Facilities plea for bird seed

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Amber Levenhagen

A black-capped chickadee sits upon a branch on the bird seed donor tree near the Young Auditorium. The tree features bronze leaves, representing those who have made a donation of more than $10 to the supply of bird seed on campus. Photo by Amber Levenhagen.

By Maddy Scheel

April 13, 2016

 

They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but it can buy you a bronze leaf to place on one on UW-Whitewater’s campus.

In an attempt to help replenish the campus’ bird seed supply, the Facilities Planning & Management department is offering those who donate more than $10 to purchasing birdseed a bronze leaf on the bird-feeding tree, located near the Center of the Arts.

The need for birdseed is constant, Campus Planning and Landscape Committee member Peter Jacobs said.

When they advertise a need, that’s when they see a spike in donations.

“You have to put the call out for help – hopefully people help – and they can buy more seed, but then people forget about it,” Jacobs said.

There is no budget for the birdseed, so the idea to keep the birdhouses around campus full runs on donations from students, faculty or community members.

Anyone can donate to the UW-W Designated Bird Seed Fund by mailing or dropping off whatever contribution they can make to the Facilities Planning & Management office at 500 N. Fremont St. in Whitewater.

Donations do not have to be solely monetary; people can also buy their own bird seed and donate it to the supply, but only monetary donations will result in getting a bronze leaf on the tree.

Steven Bertagnolli, the Buildings and Grounds Supervisor at UW-W, was the mastermind behind the bird-feeding tree and the nature area surrounding it.

Students and faculty both utilize this area as a place to study, read or just socialize and enjoy the bright flowers and the birds, Bertagnolli said, but it’s not just the current students and faculty who care about the bird seed supply.

“It’s people from all over,” Bertagnolli said. “In fact, we just got a $40 donation from the new provost [Susan Elrod] that’s coming in. It came from her home in California – I was really excited to see that. It shows that she appreciates [the area].”

Other fundraising efforts

In addition to the donations, the committee has found an additional way to fund the bird seed supply, while giving back to the community at large.

“One of the things that we do in the winter is build bird houses with repurposed wood that normally would go to the landfill,” Bertagnolli said. “We want to sell the bird houses, the proceeds go to bird seed and seed to grow vegetables for the homeless shelters.”

Some of the birdhouses will be for sale during Earth week, Bertagnolli said.