Yes, we've been busy at City Hall!! Our Bird City team was on hand to witness the culmination of a years-long effort to protect our migrating birds.
The City of Stillwater was awarded an official Bird City Minnesota designation by Rob Schultz, executive director of Minnesota Audubon, at the June 15, 2021, Stillwater City Council meeting. Bird Cities are Minnesota communities recognized for their outstanding efforts to educate and engage citizens in birding and habitat conservation to protect our native birds. The Bird City designation comes after two years of work to fulfill the Audubon requirements to become a Bird City by both Sustainable Stillwater MN's GreenStep Cities committee and the Bird City Festival team led by Sheila Maybanks, along with new Bird City leader Graham Tait.
Among those requirements was the need to create "Best Practices" that included working with City and Washington County staff, other community organizations, and interested individuals. This process culminated in a Migratory Bird Festival held on May 15 at Pioneer Park in Stillwater that was attended by over 150 people.
Being a Bird City puts Stillwater "on the map" for birders and people interested in birds and the natural environment. Birding is a huge tourist attraction in the United States.
As a Bird City, our coming projects include:
Restoring, protecting, and improving bird habitat
Reducing threats such as window collisions, toxins, and harmful human activities, often due to a lack of understanding of birds’ needs
Engaging people in learning about, enjoying, and helping birds thrive
Being a Bird City helps us grow our community’s environmental reputation by participating in this state-wide conservation program and displaying our Bird City status proudly. One in four Minnesotans considers themselves a birdwatcher – part of a $40.1 billion dollar annual industry in the US. Wild birds pollinate flowers, disseminate seeds, and help keep insect populations under control.
Robust, diverse bird populations reflect the underlying health of the ecosystem in which they – and we – live. What affects birds affects people too. Birds can be seen almost anytime, anywhere, making them a perfect gateway to the natural world. Finding birds is a great way to get out and explore new places with friends and family. Birds help open our eyes to the diversity and interconnectedness of nature. Outdoor recreation reduces stress, improves creativity, increases fitness, and promotes social connections and community pride. Interested in being a member of our group? Sign up for our newsletter and let us know your interest!