Bird City Wisconsin announced on May 27, 2020, that it will award small grants to six Bird City communities: Bayfield, Fond du Lac, Madison, Ozaukee County, Sheboygan, and Wausau.
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 first year that Bird City Wisconsin, a program of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory in Port Washington, has awarded small grants. The grants are available to Bird City communities only.
“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 high-impact local initiatives with our inaugural grants and look forward to making additional grants in the years to come.”
Members of the Bird City board of directors evaluated applications and awarded the 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 $1,890 in grants to the following Bird City communities:
- To Bayfield, recognized as Bird City since 2012: $500 to produce and install an interpretive sign near a new native-plant garden at the Gil Larsen Trailhead, gateway to Bayfield’s Big Ravine Preserve.
- To Fond du Lac, a Bird City since 2012 and a High Flyer: $100 to help plant swamp white oaks and understory shrubs in Lakeside Park, on the shore of Lake Winnebago.
- To Madison, a Bird City since 2013 and a High Flyer: $190 for a fall seed mix to assist in the creation of a wet-mesic native prairie on the Starkweather Creek watershed in the city.
- To Ozaukee County, recognized as Bird City since 2010 and a High Flyer: $500 to help purchase and install nest boxes for Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows in restored prairie at Tendick Nature County Park and Virmond County Park.
- To Sheboygan, a Bird City since 2013: $100 to support the removal of invasive species and the creation of bioswales, rain gardens, and educational signage in the bluff community in North Point Park.
- And to Wausau, a Bird City since 2012 and a High Flyer: $500 to restore native plantings and erect educational signage on Barker-Stewart Island, located in the Wisconsin River in downtown Wausau.
Bird City Wisconsin is supported by the Bird Protection Fund of the Natural Resources Foundation of the Wisconsin and other generous conservation-minded donors.
The program was created in 2009 and began recognizing communities the following year. It recognizes municipalities for the conservation and education activities that they undertake to make their communities healthy for birds... and people.
To be recognized, 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.
To date, 108 communities have been recognized as Bird Cities, while 25 communities have qualified for High Flyer status.