THE HISTORY OF BIRD CITY WISCONSIN
For the 80 percent of Americans who live in urban areas, enjoying nature often means watching birds. Urban dwellers may encounter Canada Geese, Ring-billed Gulls, and Mourning Doves, but careful observation can also reveal Common Nighthawks circling the skies or a screech owl perched in the backyard.
Bird City Wisconsin, which is modeled on the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA, was created by a coalition of Wisconsin conservation and birding organizations to ensure that Wisconsin’s urban residents maintain healthy populations of birds and grow an appreciation for them.
The Bird City Wisconsin idea came into being during a 2003 meeting of the Urban Habitat Committee of the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI). The committee saw the potential for an intensive model for bird-focused urban conservation and education that followed the general framework of recommended actions and public recognition that made Tree City USA so successful across the nation. What followed was several years of refinement and a search for the right home.
In 2009, WBCI members received a planning grant for Bird City Wisconsin through the TogetherGreen program, an alliance between the National Audubon Society and Toyota. The grant was awarded to the Milwaukee Audubon Society.
BIRD CITY WISCONSIN MISSION
Bird City Wisconsin works hard to implement its mission:
“To encourage all communities in Wisconsin to implement sound bird-conservation practices by offering public recognition to those that succeed in (a) enhancing the environment for birds and (b) educating the public about the interactions between birds and people and about the contributions birds make to a healthy community.”