleanup help. Please donate auction items. Perhaps you are able to host an experience-oriented excursion? Previous offerings have included eagle and osprey banding, dolphin watches, fishing trips, vacation accommodations, Pine Barrens plant tours, and other natural and cultural history outings. We would also love to offer additional vacation house opportunities. If you know of sponsors or would like to sponsor the event please let us know. To donate an auction item or a sponsorship, email Jane at forrivers@comcast.net or call 609-774-5853.

2020 Calendar

The staff has once again been creating an imaginative
suite of events for the upcoming new year.

The full calendar will be available on our website in the beginning of January. Join us at the first bi-monthly member meeting in January to pick up your printed copy.

Wednesday Volunteer Work Parties

Once again, we are planning monthly volunteer work parties. For the first 3 work groups we will be tackling the problems of Ghost Traps, the derelict traps that keep capturing wildlife, especially terrapins. This program is in conjunction with the Wetlands Institute. The outings will focus on training volunteers to use program tools, surveying from land, and locating Ghost Traps. You can join us on Wednesday, January 15th, February 19th, and March 18th. Keep an eye out for more details in emails. If you have a boat and/or knowledge of the bay/crabbing sites that you would like to lend to support the local diamondback terrapin turtle population, please email Karla Rossini or call her at 856 300 5331. (Also see tentative training times below).

CU Saturdays

Ruddy Ducks

A Saturday Duck Waddle #1–
Saturday, February 8th get your tail feathers ruffled up for this outing! CU Maurice River Naturalists and World Series of Birding Team Members Mary Watkins and Tony Klock will lead this venture to a Bayshore area on the Maurice, Delaware or Atlantic coast, to be determined by advance scouting. Time and place TBA.

Eagle Trail Walk —
January 18th join us at 10:30 a.m. at the Natural Lands Glades Wildlife Refuge’s Eagle Trail for the annual kick-off hike of the year. We hope to have a full complement of CU’s trip leaders and assisting naturalists. This site is one of the original places where eagles were hacked and NJ recovery began. Come hear and celebrate the recovery story with us after the holidays. Reunite with your CU friends and meet new members.

Tuesdays on the Fly

Salem County Historical Society
Tuesday, February 11th – Travel a part of the Delaware Bayshore Heritage Byway with us as we head to the Salem County Historical Society for a house and property tour, followed by a lunch break and then an afternoon at Fort Mott Museum. More specifics in email announcements.

Duck Waddle #2–
Tuesday, March 3rd. Take a waddle along the shore again. Advance scouting will determine any ducky spots along the shoreline. Time and place TBA. More specifics in email announcements.


New Membership Orientation

Are you new to CU Maurice River, or haven’t been active as yet? Join us on January 23rd 2020 to learn more about our organization and all the different ways you can get involved. The orientation will be held at the CU office from 6-8 pm. If you are interested in attending please email Meghan Thompson.

Eagle Festival

EagleFebruary 1st, 2020 at the Mauricetown Firehall. The planning has just begun for the Eagle Festival. Based on past years we anticipate that there will be five staffed viewing sites open throughout the day. CU Maurice River, the Nature Conservancy, Natural Lands, and NJ Audubon will lead walks.

The indoor portion of the festival will be held at the Mauricetown Firehall, and will include interesting talks on related topics as well as live wildlife demonstrations. Visitors will also have a chance to see displays, local art, and merchandise from many different organizations and vendors. Crabcake 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.


CU Training

Ghost TrapGHOST TRAP INFORMATIONAL SESSION – TENTATIVE DATE: Tuesday, January 28th at 5:30 p.m. Ghost Trap Informational Session with the Wetlands Institute’s Brian Williamson. CU Maurice River office. This workshop will be organized by Luka Villani, a CU Family Member and environmental studies college student, who will be interning with us during the month of January.

If you enjoy meeting people and love CU, being a CU Ambassador might be right up your alley. Ambassadors represent us at tabling events and festivals. Training will be held on February 6th at 6-8 p.m. in the CU office. If you are interested please email Doreen Homan.


Teachers and Guides Needed – Mark those calendars for March 24th and 25th with a possible third day on March 26th. For the first time in 5 years schools have already booked the first two days. If you are new to this education program and would like to join us, please email Karla Rossini.

Recently Concluded
Programs, Events and Projects
September – December 2019

Dragonfly Sampling 2019 Maureen and Marion Manumuskin RiverNational Park Service (NPS) Dragonfly Nymph Sampling–This year’s collection took place on Tuesday, August 27th, Thursday August 29th, and Friday, August 30th. The dragonfly nymph samples are part of a nationwide air quality study conducted since 2011 by the University of Maine, in partnership with the US Geological Survey, the Schoodic Inst., and NPS. All the samples were sent for analysis to better understand mercury distribution in the US. A special thank you to the 20+ volunteers who helped to collect the specimens.

