Bird City Wisconsin
How conservationists in Wisconsin, supported by grants from TogetherGreen, pioneered a successful state-based efforts to recognize cities, towns, and counties for being bird-friendly.
Published: December 22, 2011
|A year ago, conservationists in Wisconsin launched Bird City Wisconsin, one of the only state-based efforts that recognize communities for being bird-friendly.|
Modeled after the long-running Tree City USA program, Bird City Wisconsin has certified 29 cities, towns, and counties, and an additional 12 communities’ applications are being reviewed, says coordinator Carl Schwartz.
The program has been supported by more than $31,000 in grants from TogetherGreen, an initiative by Toyota and the National Audubon Society to support local conservation projects. Bird City Wisconsin developed 22 criteria across five categories, including habitat creation and protection, community forest management, limiting hazards, public education, and recognizing International Migratory Bird Day. If a community meets at least seven criteria, it becomes an official “Bird City.”
Communities awarded Bird City status receive street signs, a flag, a plaque, and publicity to recognize their efforts for “making our communities healthy for birds and people.”
The city of Green Bay, for example, was recognized for its bird-monitoring sites, for operating an urban wildlife refuge (Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Hotspot Near You No. 52), and for not allowing trap-neuter-and-release programs for feral cats. Another Bird City, New London, provides information to residents on removing invasive plants, and local students monitor nest boxes for bluebirds, Wood Ducks, and Prothonotary Warblers.
Noel Cutright, Bird City steering committee member and founder of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, said the program “provides an excellent vehicle for communities to harness the human connection with birds — reaching beyond birdwatchers to new and essential audiences.”
Learn more at www.birdcitywisconsin.org.