Madison Parks awarded $18,000 grant from Madison Community Foundation for Oak Savanna Restoration

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 6:23am

Madison Parks was awarded an $18,000 grant from the Madison Community Foundation this fall. The grant allows Madison Parks to partner with Operation Fresh Start's Conservation Crew and engage in on-going oak savanna restoration work at Cherokee Marsh (north and south units), Turville Point, Edna Taylor and Prairie Ridge conservation parks.

During 2012-13, we plan to complete two phases of restoration: restoring the "woody structure" of the savanna and establishing the native grassy understory. This work will be followed by years of management by Parks staff to stabilize the savanna ecology.

The Madison Community Foundation grant award allows Madison Parks to fund 12 weeks of time with Operation Fresh Start's Conservation Crew (OFS) to assist with intensive work required to remove invasive and over-represented trees and haul away heavy wood debris which has accumulated for decades on the forest floor. Madison Parks Staff will also engage volunteer Friends groups to assist with less intensive tasks, such as preparation for prescribed burns, scattering native seeds, and planting native shrubs.

"Madison Parks is grateful to the Madison Community Foundation for their continued support of Madison's parks," stated Kevin Briski, Madison Parks Superintendent. "Their grant not only allows us to partner with Operation Fresh Start but to also carry out our goals in the conservation parks."

The outcomes of the project will be: 1.) To complete the initial phases needed to restore 90 acres of oak savanna and recreate 250 acres of prairie/savanna complex in 4 Madison Conservation Parks; 2.) To engage at least 9 youth from OFS in employability skills training and exposure to work in natural resource management; and, 3.) To involve 60 volunteers in 300 total hours of work assisting with restoration activities.

"This project is a perfect synthesis of our objectives. We formerly funded the effort to make Operation Fresh Start a year round program. These young people will be advancing their employable skills while helping to restore some of Dane County's most iconic conservation habitats," said Bob Sorge, Madison Community Foundation Vice President of Strategic Partnerships.

The long-range goals of the Oak Savanna Restoration project is to diversify conservation habitat, beautify Madison's open spaces, and enhance the recreation and educational opportunities within our park system.

Work on these conservation projects will begin mid-December 2012.


The Madison Parks Conservation Section has 14 different and unique conservation parks. The goal of the conservation park is to restore native plant and animal communities while providing education areas and opportunities for everyone. More information is available online at

Madison Community Foundation encourages, facilitates and manages long-term philanthropy. Since 1942, the foundation staff has helped people realize their philanthropic goals, allowing them to support charitable interests anywhere in the world. The community foundation also awards grants throughout Dane County build communities. More information is available online at

The mission of Operation Fresh Start is to:
Help participants to become self-sufficient, contributing members of the community by providing them an opportunity to gain employment training, education, independent living skills, and a chance to serve the community; Produce quality affordable homes for low- and moderate-income families.; Contribute to ongoing local conservation efforts; Provide technical assistance to communities and organizations who want to implement the Operation Fresh Start program model. For more information, visit:


  • Laura Whitmore266-5949
  • Russ Hefty267-4919