Friends of Festge Park

Friends of Festge Park Friends of Festge is a volunteer group committed to restoring, maintaining, and enhancing the ecological diversity of Festge County Park and Selmo Pond.

Our mailing address: Friends of Festge Park P.O. Box 44 Cross Plains, WI 53528 Festge County Park is located at 4894 Scherbel Road, 1 mile west of Cross Plains on Hwy. 14 with Salmo Pond County Park at 4809 Scherbel Road. Go To Dane County Parks website for more information on both Parks.

Mission: Friends of Festge is a volunteer group committed to restoring, maintaining, and enhancing the diversity of the prairies, woodlands, streams, and wetlands of Festge County Park and Selmo Pond.

Operating as usual

Chris Gavin has two classes on Sunday, October 25th, Shelter Building and another It's Time to Go Nuts! class.  See the ...
10/14/2020

Chris Gavin has two classes on Sunday, October 25th, Shelter Building and another It's Time to Go Nuts! class. See the flyer for all the details and contact Chris with questions or to register. People are really enjoying his classes plus Chris has a wealth of information to share along with his passion for the outdoors really comes through. Go to his website for other classes he offers and see his page for recipes, his latest meals, beverages, etc. from his foraging, along with lots of other information. These two classes are most likely the last ones for this year but stay tuned as there may be some winter foraging classes coming up along with other winter outdoor skills. Jeanette

Here are a couple of photos from Chris Gavin's classes yesterday.  Chris has a wealth of knowledge and is passionate abo...
10/05/2020

Here are a couple of photos from Chris Gavin's classes yesterday. Chris has a wealth of knowledge and is passionate about the outdoors. We are continuing to sponsor his classes--stay tuned. Also, go to his website eagleoutdoorskills.com for more info. Jeanette

10/02/2020

Chris Gavin still has some openings on Sunday, October 4th for his Fall Foraging Class and It's Time to go Nuts Class. (see posts below for details) Forecast is for clouds but no rain--it just Fall and will still be a great day to be outdoors. No "funny white stuff" yet, thank goodness! So take advantage of the moment if you can and sign up directly with Chris. Jeanette

09/19/2020
09/19/2020

Chris Gavin will be doing two different classes on Sunday, October 4th; Fall Foraging and It's Time to Go Nuts! These classes are filled with hands-on experiences, usage and folklore. For the It's Time to Go Nuts! class, he will be bringing various tools and equipment as demonstrations of ways to process nuts. Of course, he always likes to share some recipes, too. See the flyer below, check out his website and page, too. Pre-register as early as possible. Jeanette

Phase II of the Overlook is mostly done!!  The project has been ongoing for a few months now and it's exciting to see th...
09/18/2020

Phase II of the Overlook is mostly done!! The project has been ongoing for a few months now and it's exciting to see the wonderful improvements. Our historic sign will be re-installed with a new location and foundation. The stone work, grading, new benches re-installed (same memorials) and paving the service road has been completed. Come out and see the work and enjoy the view! Fall is here for sure. Here's my teaser photo. 😀 Jeanette

Chris Gavin will be doing 2 Fall Foraging classes on Sunday, September 13th with the first session at Festge County Park...
09/02/2020

Chris Gavin will be doing 2 Fall Foraging classes on Sunday, September 13th with the first session at Festge County Park and the second at Salmo Pond County Park. See details and how to sign up on our flyer. Jeanette

08/29/2020

Phase II of the Overlook is nearing completion. The grading and composite stone work has been done within the stone work and one bench (Otto Festge's) has been reinstalled. Two more will be reinstalled, the historical sign will be reinstalled on a new foundation and the service road will be paved. Check it out if you haven't seen the new work. Personally, I never tire of the of view-- no matter the season--but it is exceptional now, with many prairie plants in bloom along the service road. Jeanette

08/29/2020

Looks like it will be a beautiful day for Chris Gavin's classes at Festge Park Sunday, August 30th. His foraging class is full with openings for the ecology class available. If you are interested in future classes, be sure to contact him (see prior post for info) to get on a waiting list. We are planning more dates for foraging in September and October and will be posting all that information very soon. Jeanette

