Property comprises 2.2 miles of panoramic Menantico Creek

VINELAND, NEW JERSEY — Among the biggest remaining pieces of available land at the Upper Menantico landmark — 600 acres across the Menantico Creek — was permanently maintained by New Jersey Conservation Foundation and its partners.

New Jersey Conservation Foundation and Cumberland County bought the land from Vineland for $1. 174 million on Aug. 8 and will forever maintain the land in its natural condition.

“We are eager to launch the brand new Menantico Preserve,” explained Michele S. Byers, executive director of the Far Hills-based nonprofit. “This home will be less than five kilometers from downtown Vineland plus a brief distance from downtown Millville.  Collectively, both of these cities have a population of almost 90,000 residents and also a true demand for more public open space”

NJ Conservation Foundation intends to establish paths, parking and river access during the upcoming few decades to turn the preserve to a destination for walkers, dog walkers, bird watchers and nature enthusiasts.

“We are extremely happy this region across the Menantico Creek will turn into a nature preserve for Vineland inhabitants and visitors to our town to appreciate,” stated Mayor Anthony Fanucci.  “we would like to thank the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and the numerous private and public groups which have partnered together with this significant project.  The standard of lifestyle for Vineland inhabitants is created considerably better by protecting water sources and ensuring that the preservation of natural areas and green spaces for passive recreation.”

The new preserve is surrounded by farms, forests and houses, and is approximately bordered by Hance Bridge, Panther and Mays Landing streets.

The preserve attributes 2.2 kilometers of this Menantico Creek and its tributaries — a part of this federally-designated Maurice Wild and Scenic River system.  The property has extremely higher plant and animal diversity.  The Menantico Creek is just one of the main tributaries of the Maurice River, which flows to the Delaware Bay.

“The NJDEP Green Acres Program is pleased to support these preservation ventures,” explained Martha Sullivan Sapp, the Green Acres Program Director.  “Open space is a strong method to connect people to nature, their communities, and each other”  The new conserve contains feature Pine Barrens wildlife and vegetation, and can be situated just beyond the border of their million-acre Pinelands National Reserve. Its inside forests provide breeding habitat for several migratory Neotropical songbirds, such as ruby-throated hummingbirds, scarlet tanagers, yellow-throated warblers and Acadian flycatchers.

The property was bought jointly by New Jersey Conservation Foundation and Cumberland County in the Phelan and Murray families, who owned it for several decades.  It’s among the very first open space properties bought through Cumberland County’s property preservation fund.  Subsequently, Cumberland County moved its attention to New Jersey Conservation Foundation to possess and manage the property.

“Cumberland County is always seeking collaborative opportunities to enhance the wellbeing and quality of life of its own citizens,” said Cumberland County Freeholder Director Joseph Derella.  “This new public open area from the City of Vineland not just protects significant environmental resources, but provides a distance for visitors and residents to escape and explore the world around them.  Adding this park into the record of attractions in Cumberland County continues to show what a fantastic place it would be to live and see!”

The Menantico Preserve’s forests give significant groundwater recharge into the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer, which retains 17 billion gallons of clean water also provides the demands of countless South Jersey residents, farmers and companies. The Fund is made possible with assistance from the William Penn Foundation from the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, which attempts to safeguard water quality in the Delaware River Basin.

“When maintained undamaged, temperate forests would be the best way of cleaning the drinking water from the Delaware River Watershed’s 15 million inhabitants across four countries,” stated Peter Howell, Executive Vice President in OSI.  “The Open Space Institute applauds the remarkable coordination of numerous funding partners, such as national, state, county and private nonprofits, for this remarkable conservation victory.”

Barbara Brummer, The Nature Conservancy’s New Jersey manager, praised the partnership which made the Vineland job potential. “The day when all of land in New Jersey will be developed or maintained is coming, so it’s crucial for all of us to safeguard our nation’s most ecologically valuable parcels while we can,” said Brummer. “This job is the perfect illustration of how spouses working together might do that.”

“The monetary incentives offered by the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) assist local partners protect, restore, and enhance important habitats for waterfowl, waterbirds and other Neotropical migrant songbirds significant not just to the local community, but also on a federal level too,” explained Jim Feaga, regional biologist for Ducks Unlimited.

