Rewarding Communities for Protecting Birds and their Habitat
Sometimes a little public recognition is just the incentive people need to do something important. Just over two years ago, a group of conservationists in Wisconsin, led by the Milwaukee Audubon Society, put their heads together to figure out how to get the state’s cities, towns, villages and counties to start going the extra mile to protect bird populations, many of which have declined sharply in recent decades. TogetherGreen awarded the group a planning grant to develop their ideas, and Bird City Wisconsin was born.
Over 30 Wisconsin communities have been recognized as “Bird Cities” for going above and beyond in terms of creating and protecting habitat, managing woodlands and forests, limiting hazards to birds and wildlife, educating the public about birds and environmental stewardship, and celebrating International Migratory Bird Day. 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”.
With another year of Innovation Grant funding, Bird City Wisconsin continued its work to retain all the current “Bird Cities” and encouraged an additional 30 municipalities to achieve the status of Bird City (by meeting the program's conservation criteria), developed their social networking programs, and continued to work to secure funding from new sources to become sustainable in the long term.