Birder’s World magazine has named the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission’s Richard W. DeKorte Park as one of its top places for bird-watching, calling the 110-acre park “among the premier urban wildlife spots in the country.”
In a report in its February 2010 issue, the popular national magazine made special note of DeKorte Park’s abundant winged wonders – from owls and other raptors in winter to butterflies and egrets in summer – and also praised the park’s well-maintained, family-friendly walkways and trails. The issue went on sale this week.
According to the magazine, “the 30-square-mile area has undergone a reclamation of remarkable scope and success. Thanks to the work of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, what was once a national shame is now among the premier urban wildlife spots in the country.”
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DeKorte Park – once slated to be a garbage dump – features six distinct visitor areas that involve native plants, recycled materials and sustainable techniques to support the agency’s environmental mandate. Roughly 50,000 people visit DeKorte Park each year, including about 15,000 schoolchildren.
The park, home to the headquarters of the NJMC, has long been recognized for its achievements in landscape design and sustainability. Last year, DeKorte’s Center for Environmental and Scientific Education became the first public building in New Jersey to attain LEED Platinum Certification – the highest rating – from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Since the park’s creation in the early 1980s, DeKorte’s design, plantings and trail systems have won nearly two dozen awards from groups including the American Society of Landscape Architects, the NJ Native Plant Society, and the state Commission on Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities.
To help more people enjoy the park and the Meadowlands in general, last year the NJMC began a series of twice-monthly free guided bird walks with the Bergen County Audubon Society.
The highly popular walks are held at 10 a.m. on the first Sunday and third Tuesday of every month. Details about the walks, and highlights on birding and nature sights, can be found at www.meadowblog.net.
The big birding attraction near DeKorte Park so far this winter has been an elusive northern shrike, which flew down from the Arctic in December and has attracted hundreds of birders from across New Jersey over the past month. DeKorte Park is also home to plenty of wintering waterfowl and raptors.