Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Two Months Left to Renew!

January 31 Renewal Due Date

Thanksgiving and the end of November mean that only two months remain for Bird City communities to submit their 2021 renewals.

As in previous years, the entire renewal process can be completed electronically, on the Bird City Wisconsin website. Just log in and then click on "APPLY/RENEW" for detailed instructions and to get started. The renewal fee is $125.

Unlike in previous years, we will not penalize any community that was unable to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day in 2020. We recognize that public health restrictions may have kept you from holding outdoor events or other gatherings this year. In your application, please describe events that you had planned but were unable to do, tell us about events that you held virtually (please include links), and, most important, tell us what you're planning for World Migratory Bird Day in the year to come.

Remember, renewing is how your community can be recognized publicly for the steps it has taken to be friendly to birds and healthy for people. It’s also a great way to let the world know that your hometown is a desirable place to work, live, take a vacation, and do some bird watching, and it signals that you want to be counted in Bird City’s statewide network of conservation advocates. Start work on your renewal today!

Renewals for 2021 are due by January 31.

 

Read more:

How to renew your Bird City status.

Visit our application and renewal page.

See a list or map of Bird City communities.

Contact the director of Bird City Wisconsin.

 

Bird City Grant Helps Restore Prairie along Starkweather Creek in Madison

Madison Starkweather Creek Prairie Seed

In spring 2020, Bird City Wisconsin awarded small grants to six Bird City communities: Bayfield, Fond du Lac, Madison, Ozaukee County, Sheboygan, and Wausau. Here's what the City of Madison accomplished with its award.

Jeff Steele, a board member of both the Friends of Starkweather Creek and Wild Ones Madison, reports that the Friends, the Eken Park Neighborhood Association, Wild Ones, and the City of Madison Engineering Department made excellent progress reclaiming and restoring a small wet-mesic native prairie along Starkweather Creek in Madison.

Bird City Wisconsin contributed $190 to the project. The sum was meant to cover the purchase of a fall bioswale seed mix, but the Engineering Department soon discovered it could provide many of the more common species in the mix from their own collection efforts. “This gave us a rare opportunity to focus our funds on more conservative species not typically included in restorations due to their price,” Jeff writes.

He and his colleagues created a custom seed mix from Prairie Moon Nursery in which they tried to include all the species that John T. Curtis listed in The Vegetation of Wisconsin as members of the wet prairie/sedge meadow continuum. The custom mix ultimately included 40 species of grasses, sedges, and wildflowers.

“Rare species such as hairy valerian, snowy campion, prairie phlox, pale spiked lobelia, and bottle gentian were selected for their showiness and ecological benefit,” Jeff writes. “When combined with the seed collected by our volunteers as well as the seeds from City Engineering, 109 species were placed on the site, providing one of the most diverse, complete wet prairie restoration seedings I have had the pleasure of working with.”

Jeff says he’s hopeful that the seeding will provide an adequate foundation for the site to recover to its pre-settlement condition, serving as an example of how to achieve success in wet prairie restorations and guiding other projects in the watershed.

Bird City Wisconsin's small grants were intended to kickstart local projects that help Bird City communities create and protect bird habitat, educate residents about the many positive interactions between birds and people, and reduce threats to birds.

 

Read more:

Read about Madison, a Bird City since 2013.

Friends of Starkweather Creek.

Bird City awards grants to six communities.

Read how the City of Bayfield used its small grant.

 

Bird City Grant Enhances Access to Big Ravine Preserve in Bayfield

Bayfield Big Ravine Preserve Sign

Earlier this year, Bird City Wisconsin awarded small grants to six Bird City communities: Bayfield, Fond du Lac, Madison, Ozaukee County, Sheboygan, and Wausau. Here's what Bayfield accomplished with its award.

Kate Kitchell, chair of the City of Bayfield’s Parks and Recreation Committee, reports that the city initiated a project to enhance access to and appreciation of the Big Ravine Preserve in 2019.