Paddling Muskee CreekPaddle the Muskee Creek – September 7th. The Muskee is the smallest of our four Wild and Scenic designated rivers. It is clearly a jewel. The weather was stellar and the flora and fauna were diverse. In particular the bidens coronate or tall swamp marigold was in full bloom as was cardinal flower. A number of groups of wood ducks put on a great show. There was a great mix of regular and new paddlers. Thank you, CU Maurice River Naturalist Karen Williams, for volunteering to lead the morning’s activity.

The Neighborhood Wildlife GardenThe Neighborhood Wildlife Garden
September 13th and October 23rd – The Neighborhood Wildlife Garden had an end-of-summer cleanup. Volunteer groups prepared a new garden bed between the sidewalk and the curb, known as the hell strip in urban gardening due to the harsh conditions found there. With the help of Karen Williams and her native nursery Flora for Fauna in Woodbine, we chose the hardiest low-growing and early blooming plants possible. Since then volunteer Tom Glynn has been busy installing raised beds on an unsightly concrete slab that we are working into turning into a little plaza lined by flowers. We are hoping to reduce watering needs in these beds by mimicking hugelkultur. Soon we will be sending out emails asking for logs from certain species of trees to fill the containers.

Mauricetown Outdoor Artists Day
The Annual Outdoor Artists Daywas held in Mauricetown on September 14th at the village’s Historic Society and surrounding areas. A special thank-you to CU Ambassadors who tabled this event.

LighthouseHistoric Lighthouse Cruises
September 22nd & 28th – On these two boat trips we had participants who were eager to learn about the history of the Delaware Bay’s aids to navigation. In spite of some choppy water, those in attendance expressed that it was a fulfilling experience.

Sleepy Orange Dix WMA by Steve GlynnDown Jersey Butterfly Tour with Steve Glynn
September 22nd CU Naturalist Steve Glynn led a Sunday Down Jersey Butterfly Tour. Thirty people took an interest in this opportunity. Clearly CU members are letting us know that they are fascinated by these lovely marvels. Steve selected a handful of sites according to the species he tends to find there. While he may have wanted to show off more species than he discovered that day, his audience was enthralled by the count and our leader’s enthusiasm for butterflies.

WheatonArts Nature Trail Gets Some TLC
On September 25th, in preparation for WheatonArts Fine Arts and Crafts Fair, our members spruced up the Nature Trail. A special thank-you to all those who helped and to Dunrite Sand and Gravel for distributing some stone beneath some of the display panels.

WinfieldsFall Fundraiser –
Winfield’s Restaurant
La Bottega Gallery

Our September 30th Fall Fundraiser at Winfield’s Restaurant was a smashing success. It was a sold-out crowd and Winfield’s did a fantastic job. Prior to supper we were once again invited to a warm-up event at La Bottega. There was a great deal of interest in the art that depicts our local environs. Winfield’s restaurateurs, the Abbotts, contributed to making the event especially successful, not just as a social but as a fundraiser too. Likewise gallery owner Mary Ann Cannon’s hospitality and generosity to CU made for an all-around successful evening.

CU 4th Saturdays on the Maurice River Bicycling and Hiking Trail/ Clean-Up
Tony KlockThe 4th Saturdays with Tony Klock as the primary leader, along with visiting naturalists, were a great success. We want to thank Tony and all the naturalists who helped out. Tony does a great job of integrating a host of input to make for a true group effort. At Tony’s suggestion we also visited the Glasstown Brewery after some of the walks. People enjoyed this added venue. Go Tony!

Clean up Waltman Maurice River Trail Waterways Clean up LitterOne of the 4th Saturdays involved the National Waterways Clean-Up; about 20 members did a great job of collecting litter along the trail. Afterwards, a different group of volunteers gathered to plant common milkweed and New England aster along the nature trail’s pathway. Fingers crossed that we see a good survival rate. These plants were donated by Drs. Amanda Dey and Larry Niles’ nursery, Market Lane Farm in Greenwich. A special thanks to the Cumberland County Improvement Authority for their countywide coordination of this activity.

Duke Farms with a Guest Appearance by Dr. Gochfeld
On October 1st about 20 of our members carpooled to Duke Farms. After a morning walk through restored meadows and lunch at the café, CU Member/coauthor of Butterflies of NJ Dr. Michael Gochfeld rendezvoused with the southern travelers for an appreciation of the grounds and butterflies.

NJ Conservation Foundation Land Steward Puts on a Great Show
On October 3rd Russell Juelg, Senior Land Steward at NJ Conservation Foundation, did a splendid job of presenting at a CU Social. Who’d have known trees could be so sexy?

