Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Kenosha County

Kenosha County

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.

Kenosha County has prepared and approved a county-wide comprehensive plan that follows the guidelines listed by Wisconsin’s “Smart Growth” law concerning land use planning and natural resources. The multi-jurisdictional plan was approved in April of 2010 and is in effect until 2035. Kenosha County’s full plan is available online.

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)

There are many bird monitoring projects that are conducted throughout Kenosha County. Most notably are the grassland bird surveys (two per year), marsh monitoring (two per year), Black Tern survey, Crane count (two per year), Upland Sandpiper survey, and breeding bird surveys that they participate in annually. Bong Recreation Area has an extensive cavity-nesting songbird monitoring program with 75 boxes and the Hoy Audubon monitors several birding trails. In addition, there is also the Bluebird box, Purple Martin box, Wood Duck box, and Kestrel box monitoring conducted throughout the County.

 Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020, the Pringle Nature Center offered bird habitat-related information for the public on their website at www.pringlenc.org/free and www.pringlenc.org/birds. Individual bird monitoring was encouraged through a social media campaign in collaboration between Kenosha County Parks and the Pringle Nature Center. 

2020 Kenosha County Parks fledge counts:

    • Petrifying Springs Park: 24 Tree Swallows & 62 Bluebirds
    • Brighton Dale Park: 16 Tree Swallows & 28 Bluebirds
    • Bristol Woods Park: 19 Tree Swallows & 23 Bluebirds 

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)

Chapter 10, Section (5) of the Kenosha County Park Ordinances document states:

No person shall hunt, hunt, trap, injure, molest, or disturb any bird or other animal or disturb the nest or young of any bird or other animal, except the taking of any bird or animal which causing property damage or injuries to persons may be permitted by a written permit. The Park Manager/Director has the authority to allow hunting or trapping in designated park areas to a very limited number of winners of an annual lottery. Those chosen by lottery must strictly follow the rules given them at the time their permit is granted as well as all applicable State laws and rules.

D. Document that current municipal planning seeks to provide additional bird habitat.

In 2019, the We-Energies Foundation funded a reforestation project in Fox River Park. The grant-funded the purchase of 30 trees of a variety of species that will attract birds in Kenosha County. These species include Red Sunset Maple, Kentucky Coffeetree, Skyline Locust, Hackberry, Autumn Blaze Maple, Triumph Elm, Norway Spruce, Black Hills Spruce, and Autumn Gold Ginkgo. 

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.

Pringle Nature Center, located in Bristol Woods County Park, hosts invasive species workdays on the fourth Saturday of the month from April to November. Volunteers learn to identify what are invasive plants, why they are invasive, and help by removing the invasive plants. Pringle is also a partner location for the Mighty Acorns program where school children in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades visit an adopted site three times a year to do stewardship activities which include removal of Buckthorn, and other woody invasive species, during the winter visit and pulling Garlic Mustard during the spring visit. The Mighty Acorns program includes pre- and post-visit lesson plans for the teachers to do in the classroom as well as an on-site lesson plan to go with the stewardship activity.

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.

Kenosha County boasts five areas listed in the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail-Lake Michigan Guide. Those areas are the Bristol Woods County Park/Pringle Nature Center, Bong State Recreation Area, Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area, New Munster State Wildlife Area, and Petrifying Springs County Park/Hawthorn Hollow Arboretum. These areas include nearly all types of bird habitat found in Wisconsin; signature state species can be found in woodlands, prairie, grasslands, shorelands, rivers, and marshes among others. Many different species can be seen during the spring and fall migration seasons.

I. Document a recent project that created or restored bird habitat in your community. (Exclusions: Bird feeders and small-scale artificial nesting structures)

Kenosha County completed Phase I of a multi-phased streambank restoration project on the Pike River within Petrifying Springs Park in 2019. The project aimed to improve water quality and improve local aquatic and bird habitat with the planting of native vegetation. Additionally, 3.9 acres of the wetland was restored at the site. The project is outlined in the EPA-approved Nine Key Element Plan for the Pike River Watershed. Restoration of the site has resulted in an increase in bird counts within the riparian habitat. 