Located just a block from the city’s downtown, the preserve encompasses over 350 forested acres with a steep watershed and creek that have been protected in a natural state since the 1950s. It includes significant intact habitat for a variety of migratory and breeding birds, as well as other wildlife, and is cherished by Bayfield residents, who use it year-round for enjoying nature, bird watching, and non-motorized recreation.

A component of Bayfield’s enhancement project is creating a gateway to the preserve at the Gil Larsen Trailhead by improving physical access, adding native trees, installing a native plant garden, and describing the natural and cultural history as well as recreational opportunities. Bird City Wisconsin contributed $500 toward the creation of an interpretive sign describing the geographical significance of the Big Ravine and its enchanting forests, colorful birds, and secretive wildlife.

Kate reports that over a dozen species of native plants are now thriving in the preserve’s new native plant garden, and that butterflies, bees, and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were all quick to visit. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic kept the interpretive sign from being created and installed by August, as planned, but Kate reports that the design is complete and the sign will be erected in spring 2021, after the ground thaws.

She also tells us that the Big Ravine saw unprecedented numbers of visitors this year. “We estimate three or four times more users than in previous years, including many family groups with lots of children enjoying the trails, creek, and the beauty of the ravine,” she writes. “Comments were overwhelmingly positive, including surprise about such a gem right in Bayfield’s backyard as well as plans to return.”

Bird City Wisconsin's small grants were intended to kickstart local projects that help Bird City communities create and protect bird habitat, educate residents about the many positive interactions between birds and people, and reduce threats to birds.

 

Read more:

Read about Bayfield, a Bird City since 2012.

Big Ravine Preserve and Nature Preserve.

Bird City awards grants to six communities.

Read how the City of Madison used its small grant.

 

Bird City Wisconsin Welcomes Two New Cities

Bird City Wisconsin

Bird City Wisconsin is happy to announce the recognition of a pair of new Bird Cities in 2020: Greenfield and Wauwatosa.

Greenfield

Greenfield’s application process was led by Renee Rollman, an engineering specialist with the city. Greenfield was recognized for its work to control invasive plant species, its longtime status as a Tree City USA, and especially for its recent restoration of Pondview Park, a 6.69-acre special open space area located in the eastern part of the city.

Established around neighborhood retention basins as part of a senior residential housing development, the park is planted with native wetland trees, shrubs, and wildflowers that provide shelter and food for waterfowl and other birds, and features an asphalt trail loop with interpretive signage. In spring 2018, the city cleared buckthorn and other invasive plants that were encroaching on the edge of the pond.

Wauwatosa

Jeff Roznowski, a board member of the Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce, spearheaded Wauwatosa’s application. The city was recognized for a host of bird-friendly actions, including its longtime status as a Tree City USA; weed-outs and cleanups along the Menomonee River; conducting regular bird monitoring in the 60-acre maple-beech forest known as the Woodland as well as in parks in Wauwatosa; and especially for the unanimous 2019 approval of a zoning modification for a cherished parcel of land known as Sanctuary Woods.

Located east of I-41 and north of Wisconsin Avenue, 55-acre Sanctuary Woods is a small but important portion of the 1,200 acres of city land covered by the Life Sciences District Master Plan adopted by the Wauwatosa Common Council in late 2018. The area has long been known to shelter flying squirrels, Butler’s garter snakes, and other interesting wildlife, and it is well known as a haunt for Long-eared Owls and other birds and as a stopover site for migrating Monarch butterflies, yet it was not zoned as a Conservancy prior to approval of the plan. This designation was made permanent thanks to the modification adopted in December. The new zoning status (Special Purpose Conservancy, SP-CON) ensures that Sanctuary Woods is now part of an overall contiguous area of 500 acres of environmental green space that will be protected as important wildlife habitat into perpetuity.

The two Milwaukee-area communities bring to 111 the number of communities that have been recognized as Bird Cities since the program was begun in 2009.

Reminder

The end of October means that it’s time for Bird City communities to start work on their 2021 renewals.

