Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Village Williams Bay

Community Achievements

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 Village of Williams Bay has adopted and approved an ordinance that is in compliance with Wisconsin’s “Smart Growth” law for land use planning and resource management and continues to remain in compliance.

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)

Christmas Bird Count by Lakeland Audubon Society members, friends and citizens

Great Backyard Bird Count by Lakeland Audubon Society members, friends and citizens

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)

A large percentage of the Village of Williams Bay has legal protection of bird habitat that goes far beyond its conservational tree laws. Among the protected areas is the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy, a municipally owned 231-acre area set aside in 1989 to insure “the protection of this fragile shoreland-wetland area for future generations.”  (This was documented with a zoning map of the village showing Kishwauketoe, copies of web pages about its history, a brochure, and a copy of the ordinances protecting 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.

Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy offers regular press releases, work days, and workshops involving control and removal of invasive species, hosts an event calendar, and advertises on its Facebook page. The Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy is fortunate to have a Master’s Degree trained botanist on staff to plan and lead various restoration projects. This individual also leads numerous educational walks through the conservancy.

The Geneva Lake Environmental Agency, based in Williams Bay, regularly prints information in its newsletter about the dangers of invasive species and encouraging their removal. Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy holds regular volunteer workdays to remove invasive species and publicizes the issue in the local newspaper.

H. Show that the local Chamber of Commerce or a similar group (e.g., an Audubon chapter, Wild Ones, etc.) takes an active role in the planning process for protecting and enlarging favorable bird habitat.

The Village's Parks & Recreation Department along with the Lakeland Audubon established a community garden that includes plants favored by birds and butterflies

K. Implement a tree risk policy (see pg. 153) designed to leave dead trees standing as nesting and foraging resources for birds when it is safe to do so.

The Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy routinely leaves snags (dead tree trunks) in place throughout the 231 acre conservancy as long as they are not in danger of falling on a walking trail or path.

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

Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy removed and eliminated invasive Buckthorn and replanted native plants, wildflowers, grasses and sedges in an approximate 5 acrea area of the conservancy during 2017. Additional work is underway throughout 2018 for more acreage.

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

This is routine on-going work throughout the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy throughout the year.

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.).

An Eagle Scout candidate recently completed a project in the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy to construct and install a variety of bee habitat "houses", including drilling a variety of sized holes in snags in order to attract bees and other pollinators.

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.)

The Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy has a well-established Blue Bird trail located to 3 primary areas of the conservancy property.

Community Forest Management

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

The Village of Williams Bay continues to be recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation following its initial award in 2001. Again in 2017, approximately 450 school children from numerous Geneva Lake area elementary schools participated in the planting of approximately 75 trees in the Village’s Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy in celebration of Arbor Day. This is an annual on-going event at the premier nature conservancy, and continues to build high quality bird habitat.

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.

Only native trees and shrubs are planted in the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy while there is an on-going effort to eliminate invasive and non-natie species.

F. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

Harold J. Friestad, Chairman of Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy, located in the Village of Williams Bay, was selected to receive Gathering Waters:  Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts Harold “Bud” Jordahl Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. Harold was responsible for the Village’s acquisition of the 231 acre parcel that is now Kishwauketoe during the time that he served as Village President; he continues to serve Kishwauketoe as Chairman and remains very active in conservation workday projects throughout the year. Kishwauketoe continues to improve as a high quality bird habitat.

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.

Cats Indoors!” brochures are available and on display both at the Williams Bay Village Hall and at Williams Bay’s Barrett Memorial Library. In addition, the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy continues to seek formal designation as a “Dark Sky Park” by the Dark Sky initiative in Wisconsin.

H. Document that your community operates a significant Lights Out program that dims building lights to reduce collisions during spring and fall migration or that you have an outdoor lighting ordinance that includes Lights Out during bird migration.

The Village of Williams Bay is fortunate to be the home of the University of Chicago's Yerkes Observatory. Ever since the establishment of the observatory in 1897, the Village has tightly controlled artificial light pollution through strict lighting ordinances, including lighted signs. For example, lighted business signs are required to be turned off at the close of business each day and not left on all night. The Village also restricts electronic flashing or scrolling signs.

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. 

Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy offers a KISH-CAMP outdoor education program for children each summer. In September, 2017, approximately 40 community high school students participated in a volunteer workday at Kishwauketoe led by the high school biology teacher. More than 450 grade school children participate in an Arbor Day tree planting program each May at Kishwauketoe.

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 Lakeland Audubon Society meets monthly at the Lyon’s Field House in Williams Bay. Members participate in both the Great Backyard Bird Count and the Christmas Bird Count on a yearly basis. Village Trustee James Killian, who also serves as the Village Board representative to the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy Board, manages and monitors 18 Blue Bird boxes located throughout the nature conservancy’s 231 acres.

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

Each year, the Village’s Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy hosts an Arbor Day celebration event with the planting of a large number of trees by classes of elementary school children accompanied by their teachers and parent assistants. Each group of children that plants a tree is also accompanied by a Kishwauketoe volunteer, who also discusses the benefits of tree planting including for the bird population.

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).

An Eagle Scout candidate constructed and installed a variety of bee hotels in Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy.

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)

Williams Bay is the monthly meeting location for the Lakeland Audubon Society. Village Trustee James Killian completed training during 2017 as both a Master Gardener and as a Master Naturalist Instructor; he participates in garden digs with the nearby Fontana Garden Club and focuses his work on native plants.

Energy & Sustainability

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.

The Village has initiated the construction of a bike trail and added bike lanes on a portion of WI State Highway 67 through the assistance of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

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.

Williams Bay Village Trustee James Killian will again co-lead a bird walk through Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy in recognition of International Migratory Bird Day. This event is scheduled to occur on Saturday, May 12, 2018 from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. This event is publicized on the Village’s community calendar, posted on the Village website, and with the Lakeland Audubon Society and their members/friends.

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Community Details

Joined Bird City: 2010

Population: 2,582

Incorporated: 1919

Area: 2.8 mi2

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