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

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), in conjunction with Kenosha County Parks, has developed a comprehensive restoration plan to develop over 70 acres of prairie within the next 3 years at Kenosha County Veterans Memorial Park (KCVMP). Approximately 45 acres of prairie have been restored thus far. An additional 25 acres will be restored by the end of 2020. Restoration efforts will assist in increasing the migratory bird habitat and enhance pollinators within this region. Kenosha County is contracting local ecologist firms to continue to suppress and remove Phragmites within the park. Future developments outlined in the park's master plan will result in improved public access to view and admire the unique natural features that KCVMP has to offer with ease.

In 2019, Kenosha County completed a 3.9-acre wetland restoration within Petrifying Springs Park as part of a Fund for Lake Michigan grant award. This project complements extensive work that has occurred on the north and south branches of the Pike River immediately upstream. Restoration techniques included the creation of 12” tall tree islands that would result in higher places in the wetland where trees would stay dry; and the excavation of shallow wetlands that would be aerobic in nature. Approximately 34 trees and 86 shrubs were planted in the wetland to create a viewshed, allowing for the creation of a visa clearance.

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

Kenosha County Parks managed over 1,500 acres of parkland in Kenosha County. 

O. Document a program to support the establishment of natural lawns and native landscaping, possibly including public presentations of Audubon’s Plants for Birds Initiative (contact them for a presentation kit).

The Extension Kenosha County Horticulture Program offers various programs related to gardening, plants of native landscape, and other informational courses for the community. The annual Spring into Gardening conference offers over 15 informational sessions include those on the establishment of natural lawns. The Extension Online Gardening Training Hub provides free resources for individuals seeking specific horticulture information. 

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.).

Pringle Nature Center offers private badge programs for Girl and Boy Scouts, both as pre-scheduled Scouts Days and by request. The center also schedules seasonal scout days for girls and boys in grades 2-5.  Each day includes a rotation of outdoor activities that may contribute toward badge requirements, campfire lunch, and optional service opportunities.

Many features within Kenosha County Parks are a result of service projects completed by local area scouts. The Pringle Nature Center encourages scouts to participate in a scout project in order to help them fulfill the requirements of your Eagle Scout or Gold Award. Examples of scout projects within Bristol Woods Park can be found at https://www.pringlenc.org/scouts-youth-groups

Community Forest Management

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 Kenosha County Division of Planning hosts an annual tree and shrub program. Nearly one million trees have been sold through the program over the last 30 years. The purpose of the program is to encourage everyone to plant more native trees and shrubs for conservation, reforestation, and wildlife habitat enhancement. 

F. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

Kenosha County Tree & Shrub Program has been offered for 30 years and has sold nearly one million trees. The purpose of the program is to encourage area residents to plant native trees and shrubs for the purpose of conservation and wildlife enhancement. The program offers a variety of Pines, hardwoods, and shrubs. This sale is open to the interested public in their area. Trees and shrubs are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and picked up by the customer. Interested people are placed on a list to receive their tree order form in the fall of the year. Tree pickup day is typically in mid-to-late-April the following spring. The number and species of trees and shrubs is dependent upon availability, weather conditions, past sales success, tree performance and general demand trends. By March of 2014, they already had orders for 20,000 trees and were still receiving more. The selection of trees and shrubs include packages that are specifically for backyard wildlife and bird habitat.

The Parks Division and Pringle Nature Center has been the recipient of 600 Burr, Northern Red, White Oak and Swamp White Oak trees a year through the Million Trees Giveaway by the Living Lands and Waters Program. Pringle hands out the oak saplings at the Gateway Earth Day Fair for the past four years. For eight years they have been underplanting their park hardwood forests and lining these trees out in a nursery for future transplanting. In addition to these trees, they typically purchase 300 native trees a year to plant in their parks. A local nursery also donates about 150 leftover trees at the end of the season for the parks.

Kenosha County just finished an Emerald Ash Borer inventory and management plan. Ash trees in natural areas that succumb to the borer will be left for birds and other mammals for food and shelter. We have not let the public take Ash firewood for 4 years to ensure it wasn’t moved out of the quarantined area. Trees that will need to be removed in lawn areas and other spots that would endanger the public will be let out to the public with the stipulation that it will not be moved outside of the quarantine area.

The University of Wisconsin Extension Program has annual horticulture short courses that have included EAB and many other tree and shrub planting, pruning and disease prevention, and diagnostic subjects.

