Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Village of Newburg

HIGH FLYER

Community Achievements

Habitat Creation, Protection, and Monitoring

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)

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is annually performed in the Francis “Fritz” Falkner and Fireman’s Park in Newburg. Riveredge Nature Center (RNC) is located in Newburg and organizes Newburg’s annual Christmas Bird Count. It's conducted by numerous volunteers within a 15-mile diameter circle centered at HWY 33 and Lakeland Road. Data from previous years can be obtained from Riveredge. The CBC has been coordinated by RNC since 1969. The RNC count has ranked among the top five counts in WI for number of species counted and is usually second only to Madison in having the largest number of observers: about 100 in total. Results of the CBC are available on the National Audubon website.

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

Newburg has recently established two new parks, the Francis “Fritz” Falkner Park and the Freedom Park. The Newburg dam was removed during the summer of 2012 so major shoreline restoration is underway in Falkner Park. Roughly 25 small oaks and tamaracks were planted. The banks have been terraced and covered with burlap. Additional plantings of native trees and shrubs have been done since then and are flourishing. What was once brown is now green in the summer months!  A handicap accessible canoe/kayak ramp has been installed and is well used. The osprey platform that was erected near the site of the old dam has caught the eye of a pair of bald eagles but they have yet to make a nest on it.

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.

Riveredge Nature Center owns 379 acres in the Village of Newburg.  A Pull-A-Thon to control garlic mustard and Dame's rocket throughout the property is held every May. The pull-a-thon is a competition fundraiser and a way for people to join together and have a positive impact on their environment. Instructions on the identification and proper removal of invasives will be given before the event begins. Join the fun but please wear work boots and long pants.

Riveredge Nature Center also offers a Wildscaping Program. Wildscape projects include but are not limited to –

  • Ecological inventory (plants, animals and communities on the site; landscape history; bird walks; bug walks; plant walks)
  • Wildscape design (butterfly gardens, prairie establishment, site planning, woodland plantings)
  • Wetland delineation
  • Stewardship training and invasive species management

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.

Riveredge Nature Center (RNC) is listed on page 47 of the Lake Michigan region of the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail.

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

Riveredge Nature Center (RNC) in Newburg has worked with Eco-Resource Consulting (ERC) to oversee the planning and development process of a riverbank restoration project. Necessary permits were obtained and the plans were modified to meet permitting agency requirements. In the spring & summer the staff & volunteers worked with ERC to complete the stabilization and restoration of several hundred feet of shoreline on its property along the Milwaukee River to prevent further erosion of the banks. Phase three of the project  included the construction and installation of an ADA boardwalk and river entry.  

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.).

Riveredge is offering a workshop entitled “Box Building for Birds” for the public (including scout groups) on Sat. March 17, 2018 from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Participants will learn how to attract cavity-nesting birds like wrens, bluebirds, and other small cavity nester. Different nest box styles will be discussed and the basics of how to build them, where to place them and how to maintain them will be covered. At the end of this workshop bird lovers will “make and take” a small wren house home with them.

Is your yard bird-friendly? Just in time for spring planting, Mariette Nowak, author of the book “Birdscaping in the Midwest” will present a program by the same name at Riveredge on April 3, 2018 from 7:00-9:00PM. She also is the former director of the Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County, where she served for 18 years.

In spring 2017 staff from the Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department erected a kestrel box at Riveredge as part of the American Kestrel Partnership which was founded in response to long-term population declines of kestrels in North America, The Peregrine Fund's American Kestrel Partnership is unifying the data-generating capacity of citizen scientists with the research expertise of professional scientists to advance conservation of the American Kestrel.  It consists of more than 600 partners who are monitoring and recording data from more than 1,400 kestrel nests, from Alaska to Argentina.

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.

Roughly 25 small oaks and tamaracks were planted in Francis “Fritz” Falkner Park in Newburg since the dam was removed. They've added biodiversity, bank stability and color to the park and community. Native trees and shrubs are also being planted along city streets as well as in the parks on an ongoing basis to replace EAB infested ash trees.  Over the past summer native grasses and forbs were planted along the Milwaukee River in Fireman's Park which is adjacent to Falkner Park. The plantings were part of a bank stabilization initiative the Community Rivers partnership provided for the Village of Newburg.

F. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

As the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation spreads, the Village of Newburg is working with WI DNR forester, Julie Peltier, from Pike Lake State Forest to slow its spread in the community. Measures they’ve taken include removal of ash trees in Firemen’s Park, in downtown Newburg as well as trees along city streets.

Riveredge Nature Center is involved with an ongoing forest management study program in conjunction with UW-Stevens Point School of Forestry. In the coming years trees that are unhealthy or are negatively impacting the general health of our forests will be removed, including the removal of dead ash infested with EAB. In addition to the active management activities, student interns will conduct research on changes of the flora within the forest due to these management activities. Interns have erected, surveyed and monitored five deer exclosures to get baseline data on the impact deer are having on forest flora.