Friends of Festge Park
08/18/2020

Friends of Festge Park

Chris Gavin will be doing a Summer Foraging and Savanna Ecology class August 30th. Our group, Friends of Festge Park, is very happy that Chris Gavin is able to do these types of classes and we are in the process of setting up more, all-year-round, for many outdoor skills and information opportunities. He has a wealth of information to share along with some great recipes, too.😋We have the perfect Driftless area park for these events. Share with others who may be interested, too. Like our page, and check back for more events with Chris Gavin to come up soon. Jeanette

Chris Gavin will be doing a Summer Foraging and Savanna Ecology class August 30th. Our group, Friends of Festge Park, is...
08/18/2020

Chris Gavin will be doing a Summer Foraging and Savanna Ecology class August 30th. Our group, Friends of Festge Park, is very happy that Chris Gavin is able to do these types of classes and we are in the process of setting up more, all-year-round, for many outdoor skills and information opportunities. He has a wealth of information to share along with some great recipes, too.😋We have the perfect Driftless area park for these events. Share with others who may be interested, too. Like our page, and check back for more events with Chris Gavin to come up soon. Jeanette

08/07/2020

Chris Gavin's Foraging class on Sunday, August 9th is full with 4 more available spots for the Survival Kit class 12:30 to 1:30 pm. If you are still interested, contact Chris as per our flyer in my previous post of July 29th. If you want to attend any of these classes facilitated by Chris, but you cannot make it on a scheduled day, contact him to get on a list for the next time he offers it. Contact him at 608-609-0572 or eagleoutdoorskills.com
Jeanette

08/06/2020

Just an update about some work projects at Festge Park and Salmo Pond being overseen by Dane County Parks' and their Landscape Architect/planner.

The Overlook project is nearing completion with work being done to improve water drainage in the original circle, other grading work and then laying down aggregate in that immediate area. Then, the service road from the Shelter 2 parking area will be paved with asphalt. Also, the original historic sign will be reinstalled farther back (from it's prior location) on a new cement platform, so as to not obstruct the wonderful view in the Overlook area.

At Salmo Pond, some preliminary work has been done for the floating pier and that part will be under way starting this Friday. The floating pier will replace the pier lost nearly two years ago during the flood on August 18th. There will be other parking lot and bathroom updates yet this year.

The old swing set at Festge Park, with the yellow horse swings, is being dismantled due to being out of compliance with safety standards. It was rather unexpected but we were aware it had been "grandfathered in" for awhile. The process of getting a new compliant swing set requires planning, budgeting, then approval in the County budget. It may possibly be next year. We are sad this had to happen as we know so many kids have enjoyed many swings over the decades of use; with parents bringing their children, or now their grandchildren, who were one of those kids.
Jeanette

Chris Gavin is doing another event for us--see flyer.  He's offering two different classes on the same day. (I figured o...
07/29/2020

Chris Gavin is doing another event for us--see flyer. He's offering two different classes on the same day. (I figured out at way to post the document this time!) Jeanette

Here is the flyer for foraging.  My methods of getting documents into facebook are limited...this is my work around solu...
07/17/2020

Here is the flyer for foraging. My methods of getting documents into facebook are limited...this is my work around solution. Jeanette

07/17/2020

Friends of Festge Park along with Dane County Parks, are sponsoring Summer Foraging with Chris Gavin on Saturday, July 18th and Saturday, July 25th. Contact Chris to sign up, as per the following information.

Chris is not only knowledge about collecting and utilizing foraged items over the campfire or the kitchen, but offers anecdotal tidbits to make it a fun and interesting class.

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge
04/22/2020

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge

Happy Earth Day!!! Earth Day celebrates being environmentally-friendly neighbors to both people and wildlife. Here are some ways we can help: https://www.fws.gov/home/earthday/ecotips.html

Photo: A metallic green colored bee perches on the tip of a bull thistle flower by Kelsey Hoffmann/USFWS.

Friends of Festge Park volunteers often talk about celebrating or doing something for the Earth, all year long. As Earth...
04/21/2020
Q&A: Tia Nelson on new Gaylord Nelson Education Resource - PBS Wisconsin

Friends of Festge Park volunteers often talk about celebrating or doing something for the Earth, all year long. As Earth Day comes around, it becomes a time of greater appreciation, joy and wanting to share information with others--a hopefulness of bringing about environmental or stewardship awareness resulting in actions.

