Village of Elm Grove

Village of Elm Grove

HIGH FLYER

Habitat Creation, Protection, and Monitoring

E. Describe your community’s ordinance demonstrating that your community does not restrict natural/native landscaping that emphasizes native plants and non-turf lawns.

The Tree and Vegetation ordinance (§266-6) was amended in 2008 to allow homeowners to grow wild areas for bird protection. In 2015, ordinance (§112-3) was changed to allow burning, under certain circumstances, to enhance native prairie biome and wild areas for bird habitat.

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.

In 2015, Elm Grove improved their city website to include many new links related to invasive species control.  This was further updated in 2022.  The Beautification Committee started an Invasive Species Task Force (ISTF) in August of 2020 that meets every Sunday morning within the village to help control invasive species on public property.  Interested members of the community are encouraged to sign up for email alerts each week notifying them where the group will meet.  These notifications contain information about invasive species that are being worked on so that even if members do not participate that week, they may learn about the species being addressed.  The group has been very successful in the work they have accomplished and continue to investigate new ways to engage and inspire homeowners about invasive species.

J. Show that a significant number of properties have been recognized as having bird-friendly yards (e.g., Yardmap/Habitat Network, National Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Certification Program).

Likely deserving of at least 2 or 3 points in this category, the village took it upon themselves to not only assure a significant number of homes were certified by the NWF, but is also now the first registered (and soon to be certified!) community in the state of Wisconsin achieving the NWF’s Community Habitat certification.  This required achieving a total of 150 points in 4 different categories and a certain number of certified habitats based on population.  For the village of Elm Grove, we required 150 habitat points which has so far amounted to 5 schools, 4 common areas, and 121 homes certified as Gardens for Wildlife.

L. Show that your community has restored at least two acres of woodlands, wetlands, or prairie.

In 2015, with the help of an MMSD grant, the village turned an area full of invasive species into a native landscape for flood and pollution control. Project number M03076P24.

M. Demonstrate that your community offers a program for private property owners who are interested in dealing with invasive plants that have significant negative impacts on bird habitat.

The Village Forester,  along with members of the Elm Grove Beautification Committee, travels to private residences to educate the residents on how to identify and remove invasive species.  Providing recommendations on which native trees, shrubs, or perennials would work on their site is also provided.  Additionally, information for the use of goat grazing was supplied and utilized by at least two homeowners to help control large scale areas of invasive species after they had been implemented twice in 2022 to help control invasive species at our public park.

N. Show that your community works on public lands to control invasive species that have significant negative impacts on bird habitat.

The Beautification Committee initiated the Invasive Species Task Force (ISTF) in August 30, 2020.  This group meets EVERY Sunday within the village to work on the removal of invasive species from within the boundaries of the village.  Numerous groups including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have participated.  Species targeted have included purple loosestrife, garlic mustard, buckthorn, Queen Anne’s lace, field bindweed, canadian thistle, teasel, and Dame’s rocket.  As stated earlier, the group continues to implement new ideas to grow their influence beyond the public spaces they work in to individual homeowners.

Community Forest Management

A. Demonstrate that your community has been awarded Tree City USA status by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Elm Grove continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 1990.

C. Document an ongoing community program to incorporate a significant number of native trees, native shrubs, native herbaceous plants, and/or cultivars of native species in public or large-scale private landscaping.

The Village of Elm Grove has always been a proponent of native species. Specific species can be found with the Forester upon request. In 2022, the Elm Grove Beautification Committee sold 25 each of six different native shrub species (total of 150) and a total of 70 native tree species (ten different varieties).  A total of 10 trees were donated by residents to the village forester for planting within public spaces.  The 2022 Beautification Committee native plant sale sold 556 plants to residents for their home landscaping.

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.

The Elm Grove village website has two separate areas addressing cats and their effect on bird populations, including 3 links to brochures from different sources along with a well written narrative that you can access here:  https://elmgrovewi.org/399/Bird-City-Wisconsin

B. Demonstrate that your community provides property owners with information on how to protect birds from window strikes (e.g., online links, brochures).

Our village website has a narrative and links to 3 brochures about the dangers of window strikes and how best to prevent them.  See link here:  preventing window strikes.

C. Show that your municipality practices Integrated Pest Management, using natural pest control and the best available science to minimize pesticide and herbicide use.

