LYNDHURST – A colorful new T-shirt featuring the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission’s 2011 Bird of the Year, the Great Egret, is now on sale at the Tideland Treasures Gift Shop at the Meadowlands Environment Center in DeKorte Park.
The shirt is the first in a series of apparel designs promoting the Meadowlands District’s amazing natural resources.
The Great Egret was chosen as the inaugural Bird of the Year because it is literally and figuratively emblematic of the Meadowlands’ astounding environmental recovery.
Several decades ago, the Great Egret was seldom seen in the Meadowlands because the Hackensack River was too polluted to support many fish – the bird’s main diet. As the estuary got cleaner, the Great Egret arrived in huge numbers. The bird is featured on the NJMC’s logo.
The majestic bird, known for its huge wingspan and graceful flight, can often be seen flying overhead on the Hackensack River and fishing in DeKorte Park’s tidal impoundments in Lyndhurst. In warmer months, it can be seen throughout the Meadowlands District.
The 2011 Bird of the Year T-shirt features the NJMC egret logo on the front and a full-color photo of the bird on the back. The shirt is available in adult sizes small to XL for $14; XXL for $16, and XXXL for $18.
The second shirt in the series, featuring the NJMC 2012 Bird of the Year, is scheduled to go on sale in November.
All proceeds from the shirt sales will benefit MEC programming, which includes interactive natural and physical science programs for students in grades K-12 and public environmental education workshops. More than 12,500 children participated in school programs during the 2010-11 school year.
The Tideland Treasures gift shop is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Customers may also order the shirt by calling 201-460-4652. Customers are responsible for shipping costs.
The Meadowlands region is a prime spot for bird-lovers. More than 280 winged wonders, including many on the state’s threatened and endangered species lists, can be seen regularly in the District, including the peregrine falcon, bald eagle and the black-crowned night heron. DeKorte Park was named a “National Birding Hotspot” by Birder’s World Magazine in 2010.
Directions to DeKorte Park are available in the “About Us” section of the NJMC’s website, at www.njmeadowlands.gov, or by calling (201) 460-8300.