Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Springfield, Massachusetts designated an Urban Bird Treaty City
Northeast Region, October 11, 2017
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Springfield Massachusetts Mayor Domenic Sarno signs the Urban Bird Treaty.
Springfield Massachusetts Mayor Domenic Sarno signs the Urban Bird Treaty. - Photo Credit: USFWS

On May 5, 2017, Springfield, Massachusetts Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Urban Bird Treaty Program Coordinator Roxanne Bogart, signed a ceremonial treaty designating the City of Springfield as an Urban Bird Treaty City by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). A packed Tolman Auditorium at the Springfield Science Museum supported the initiative including 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, David Stier, Director of the Springfield Science Museum and fellow Friends of Conte Committee members Kim Lutz of The Nature Conservancy, and Kristen Sykes of the Appalachian Mountain Club. Also attending the event were staff from the Silvio O. Conte NFWR, State Representatives Jose Tosado, Carlos Gonzalez, Bud Williams, and Michael Finn, City Councilor Michael Fenton, and students from South End Middle School in Springfield.
The Treaty recently awarded $49,000 to Regreen Springfield to enhance educational programming and complete bird habitat improvements in Van Horn Park, Forest Park and on the Springfield Museum Grounds.
The City of Springfield is one of 28 cities across the country to be included in the Urban Bird Treaty Program, a unique, collaborative effort between the Service 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 26 cities have become Urban Bird Treaty cities, for a total of 28 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 in conducting environmental education programming throughout 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.

Contact Info: Jennifer Lapis, 413-253-8303, Jennifer_Lapis@fws.gov
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