Gaylord Nelson is certainly one of those rare individuals who created a movement of education and awareness of stewardship of the Earth. His daughter, Tia Nelson, continues his legacy in many ways. In honor of Earth Day, below is a link to an article and video I recently saw on PBS about Gaylord Nelson and how it all began. Share with others and hope you find some way to mark this special week and day, keeping social distance.
https://pbswisconsin.org/article/qa-tia-nelson-on-new-gaylord-nelson-education-resource/

We are always looking for volunteers, donations and memberships to continue our work. For more information, you may contact me via Messenger or 608-279-3755. Jeanette

PBS Wisconsin Education has released a new Wisconsin Biographies story titled, Gaylord Nelson: A Vision for the Earth. Wisconsin Biographies is...

Below is a clear explanation from Prairie Moon Nursery about a nasty invasive plant, Garlic Mustard. Have some on your p...
04/04/2020

Below is a clear explanation from Prairie Moon Nursery about a nasty invasive plant, Garlic Mustard. Have some on your property? Get rid of it ASAP as they can spread quickly. We are getting ready for our 2020 attack (keeping social distance) at Festge and Salmo Pond. Thanks, Ron Endres for sharing the information.

Invasive Plant Public Service Announcement! Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

The very mention of this name evokes anger in the hearts of conservationists everywhere. Since being introduced in the 1800s, Garlic Mustard has outcompeted our native woodland herb species to a staggering degree. Once Garlic Mustard is introduced to an area, it is not long before entire populations of other diverse native plants are wiped out.

What makes this rather small biennial particularly nasty is its habit of poisoning the soil. Garlic mustard is an “allelopathic” plant. It exudes chemicals from its roots that inhibit the growth of other plants, and kills the soil fungi that plants rely on. Many species of insects that rely on woodland spring ephemerals are being displaced by the loss of these plants because of Garlic Mustard. For example, the Virginia White butterfly (Pieris virginiensis) have declined in large numbers, and butterfly eggs laid on Garlic Mustard seem to succumb to poisoning and never hatch.

Garlic Mustard is a biennial, meaning that it will live for two years. The first year it will produce vegetative growth, the second year it will flower and set seed. These photos show Garlic Mustard during its second year, the year the plant will reproduce. It is especially important to control these plants during this stage of its lifecycle, before the plant flowers and sets more seed. After a rain, plants are relatively easy to pull out of the ground. It is important to put the plants into a black plastic bag for disposal, especially for flowering plants. Garlic Mustard seed can continue to ripen on the plant, even after it's been pulled!

If you're feeling cooped up this spring, consider getting outdoors (with safe social distancing!) to help remove invasive species like Wild Garlic Mustard.

#publicserviceannouncement #invasiveplants #nature #naturegram #naturelovers #plantsofinstagram #IGnature #instabotany #botany #landmanagement #restoration #ecologicalrestoration #ecology

A fun winter post to enjoy.  Jeanette Hoard
02/17/2020

A fun winter post to enjoy. Jeanette Hoard

Why walk when you could slide? River otters save energy in the winter months by sliding across snowy slopes on their bellies - sometimes you can even see the tracks they leave behind!

Photo: A river otter begins sliding across the snow, captured on a trail cam at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by USFWS.

02/03/2020

It was a beautiful day to get out for a walk at Festge Park. While I was there yesterday, I was asked if the Overlook was open, as the service road isn't plowed to the Overlook this year; only the service road to Shelter 1, and that parking lot, is being plowed. Budgets, staff and time...we were disappointed, too.

Yes, the newly updated and expanded Overlook is open and you will need to walk from the Shelter 1 parking lot to the Overlook.

We've been seeing quite a few snowshoers at Festge Park and they are enjoying the trails and beauty of the Park. So think about doing that at Festge Park if you like that sport.
Jeanette

Yesterday the Cross Plains Boy Scout Troop 87 held their annual pancake breakfast.  We had an Eagle Scout project at Fes...
02/03/2020

Yesterday the Cross Plains Boy Scout Troop 87 held their annual pancake breakfast. We had an Eagle Scout project at Festge Park ending in 2019 of putting in walking paths, plantings, butterfly stations, ID signs, etc. in the old Ball Diamond. Here is a photo of Forest and his documentation of the project. We were very pleased and grateful for all the work they did, and Forest will continue his leadership abilities into college soon.

