Friday, May 5, 2017
Today, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Roxanne Bogart, National Urban Bird Treaty Program Coordinator, signed a signed a ceremonial document designating the City of Springfield as an Urban Bird Treaty City by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Also there to support the initiative were Patrick Sullivan, Executive Director of the Department of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management, David Bloniarz, President of Regreen Springfield, Michelle Brown on behalf of Congressman Richard E. Neal, Dr. Keith Nislow, Project Leader for the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban Forests Environmental Quality and Human Health Research Unit, City Councilor Michael Fenton, David Stier, Director of the Springfield Science Museum and State Representatives Jose Tosado, Carlos Gonzalez, Bud Williams, and Michael Finn.
The Treaty provides $49,000 to Regreen Springfield to enhance educational programming and bird habitat improvements in Van Horn and Forest Parks. Students from South End Middle School were also in attendance for the announcement, which was held at the Springfield Science Museum.
The City of Springfield is one of 27 cities across the country to be included in the Urban Bird Treaty Program, a unique, collaborative effort between the USFWS and these participating cities. Launched in 1999, the first treaty was signed with New Orleans and the second with Chicago in 2000. Since that time, an additional 25 cities have become Urban Bird Treaty cities, for a total of 27 spanning from Alaska to Alabama.
The program brings together federal, state, and municipal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions to create bird-friendly environments and provide citizens, especially youth, with opportunities to connect with nature through birding and conservation. Cities can become effective sanctuaries for birds and other wildlife with an environmentally aware citizenry dedicated to learning about and conserving birds and their habitats. This is not only good for the birds, but also for the health and well-being of people living in and visiting Urban Bird Treaty Cities.
The Urban Bird Treaty program emphasizes habitat conservation through invasive species control and native plant restoration; hazard reductions through bird-safe building programs; citizen science activities involving bird and habitat monitoring; and education and outreach programs that give people, especially youth, opportunities to learn about and appreciate birds and participate in their conservation.
Project partners, including the city, School Department, Springfield Science Museum, Regreen Springfield and others, will continue to work with students from across the city in conducting environmental education programming across Springfield. Increasing students’ awareness of environmental threats, enhanced sustainability and resilience are the primary topics that are being introduced through the educational programming. For instance, students from Commerce and Central High Schools will be assisting in the restoration of bird habitat in Van Horn Park, Forest Park and at the Springfield Museums campus during this summer. In the fall, students from Duggan High School will participate in monitoring wildlife and bird habitat at several city parks.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said, “I’d like to commend Dave Bloniarz – our very own ‘Eull Gibbons!’ for continuing to enhance, respect and educate our Springfield public on the synergies of nature and wildlife.”
“The City of Springfield has one of the finest public park systems in America. And with this designation, one of only 27 across the country, habitats for migratory birds in our community will be preserved and protected. As someone who celebrated the first earth day as a college student, I have always had a deep interest in our environment. That is why I welcome this exciting initiative which reinforces the effort being made by local, state and federal officials to make Springfield a more livable city,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal.
Patrick Sullivan, Executive Director of the Department of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management, said, “The city owes it to our residents, the environment, the habitat and species found within our parks and open spaces to implement environmentally responsible practices. By signing the Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds, the city will be one of 27 communities in the Nation committing to achieve migratory bird conservation through the combined efforts of local partnerships. This commitment is yet another example of the city’s dedication to protecting our open spaces, the environment, the habitats and the wildlife they contain. The City of Springfield will work to identify and improve migratory bird habitat in our open spaces to do our part in protecting this valuable resource.”
David Bloniarz President of Regreen Springfield, said, “The designation of Springfield as an Urban Bird Treaty City represents recognition of the collaborative efforts of a partnership that includes federal partners, the City of Springfield, the Springfield Science Museum and Regreen Springfield.” He added, “The ceremonial signing of the treaty kick-off educational and habitat restoration efforts that will help protect and enhance sensitive natural areas in the city.”
Andrew French, Refuge Manager at the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, said, “Conserving bird habitat creates healthy communities for both people and wildlife. The work accomplished through the Urban Bird Treaty Program connects people with the nature and offers opportunities for residents to take ownership of green spaces in their own neighborhoods.”
For more information please visit: https://www.fws.gov/birds/grants/urban-bird-treaty.php.