Riveredge will be offering a Winter Identification and Management of Native and Invasive Species class on January 25, 2018 from 9:00 am - 3:30 pm.  Participants will learn how to identify, manage and monitor trees and shrubs during the dormant season with Riveredge restoration ecologists, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, and UW Extension weed specialists. This field course will take place almost entirely outside, so please dress for the weather and please bring your own lunch. Free invasive plant identification/management guides will be provided!

We also offer two SAWW classes on May 7 & May 14, 2018 during which class members will  practice techniques to operate chainsaws safely.  Level 2 participants will have the opportunity to fell at least one tree at Riveredge that has been infected with Emerald Ash Borers.

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.

Newburg straddles the line between Washington & Ozaukee Counties. Human societies in both counties offer information about controlling free roaming cats (click here, here, and here).

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

Village residents can purchase Window Alert decals to prevent birds from striking windows at Riveredge Nature Center. Riveredge is also registered as a bird safe building with the Wisconsin Humane Society and has information available for residents on its website regarding how to minimize bird collisions with windows.

J. Document that your community has registered a municipal building(s) in the Wisconsin Humane Society’s WIngs BirdSafe Business program AND show that this building has made an effort to reduce window collisions (see “Things that can be done at businesses”).

The following is an excerpt from the WI Humane Society website about Riveredge Nature Center’s efforts to make our building “bird safe”.

Participating Member Locations

The skies are safer for migrating birds thanks to the dedication and exceptional efforts from the following organizations. These companies have chosen to follow the Wisconsin Humane Society's Wildlife Rehabilitation Center guidelines and reduced the chance of birds being injured by employing light reductions at night and using products specially designed to stop daytime collisions.

Riveredge Nature Center

The Riveredge Nature Center in Saukville, Wisconsin minimizes or extinguishes night lighting between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. during migration periods (mid-August through October, and mid-March through May). They also reduce perimeter lighting and reduce daytime collisions by applying window clings, CollidEscap e, or BirdScreens, etc.to windows.

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. 

Steve Kupcho, John Stathus and Mary Holleback (Riveredge Bird Club members) have provided numerous Flying Wild training sessions to teachers at many of the local schools. Students from area schools, especially St. John’s Lutheran School, have attended bird and general nature classes at Riveredge Nature Center.

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).

Riveredge Nature Center, located in Newburg, conducts a Birdathon/Bandathon in mid-May, which sometimes coincides with the spring migration and International Migratory Bird Day. The birding and banding season here is kicked-off with this event. The objective of this event is to count and/or band as many species of birds as possible on the property during a 24-hour period and to inform the public about the problems that birds encounter during migration.

A trail of roughly 25 bluebird boxes is also monitored weekly from April to September at the RNC. The purpose of the trail is to increase the production of bluebirds and other cavity-nesting birds on the property. Data has been collected at Riveredge since 1980 and analyzed to determine such things as habitat management, box design, or the best box placement options.

The State Natural Areas Breeding Bird Survey has been done here since the late 1980s. Its purpose is to determine breeding bird densities along Riveredge Creek four times during June and July. Newburg & RNC are also located within one of the WI Breeding Bird Atlas II priority blocks. The second atlas started in 2015 and will continue for four more years. It’s a comprehensive field survey that documents the distribution and abundance of birds breeding in an area. Information will allow us to see changes in populations since the last survey five years ago and to measure future changes. These insights will help identify conservation needs of breeding birds and help us to try to meet those needs.

The year is brought to a close by another annual tradition, the Riveredge Christmas Bird Count. From dawn ‘til dusk teams of birders count winter birds in the field or at their feeders within a 15 mile diameter circle around Newburg. Results of the count are used to study the effects of seed crop fluctuations, weather, and the influence of humans on bird populations.

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.

An Osprey platform has been erected in the Francis "Fritz" Falkner Park at the site of the former Newburg dam. Several adult Bald Eagles have frequently been observed in this area including on a Christmas Bird Count. Osprey platforms have also been erected within roughly 5 miles of Newburg near Hwy I & Cold Springs Rd., on Mud Lake and Watt’s Lake. Osprey have been seen on the Hwy I platform

International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD)

A. This community's municipal body passed the required International 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 International Migratory Bird Day website. To see what other Bird City communities have done in the past, please view some other profiles on our website.

Riveredge Nature Center in Newburg sponsors birding events and hikes throughout the month of May to encourage people to experience the spring migration and learn more about the wonderful world of birds. Friday morning hikes with Paul Boyer give them the opportunity to see new birds arriving daily from migration. Citizens can meet birders and ornithologists at a bird banding station and see the birds up close as they were banded during the N.J.C. Bird Club Birdathon/Bandathon in mid-May. They even may get to release a bird back into the wild at this event. The Birdathon/Bandathon has been designated as Newburg’s IMBD celebration.

In 2018 the Village of Newburg has chosen May 12th to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day at Riveredge Nature Center. Residents who are interested in birds are  encouraged to attend the annual Birdathon/Bandathon held at Riveredge Nature Center and sponsored by the Noel J. Cutright Bird Club. The event, which usually tallies 100+ bird species, runs from 8 a.m. to noon at Riveredge and involves bird banding and group bird hikes. For further information consult Riveredge’s website.

Community Details

Joined Bird City: 2011

Population: 1,254

Incorporated: 1973

Area: 0.89 mi2

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