A Big Day on the Maurice
October 12th was another “CU Big Day.” The midday paddle’s venue was changed about two hours before departure due to storm tides and a flooded Delaware Bayshore. Rising waters and sinking land are presenting lots of challenges for our members whose properties skirt the bay. Our hardy participants switched gears and went to Union Lake to avoid flooded roads. The need to relocate the paddle for safety reasons highlights the importance of participants providing their mobile numbers when they sign up for events.

The campfire and potluck was also very well attended. 30 some participants enjoyed our musically-inclined members who really stepped up to the plate to make for an enjoyable evening. The covered dishes were a hit as well.

CU Hosts RRCA Associate Artist Show
CU once again hosted the Annual Associate Artist Show held October 18th at the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts. A special thank you to CU Ambassadors for helping table the event.

Maurice River Fall Cruise
October 24th we held a Maurice River Fall Cruise; once again all the seats were full. The quiches were greatly enjoyed.

Osprey Work Party

Osprey work party
Osprey work partyOctober 26th a hardy group of CU volunteers took to the river and repaired osprey platforms. Some needed to be straightened, others required supports secured, predator guards replaced, supports raised, and the like.

Ghost Trap Removal Seminar
October 29th CU hosted a training session and presentation on Ghost Trap Removal. Brian Williamson of the Wetlands Institute did a wonderful job of outlining the wildlife hazards that abandoned and derelict traps create in our environment. Diamondback terrapins are one of the species most impacted by wayward traps. People interested in helping should contact the office. Of special interest are folks who have small towable boats at their disposal.

Paul Kosten Raptor Walk Thompsons Beach CU SaturdayDr. Paul Kosten Teaches Raptor Watching Techniques
November 2nd on a CU Saturday, CU Maurice River Nature Enthusiast and first-time leader Dr. Paul Kosten ran a Raptor Spotting tour. The outing generated a lot of interest with 30 some people joining in the search. Paul focused on teaching people how to spot raptors in open spaces and skies. He showed participants how to properly communicate their sightings, and also shared information on the raptor families found in North America.

Karen Williams Barrier ISland Strathmere Ecology Dune CU Saturday WalkKaren Williams Leads Beach Exploration
November 16th on another CU Saturday, Karen Williams led an exploration at Whale Beach Barrier Island. This walk had generated a lot of interest but due to poor weather conditions the group dwindled down to just over 20 attendees. We walked a path along the Back Bay where Karen elaborated on beach ecology, highlighting the relationship between plants, animals, and the habitat. The second half of the walk, seining and foraging in the wrack line, was postponed since the wind was very strong. Afterwards the group headed to Woodbine for lunch at Dionysus Restaurant and to tour the antique stores there.

Bayshore Heritage BywayHistorical Society Tour in Greenwich
November 5th our Tuesday on the Fly took us to Greenwich for a tour of the Historical Society. Cultural aspects of our region remain of real interest to our members and over 30 individuals attended. In addition to the tour of the Society, Lisa Garrison helped our entourage to explore the Friends’ Meeting House in Greenwich.

Greenwich Historical Society


Wild and Scenic Rivers & Coalition for the Delaware
On September 15th, 16th, and 17th Jane Galetto and Karla Rossini attended the biennial Wild and Scenic Partnership meeting in the Great Egg Harbor Watershed. Fred Akers of the Great Egg Harbor Watershed Association offered the river partners and National Park Service Representatives a wonderful taste of Down Jersey hospitality while showcasing outstanding natural resources with great enthusiasm. Thanks, Watershed Fred!

On October 16th and 17th Karla Rossini attended the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed’s Annual Forum where we were able to interact with national, state, and local partners from the five states that comprise this basin. CU Maurice River participated in the planning committee for this event.


CU Maurice River has been awarded a grant of $69,355 by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund. The purpose of our program is to protect the Wild and Scenic Maurice River’s habitats by utilizing green infrastructure. Four projects will be installed at a mixture of corporate and non-profit organizations in Millville. We are excited to announce that we will be working with the following business stewards: Amcor Rigid Plastics, Cumberland Family Medical Center, WheatonArts and Cultural Center, and the First United Methodist Church. Also, we would like to thank Rutgers University Water Resource Program’s Dr. Chris Obropta and Hollie DiMuro for their guidance and partnership in helping to get this project off the ground. We are looking forward to working with their team closely for its duration, as they will be instrumental in the installation of the stewardship initiatives.

CU, WHSRN, and The Wetlands Institute Awarded for ReTurn the Favor

Return the Favor 2019 Tom Glynn Dale Schweitzer East Point Heislerville

The ReTurn the Favor Program has been recognized with the Governor’s Award for the coordination of this Bayshore-wide effort to help in the recovery of the horseshoe crab population. Way to go, Laura Chamberlain, Lisa Ferguson, all the partnering organizations, and of course the army of volunteers that are doing this important work! The Wetlands Institute and WHSRN have reached out to CU Maurice River and asked us to attend the award ceremony as a longstanding program partner.


