Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Jefferson Becomes the Newest Bird City

Jefferson Mayor Dale Oppermann and Bird City Wisconsin Director Charles Hagner

The City of Jefferson has become a Bird City.

At a meeting of the Common Council on July 6, 2021, Charles Hagner, director of Bird City Wisconsin, applauded the City for steps it had taken to make the community more bird-friendly.

“I am pleased to be here to recognize the efforts of the City of Jefferson, its public officials, and its conservation-minded residents to make this community a better place for birds — and for people,” Hagner said.

He commended the City for taking many bird-friendly actions, including the following:

  • Converting a 5.4-acre parcel in the floodplain into the Scott Fischer Memorial Rivers Edge Nature Preserve, a natural area along the Rock River
  • Planning the development of a 20-acre nature conservancy on five holes of the former Meadow Springs Golf Club
  • Working, as an Energy Independence Community, to reduce by 25 percent the City’s municipal energy and fuel consumption by the year 2025
  • Being the home of Jefferson Marsh State Wildlife Area and Jefferson Tamarack Swamp State Natural Area, both of which are listed in the Southern Savanna Region of the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail

“Actions like these benefit birds and other wildlife and help build a connection to nature that will show current and future decision makers just how important it is to protect the natural world,” said Hagner.

Cyndi Keller, the director of Jefferson’s Recreation Department, spearheaded the City’s successful application.

In recognition of Jefferson’s accomplishment, it was awarded two street signs and a 3'x5' flag bearing the colorful Bird City logo, a framed, signed commemorative plaque, and a copy of Owen Gromme’s classic book Birds of Wisconsin. Hagner presented the plaque to Mayor Dale W. Oppermann at the council meeting.

A narrative describing the City of Jefferson’s bird-friendly accomplishments, along with a complete list of all communities that have earned recognition as Bird Cities, can be found on the Bird City Wisconsin website.

Bird City Wisconsin was founded in 2009. Modeled on the successful Tree City USA program of the Arbor Day Foundation, it encourages Wisconsin communities to implement sound bird-conservation practices by rewarding those that enhance the environment for birds and educate their citizens about the contributions that birds make to healthy communities.

Bird City Wisconsin is a program of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory in Port Washington.

 

Read more:

Read more about Jefferson.

See a list of all Bird Cities.

Read how your community can become a Bird City.

 

'Discover Wisconsin' Celebrates Birding in Janesville

Discover Wisconsin TV Show

The May 19, 2021, episode of long-running TV program Discover Wisconsin features the City of Janesville and its outdoor attractions. Janesville has been a Bird City since 2013.

Quentin Yoerger, a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology Board of Directors, and Tom Klubertanz, a WSO member and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater professor, introduce viewers to birding opportunities in the city and explain how important it is to protect vital bird habitat.

Located on the Rock River, Janesville boasts over 2,600 acres of parkland, making it an important stopover site for migratory birds. Two of the city's parks -- the Robert O. Cook Memorial Arboretum and Rockport Park -- are favorites of local birders.

 

Read more:

Watch the full episode of 'Discover Wisconsin.'

Read about Janesville.

Robert O. Cook Memorial Arboretum

Rockport Park

 

2021 Small Grants Awarded to Six Communities

Bird City Wisconsin Small Grants

Bird City Wisconsin announced on June 16, 2021, that it will award small grants to six Bird City communities in 2021: Kenosha County, Manitowish Waters, Mequon, New London, Whitewater, and Wisconsin Rapids.

The grants are 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.

This is the second year that Bird City Wisconsin, a program of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory in Port Washington, has awarded small grants, which are available to Bird City communities only.

Read about the 2020 grantees.

“The goal of the small-grants program is to provide a helping hand to Bird City communities that are just a modest funding boost away from accomplishing something really great for birds,” said Bird City Wisconsin Director Chuck Hagner. “We’re delighted to support these six local initiatives, which are just as exciting, and promise to be just as successful, as those we supported with our inaugural grants last year.”

Members of the Bird City board of directors evaluated applications and awarded the 2021 grants based on the urgency of the project, its potential impact, a community’s ability to complete it, the need for funding, and the number of applications received.

The board members awarded a total of $1,575 in grants to the following Bird City communities:

  • To Kenosha County, recognized as a Bird City since 2014: $350 to enable the Pringle Nature Center to purchase collision-prevention materials as part of a project to inform citizens about why birds collide with windows and how to prevent it
  • To Manitowish Waters, a Bird City since 2010 and a High Flyer: $250 for the North Lakeland Discovery Center to improve and create quality habitat at the bird habitat and education station on the Discovery Center’s campus
  • To Mequon, a Bird City since 2010 and a High Flyer: $250 for the Mequon Nature Preserve to add bluebird nest boxes to existing and future restoration areas at the Preserve
  • To New London, a Bird City since 2010 and a High Flyer: $227 to create cutouts of birds to be placed in city parks and at the Mosquito Hill Nature Center
  • To Whitewater, a Bird City since 2014: $250 for the City of Whitewater Urban Forestry Commission to install Purple Martin houses around Whitewater, including at the Arboretum at Starin Park
  • And to Wisconsin Rapids, a Bird City since 2013 and a High Flyer: $248 to purchase Pollinator Palooza seed mix for the prairie established near the Lincoln High School Woodlot

Bird City Wisconsin was created in 2009 and began recognizing communities the following year. It rewards municipalities for the conservation and education activities that they undertake to make their communities healthy for birds... and people.

