THE HISTORY OF BIRD CITY WISCONSIN
For the 80 percent of Americans that live in urban areas, enjoying nature often means watching birds. Urban dwellers may encounter Canada Geese, Ring-billed Gulls, and Mourning Doves, but careful observation can also reveal Common Nighthawks circling the skies or a screech-owl perched in the backyard.
Bird City Wisconsin, which is modeled on the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA, was created by a coalition of Wisconsin conservation and birding organizations to ensure that Wisconsin’s urban residents maintain healthy populations of birds and grow an appreciation for them.
The Bird City Wisconsin idea came into being during a 2003 meeting of the Urban Habitat Committee of the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI). The committee saw the potential for an intensive model for bird-focused urban conservation and education that followed the general framework of recommended actions and public recognition that made Tree City USA so successful across the nation. What followed was several years of refinement and a search for the right home.
In 2009, WBCI members received a planning grant for Bird City Wisconsin through the TogetherGreen program, an alliance between the National Audubon Society and Toyota. The grant was awarded to the Milwaukee Audubon Society, the current home of the Bird City Wisconsin program. Bird City's physical address is at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center.
THE FAMOUS BIRD CITY LOGO
Thanks to incredible artwork and hundreds of signs around the state, one of the most recognizable things about Bird City Wisconsin is the program's logo. Bird City Wisconsin is deeply indebted to Tom and Mary Uttech for creating and donating the logo and symbol for our organization. Tom Uttech has emerged as one of the most widely admired landscape painters in America. The logo started with Tom's watercolors and was crafted by Mary, art director for QP, published by the American Society for Quality, into a striking logo that masterfully captures the urban habitat that Bird City Wisconsin was founded to protect and improve. The Uttechs live near Saukville, Wisconsin, and are active members of the state's birding and conservation community.