Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

City of New London

City of New London

HIGH FLYER

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.

In 2007, the City of New London adopted the “Year 2030 Comprehensive Plan” and has been in compliance 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)

The greater New London area has a large number of park settings for bird habitat. Monitoring results from researchers and local volunteers were obtained for the following events:

  1. Wood Duck nest box monitoring at Mosquito Hill Nature Center and Hatten Park. (citizen-based monitoring)
  2. Bluebird nesting box trail monitoring at MHNC. (citizen-based monitoring)
  3. Seasonal bird sightings at Mosquito Hill Nature Center reported to the Wisconsin Society of Ornithology. (citizen-based monitoring)
  4. Prothonotary Warbler nest box monitoring by Mosquito Hill Nature Center staff.
  5. Mosquito Hill Nature Center staff monitores American Kestrel boxes east of town.

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)

Municipal Code 9.15(2) states, “No person shall in any manner deface or injure any building, tree, shrub or plant or other property standing or growing in the parks and no person shall disturb or interfere with any improvements made of being made in or about the parks, or interfere with any birds or animals found therein.”

Additionally, Mosquito Hill Nature Center, an Outagamie County Park, is established and protected under Outagamie County, WI Ordinance Article 1 Section 40-1 stating, “Park includes any river or lake access site or any other area owned or supervised by the County and intended for public recreation and public education in conservation and nature study.”

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

The City of New London gardener continues to expand a clover-leaf shaped garden at Memorial Park that was established in the summer of 2018. The lobes of the clover shape radiate from the 9-11 Memorial. Each lobe features plants that offer birds berries or seeds in the fall/winter and cover/nectar in the summer. The land surrounding the memorial is currently turfgrass. 

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 New London Parks and Recreation Department offers information regarding removal and control of invasive species. Publications are available for residents at the department’s walk-up counter. Additionally, Mosquito Hill Nature Center has publications available and information posted throughout the property, including in the main interpretive building and in several spots along trails, regarding the removal 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.

Central Sands Prairie Region booklet shows that the New London area has two sites recognized as points of interest on the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail. Site 62 is the Mukwa State Wildlife Area which is the western border of the City of New London. Site 64 is the Waupaca County Sturgeon Trail which is directly southwest of the City.

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

Throughout 2020, staff at Mosquito Hill Nature Center worked to remodel the outdoor bird/wildlife feeding station near the main building.  The initial stages of the project included removing a large hazard tree, removing of an old man-made pond, relocationg desireable landscaping plants and removing unwanted shrubs, vines and weeds.  A new, more bird friendly pond was constructed.  Several native shrubs and plants were planted around the pond and area to provide food and cover.  A photo/observation blind was constructed to create an inviting space for students and visitors to enjoy the feeding station up close.  New feeding station posts were built and installed.  Nature Center staff plan to finish remodeling the area in the spring of 2021.

Throughout 2020, staff at Mosquito Hill Nature Center continued work on restoring a 10+ acre area of old field back to prairie and oak savanna for bird and butterfly habitat. The first phase of the project included mowing and using a brush hog to remove brush and brambles that were over taking the area. Efforts were made to eliminate invasive species encroaching on the edge of the restoration project and resurfacing following mowing operations. A 4 acre portion of the area was sprayed with herbicide and disked in the fall of 2020.  This was followed by planting of several Bur and Swamp White Oak trees and the spreading of prairie plant seeds.  Additinal Oak trees and prairie seed will be added to the area over the course of 2021 and 2022.  The site, especially where the current planting took place, will be continually monitored for invasives with mowing and prescribed burns happening frequently into the future.

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

The City gardener removed invasives, such as barberry, from several gardens and parks throughout the city of New London. It was replaced with cotoneaster and lavender. The New London Parks department typically hosts a "Tug-a-Suckle" event each April in Haten Park where volunteers helped to pull honeysuckle and other invasives and replace them with fruit trees.  This event was unable to happen in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Staff and volunteers at Mosquito Hil Nature Center worked throughout the park property to remove several invasive species in 2020 including wild parsnip, buckthorn, autumn olive, purple loosestrife and barberry. Efforts and plans are in place to continue removal and to monitor for new infestations into 2021.

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.).

Students from Catalyst Charter School in New London helped with wood duck box monitoring at Mosqito Hill on February 13, 2020.  Students learned about Wood Duck ecology, how to identify eggs and nest usage, cleaned out boxes, and recorded the data.  

In the fall of 2019, a Boy Scout completed his Eagle Scout project which involved making new Bird Trail signs for the Mosquito Hill property.  The signs installed along the trail system in the spring of 2020.

Another Boy Scout completed his Eagle Scout project which was to make and install 25 new Wood Duck nesting boxes on the Mosquito Hill Nature Center property during the Summer and Fall of 2020.

Another Boy Scout completed two projects for Mosquito Hill during 2020 to earn his Eagle Scout and Conservation awards.  His project involved helping to restore the oak savanna and prairie area mentioned in section 1L.