“The Menantico is an excellent illustration of a Pinelands river, nevertheless it’s beyond the Pinelands Preserve’s regulatory umbrella and is consequently vulnerable,” explained Jane Morton Galetto, president of CU Maurice River. “We salute New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s attempts to safeguard New Jersey’s remaining wild areas.  We were glad we could play a part in the attempt to prepare this land for preservation.”

Saad Mansoor

My parents had an arranged marriage.

My dad told me he was at a point in his life where he was ready to get married. He was 28 and had been working for over seven years, so he felt economically prepared to start a family. He was ready to start the next chapter of his life. Most people in Pakistan get married before they’re 30 — if not earlier. He informed his parents that he wanted to get married.

My dad’s father and mother’s father had been business partners in the past. While my dad’s parents talked to a few other families, once my dad met my mom in person he could tell there was an instant connection. My mom’s sister tried to help my parents meet and exchange pictures and messages secretly during the time the two families were talking and nothing was confirmed.

Soon, my parents were engaged and about a year later they tied the knot. My dad jokes that he chose my mom because he knew she was the only person who could put up with him.

I know the concept of arranged marriages is foreign to the United States. However, arranged marriage is still the cultural norm in South Asia, the Middle East and certain parts of Africa. Throughout my childhood, I grew accustomed to the tradition of arranged marriages, but the concept fascinates me to this day.

As an indecisive person, I can’t imagine having to make such an important life choice with such little knowledge and time.

While I know I will never have my marriage arranged for me, I firmly believe most arranged marriages last longer and couples are generally happier compared to love marriages, especially those in the U.S.

My parents have been married for 22 years, and they are happy — probably more so than most couples in love marriages.

I understand that in cultures where divorce is considered unacceptable women at times feel forced into marriage, but generally when an arranged marriage takes place families have a mutual understanding that the purpose of the alliance is to ensure the economic stability of both families.

There is always a chance for love in arranged marriages — love grows. Falling in love can be much easier once your family has made sure your significant other is well-educated, has good values, is a genuine person and earns a decent income.

In societies around the world, people can enter relationships so blindly and with the optimism to make it work and succeed. This concept has made me think about the way relationships work and what it means to be in love. It seems as if the meaning of love is entirely different in the U.S. than any other part of the world.

In the U.S., love is found and dismissed very casually. The majority of people are either in relationships or are just casually dating few potential interests.

To me, it seems society in the U.S. has a constant trial and error to see who people can ultimately end up with. Everyone is looking for their soulmate, yet the multitude of options available to find love fueled by the multibillion-dollar online dating industry results in meaningless relationships and early breakups.

The countless people who are available to us are driving us insane.

On the other hand, in Pakistan dating is taken more seriously compared to dating in the U.S. I think this is because dating someone before marriage is still looked down upon by traditionalist and conservative Muslims.

People have to hide their relationships from their parents and other family members who come from more conservative generations. People in Pakistan run the risk of bringing shame upon the family name if they date someone without their parents’ knowledge. In severe cases, parents will even cut ties with their children should they have secret relationships.

Since there are more risks associated with getting into a relationship back home, they carry a different meaning. Compared to the U.S. where people are free to date whomever they would like, in Pakistan, the concept of online dating is still considered taboo.

Online dating provides people who are looking for a significant other with an endless supply of individuals in the same position. Using online dating apps gives people the ability to easily move from one romantic relationship to another. It seems as though people are always in search of their soulmates and because of the wide amount of options available, they are never satisfied with the relationships they are in.

This leads to the consequence of Americans inevitably waiting longer than ever to get married.

The whole process of finding our soulmate is flawed because of the approach we take.

Currently, U.S. marriage rates are at historic lows, as the rate of marriages per 1000 single women dropped almost 60 percent from 1970 to 2012.

Our approach to finding “the one” needs to change.

I’m not saying arranged marriages are the way to go, but we can all learn a lesson from what they represent going into future relationships.

What my parents’ marriage has taught me is real relationships are all about commitment and more commitment. Everything turns out to be alright if you are willing to put in the effort.

Saad Mansoor, ’20, is an assistant lifestyle editor and columnist for The Brown and White. He can be reached at [email protected]

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