In December 2019, a reforestation project in Kenosha County’s Fox River Park was made possible by a donation from the We Energies Foundation and Paul Swartz Nursery. Both entities contributed $2,500 to the project, which will replace some of the trees lost due to the emerald ash borer epidemic. Kenosha County also matched an additional $2,500, allowing for the planting of 30 trees. Care was taken to plant an array of tree species, including maple, locust, elm, and spruce. This diversity, part of all of Kenosha County’s recent reforestation efforts, is planned with an eye toward minimizing losses of trees in the event of a future infestation of something like the ash borer.

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 Pringle Nature Center demonstrates how to minimize bird strikes at the center. They also include keeping cats inside as part of their program.

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

The Pringle Nature Center demonstrates how to minimize bird strikes at the center. 

F. Demonstrate that your community enforces an ordinance that requires domestic cats to be kept indoors, on a leash, or in an enclosure to prevent them from preying on birds and other wildlife and spreading disease.

The City of Kenosha's Chapter 14.01 Ordinance states that residents must have their cats licensed annually and have a current rabies vaccination. City of Kenosha residents must have their cats wear their license tag at all times when outdoors unless they have a computer microchip inserted.

Public Education

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. 

Pringle Nature Center does have the Flying Wild curriculum and uses lessons from it for the third grade Birds school program as well as portions of Boy Scout badge requirements.

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.

Extension Kenosha County regularly provides educational programs on creation and protection of habitat; landscaping for birds, insects and other wildlife; managing invasive plants; and sustainable landscape practices. Educational demonstrations open to the public include Kenosha County Center demonstration gardens, which are a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat, and restored rain garden at Somers Town Hall. In February 2015 landscape professionals learned about “managing habitat to benefit wildlife living in urbanized areas” and “sustainable landscape design.” Spring into Gardening, which is a day-long seminar for hobby gardeners, recently featured programs on “native trees and shrubs for southeastern Wisconsin” and “Native pollinators.”

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).

The naturalist at the Pringle Nature Center is the compiler for Kenosha County in the Christmas Bird Count where she assigns areas for birders to do the count as well as uploads the collected data to the Christmas Bird Count website. Pringle also partners with Hoy Audubon to hold a workshop the weekend before the Great Backyard Bird Count where the participants learn basic bird identification, how to participate in the count, and build a feeder for their yard.

In addition, the County offers many public programs including: the Owl Prowl, spring bird hikes (March-May), Bird Fest, Duck identification, Halloween Hike, Bird Art, Warbler identification, birding by ear, beginning birding, bird feeding, Bluebird information and annual counts, Search for Short-eared Owls, and bird seed wreaths.

Furthermore, the County conducts many surveys and monitoring programs including grassland bird surveys, marsh monitoring, Black Tern survey, Upland Sandpiper survey, Crane count, breeding bird survey, Bluebird box monitoring, Purple Martin box monitoring, Wood Duck box monitoring, and Kestrel box monitoring.

In 2016, Eagle Scout Andrew Romanowski created a chimney swift tower at the Pringle Nature Preserve.

 

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

The Pringle Nature Center encourages the community to get involved in bird conservation activities. In 2020, most activities suggested were for use at home at the Bristol Woods County Park. The center sought to have people make their homes bird-friendly. Virtual story times focused on the importance of birds and fun crafts for children to do at home. 

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.

Kenosha County Parks has a strong Facebook presence that reaches close to 5,000 followers. Bird city efforts are often shared on the platform. The Pringle Nature Center, with close to 3,000 followers, has taken advantage of their Facebook presence to enhance bird city efforts virtually, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social media campaign efforts were taken this year to ensure that a large audience was engaged with Kenosha County's mission to promote bird city activities. 

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)

Kenosha County partners with local environmentally-minded clubs and engages in various collaborations including public forums, stakeholder meetings, community outreach, and educational activities. These partners include the Pringle Nature Center, Hawthorn Hollow, the Sierra Club Southeast Gateway Group, and Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network. 

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).

