Calendar

News
and Events

Check out our full calendar of activities, events, and educational opportunities. You're sure to find something to interest you. Please join us!

Events include:

  • Monthly educational programs and issues discussions
  • Local bird walks
  • Field trips
  • Preserve work days

For more details, see the current newsletter.

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Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022
Christmas Bird Count... >

Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023
Program: Becycling with Butterflies... >

Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023
Field Trip: Open Land Birding... >

Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023
Event: To Build a Fire... >

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Northwest Illinois Audubon Society is a chapter of National Audubon Society, Inc.

Audubon

Bird City Illinois

Freeport is a Bird City of Illinois

Modeled after the highly successful Bird City Wisconsin, the Audubon Council of Illinois (ACI) created the Bird City Illinois program beginning in 2022. If a community meets at least nine criteria of the program, it becomes an official Bird City. To become a Bird City, both the public officials and citizens demonstrate an active and ongoing commitment to the protection and conservation of bird populations and their habitats.

The mission of Bird City Illinois is to encourage all communities in Illinois to implement sound bird-conservation practices by offering public recognition to those that succeed in enhancing the environment for birds and educating the public about the relationship between birds and people and how that contributes to a healthy community. ACI Board President, Jennifer Kuroda, stated, “Birds are so important to Illinois: economically, aesthetically, ecologically, and scientifically. Illinois has huge a responsibility in keeping bird populations robust and thriving.” The grassland birds that call Illinois prairies home are amongst the fastest-declining species of birds in North America. Grassland dependent bird species have lost 53% of their population over the past 50 years. (Rosenberg et al. 2019). These species have suffered due to conversion to agriculture, urban development, and habitat fragmentation.

In addition to completing an application for Bird City Illinois, the designation also requires filing annual reports and reapplying after three years.

The Northwest Illinois Audubon Society (NIAS) worked with many community organizations within Freeport to accomplish the Bird City Initiative. The chapter documented many successful programs and events that support bird conservation. These organizations included Freeport Art Museum, Freeport Park District, Jane Addamsland Park Foundation, Park Hills Golf Course Bluebird volunteers, and University of Illinois Extension of Jo Daviess, Stephenson, and Winnebago County.

The City of Freeport met 18 criteria to accomplish the goal of becoming a Bird City in Illinois. Overall, the most successful areas are in Category 1: Habitat Creation, Protection, and Monitoring of Natural Communities and Category 3: Public Education and Inclusion.

NIAS received an Audubon in Action Grant for $6,000 in 2021 with the project title: Building Partnerships to improve outdoor recreation for Freeport communities of color. This was submitted by Audubon Great Lakes on Behalf of the Northwest Illinois Audubon Society.

NIAS has worked with the Freeport Art Museum, CURRE (Citizens United for Rights, Respect, and Equity) and the Boys and Girls Club staff to bring Christian Cooper to Freeport on June 16, 2021 to talk to the children/teens at the Boys and Girls club about birding and his experience with racism in Central Park while bird watching and being a black bird enthusiast. The program was called “Christian Cooper in Conversation, Celebrating the Diversity of Birds and People,” and was aimed to bring attention to outdoor recreation and birding, specifically to the African American community of Freeport, IL. During this visit, NIAS donated binoculars and bird guides to the children and teens that use the facility as well as have plans to provide ongoing and consistent education about birds.

The Christian Cooper event was facilitated by Jen Johnson, a Wild Indigo Associate through Audubon Great Lakes. Audubon Great Lakes also helped with the streaming of the program through Zoom to enhance the audience, which drew nearly 100 people from individuals in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, New York, and California. The next day, there was a bird walk with Christian Cooper at Taylor Park with the kids/teens/staff from the Boys and Girls club to use their new binoculars.

The chapter is proud of the accomplishments of the multiple organizations in the City of Freeport and looks forward to meeting many more criteria in the future.

Here you can find the document that outlines all of the criteria fulfilled by the City of Freeport to receive the designation of being a Bird City Illinois.