In conjunction with the village’s Bee City USA designation, an Integrative Pest Management (IPM) resolution was passed to minimize pesticide use on both private and public land (https://elmgrovewi.org/DocumentCenter/View/3962/Pollinator-Protection-Program-6-28-21).  Ongoing lectures to support this, including one by a Milwaukee Riverkeeper (and village trustee) was given in September and is available for viewing on our village website(https://elmgrovewi.org/740/Winter-Lecture-Series) . 

E. Document a program that effectively reduces feral cat populations (Note: See 3F for enforced ordinances). (Exclusions: Trap, neuter, release/return programs)

The Village of Elm Grove has a yearly contract, that is renewed, with the Elmbrook Humane Society.  This contract covers the pick up and disposition of stray cats.  They attempt to find the owner, but if they are unsuccessful will work to find them a home once neutered. All of their studies have shown that simply removing cats from an area does not solve the problem as unaltered cats will move into an area that is now open.  Of note, there is not a large outdoor cat population in our village as the statistics show the following:

2020–10 cats

2021–8 cats

2022–1 cat

Our Birders of the Grove committee is dedicated to increasing awareness about keeping cats indoors to help minimize threats to birds. 

Public Education

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.

Elm Grove’s website (https://www.elmgrovewi.org) provides information on bird conservation and landscaping for natural habitat that benefits wildlife as well as a variety of additional links on its website. The website allows free and easy access for citizens to gather information on bird-related issues and building healthier communities for birds and people. Major editing was done on the Bird City section of the website in 2022 to add numerous links to ornithology organizations in Wisconsin as well as adding content in various threat  categories such as Birds & Cats, Birds & Lights, and Birds & Windows.  Information about bird enthusiast website apps such as ebird and Merlin have been added.

C. Demonstrate that your community is represented in at least one citizen science bird monitoring program (e.g., the Christmas Bird Count, Great Backyard Bird Count, Swift Night Out).

Residents of Elm Grove have also been active in citizen science programs, including the Great Backyard Bird Count and 2021 Birdathon.These programs are a wonderful way to involve students and citizens in public education in a way that promotes community pride.

E. Illustrate a program that involves schools, garden clubs, or other organizations in bird conservation activities.

David Schimpf, a fifth grade teacher at Tonawanda Elementary School in Elm Grove, received a grant for use in bird education activities and set up several bird houses and one feeding station on the school grounds.  He taught hour-long classes on birds to 61 students during their genius hour once a week throughout the school year.  The students learned about anatomy, environment and feeding, and all students used the online bird ID site from Cornell. The students checked the feeder and houses all year long and they reported their bird sightings.

F. Demonstrate that your community understands the critical ecological role of pollinators by documenting your Bee City USA status or by describing another substantial effort to promote pollinator health (for ideas visit the Xerxes Society and the Pollinator Partnership).

The Village officially attained Bee City status on 3/23/20 and has been able to maintain it since with yearly documentation of their efforts and promotion of the status.  In 2021 for example, an IPM plan was adopted by the Village Trustees (https://elmgrovewi.org/DocumentCenter/View/3962/Pollinator-Protection-Program-6-28-21).  In 2022, the Beautification Committee held a Mosquito Dunk program during Pollinator Week which taught village residents about the dangers of indiscriminately spraying to minimize mosquitoes by using Bacillus thuringiensis to target mosquito larvae only, thereby sparing other invertebrates.

G. Provide a link to your community’s Bird City Wisconsin webpage, which must be visible from the main page of your municipal website (it may be located at the first level of a drop down menu on the main page but cannot be any less visible) OR demonstrate that your Bird City effort has a significant social media presence.

The Village web page provides access to Bird City under the Wild Life section.

The Elm Grove Village website “Bird City Wisconsin” webpage can be found as a clearly labeled drop-down menu under the “Our Community” section on the main page.

I. Show that your municipality promotes and supports a bird club or other environmentally/ecologically-minded club. (Exclusions: Garden clubs, unless you demonstrate a strong focus on native plants)

Birders of the Grove is a newly established off-shoot of the Elm Grove Beautification Committee and has monthly meetings that take place at Village Hall.  This group is dedicated to attaining and maintaining the Bird City High Flyer status through all of the guidance and recommendations set forth by Bird City Wisconsin.

In 2022, a Birders of the Grove Instagram page was set up and there have been numerous postings regarding common backyard bird species with photos and educational information for residents.  A dedicated Birders of the Grove website is also under construction.

J. Document that a municipal building has significant bird-friendly landscaping that features native plants AND signage that explains the importance of native plants and providing diverse habitat for birds (e.g., brush piles, water features).