In the Fall of 2020, a Boy Scout started working on his Eagle Scout project which involves some additional signage inside the Mosquito Hill Nature Center building that highlights species likely to be seen at bird feeding stations.  These signs are meant to be an extension of, or introduciton to, the current outdoor birding trail.  His project also includes making displays that draw attention to and educate the public about the various nesting boxes found around the nature center property.  His project will be completed in February of 2021.

S. Demonstrate how a public golf course is managed to benefit birds.

The Shamrock Heights Golf Course Superintendent, Cory Kluge, states that no avian control or avoidance measures are taken to prevent birds from using the grounds. They have Bluebird houses throughout the course and strive to use native plants in their cultivated areas, leaving the grass longer in other areas that don’t need to be mowed.

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.)

Mosquito Hill Nature Center is a birding Hot Spot on eBird and has a designated birding trail.  This includes signs along the trail system in various locations that certain birds may be found.  Each sign has detailed information about the biology of different bird species and highlights certain habitat types.  There are maps available to help guide visitors through the trail.

In the Fall of 2020, a Boy Scout started working on his Eagle Scout project which involves some additional signage inside the Mosquito Hill Nature Center building that highlights species likely to be seen at bird feeding stations.  These signs are meant to be an extension of, or introduciton to, the current outdoor birding trail.  His project also includes making displays that draw attention to and educate the public about the various nesting boxes found around the nature center property.  His project will be completed in February of 2021.

Community Forest Management

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

The city of New London continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 1993. In 5 of those years the city also received the Arbor Day Foundation’s Growth Award.

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 City of New London offers brochures on "Cats Indoors!" at the Park and Recreation office and at the Mosquito Hill Nature Center building. 

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

Mosquito Hill Nature Center and City Hall in New London provide brochures to help residents understand what they can do to prevent window strikes. Windows along the bird feeding areas near the building at Mosquito Hill Nature Center offer a visual demonstration of types of bird strike prevention. The screens were put in place by the Northeast Wisconsin Birding Club.

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. 

Schools from New London and several other local communities and beyond visit Mosquito Hill Nature Center annually.  While at Mosquito Hill Nature Center, students participate in a wide variety of environmental education lessons led by trained staff and volunteer naturalists.  Some lessons were developed at Mosquito Hill Nature Center to highlight specific aspects that the unique property has to offer.  Other lessons taught come directly from programs including Flying WILD, Project Learning Tree, Project WET, Project WILD, and Project WILD Aquatic, to name a few.

The New London Public Museum has a Bird Trunk available to be checked out by area teachers. Classes that borrow the trunk often follow-up with a tour of the Bird section of the Museum during which they compare feet and beaks of different birds on exhibit.  Additionally, three bird-based scavenger hunts are available at the museum for visitors to interact with the avian exhibits.

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 City of New London participates in several citizen science bird monitoring programs each year. Events for 2020 were as follows:

    1. Midwest Crane Count: official count cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic
    2. Christmas Bird Count - Shiocton:  December 18, 2020
    3. Chimney Swift Counts: August 18 - 30 at 3 downtown New London locations

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

Members of the Northeast Wisconsin Birding Club participate in many of the bird monitoring programs and efforts that take place within New London throughout the year. They also bring educational offerings (speakers) to the community approximately six times per year.

Mosquito Hill Nature Center and The Feather Rehab staff and volunteers monitored 2 American Kestrel nest boxes along Rogers Road and 8 Prothonotary Warbler nest boxes on Nature Center property.

Students from Catalyst Charter School in New London helped with Wood Duck nest box monitoring in February of 2020.

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).

Mosquito Hill Nature Center has interpretive displays highlighting the importance of bees and other pollinators. These displays include 4 outside honeybee hives and 1 observatory honeybee hive located inside the interpretive building. Each year in September, Mosquito Hill Nature Center hosts a "Honey Sunday" event which is a day celebration that invites the public to learn about bee keeping, how honey is made, and the important role bees and pollinators play in the environment and our lives.

H. Document a substantial regular program that educates young people on any of the following topics: climate change, energy efficiency, green/bird-safe buildings, or environmental sustainability.

Mosquito Hill Nature Center has an interpretive display that highlights clean energy and energy efficiency. The display includes a pedal-power bike that allows users to experience the amount of energy needed to power different types of light bulbs and other household items. The display also includes a solar panel and wind turbine that charge a battery and demonstrate clean electricity. Also highlighted in the display are energy efficient and environmentally friendly building supplies for residential homes.

When school groups eat lunch while at Mosquito Hill Nature Center they participate in a "Lunch Waste" program. Nature Center staff members discuss with students what happens to the various items they bring in their lunches. Students learn the difference between trash going to a landfill, recyclable items, and compostable items. Staff then help students understand what items from their lunch can go in each category. This lesson is designed to teach students ways of being more sustainable in their daily lives and limiting what they send to landfills. This lesson is complimented by large, interpretive compost displays at Mosquito Hill.