The Kenosha County Center is a municipal building that is the site of the Department of Public Works, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Planning and Development, Extension Kenosha County, and the Treasurer's Office. The site is frequented by thousands of community members annually. In 2015, A one-mile paved walking path was installed at the Kenosha County Center, allowing employees and area residents a place to walk during their lunch hours and before and after work. An essential feature of the path includes an ongoing prairie restoration project to establish a native, tall grassland prairie at the Kenosha County Center. Restoration of this tallgrass prairie will provide a safe habitat for local bird and insect species while also providing a recreational and educational environment for the Kenosha County community. 

The grounds at the Kenosha County Center are also the site of a nationally recognized, award-winning All-America Selections Display Garden. Flowers and vegetables are planted and tended by University of Wisconsin-Extension Master Gardener Volunteers. The garden provides an opportunity for guests to view the best new flower and vegetable varieties in a location accessible to the public. A compost demonstration site created as an Eagle Scout project and utilized by the Master Gardeners offers an opportunity for visitors to learn about composting. Educational signage is posted within the garden to educate on the importance of the habitat. This All-America Selections Display Garden is one of eight in the state of Wisconsin, and the only one in the state located on municipal property.

Energy & Sustainability

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

Since its establishment in 2013, the Kenosha County Energy Team has met regularly to develop and implement projects to enhance energy efficiency in county facilities. Projects implemented include lighting retrofits, the replacement of inefficient equipment, and the installation of timers and controls to better manage energy use. As of November 2016, team activity equates to a cumulative energy savings of an estimated $54,898. Kenosha County became an Energy Independent Community in 2009 with the adoption of a “25×25” resolution (a goal to adapt to using 25% of renewable energy sources by the year 2025).

E. Show that your community has implemented a sustainability plan that improves your community’s energy efficiency and/or increases the use of renewable energy. (Exclusions: Smart Growth comprehensive plans)

Sustainable Kenosha County is an effort to incorporate elements of sustainability in Kenosha County government operations and in the daily life and work of Kenosha County employees to improve efficiency, the environment, and quality of life. With the assistance of Extension Kenosha County, a concept paper was developed to define sustainability and present examples of sustainability in Kenosha County. It also details plans for developing an educational outreach program for county employees. It presents a case for making the Kenosha County Center a space and grounds for sustainable design and landscapes, and it offers a proposal to launch an energy efficiency program. With these notions in mind, Kenosha County can improve its sustainability for years to come.

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.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“World Migratory Bird Day” Celebration Goes Digital

Pringle Nature Center

BRISTOL, WI—In lieu of the annual “Fall Fun Fest & World Migratory Bird Day” celebration held in Bristol Woods County Park, Pringle Nature Center is encouraging residents to take advantage of the digital “World Migratory Bird Day” celebration this year.

For the past several years, the Hoy Audubon Society of Kenosha and Racine counties, Pringle Nature Center, the Kenosha Public Museum, and the Kenosha County Division of Parks have partnered to celebrate “World Migratory Bird Day” during Pringle’s annual Fall Fun Fest. Both the City of Kenosha and Kenosha County are recognized as “Bird Cities.” To be recognized as a Bird City, a community must meet certain criteria spread across six categories: habitat creation and protection, community forest management, limiting threats to birds, education, energy and sustainability, and the official recognition and celebration of World Migratory Bird Day.

Because Fall Fun Fest was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s World Migratory Bird Day streamed live all day on Facebook on October 8th, 9th, and 10th, 2020. There were over 40 speakers, kid-friendly sessions, interactive quizzes, and movies to enjoy. Visit https://www.birddaylive.com for daily schedules of sessions and speakers.

ABOUT PRINGLE NATURE CENTER

Pringle Nature Center is a private nonprofit organization where people of all ages can experience nature, environmental education, conservation, and stewardship. We are located within Bristol Woods County Park on County MB between County C and County Q in the Village of Bristol. This beautiful park contains upland forest, wetlands, oak savanna remnants, prairie, and lawn areas to explore. Within the woods are four miles of hiking trails used for hiking, educational programming, and snowshoeing/cross country skiing in winter. Pringle Nature Center is normally open year-round Tuesday-Sunday, 9 am-4 pm.

MEDIA CONTACT

Elizabeth Alvey

Naturalist

Pringle Nature Center

(262) 857-8008

 

www.pringlenc.org

Joined Bird City: 2014

Population: 166,426

Incorporated: 1850

Area: 754.0 mi2

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