Quarterly Reporter – March 2020


George Luciano Center, Rowan College of South Jersey Cumberland Campus (formerly CCC)
Wednesday March 11, 2020
Meeting 6:30 pm
Presentation 7:15 pm

Joe Russell Germination Workshop Planting for Bees

Workshop #1
Make and Take Germination Workshop

Join us for a make-n-take germination workshop led by Summersweet Native Nursery’s Joe Russell and CU Maurice River. Last year CUMR led a make-n-take workshop where participants constructed solitary bee nurseries. This year you can join us for a germination session of plants chosen for their value to these pollinators.  Participants will sow an assortment of flora that will provide your yard with blooms from mid-March through October, which is important in providing a variety of local native bee species sustenance throughout the growing season. The event is part of CU Maurice River’s Watershed Stewards Designation Program. By participating in the workshop, you will not only learn about stewardship practices but will also go home with all that you need to implement them in your yard.  This will help you earn points towards either Stream-Friendly or Wildlife-Friendly designation should you decide to participate in the program.  There is a $10.00 cost associated with the workshop. The membership meeting and presentation is open and free to the public. To participate in the workshop and take home a germination tray and red maple tubeling, please sign up by emailing us or calling (856) 300-5331.

Joseph Russell is the owner and lead grower of Summersweet Native Plants, a retail plant nursery specializing in mid-Atlantic and northeastern native plants for home garden and landscape applications. In this presentation, Joe will talk about the biology of plant reproduction, seed sowing methods and protocols, and information about the plant species that will be sown during the workshop, including plant characteristics, habitat preferences, and their benefits to pollinators and wildlife. Joe holds degrees in biology and natural resources, and has had training in landscape design, plant propagation, plant identification, and control and eradication measures for invasive plants through the Ecological Gardening Certificate program from Mt. Cuba Center. He worked under the instruction of Jared Rosenbaum and Rachel Mackow as an intern at Wild Ridge Plants, and also holds certifications in stream stabilization and flood resiliency.

Workshop on Reducing Plastic Use through Recycling and Reuse

Workshop #2 
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Meeting 6:30 p.m.
Presentation at 7:15 p.m.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation predicts that the oceans will soon have about 899 million tons of fish vs. 850-950 million tons of plastic. While plastics do break down over time, they persist in the environment as microplastic contamination that works its way into the food web.  One of the reasons that China has stopped taking US plastic waste is because our recycling is too heavily contaminated.  Contamination happens when recyclable materials aren’t sorted or cleaned properly. How can each of us help to change this?

To start making a difference, join us for our last stewardship make-n-takeworkshop of 2020.  There Loretta Pregartner of Cumberland County Improvement Authority will present on reducing household reliance on plastics and curbing our footprint by recycling properly.  After the refresher on recycling etiquette, she will provide the audience with an update on recycling realities from both a local and global perspective.  Following the presentation CU Maurice River Volunteer and reuse/recycle guru, Marian Jordan, will share with us the methods that she implements to minimize her plastic use and waste.  Participants will leave with a kit that you can use to start reducing your footprint.  Please keep an eye out for email updates on the workshop.

New Staff Member

Teresa BrownWelcome Teresa Brown

We suspect that many of our members are aware that Karla Rossini, our Program Manager, is taking a temporary leave. That’s right, we hope to add a new member to our rolls in March. We have hired Teresa Brown as an Assistant Program Coordinator who will assume some of Karla’s programing responsibilities while she is out. We are excited about the experience that Teresa brings to the CU Maurice River team, including a background in outdoor education that she garnered working at the Wetlands Institute as a summer camp leader and at the Scotland Run Park Nature Center.  Teresa’s email address is t.brown@cumauriceriver.org .



The 15th Annual World-Famous Chili Bowl
Tickets are selling swiftly! Please get your tickets NOW!
Saturday, April 18th at 6:00 p.m.
Rosary Hall, Saint Padre Pio Parish, Dante Avenue in Vineland

Chefs are needed for chili and desserts, as well as volunteers for kitchen and setup/cleanup help. If you would like to join the kitchen team, please email Meghan Thompson.

And 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. Please try to get any items to us by March 16th. We would also love to offer additional vacation house opportunities. If you know of sponsors or would like to help sponsor the event please let us know. To donate an auction item or provide a sponsorship, email Jane Morton Galetto.

