Kenosha County on Wednesday became the fifth county to achieve Bird City status from the Bird City Wisconsin organization — with features of Western Kenosha County playing a key role in the designation.
Carl Schwartz, BCW state coordinator, presented Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser with official Bird City Wisconsin signs, a flag and a plaque to commemorate the designation.
“I am pleased to be here this afternoon to salute Kenosha County, its public officials and its residents for their efforts to make this area a better place for birds … and people,” Schwartz said on Wednesday.
Schwartz said that Kenosha County is among six communities that Bird City Wisconsin is recognizing this spring, bringing the program’s ranks statewide to 81 communities in BCW’s fourth year of this innovative conservation undertaking.
“Kenosha is the 5th county to be recognized by our program, and we especially value the opportunity to recognize their accomplishments because it is often at this level of government where some of the most important conservation work is being done, both in the areas of habitat protection and public education,” Schwartz said.
Kreuser said the Bird City designation should be a source of pride for all Kenosha County residents.
“In Kenosha County, we practice sound conservation practices because we recognize the need to care for our environment and protect the beauty that makes Kenosha County special,” Kreuser said.
The Kenosha County Division of Parks will be hosting an International Migratory Bird Day this fall. Event details will be released at a later date.
Kreuser thanked and recognized the individuals and organizations that helped the county achieve the Bird City designation: Elizabeth Goeppinger, Naturalist at Bong Recreation Area; Valerie Mann, Naturalist at the Pringle Nature Center; Lori Artimow, Naturalist at Hawthorne Hollow; the Hoy Audubon Society; and all of the county residents who support bird conservation in Kenosha County.
Modeled on the “Tree City USA” program, Bird City has developed 22 criteria across five categories, including habitat creation and protection, community forest management, limiting hazards to birds, public education, and recognition of International Migratory Bird Day. If a community meets at least seven of these it becomes an official “Bird City.” Schwartz said that Kenosha County met an impressive 12 of the criteria.
Here are some of the highlights that helped Kenosha County achieve the designation:
- Kenosha County contains three sites on the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail: Bristol Woods County Park — A natural area park with woods and hiking trails that also is home to the Pringle Nature Center, which offers wildlife exhibits, monthly bird walks and extensive nature programming; Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area. At 482 acres, Chiwaukee is one of the largest prairies in the state and the most intact coastal wetland in southeastern Wisconsin; The 4,515-acre Bong State Recreation Area, with large flat grasslands, ponds, a lake, marshes and woodlands..
- Pringle hosts invasive species workdays on the fourth Saturday of the month from April to November. Volunteers learn to identify invasive plants and help by removing them. Pringle also is a partner location for the Mighty Acorns program where schoolchildren in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades visit an adopted site three times a year to do stewardship activities.
- The naturalist at Pringle conducts programs on how to protect birds from window-strikes.
- Pringle uses lessons from the Flying WILD curriculum for the third grade as well as for Boy Scout badge requirements.
- UW Extension offers programs about backyard habitat with their “Spring into Gardening” seminar and Master Gardener programs.
- The naturalist at Pringle is the Kenosha County Christmas Bird Count compiler and partners with Hoy Audubon Society to hold a workshop ahead of the annual Great Backyard Bird Count where participants can learn basic bird identification, how to participate in the count and build a feeder for their yard.
- Pringle also offers many public programs on bird identification and conducts annual grassland and marsh bird surveys, as well as Sandhill Crane Counts, Breeding Bird Surveys, and nest box monitoring for bluebirds, purple martins, wood ducks and kestrels.
For more information about BCW, visit www.birdcitywisconsin.org.