Education is Silverwood's Primary Mission
Following park donor Irene Silverwood's wishes, the Friends of Silverwood Park and Dane County are committed to supporting agricultural education programming at the park. FoSP serves as convener and facilitator to create the programs and activities for the park.
There are three target audiences for Silverwood education efforts:
Our projects and events are relevant to all three groups. Our educational content addressing specific topics at levels appropriate for each audience.
Our vision is to provide education for audiences ranging from small children to experienced growers. Because the agriculture happening here is on public display, we have a unique opportunity to encourage park visitors to take what they observe here and try it at home.
"...Dane County Parks will work cooperatively with the Friends of Silverwood County Park, as well as with other organizations that are working with the Friends, to support agricultural education and related activities."
Page 14, Silverwood Park Master plan, adopted 2016
Learning can come in sips or a gulps. One person might read an information panel about pollinator species and decide to plant some bee-balm on the balcony. Another might attend a day-long technical workshop on pest management strategies and return to the home farm with new management practices to minimize negative impacts of farm practices on that ecosystem.
A kindergarten class might learn about soil health by creating a skit about the soil food web. A group of middle schoolers might learn about biodiversity on a scavenger hunt along the woodland Nature Trail. A high school student might complete a summer school independent study by growing a salsa garden from seed to harvest and serving the results to fellow students in the fall. The possibilities are nearly unlimited, but our ability to bring this vision to life depends on volunteers and funders.
The strategic plan for the Friends of Silverwood Park guides our focus on educational efforts.
Any school is welcome to bring programs to Silverwood Park, from a field trip to a multi-week program, for any age from kindergarten to high school.
- Renegades 4-H
- Freedom Inc.
- Boy Scout Troop 422
In 2014, the Friends of Silverwood Park received a Community Partners grant from the Dane County Environmental Council for purchase of hand tools to help in the gardening work. This tool collection is available for use by partner groups during the growing season.
Brandon Aderhold, Edgerton resident and longtime member of Edgerton Boy Scout Troop 422, earned his Eagle Scout rank by leading “Brandon’s Benches,” a project to build roughly 20 Leopold benches and deliver them to planned locations along the Silverwood hiking trails. With fellow scouts helping, the boys measured and cut the wood and assembled the benches. A Leopold bench is a simple design with a relaxing angled back. The benches now complement the outdoor experience by providing places to rest and observe the surroundings.
- Dane County UW Extension (agriculture, horticulture, food systems, etc.)
- Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) (organic agriculture)
- Pollinator Partnership (pollinator conservation)
- Outdoor Play: Learn About Conservation! (Conservation information for young people)
- Rodale Institute (organic agriculture)
- Xerces Society (insect conservation)