Waunakee was named a Bird City at its village board meeting July 15. Charles Hagner, director of Bird City Wisconsin, commended the Village for steps it had taken to make the community healthier for birds and for people. He cited the following:
- The natural prairie at the Bolz Conservancy Park, which is now maintained by many volunteers as well as the Village Center and Public Works Department.
- The Village’s protected natural areas, including an area within Ripp Park that was recently restored into a two-acre prairie.
- The planting of up to 75 trees each year in public parks and around Village facilities.
- The ongoing creation of miles of paths that reduce motor-vehicle dependency.
- The control and removal of invasive species in public areas.
“Actions like these benefit birds and other wildlife,” Hagner told the Board of Trustees, “and help build a connection to nature that will show current and future decision makers just how important it is to protect the natural world.”
Hagner presented two street signs and a 3-by-5 foot flag bearing the Bird City logo, a framed, signed commemorative plaque, and a copy of Owen Gromme’s classic book “Birds of Wisconsin” to Chris Zellner, Village President, and Jeffrey Karls and William Frederick of the Village’s Public Works Department.
Bird City Wisconsin was founded in 2009. Modeled on the successful Tree City USA program of the Arbor Day Foundation, it encourages Wisconsin communities to implement sound bird-conservation practices by rewarding those that both enhance the environment for birds and educate their citizens about the interactions between birds and people and about the contributions that birds make to healthy communities.
The Village of Waunakee became the 110th Bird City that the program has recognized to date. A complete list of all 110 Bird Cities, along with the narrative that each community submitted to describe its bird-friendly accomplishments, can be found on the program’s website (https://birdcitywisconsin.org).
Bird City Wisconsin is a program of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory (https://wglbbo.org) in Port Washington.
It is supported by a grant from the Bird Protection Fund of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, application and renewal fees, and generous donors. Seed funding and follow-up support for Bird City Wisconsin was provided by the National Audubon Society and Toyota through a TogetherGreen Innovation Grant.