City of Green Lake

City of Green Lake

Habitat Creation, Protection, and Monitoring

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.

The Green Lake City Council has developed and approved a Comprehensive Plan in accordance with Wisconsin’s “Smart Growth” law regarding land use planning and resource management. The Comprehensive Plan was approved in November, 2002, and the City of Green Lake has been in compliance ever since.

B. Describe organized bird monitoring or data obtained from researchers or volunteers in the local park system. (Exclusions: Programs that receive credit under 4C: Christmas Bird Count, Great Backyard Bird Count, Swift Night Out)

Through the Green Lake Bird and Nature Club, volunteers are encouraged to record data to assist in the regular monitoring of birds and breeding activity in the city parks, nearby Conservancy properties and the nearby Zobel County Park (just north of the city).  Many volunteers also participate in the annual Midwest Crane Count.

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 City of Green Lake does not prohibit “natural” lawns for landscaping. The regulation of natural lawns is extensively detailed in Section 8-1-6 of the City of Green Lake Municipal Code.

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.

The City of Green Lake webpage for Bird City includes links for websites that provide information on the identification and control of invasive species.

G. Document that there is a segment of the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail or a designated Important Bird Area within or adjacent to your community.

White River Marsh State Wildlife Area is located northwest of the City in Green Lake County, and is a recognized Important Bird Area (IBA).  Also included in this IBA are the Puchyan Prairie WA and Snake Creek Fen SNA. 

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

Green Lake Conservancy and Green Lake Sanitary District are actively (and jointly) involved in the control of invasive plant species on Green Lake’s conservancy lands. For the past 14 years (since 2008) numerous volunteer work sessions have been coordinated on Saturday mornings (and sometimes other days) during the fall months. Many hundreds of hours of work for clearing invasive species have been donated by individuals. The main targets have been European Buckthorn, Oriental Bittersweet, and honeysuckle.

R. Show how your community aids a local youth group (e.g., Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of USA, 4-H Club, etc.) or conservation group in bird conservation projects (e.g., bluebird trail, habitat restoration, Wood Duck nest boxes, etc.).

Boy Scouts in the area (with local troops in Green Lake and Ripon cooperating) are encouraged to consider conservation projects in order to obtain service hours or for Eagle Scout projects.  They have often assisted on volunteer days to help remove buckthorn and other invasives, do riparian or Conservancy clean-up work, place bird houses on Conservancy lands, build and install Leopold benches, etc.  In 2022 one Eagle Scout project involved erecting informational signage at Sunnyside Conservancy.

T. Document that your community maintains a birding trail or hot spot location with educational signage and/or literature. (Note: A birding hotspot alone is not sufficient - your community must actively promote birding and public education at the site itself.)

In 2022-23 the City of Green Lake's Park and Recreation Committee assisted with placing an informational sign adjacent to the city's Puchyan River canoe launch and the Green Lake Dog Park.  This was funded by the Green Lake Bird and Nature Club, which will keep the signboard updated.  It contains photos and information about many of the species that can be found at the site, which is a designated eBird hotspot.  One of our erected Osprey platforms is adjacent to the dog park.

V. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

Green Lake’s “Green Team” built and installed four Osprey nesting platforms (with help from Alliant Energy) around the Green Lake area. These platforms have had pairs build nests on them, and most have produced Osprey chicks each year.  We have been banding a number of the chicks annually (including in 2022), again with help from an Alliant Energy lift truck and crew, with public attendance encouraged.  Some photos from these activities can be seen in the photo gallery.

Community Forest Management

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

Green Lake continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 2006.

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.

Green Lake's Bird City page has a link that provides information about the Cats Indoors! initiative.   

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

The City of Green Lake website has a Bird City page with a link that shows where community members can get information on the DANGERS of WINDOWS to wild birds, and how to protect them from window strikes

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.

The Green Lake Bird and Nature Club offers monthly meetings with public presentations and discussions about backyard bird habitats, and provides a variety of educational information through the club's Facebook group.


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).

Green Lake has conducted an annual Christmas Bird Count each winter since 1983. Typically, we have had around 12-25 observers and they record roughly 50-70 different species each year. The count on Dec. 31, 2022 totaled 55 species, with an additional 4 species added during count week. 

Many of our area birdwatchers also participate in eBird, submitting daily bird checklists, as well as the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, with participation encouraged by the Green Lake Bird and Nature Club.

D. Describe your community-sponsored annual bird festival. This must be a multi-day event or a truly exceptional one-day event.

The City held their first annual Green Lake Bird Festival in the spring of 2013.  The festival is traditionally held on the last Saturday in April, and the 2022 event was held on April 29-30. This annual festival has included a Friday evening social gathering, followed by an early-morning field trip at a local conservancy property.  Immediately following the hike there are bird-related presentations at Town Square in Green Lake during the remainder of the morning. The event has been co-sponsored by the Green Lake Bird and Nature Club, and Green Lake’s “Green Team”.  The dates for the 2023 Green Lake Bird Festival (always the last weekend in April) are April 28 and 29.

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.

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.

In January of 2015 we started a Green Lake Bird and Nature Club, which meets monthly at Town Square (2nd Tuesday at 6 PM, September through May) and conducts periodic field trips. Anyone interested in the wonderful world of nature is welcome to attend our meetings for bird or nature-related presentations, or go on our field trips. Participation in the club has steadily grown, and we have an active Facebook page.  For more information you can contact Tom Schultz at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

N. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

The City of Green Lake provides information about the dangers to our forests, meadows, marshes and lakes by the introduction and spread of invasive species. 

Information about identifying and controlling harmful invasive species can also be found on the WI DNR website, linked here:

Energy & Sustainability

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

An energy audit has been conducted on the City of Green Lake's WWTP (Wastewater Treatment Plant).

B. Show that your community goes above and beyond in its support for, and implementation of, green transportation (e.g., bike trails, rideshare programs, bike trails/lanes, etc.). Be sure to utilize the narrative to illustrate why your community is exceptional because standard practice will not receive credit.

Though grants obtained from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation ($550,000) along with room tax revenues, the City of Green Lake was instrumental in establishing a 10-foot wide non-motorized multi-use path on the west side of Green Lake.  This path connects the Green Lake Conference Center with the rest of the Green Lake Community without having to cross State Highway 23.  This path provides safety for walkers, bikers, and joggers as it is separated from the motorized portion of the highway.


C. Document that a municipal building is LEED certified (silver or higher).

The relatively new Green Lake County Justice Building in Green Lake has been LEED certified at the Silver level.

J. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

The City of Green Lake has also been actively replacing its light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs (as they burn out), including in City Hall and all of the street lighting fixtures.

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.

Green Lake Mayor Ray Radis drafted a resolution proclaiming World Migratory Bird Day to be April 29, 2023. This year's celebration will take place at the 2023 Green Lake Bird Festival on that date (and also the evening before). The festival starts with a Friday evening social event at Town Square -- Birds and Brews -- and continues on Saturday morning with an early morning field trip to Sunnyside Conservancy. Immediately following that will be public presentations by guest speakers at Town Square.  

Joined Bird City: 2014

Population: 960

Incorporated: 1962

Area: 2.06 mi2

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