Annual Meeting Awards

At the Annual Meeting, members were recognized for their outstanding volunteer service to CU Maurice River. Each of these individuals exceeded 40 – 3000 hours of volunteer time. This year 9,708 hours from 265 different volunteers were logged. Attendance reached at events is estimated to total 8,359, although we do not necessarily know all the ReTurn the Favor participants. Clearly volunteerism is a hallmark of our organization’s success, and a true priority among its members. Congratulations!

Cindy Berry
Irene Bird
Christine Brown
Jody Carrara
Maranell Estadt
Dave Fenili
Sue Fenili
Leslie Ficcaglia
Peter Galetto
Jane Morton Galetto
Steve Glynn
Tom Glynn
Mike Golla
Carl Homan
Cheryl Howell
Allen Jackson
Marian Jordan
Tony Klock
Cheryl Lalancette
Sharry Masarek
Susan McKenna
Suzanne Merighi
Suzanne Olah
Julian Rossini
Mary Ann Russell
Carol Sibley
Wendy Walker
Mary Watkins

Special acknowledgement:
Tricia Dufford

Annual Meeting Election Results (the respective term endings are in parentheses)
Jane Morton Galetto, Board President (2021)
Suzanne Olah, Treasurer (2022)
Corresponding Secretary, Sue Fenili (2021)
Recording Secretary, Jody Carrara (2020)
Ethan Aronoff (2022)
Leslie Ficcaglia (2022)
Tony Klock (2021)
Gary Moellers (2020)
Dennis Palmer (2020)
Mary Ann Russell (2021)
Mary Steinacker (2020)
Tom Talalaj (2020)
Vicky Tomlin (2022

President’s Message

Act of Kindness #1– Back in March we sadly notified the membership that Barbara Ray had passed away. At that time we did not know that one of our most significant donations to date would come from her having made us a beneficiary of her life insurance. The Board and Staff were all honored to have Barbara think of us in this manner. I had just one regret – that I had no idea in advance and could not thank her face to face. Gifts such as these can really propel the organization forward. Since she had invested the money and not stipulated a use, we chose to invest it as well. The interest that we get from our holdings helps with our costs and they are a nest egg should we fail to receive expected contracting. We will stay alert to special opportunities as always.

Act of Kindness #2 – Involves a bit of an unusual story with a twist of providence. Another of our members recently passed away and his widow, Dorothy Fisher, needed to downsize. The couple always thought of us in their giving, with Chili Bowl auction items and membership support. So Dorothy gave us some paintings and belongings that she thought suitable for the auction. One drawing showed a man holding two dachshunds, the man appearing to be Christ. It was beautifully done and charming no matter your religious sentiments.

Now I was a bit concerned since we are a secular organization and didn’t want to encourage a trend that might offend others. So I thought, “Who of our members has dachshunds?” And I remembered that one of our original board members, Joanne Murphine did. I had been at the house recently and seen her dog; he had aged, and his mobility was compromised. She had all manner of adaptations so he could get into his favorite chair and the like.

So I called and told Joanne of my quandary. I commented that we had never had a conversation about religion, but she told me she would be interested in the drawing and it sounded cute. Since her mobility has also been an issue of late, we arranged that she could honk in the alley when she was in town and we would bring out the painting. Meghan made the drop (I’ve always wanted to say that!). Later Joanne called and told me that one of the pictured dogs looked just like her dachshund, and she was holding back tears. It turned out that he had crossed the Rainbow Bridge just a week or two earlier.

Joanne had already reframed the painting to match the others in the room and she was sending a monetary gift to the auction account. In the interim I had spoken to Dorothy and she was tickled. Her son had given her the painting but she just didn’t have space. She too had had dachshunds; she too was choked up. She was thrilled that the artwork had found a home in a timely manner and said, “Whatever you do, don’t charge her.” All this was conveyed via voice mail.

When I related this to Joanne she said, “Too bad, it’s done and I love it.” She had sent a check and was not accepting “no” for an answer.

No matter what your beliefs, the serendipitous nature of this occurrence is heartwarming. So you might be asking yourself, “Is Jane getting to be an old softie? And what does this have to do with us?” Well, in answer to the first, maybe. But what it has to do with ‘us’ is this: CU is a community and we connect people all the time in unexpected ways: this is what, in my opinion, makes us special. We care about people’s talents and interests. And we connect them to one another often. And we connect them to our mission. And sometimes the results are just pretty magical. Happy holidays!

Membership and Annual Donations

Please help us by ensuring that your membership is up-to-date and/or invite a friend to join. Paying before year’s end in fact saves dollars and staff time used in reminders, materials, and postage. You know the good work we do and how much we rely on your help. All of us are deeply indebted to the difference each of you makes. Donations before year’s end will also be matched, up to $20,000. 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. 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!

CU on the River!

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