A. Comply with Wisconsin's "Smart Growth" law for land use planning and resource management. This criterion is an option only for applications submitted before July 1, 2017.
On July 12, 2005, the City of Baraboo adopted it Smart Growth Plan. October 23, 2007, the City went further with Resolution No. 07-121:
Now, therefore, be it resolved, by the Common Council of the City of Baraboo, Sauk County, Wisconsin:
First, that The Natural Step model be adopted by the City of Baraboo as a guide to policies, practices, programs, services, and development in the City of Baraboo.
Second, that in a comprehensive approach toward becoming a sustainable community we adopt these goals using The Natural Step framework, the City will:
Work to increase awareness of sustainability among its staff and management. This will provide us with a common language and keep all of us thinking about the impact we have during the course of our daily tasks.
Take an inventory of current efforts that make progress toward sustainability and be frank about areas that need improvement. We will enhance our current efforts and identify additional improvements.
Formulate a vision of what sustainability means for the City and identify long-term goals necessary to achieve that vision.
Incorporate the awareness and terminology of sustainability into our municipal code, budget decisions, program administration, and project development.
Third, that we recognize that it will take the good will and determined work of individuals within our community to achieve this goal. We wish to be a part of this network and declare sustainability to be a goal of this City.
C. Provide evidence (e.g., official designation of natural areas, easements, etc.) that existing bird habitat within community limits has legal protection. (Exclusions: Leash laws; prohibitions against disturbing nests and wildlife; areas consisting primarily of mowed grass)
The Maxwell-Potter Conservancy has been established within city limits. The City has established nature trails and an arboretum at this parcel close to the Baraboo River to be used for bird and tree identification. It’s a lovely wetland complex with a creek and natural springs flowing into the Baraboo River. Many Bald Eagles roost in the large cottonwood trees each winter. In 2018 more trees were planted into the property and interpretive signs were installed by the city, but record summer flooding from the adjacent Baraboo River inundated the park, so there was some cleanup in 2019 before the annual IMBD event was held here.
D. Document that current municipal planning seeks to provide additional bird habitat.
The nature trails and arboretum at the Maxwell-Potter Conservancy will be connected to a riverwalk via bridge over the Baraboo River, opening up more areas to be restored by future volunteer work parties. Removal of invasive shrubs will allow more native vegetation and better bird habitat to thrive, along with more public opportunities to interact with birds in all seasons.
F. Show that your community offers the public information on how they can control and remove invasive species in order to improve or maintain bird habitat.
We have a UW Extension office in Baraboo that offers publications on invasive species identification and control. Baraboo Range Preservation Association also works with K-12 students along with UW-Baraboo classes removing invasive species from an oak woodland project taking place in the campus forest within city limits. The forest also has a component of the Ice Age Trail running through it, so they are additional partners in restoring bird habitat at this location. Work continued at this site in 2018, with an AmeriCorps crew assisting BRPA with building an outdoor classroom. Baraboo's middle school science club also assisted in 2018. Here's a 2017 science club story from this location in this Baraboo News Republic article.
N. Show that your community works on public lands to control invasive species that have significant negative impacts on bird habitat.
In 2018 an Al Behrman Elementary School 4th grade class helped us prepare for an IMBD event, similar to what took place with a 2017 High School class at Maxwell Potter Conservancy to continue habitat. The same group of students helped prepare this area in 2019 again, as it looks to become an annual service day.
Community Forest Management
A. Demonstrate that your community has been awarded Tree City USA status by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Baraboo continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 1992.
Limiting or Removing Threats to Birds
A. Describe your community’s educational program to control free-roaming cats and/or the manner in which you actively publicize the Cats Indoors! initiative.
In November of 2017, Dr. Peter Marra gave a talk to 40 residents about his book Cat Wars, we were able to get an article in the local paper about the topic that was shared widely on BRPA's Facebook page: Concerned residents have been taking steps to keep cats indoors and this effort is publicized by the local Sauk County Humane Society.
A. Demonstrate that schools in your community participate in a nationally-recognized environmental education program (e.g., Flying WILD, Audubon Adventures) or that your community organizes its own substantial education and outreach program for young people.
Melissa McDonald, a Baraboo Middle School Teacher, is trained in the Flying Wild program. She takes about 30-40 Baraboo science club students to WSO’s Honey Creek Bird Sanctuary here in the hills where many folks from WSO go bird watching. Todd Persche also volunteers to take kids on birding walks during the Bandathon/Birdathon weekend.
B. Provide web links or a community newsletter demonstrating that your community educates property owners on methods to create and enhance backyard habitat for birds.
The Baraboo Range Preservation Association hosted its inaugural Bird City Yard Tour. This event showcases Baraboo’s bird-friendly yards to educate residents about the types of plants, landscaping, and structures that will bring birds and wildlife to urban yards while showing people just how beautiful bird-friendly yards can be. More events were planned for the spring and summer of 2020.
We held an Annual Christmas Bird Count in Baraboo on Thursday Dec 26, 2019 & Thursday Dec 27, 2018, here's the 2017 event that was held on Wednesday, December 27.
E. Illustrate a program that involves schools, garden clubs, or other organizations in bird conservation activities.
The Baraboo Range Preservation Association (BRPA) takes about 8 to 12 birding walks with High School Environmental Sciences and Biology classes, plus bird hikes are scheduled for 2019 at the UW-Baraboo Campus woods as well as the Maxwell Potter Conservancy.
M. Show that your community participates in the Natural Resources Foundation’s Great Wisconsin Birdathonto raise money for your community and for statewide conservation.
BRPA participates in the Great Wisconsin Birdathon and uses our half of the raised funds for leading bird hikes and local habitat restoration efforts in the city and the surrounding hills. Our team is called the Baraboo Rangers and we raised over $4,500 in 2018 and 2019 combined. BRPA organized a Hike the Hills six-part series in 2019 that offered hikes throughout the Baraboo Bluffs in which we talked about wild birds in the forest that can be found at the edge of our city with appropriate habitat management.
Energy & Sustainability
H. Describe your community’s efforts to educate residents about climate change.
BRPA offers our Cabin Fever Lecture Series that is free and open to the public, climate change was the 2018 theme and is being addressed once again in 2020.
Todd Persche was joined by local residents for an early morning bird walk that featured many migrating Yellow-rumped Warblers. Displays about birds were provided at the city's onsite shelter by the International Crane Foundation. ICF Whooping Crane mascot Hope joined the celebration that was also attended by City Zoo employees who brought a Great Horned Owl over to meet with folks.
The event featured informational materials on improving bird conservation. BRPA also works with UW and Baraboo High School biology classes the discuss Migratory Bird Day outside while on our bird walks. 2018 was an excellent year as many migrants lingered due to the cold weather.
The Baraboo Range Preservation Association continues to incorporate Bird City concepts into our many public outreach activities. We feel that starting in the schools is the best way to introduce kids to the topic of environmental conservation. Baraboo, like so many communities these days, used to have a strong tradition of outdoor recreation and understanding. Our aims are to revitalize that spirit of connectivity to the natural world that was evident at Baraboo’s initial Bird City award ceremony.