2020 Calendar

Is now available on our website
Click here to download the printable version

A HUGE DAY of fun!

The 2020 Annual Ah Why Knot Awards and Pig Roast
with special guests, the International Shorebird Recovery Team
Saturday, May 16, 2020

Saturday May 16th is the big event! All members and volunteers are invited to attend the annual Pig Roast and Pot Luck with the shorebird team, where we will also present our Ah Why Knot Awards for the year. This is a great celebration at the river, and we want you to come!  Please RSVP to Doreen and let us know whether you would like to bring an appetizer, side dish, or dessert.  Additional entrees, especially vegetarian and vegan options, are appreciated.

We will need setup people at noon.

Clive MintonClive Minton Remembrance Ceremony This year at 2:30 we will be having a special event, so we want to be set up early. The International Shorebird Team will be holding a service in memory of their colleague, internationally-recognized shorebird scientist Clive Minton. Many of our CU members loved Clive and we hope that those who knew him will attend what is sure to be a warm celebration of his accomplishments and his wonderful spirit.

All Ah Why Knot participants who are not attending the service should plan to arrive at 4 unless they are helping to get things ready at noon. Email Doreen or call 856-300-5331 if you can offer a hand for setup and/or cleanup. Dinner will take place around 5 p.m. We plan to have live music at this event.

Hansey Creek

Hansey Creek Walk and Paddle

DAWN SONG – On the morning of May 16, join the 2020 World Series of Birding Fish Hawks team members Tony Klock, Laurie Pettigrew, Mary Watkins, and hopefully our newest addition, James Blumenstein, for a great guided walk.  Who knows – possibly past team members like Clay Sutton, Karen Williams, Diane Jones, Karen Johnson or others might show up as well. The walk begins at 6:30 a.m. at Hansey Creek Rd. in an effort to hear spring migrants singing.  Tony is likely to arrive even sooner than that; one never knows.  The road tends to have great attributes: little to no traffic, wonderful birds and, being on the macadam, fewer ticks.  After the Dawn Song walk last year, a group of members went out on the Bayshore streams for a paddle.  We saw many birds at eye level and even got to see otters frolicking in the water just off of our bows.  Having had such a nice experience, we are inviting you to join us again this year on a Bayshore paddle at 9:00 a.m.  It will be led by CU Naturalists Tony Klock and Laurie Pettigrew.  In her position with the DEP, Laurie mapped out and built the kayaking routes along the Bayshore with Natural Lands’ Brian Johnson, so who better to have with us as one of our leaders?

Kayak on Hansey Creek

World Series of Birding

The Fish Hawks

Support the FISH HAWKS! It’s time to get out the checkbooks or put some skid marks on your plastic. On May 9thour World Series of Birding Team will hit the trails looking for as many different species of birds as they can identify along the Delaware Bayshore. The team is comprised of Mary Watkins, Tony Klock, Laurie Pettigrew, and James Blumenstein. This year’s designer t-shirt is a dandy.

Please pledge to support your team. There are two ways to pledge: a straight donation of a particular amount or a pledge per species seen (the team generally spots around 130-145 different species). Those who donate $50 or more receive a designer Fish Hawks t-shirt; for 2020 it is wheat-colored and features a visual pun referencing 2020. It is very dramatic! Supply us with your size if you’re eligible. GO FISH HAWKS!

This is the 2020 Tee Front (on left); Back design on right

CU Socials

Author Andrew Lewis to speak

Note: Book Circle April 2nd – CU members will be reading
The Drowning of Money Island also (see further down).

This year’s CU Socials are inspired by the Bayshore Heritage Scenic Byway. The presentations will be linked to themes presented along that route. On February 27th Jane Morton Galetto kicked off the series with an overview of the Byway. On April 23rd author and reporter Andrew Lewis will present on his book The Drowning of Money Island, which covers the forgotten NJ Delaware Bayshore in terms of social injustice, rising waters, and disappearing shorelines, as the shoreside communities struggle against retreat as well as succumb to it.

Lisa Garrison will present in June and Meghan Wren in October: see upcoming newsletters and emails. The presentations will take place next door to Winfield’s, at the former Clay College. We hope this will allow people who were not able to navigate steps to attend and yet still offer the before or after dining experience.

