A Short History of Bird City Wisconsin
In March 2002, leading bird conservation organizations in Wisconsin created a cooperative partnership called the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI), which is part of the National Bird Conservation Initiative. The goal of this coalition is to work in close coordination to deliver the full spectrum of bird conservation statewide, emphasizing voluntary stewardship.
To date, 167 organizations -- from the statewide Audubon Council to local bird clubs and bird-related businesses -- have endorsed WBCI's principles in support of bird conservation. These include:
In 2009, WBCI members received a planning grant for Bird City Wisconsin through the TogetherGreen program, a unique alliance between the National Audubon Society and Toyota. During this initial phase of the program, the Milwaukee Audubon Society is serving as the program’s fiscal agent and the Schlitz Audubon Center is its home base.
Above Photo: Members of the Wisconsin Audubon Council join members of the Bird City Wisconsin Steering Committee on Oct. 23, 2010, at the Goose Pond prairie outside Madison, Wis. Representatives of Audubon chapters statewide rallied to celebrate their success in launching Bird City applications from Stevens Point, Green Bay, Lake Geneva, Williams Bay, Oshkosh and Hales Corners. The Goose Pond Sanctuary is among 3,000 acres preserved by the Madison Audubon Society.
(Click Photo above to enlarge)
Bird City Wisconsin and TogetherGreen
March 22, 2012
Bird City Wisconsin and TogetherGreen
Bird City Wisconsin was launched in late 2009 with one of 48 TogetherGreen national innovation grants. The grant was designed to enable the Milwaukee Audubon Society to bring together Wisconsin communities to protect declining bird populations through hands-on conservation activities.
The $8,000 grant powers a partnership among Milwaukee Audubon Society, the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, Wisconsin Audubon Council, the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, Madison Audubon Society and the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin to develop the criteria for Bird City recognition, identify five communities interested in working towards the certification, and prepare for a public launch of the program in 2010.
The innovation grant is part of $1.1 million awarded by the TogetherGreen initiative in 2009 to participants in 44 cities in 23 states.
Audubon and Toyota launched the five-year TogetherGreen initiative in 2008 to fund conservation projects, train environmental leaders, and offer volunteer opportunities that significantly benefit the environment. Grantees were selected from scores of applicants across America. Funds were awarded to Audubon organizations that demonstrated exceptional innovation in working with other groups on projects that will produce tangible benefits for environmental quality.
"Conserving wildlife through hands-on efforts is critical, and we’re proud to be able to help Wisconsin communities achieve that," said TogetherGreen Project Manager Judy Braus.
Audubon and Toyota launched the five-year TogetherGreen initiative in 2008 to build the promise of a greener, healthier future through innovation, leadership and volunteerism. Nearly 90 projects totaling more than $2.5 million dollars have received Innovation Grants to protect land, water, and energy resources nationwide.
In this $20 million program, National Audubon is engaging diverse peoples across the United States in conservation action. The program has four components: innovation grants, a conservation fellowship program, a volunteer initiative, and a website,
Many projects target inner-city and non-English-speaking audiences underserved by the environmental community. In Texas, for example, high school and college students received internships at nature centers, training in wildlife biology, conservation planning, and habitat data collection. In rural western Virginia, a community collected, filled, and stored rain barrels for watering the land during dry spells.
In its first year, TogetherGreen reached more than three million people and generated small changes that are making a difference. "There’s been a lot of shared learning between fellows and grantees," said program manager Melissa Hopkins. "People are being forced to think in new ways. Kids are building their confidence, learning things they can take home and use."
As the program progresses, external evaluation teams from Stanford University, Clemson University, and Virginia Tech will provide more objective measures of success. "We want to look at this long term," Hopkins said. Because it’s not just about the grants, she believes — it’s about building community. And that is a long-term, intensive process.
About National Audubon
Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world. To learn about Audubon’s nationwide efforts to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, visit
Toyota established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed more than $464 million to philanthropic programs in the U.S. For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit
About Bird City Wisconsin
"Recognition as a Bird City will be a feather in the cap of any Wisconsin community," said Andrew Struck, president of the Milwaukee Audubon Society. "This program will recognize conservation efforts already under way and spur other cities, counties, towns and villages to adopt the best practices we will spotlight," added Struck, who also is director of the Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department.
Bird City Wisconsin participants can learn how to protect and manage green space, landscape with native plants in backyards and parks, adopt architecture and lighting systems that reduce collisions, and many other tools hospitable to breeding, wintering, and migrating birds which seek safe places to spend time and find food.
"We are excited to see this program taking flight," said Noel Cutright, past president of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. "It’s an innovative idea we have long supported and are grateful to TogetherGreen for making it part of its national initiative."
Bird City Wisconsin - 1111 E. Brown Deer Road - Bayside, WI 53217