Mr. Chris Fehlhaber, a native of Elm Grove who is a horticulturist with Chanticleer Gardens in Pennsylvania installed a perennial bed that spans the entirety of our Elm Grove Village Hall and contains bird-friendly native plants.  There is signage and information present on the village website that annotates the names of all of the plants included. 

K. Demonstrate that your community actively raises awareness of its bird assets. Examples include placing a remote web camera on a nest platform, offering bird watching field trips, or creating a significant educational resource on your community's bird life.

The Village has been operating a bird cam for many years. Going to our web page one can see our feeding station and large bird house.

Elm Grove Village has a bird cam outside the library entrance, set up many years ago by the Elm Grove Woman’s Club,  which allows residents to  see the activity around the numerous feeding stations and birdhouses by visiting the “Bird Cam” link on the village website.  Specific url is https://sensr.net/cameras/elm-grove.

M. Show that your community participates in the Natural Resources Foundation’s Great Wisconsin Birdathon to raise money for your community and for statewide conservation.

On May 14, 2022, the second annual Elm Grove Birdathon took place at Elm Grove Village Park.  Participants checked in at the Birders of the Grove committee station by the bird feeders outside the library entrance.  Bird species checklists were provided to the walkers who strolled the paved village path around the park and recorded bird sightings over a one hour period.  Remote participants also logged in their own sightings, and overall the total number of birds seen by our team was 250, with a species count of 51. A total amount of $495 was raised on the Natural Resources Foundation Great Wisconsin Birdathon for the Birders of the Grove team.  As a non-profit group, half of the money raised comes back to Elm Grove Village directly to support our community bird protection efforts. 

Energy & Sustainability

A. Document an energy audit for a municipal building and show that your community is working to implement its recommendations.

Energy savings should be on the minds of all individuals. In 2017 the Village Hall and grounds had an energy audit with the help of Tower Energy. In 2018 light fixtures, switches and the lights themselves were changed to more efficient electric components to reduce the cost of electricity and the green house gases they produce.

F. Demonstrate that your community participates in a community solar program or that a municipal building receives a significant percentage of its electricity from renewable energy.

The Village president agreed to a public education program and group purchasing program for homeowners.  This included using the village logo on publicity, allowing a banner to be placed on village property, and using village social media to promote in-person and online “Solar Power Hour” program which includes the ability to register for a free site assessment and participation in a group buy program.  This was sponsored by the Waukesha County Green Team, the MREA, Heart of the City, and Grow Solar Jefferson+Waukesha.  Numerous homes participated and at least 2 have installations underway or completed. 

J. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

 Our community has worked to create a Sustainability Committee that was recently recognized by village administration and government.  This is a group of 8 citizens appointed to develop initiatives and recommendations that help make our community more resilient.  The committee meets monthly and minutes are submitted and available to all residents and online.

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD)

A. This community's municipal body passed the required World Migratory Bird Day resolution.

B. Document and describe your event that incorporates the annual IMBD theme in some fashion. If the event has not yet occurred, please share your detailed plans. For information on the current year’s theme and event materials, please visit the World Migratory Bird Day website. To see what other Bird City communities have done in the past, please view some other profiles on our website.

Elm Grove and Brookfield’s World Migratory Bird Day programs joined forces many years ago to present Elmbrook Migratory Bird Day. On the first Saturday in June at the Brookfield Farmers Market from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. celebrate the anniversary of the statewide program known as Bird City. Residents can learn about backyard plantings that will attract birds including hummingbirds. Elm Grove Forester Ron Hill will provide suggestions for landscaping for migratory birds during the event.

Local activism is at the heart of effective conservation, and it’s what World Migratory Bird Day is all about. The annual event is now coordinated by Environment for the Americas and has gained widespread popularity, hosted by over 450 organizations throughout the Western Hemisphere. More so than any other state in the nation, Wisconsin's eyes have been fixed on the spectacle of migration during the month of May. Prime bird migration routes are along the Great Lakes and Mississippi River. The Elm Grove/Brookfield event will be held on the Brookfield City Hall grounds during the weekly Farmers Market event which draws large crowds. Visitors will learn about the Bird City program and what is required to maintain “Flight Status”.

Joined Bird City: 2011

Population: 5,934

Incorporated: 1955

Area: 3.29 mi2

Community Website

Community Bird City Page

Community Bird City Facebook Page

Community Map