Community Presentations

On March 2nd CU Maurice River Trustee Sue Fenili and Volunteer Wendy Walker will present CU Does It to the Cumberland County Leadership Program participants at WheatonArts, followed by a tour of the Natural Land’s Peek Preserve.

On Tuesday April 7th Jane Morton Galetto will offer a presentation to the Dallas Lore Sharp Nature Club about the importance of wetlands, called Way Down Upon a Swampy River. Their meeting is April 7th at 7p.m. at the New Hope Presbyterian Church, 65 Hitchner Ave, Bridgeton.

and Opportunities

Tuesdays on the Fly
Tuesdays on the Fly will have a variety of focus topics. March 3rd will be a trip to the Scotland Run Park Nature Center, where Dr. Dan Duran will take participants on a tour of the facilities and the nature trails. April 7th will feature Birds at Supawna with Joshua Baker, May 12th will spotlight Lady Slippers with Renee Brecht, and June 2nd will be a ReTurn the Favor adventure (horseshoe crab rescue). As each of these dates draws nearer, emails will spell out more details.

ReTurn the Favor
CU ReTurn the Favor Training will take place on April 11th at the East Point Lighthouse from 9a.m. -11a.m. and 11a.m. – 1pm. ReTurn the Favor Walks will be held on May 19th and 26th as well as on June 2nd, 9th, and 16th. In Karla’s absence these outings will be led by ReTurn the Favor Volunteer Supreme Cheryl Howell and the Assistant Program Coordinator Teresa Brown. See upcoming emails for more information.

4th Saturdays in Waltman Park

Naturalist Tony Klock in Kayak
Naturalist Tony Klock in Kayak

4th Saturdays in Waltman Park continue to be popular. Tony Klock is the primary leader but many of our other naturalists often accompany him and it’s a great way to gather lots of fun facts. These adventures will start at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot off Brandriff Ave., Waltman Park, Millville. Each season offers new observations; the variety of habitats and oases within a suburban area makes it a haven for wildlife. Upcoming dates are March 28th, April 25th, and May 23rd. Afterward walkers take a bagged-lunch and head to Glasstown Brewery for a bit of camaraderie.


Picture: Fred Akers, Vera and Karla Rossini (when Vera was about 2)
Picture: Fred Akers, Vera and Karla Rossini (when Vera was about 2)

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FRIDAY– CU Maurice River is kicking off a new family-oriented program series with one of our iconic outings, The Frog Slog.  On May 15th join Watershed “Fred” Akers and CU Maurice River’s Jim Blumenstein on a night of outdoor exploration in search of frogs.  Participants will not only learn to ID frog calls but will also have a chance to get up close and personal on this catch-and-release night of exploration. Other upcoming Family-Friendly Fridays include Nature Aglow at Belleplain June 26th, Bats, Birds, & Bugs August 28th, and A Jersey Devil Hunt Oct. 16th.

CU Saturdays
Each month has many Saturday offerings, e.g. trash hunt, ReTurn the Favor, Chili Bowl, the 4th Saturdays, ECO Fair, World Series Team, and Ah Why Knot. Karen Williams will host a Flora for Fauna Day on June 6th, where we will explore native plants and be able to purchase specimens for our properties. And on June 13th Steve Glynn will lead a dragonfly expedition. You will want to mark your calendars and watch for sign-up information and details in coming emails.

Ambassador Opportunities

We will be sponsoring the March 20th Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts Associate Artist show. We will also have an information table during the event so attendees can find out about the many opportunities CU has for public participation.

At WheatonArts Springs Community Event on April 4th we will have an information table and lead walks on the Nature Trail. We will need Ambassadors and some naturalists and/or co-leaders.

The WheatonArts ECO Fair will be held on May 2nd. There too we will need lots of representation and help as we once again will orchestrate a number of activities (see next entry).

The Annual Barn Day will take place on June 7th on the Barn Studio grounds.  CU Ambassadors should be available to assist in greeting and helping with CU Paint a Landscape. If you have not been to the Barn Studio you won’t want to miss this wonderfully old-fashioned fun day with artists.

On June 7th there will be a Waterfest at Scotland Run Nature Area and ambassadors will be needed to help receive people at our information table. Teresa Brown will be leading any CU volunteers who elect to help out.

To volunteer as a CU Ambassador email Doreen or call 856-300-5331.

