In June 2021, Bird City Wisconsin awarded small grants to six Bird City communities: Kenosha County, Manitowish Waters, Mequon, New London, Whitewater, and Wisconsin Rapids.
In this issue, we tell what the City of New London, a Bird City since 2010 and a High Flyer, accomplished with its 2021 grant.
According to Ginger Arndt, director of New London’s Parks and Recreation Department, the city worked with the New London Public Museum, the Wolf River Art League, and Mosquito Hill Nature Center to create a colorful and fun educational project.
Volunteer artists created 42 cutouts of the swallows featured in the Bird City Wisconsin logo and placed them in the New London parks and along trails at the Mosquito Hill Nature Center.
“Little pop-ups of color showed up in city parks and Mosquito Hill, and people were curious,” Arndt says. “Each bird had a QR code that correlated with a webpage that connected participants with a unique and oftentimes rare bird that is or was once found in our region.”
Arndt reports that participants could also pick up a card containing questions about the birds featured on the cutouts. After finding the cutouts, scanning the codes, and answering the questions on the card, participants could deliver it to the Parks and Recreation Department for a prize.
“The individuals that participated in the program ranged from families that were able to get together with grandma during the search to old friends that connected and hunted out these elusive beautiful pieces of art,” Arndt says.
The winner of the bird search won a variety of supplies to make a backyard “bird paradise,” complete with feeders, feed, and a bath.
Arndt said the department received an outpouring of positive comments from New Londoners who saw the cutouts and contacted our office to say how beautiful and creative they were. “Those that participated in the scavenger hunt commended the department on this new and enriching program,” Arndt writes. “We will continue to do this for years to come!”
This was the second year that Bird City Wisconsin, a program of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory in Port Washington, awarded small grants, which are available to Bird City communities only.
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.