To earn Bird City status, a community must meet 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. Communities that go above and beyond in their conservation and education programs achieve High Flyer status.

A complete list of Bird Cities and instructions for applying for recognition as a Bird City are available on the Bird City Wisconsin website.

 

Read more:

Bird City Kicks Off Second Year of Small Grants

Read about our 2020 grantees.

View past issues of our free newsletter.

 

City of Wauwatosa Becomes a Bird City

Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride Bird City Wisconsin Director Charles Hagner

The City of Wauwatosa has become a Bird City.

At a hybrid meeting of the Common Council on June 15, 2021, Charles Hagner, director of Bird City Wisconsin, commended the City for steps it had taken to make the community healthier for birds and for people.

“As I hope everyone here knows, a number of good things are happening here in Wauwatosa,” Hagner said. He commended the City for the following actions in particular:

  • For conducting organized bird monitoring in the Forest Exploration Center Woodland and surrounding areas
  • For helping to improve or maintain bird habitat by holding annual and semiannual weed-outs along the Menomonee River
  • For protecting bird habitat by unanimously approving a resolution and an ordinance to reflect a zoning modification to Sanctuary Woods, making it a Special Purpose Conservancy
  • For educating Wauwatosans about sustainability and improving the environment at the annual Tosa Green Summit
  • For promoting green transportation by building a bicycle and pedestrian network that includes 11 miles of bike lanes and 14 miles of shared-use trails, and for encouraging bike sharing by establishing 16 Bublr bike stations
  • And for improving energy efficiency by installing solar panels on the roof of the city’s public works facility, for creating the Solar Tosa Program, and for working to convert the city’s streetlights to LED

“Actions like these benefit birds and other wildlife and help build a connection to nature that will show current and future decision makers just how important it is to protect the natural world,” said Hagner.

Wauwatosa earned recognition as a Bird City in 2020 but delayed its in-person public award ceremony because of the pandemic. Former alderperson Jeff Roznowski, a Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce board member, spearheaded the City’s application.

In recognition of Wauwatosa’s accomplishment, it was awarded two street signs and a 3'x5' flag bearing the colorful Bird City logo, a framed, signed commemorative plaque, and a copy of Owen Gromme’s classic book Birds of Wisconsin. Hagner presented the plaque to Mayor Dennis McBride at the council meeting.

A narrative describing the City of Wauwatosa’s bird-friendly accomplishments, along with a complete list of all communities that have earned recognition as Bird Cities, can be found on the Bird City Wisconsin website.

Bird City Wisconsin was founded in 2009. Modeled on the successful Tree City USA program of the Arbor Day Foundation, it encourages Wisconsin communities to implement sound bird-conservation practices by rewarding those that enhance the environment for birds and educate their citizens about the contributions that birds make to healthy communities.

Bird City Wisconsin is a program of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory in Port Washington.

 

Read more:

Read more about Wauwatosa.

See a list of all Bird Cities.

Read how your community can become a Bird City.

 

Bird City Grants Bolster Habitat in Fond du Lac and Sheboygan

Bird City Wisconsin Grant North Point Park Sheboygan

In May 2020, Bird City Wisconsin awarded small grants to six Bird City communities: Bayfield, Fond du Lac, Madison, Ozaukee County, Sheboygan, and Wausau.

Previously, we reported on how Bayfield used its grant to produce an interpretive sign to go near a new native-plant garden at the Gil Larsen Trailhead, gateway to the Big Ravine Preserve; how Madison created a wet-mesic native prairie on the Starkweather Creek watershed; how Ozaukee County installed nest boxes in restored prairie at two county parks; and how Wausau restored native plantings and erected educational signage on Barker-Stewart Island, located in the Wisconsin River in downtown Wausau.

In this issue, we tell what Fond du Lac and Sheboygan accomplished with their 2020 grants.

Fond du Lac, a High Flyer, has been a Bird City since 2012. Park and forestry superintendent John Redmond reports that the city used its grant to plant a swamp white oak as part of a long-term project to increase bird habitat in Lakeside Park, on the shore of Lake Winnebago. Swamp white oak grows attractive peeling bark, and its acorns are an important food source for birds.

"Our intention is to plant several of these trees along this area over the years," he writes. "If grant money allows, we also intend to plant some understory plant material as well, such as glossy black chokecherry, pagoda dogwood, and American cranberry."

Sheboygan has been a Bird City since 2013. Starr Gerk reports that Sheboygan applied its grant to a general fund set up for the removal of invasive species and the creation of bioswales, rain gardens, and educational signage in the bluff community in North Point Park. The city park is located on a rocky peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan. Its overlook is well known as a good spot to see an exceptional array of birds, especially during spring and fall migrations.

The City of Sheboygan, Lakeshore Natural Resources Partnership, Friends of North Point, Sheboygan River Basin Partnership, and Stantec Consulting Services have been collaborating on the multiyear bluff-restoration project.

Bird City Wisconsin’s small grants are 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.

Bird City will award similar grants again in 2021. Thanks to all of you who have applied! We'll announce the grant recipients in May 2021.

 

Read more:

Read about the City of Fond du Lac, a High Flyer.

Read about Sheboygan.

Bird City Grant Enhances Access to Big Ravine Preserve in Bayfield

Bird City Grant Helps Restore Prairie along Starkweather Creek in Madison

Bird City Grant Helps Install Nest Boxes in Ozaukee County

Bird City Grant Helps Restore Bird Habitat on Barker-Stewart Island