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.