WheatonArts ECO Fair

Saturday, May 2th – For a number of years CU Maurice River has been an active participant in WheatonArts’ ECO Fair. We once again will be hosting a keynote speaker and introducing the participants to the interpretative trails installed by WA and CU. The first planning meeting with organizing partners took place on January 29th. Speaker and topic to be announced.

Monthly Volunteer Work Groups


The monthly work groups will again be held; March 18th will involve a beach clean-up on the NJ Delaware Bayshore. The April 15th work group focus has not yet been determined.

A Trash Hunt will take place on March 21st. The week before 4th Saturdays start we will be cleaning up along the Maurice River Bicycling and Walking Trail. CU Maurice River partners with the Cumberland County Improvement Authority to participate in this countywide initiative.

More Volunteer Opportunities

Wild About Cumberland
This year Wild About Cumberland is scheduled for March 24th and 25th. We will once again coordinate and 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. A very special thank-you to the National Park Service and OceanFirst Bank for making this program possible.

Month of May
Hosting the International Shorebird Recovery Team
If you would like to provide a meal or be part of a cooking crew for the shorebird scientists, please email Jane or call her at 609-774-5853.  She will be reaching out to past participants and/or their team captains. The dates will span from the 11th to the 28th. For those new to this undertaking, we have been feeding the scientists and their assistants, who come from a number of countries to continue their research on shorebirds, for over 10 years. Relieving the scientists of the need to plan dinners frees up their time and energy to focus on the birds they’re studying.  A team or over-energetic chef basically makes a meal for 25 to 30 folks.  It is much easier than it sounds.  It is buffet style and the scientists will lend a hand if necessary. You do not have to clean up or set tables (although everyone’s approach is different). It is an experience you won’t want to miss. If you are a newbie to the process we can connect you with a team to provide a side or dessert.

Book Circle

Suzy Merighi will lead a book circle at her home on April 2nd in Vineland, on Andrew Lewis’s book The Drowning of Money Island. Note this will be followed up by a presentation by Andrew at a CU Social on April 23rd (see CU Socials). RSVP required, more details in upcoming emails.

Ghost Trap Goings-on Past and Future

Intern Luka VillaniIntern Luka Villani was with us for the month of January, working with CU staff in our partnership with the Wetlands Institute. Luka is currently enrolled at Colby College in Maine and hails from Vineland. CU has been exploring how to help to reduce the number of ghost traps (derelict crab traps) which continue to catch organisms when they are no longer tended. Especially vulnerable to capture are terrapin turtles that drown when they can’t surface for air. Luka reached out to many local stakeholders and volunteers who collectively seek to lessen the toll caused by wayward traps.  Under Karla Rossini’s direction Luka set up workshops and expeditions to locate these traps during the crabbing off-season. Volunteers were taught to use data collection tools to log locations of traps. Luka did a splendid job while he was with us. Expeditions and workshops took place on January 15th, 29th and February 19th.

Past Activities

A Composting Workshop was held (1/8) in conjunction with the membership meeting. Fifty-some people signed up for this instructional event. Sal Magnifico of the Rutgers Extension service offered a great introduction to composting. Member Susan McKenna lent her expertise in the assembling of composting bins. At the end of the evening people went home well-prepared to install their creations.

Eagle Festival – On February 1st the 20th annual Cumberland County Eagle Festival took place with headquarters at the Mauricetown Fire Hall. Presenters for the day were Pat Sutton, Clay Sutton, Jennifer Bulava, and Dr. Emile DeVito, speaking on a variety of topics from creating a bird-friendly yard to eagles, winter birding, and creatures of the Pine Barrens. The weather was excellent and the walks were well-attended. Woodford Cedar Run and Clay College along with the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts and the county Cultural Heritage Commission provided activities for the young and the young-at-heart. Everyone seemed to enjoy the seafood offered by the fire company onsite. We signed up some new members at our table and appreciated the opportunity to talk with other non-profits and engage the public.

