Just in time for holiday shopping, the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) today announced the arrival of its 2012 Bird of the Year T-Shirt, “Ospreys in Flight.”
The attractive, sand-colored shirt features the first pair of successful nesting Ospreys in Bergen County in decades photographed in graceful mid-flight near their home in Carlstadt on the back.
A silhouette of the birds adorns the front. The 100 percent cotton shirt is available at the Tideland Treasures Gift Shop in the NJMC Meadowlands Environment Center (MEC) in DeKorte Park.
The NJMC is offering a special holiday sale through Dec. 31 in which shoppers who buy a 2012 and 2011 Bird of the Year T-Shirt receive 10 percent off their purchase. The 2011 Bird of the Year shirt was unveiled in September and features the NJMC Great Egret logo on the front and a full-color photo of the bird on the back of the navy blue shirt.
Part of the proceeds of each sale benefit MEC programming, which includes highly popular, interactive natural and physical science programs for students in grades K-12 and public environmental education workshops for the entire family. More than 15,000 children are participating in school programs at the MEC during the 2011-12 school year.
The Osprey, a threatened species, has made a spirited comeback that is emblematic of the region’s astounding environmental rebound. The NJMC was created in 1969, in part to protect and enhance the environment at a time when the Meadowlands was scarred by dozens of illegal garbage dumps and wildlife was in decline.
The NJMC has since preserved more than 3,400 acres of wetlands, helping to improve the water quality of the Hackensack River Estuary and reestablish the area’s unique urban ecosystem. Ospreys can often be seen catching fish with their sharp talons along the river, an unimaginable sight in past decades and an excellent barometer of the vastly improved health of the estuary.
These days, some 280 species of winged marvels, from Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles to Black-crowned Night Herons and Tree Swallows, have been seen in the district. Among them are 18 nesting species listed on the State’s endangered, threatened and species of special concern lists. DeKorte Park, the home of the NJMC, has been nationally recognized as a birding hotspot.
The 2012 and 2011 Bird of the Year T-Shirts are available in adult sizes small to XL for $15 and in sizes XXL for $17 and XXXL for $20. The Tideland Treasures gift shop is open from 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 shirts by phone by calling the store at 201-460-4652. Customers are responsible for shipping costs.