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)

Mosquito Hill Nature Center in New London hosts the meetings of the Northeast Wisconsin Bird Club.  Brochures promoting the club and club events are available at the nature center building and Bird Club events are promoted and shared by the the nature center.

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 City of New London Parks and Recreation Department worked with naturalists from Mosquito Hill Nature Center to create and post an online video that highlighted the fall migration of Great Egrets in the New London area during the fall of 2020.  Planning has been taking place to expand the video series to highlight other unique bird species and migrations in New London in 2021.

The City of New London and the Wolf River Art League have been completing a murial project on the sides of many downtown businesses.  Several murials depict native birds and other Wisconsin wildlife and nature scenes.  An effort is being made to place informational signage on or near each murial.  Signs would include information about the animal and/or scene depicted and raise awareness of that local resource.

Four spring bird hikes were offered at Mosquito Hill Nature Center in 2020.  These hikes are led by staff naturalists and both novice and advanced birders alike are invited to take part.

Mosquito Hill Nature Center hosts several public programs each year that include a live bird programs put on by The Feather Wildlife Rehabilitation/Education Center.  Multiple programs were scheduled for 2020 but all had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

The New London Public Museum has a Bird Trunk available to be checked out by area teachers. Classes that borrow the trunk often follow-up with a tour of the Bird section of the Museum during which they compare feet and beaks of different birds on exhibit.  Additionally, three bird-based scavenger hunts are available at the museum for visitors to interact with the avian exhibits.

 Bird trail signs around the Mosquito Hill Nature Center property highlight various bird species native to the area.  The signs also draw attention to the nesting boxes that some of the species utilize and that are monitored at the property.

L. Show that your community works with traditionally underserved communities to increase their access to natural areas, environmental education, birding resources, and local environmental experts.

Mosquito Hill Nature Center hosts a Memory Cafe event the second Wednesday of each month. These events welcome individuals experiencing early stage dementia, mild memory loss or cognitive impairment, as well as family and friends of those affected. The Memory Cafe events are held at Mosquito Hill Nature Center and frequently include presentations and activities led by staff naturalists.  In 2020, due to the pandemic, several of these Memory Cafe events were hosted online including a wagon ride, a native wildflower hike and a canoe paddle.

Mosquito Hill Nature Center provides environmental education programs and lessons to several schools and organizations in the local area that have diverse student bodies. Mosquito Hill Nature Center serves schools from more urban settings include Appleton High School English Language Learners, Lincoln School in Appleton, Washington Middle School in Green Bay, and Tipler Middle School in Oshkosh.  Mosquito Hill Nature Center has also serves numerous local schools including Tigerton Elementary School, Weyauwega-Freemont Elementary School, Lincoln School in New London, and Catalyst Charter School in New London.  These schools regularly schedule field trips to Mosquito Hill.

Mosquito Hill Nature Center provided environmental education lessons to youth from the Appleton and Green Bay Boys and Girls Clubs.

Energy & Sustainability

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

The New London Aquatic & Fitness Center has been making progress toward updating the efficiency of its building for a few years.  Updates have inlcluded the electrical systems, HVAC units, chemical controllers, lights, and some other smaller projects.

In 2020, Mosquito Hill Nature Center continued updating lighting.  The Nature Center will continue working towards replacing old, ballasted florescent tube lights throughout the building with LED lights and changing over light bulbs to efficient LED bulbs throughout the coming years. All upstairs lighting in the "newer/addition" portion of the main building are now switched over to LED bulbs and fixtures.

H. Describe your community’s efforts to educate residents about climate change.

At Mosquito Hill Nature Center, climate change and its impacts are brought up and discussed as they relate to most of the lessons and activities that are taught.  Most of the property consists of flood plain forest along the Wolf River which lends itself to many discussions about the impacts of rising water levels and increased rain/flooding events.  Whether leading lessons about migration, insects, wetland ecology, habitats, adaptations, succession, or even snowshoeing, staff naturalists educate visitors about the impacts being seen from climate change.

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.

The City of New London planned to recognize World Migratory Bird Day in late April of 2020. Unfortunately, the event had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. The plan was to hold and event at Mosquito Hill Nature Center to celebrate WMBD and Earth Day.  Plans for the day included a bird hike, migration program, climate change program, and native plant sale. The main speaker for the day was to be George Meyer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and past WI DNR Secretary.

For 2021, the City of New London hopes to be able to host an in-person event to celebrate WMBD.  The current plan is to hold an event in June with hopes that it can be mainly outdoors and that most gathering restrictions due to the pandemic might be lifted.  Though it will take place following the main spring migration, it will allow people to celebrate the "return" of all our summer bird species.  The event will be an "open house" with a dedication and unveiling of a newly remodeled bird feeding area at Mosquito Hill Nature Center.  The plans for the day include a bird hike, presentations about backyard bird feeding, and a native plant sale. Additional educational and recreational opportunities will be held for young and old and those in between! Loaner binoculars will be available.

Joined Bird City: 2010

Population: 7,295

Incorporated: 1877

Area: 5.8 mi2

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