CU Saturdays-Eagle Trail Walk – On January 18th we led a trip to the Natural Lands Glades Wildlife Refuge’s Eagle Trail. This has traditionally been our kickoff hike; it’s a great chance for new members to meet some of our naturalists. Typically it is a well-attended happening and this year was no exception; nearly forty folks enjoyed a lovely winter day. Afterward we stopped for lunch at the Red-Eyed Crab. The year’s first Duck Waddle on February 8th had about a dozen folks led by Naturalists Mary Watkins and Tony Klock, and CU Staff Karla Rossini and Teresa Brown, as they carpooled for waterfowl. A number of diverse locations were part of the itinerary, including Tarkiln Pond, WMA Tuckahoe Impoundments, Avalon Sea Watch, and WMA Heislerville Impoundments. It was decided to take Vulture Culture, a long-offered presentation by Jane Morton Galetto, on the road on 2/22 with a bit of Jane’s usual antics. The Laurel Lake roost at the Ventos’ put on a great show; thanks to Anthony and Anna Marie for hosting the caravan in their front yard! Jane contends the highlight was a reading at Dallas Lore Sharp’s gravesite from his 1904 book The Spring of the Year, in which Sharp relays visiting Bear Swamp in search of a vulture’s nest. Special thanks to Lisa Garrison for doing the bulk of the reading.

New Member Orientation And CU Ambassabor Training
Meghan Thompson, Asst. Office Manager, led both a New Member Orientation (1/23) and a CU Ambassador (2/6) training. There was a modest turnout for each of these sessions but they enabled more in-depth interaction between volunteers and staff. We are most grateful for members who take an interest in how they can expand their involvement. There will be another Ambassador training session on March 5th, and on June 4thwe will hold a second New Member Orientation.


NFWF Grant Outreach

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant – In orchestrating the water-recharge goals of the NFWF grant, Program Manager Karla Rossini has met with a number of partners about their various site projects. These include First United Methodist Church, WheatonArts Cultural Center, Amcor, Boy Scout Troops, and Cumberland Family Medical Center. Currently the project is in the permitting and design phase.  On Wednesday, January 15th Karla gave a presentation to Amcor staff on the work to be implemented on their property and how they can get involved. On Wednesday, January 22th Rutgers Water Resources and CU Maurice River conducted site visits to gather feedback from our partners and to formalize work plans.  The first effort will go in the ground at Amcor’s facilities, where we will be conducting a wetlands restorative planting.  Volunteers will be needed.  Please email citizensunited@cumauriceriver.org if you are interested in helping with this important work impacting the integrity of habitats and water resources.

Office and Staff Happenings/Programs

Throughout the months of December, January, and February CUMR volunteer Tom Glynn installed 2 large raised beds at the Neighborhood Wildlife Garden.  The project was not easy as a concrete slab had to be drilled through in order to secure the beds.  Thanks to a machine provided by Stanker and Galetto, Tom was able to get the job done more efficiently.  Soon we will need to line the beds and fill them.  Be on the lookout for emails about how you can help.  Also, if you have any large logs on your properties that we could have and transport to the garden, please email citizensunited@cumauriceriver.org. We are hoping to fill the bed structure with a type of hügelkultur technique.

After a one-year hiatus the South Jersey Bayshore Coalition reconvened on January 24th to discuss the future of the group. This reinvigoration of the SJBC was in large part due to the efforts of CUMR, ANJEC, and SJLWT staff to get local environmental non-profits engaged again.

On January 31st, 2020 CU Staff attended a stakeholder meeting for a potential restoration project at the mouth of the Maurice River.  The meeting was held at the Bayshore Center in Bivalve and was led and organized by American Littoral Society.  Attendees included a variety of interested parties including local watermen, PSE&G staff, and the DEP, plus many others.

On February 18th CU staff met with consultants from Princeton Hydro for a windshield tour and discussion about the vegetative changes on the Maurice and its tributaries and possible remedies for the loss of native wetland flora.

Membership and Annual Donations

“Moo-La Morton” aka “Wholly Cow”

We challenge you to Beat the Chump; you know – Moolah Morton. Sending renewal reminders is always less green, along with being time-consuming and costly. So if you Beat the Chump by sending in your dues before she writes to you, we will be able to spend more time and funds on planning and refining our programs.  Use this link for credit card payments, or for those who prefer check writing – CU Maurice River, PO Box 474, Millville, NJ 08332. The only thing you’ll miss out on are her quirky renewal letters, but maybe that’s a blessing?

CU on the River!

Snow in 2010 Maurice River Foreground TNC Bluffs Preserve
Snow in 2010 Maurice River Foreground TNC Bluffs Preserve