Renewing is how your community can be recognized publicly for the steps it has taken to be friendly to birds and healthy for people. It’s also a great way to let the world know that your hometown is a desirable place to work, live, take a vacation, and do some bird watching, and it signals that you want to be counted in Bird City’s statewide network of conservation advocates.

Get started now! You can complete the entire renewal process electronically, on the Bird City Wisconsin website. Renewals for 2021 are due by January 31.

 

Read more:

How to renew your Bird City status.

Visit our application and renewal page.

See a list or map of Bird City communities.

Contact the director of Bird City Wisconsin.

 

ABC Seeks Coordinator for New Bird City Americas Program

American Bird Conservancy

The American Bird Conservancy, which is celebrating 25 years of conserving wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas, is seeking to hire a coordinator for its new Bird City Americas initiative.

This will be a full-time position, and the successful applicant will be able to work remotely or can choose to join an existing ABC office in either Washington, DC, or in The Plains, Virginia.

The Bird City Americas coordinator will work closely with Bird City Americas Director Bryan Lenz to launch and run the new Bird City Americas initiative, a program being created in partnership with Environment for the Americas.

Bird City Americas will scale up the community conservation model created by Bird City Wisconsin, which has recognized 111 communities for their commitment to bird conservation since the program was launched in 2009. The goal is to build a hemisphere-wide network that provides recognition, guidance, and encouragement to communities focused on habitat protection/management, education, and other actions to reduce threats to birds and make communities better places for people.

You can read ABC’s job posting on ZipRecruiter. It reads as follows:

The Bird City Americas coordinator should understand bird and community conservation as well as environmental education. Experience with community certification programs is a plus. The coordinator should be an organized, detail-oriented, analytical, and deadline-driven person who understands the value, formation, and maintenance of partnerships and the importance of flexibility in pursuit of overarching program goals.

The successful candidate will also be a people person who is quick on their feet and able to lead organizations considering joining the Bird City Americas program. An understanding of what motivates different segments of the population to take conservation and education action is also required.

Public speaking skills are a must. Experience in Latin America and Canada, along with some proficiency in Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, and French, will be considered a plus.

Primary duties:

  1. Help to develop the program’s structure and materials, including the website (with an external developer) and all program documents in coordination with the Bird City Americas Director and input from Environment for the Americas.
  2. Build connections with existing Bird City programs and work to see them become a part of the Bird City Americas network.
  3. Serve as facilitator of the Bird City Steering Committee and maintain and organize the committee records and information.
  4. Recruit and train organizations interested in starting new Bird City programs in the United States.
  5. Manage the hemisphere-wide Bird City Americas network in partnership with the Bird City Americas Director.
  6. Innovate to develop new features as the Bird City program grows and evolves.
  7. Develop, update, and help to manage annual budgets.
  8. Work with the Development Team to seek funding for the Bird City Americas program itself and to help provide resources for local programs and communities within the network.
  9. Work within ABC to ensure that ABC staff and programs maximize their contributions to Bird City Americas and that Bird City Americas multiplies the impact of ABC’s programs.

Position requirements:

  1. Bachelor’s degree and at least five years of experience in environmental conservation, education or community recognition.
  2. Proven track record of working with partners at high levels to achieve significant programmatic outcomes.
  3. Knowledge of birds and bird conservation, especially related to urban/suburban conservation and threats to birds.
  4. Ability to innovate to create added value for the program and to solve challenging problems that will arise during the creation of a new program.
  5. Ability to work independently, efficiently, and accurately in a deadline-oriented position.
  6. Ability to work with a wide range of people from a wide range of cultures while always maintaining a sense of humor and a positive attitude.
  7. Excellent communication (writing, in-person, and public speaking) and organizational skills. Some ability in Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, or French will be a plus.
  8. Ability to travel to throughout the Western Hemisphere (primarily North America).
  9. Dedication to ABC’s mission.

 

Read more:

Go to ABC’s job posting on ZipRecruiter.

Read more about American Bird Conservancy.