Also, the troop has more young men ready to do more projects at Festge soon. We love hearing that along with leaders who are very involved, and wanting outdoor, meaningful projects. Jeanette

Thanks to Terry Devitt for writing this article that captures what we do (restoration), who we are (oddballs) and a typi...
01/10/2020
Oddballs and swampers

Thanks to Terry Devitt for writing this article that captures what we do (restoration), who we are (oddballs) and a typical day at the "office". Thanks also to Michael Kienitz for the drone photo. Enjoy!!

Festge Park is an example of how volunteer labor from “oddballs” can restore an area to its natural state.

Gary Nelson will be doing a presentation at the Fox Valley Wild Ones 24th Annual Conference "Toward Harmony with Nature"...
12/15/2019
Info

Gary Nelson will be doing a presentation at the Fox Valley Wild Ones 24th Annual Conference "Toward Harmony with Nature" being held January 25, 2020 at the Oshkosh Convention Center, 2 N. Main St., Oshkosh, WI. The keynote speaker is Steven Packard, who was featured in the book "Miracle Under the Oaks." Gary's presentation "How A Small Volunteer Effort Became The Largest Driftless Area Habitat Restoration In The History Of Dane County Parks" will start at 1:15 pm. Gary will explore lessons learned and techniques used to remove invasives, restore native plants, and more. I'll also be there to assist.

Ron Endres will be there for his 2nd year as a vendor selling his Native Seed Necklaces.

For more information or to register, go to https://www.towardharmonywithnature.org/info.html
Jeanette

Chances are most people have never thought of their gardens or their yards as habitats that represent the last chance we have for sustaining plants, insects and animals that were once common...

11/17/2019

Greetings All,

The holidays are coming up, but for us, that means more chain saw time in the woods as Jim Parry has more time to share! In case folks aren’t aware, we sometimes work holidays, weekends and even…..Super Bowl Sunday! Not to say you have to, but if the Packer’s aren’t playing, you can burn off some calories instead. 😊

Jim’s next all-day work party is Saturday, December 7th, starting at 8:00 am. Location will be in Phase II (northern area) and most likely be accessed in the old Shelter 3 area. Driving there may be weather dependent so if the site changes, we will let you know accordingly. We will need chain sawyers and brush haulers.

As usual, Friends of Festge will provide food and beverages for break and lunch. Let us know if you can make it or not, and for about how long. Any amount of time is greatly appreciated.

Future dates for all-day work parties are: Tuesday, December 31st and Wednesday, January 1st, 2020. We celebrate clearing the way for future woodland prairies on these days. We’ll certainly do something even more special for food and a short after work party. Also, it’s our tradition to burn well-worn work clothing on these days, esp. the 1st. We joke about the year Jim threw his old chain saw jacket into the flames which caught fire almost before it hit the flames! I’ll be sending another email for these dates in a couple of weeks.

We are always looking for more volunteers, individuals or groups, during the week or weekends. If you know of someone who might be interested, let me know. Be sure to contact us if you have any questions.

Thanks,
Jeanette Gary Nelson
608-279-3755 608-279-7401

Here is a map of trails at Festge County Park.  Note the closed trail goes around a hayfield and is in the northern area...
11/08/2019

Here is a map of trails at Festge County Park. Note the closed trail goes around a hayfield and is in the northern area of the Park.

Ever have one of those days when attaching a pdf file to a page is a struggle? My work around is a photo so if it appears a little off, my technical knowledge is the reason. 😏

11/08/2019

Due to hazards along the .9 of a mile outer loop trail, it has been temporarily closed until further notice. Dane County Parks staff will be addressing the hazards and once that is done, it will be reopened. It's a great trail so once reopened, park visitors will be able to enjoy it again.

On October 6th, Jane Sturgess Varda facilitated a Plein Air class on pastel painting at our scenic Overlook.  The view o...
10/11/2019

On October 6th, Jane Sturgess Varda facilitated a Plein Air class on pastel painting at our scenic Overlook. The view of the Black Earth Creek valley is outstanding and served as the perfect backdrop for the artists. The weather cooperated, too.

Thanks Jane Sturgess Varda for the wonderful photos. 🙂

09/15/2019

In June, we applied for a grant through the Friends of Dane County Parks Endowment Fund's non-profit organization, the Foundation for Dane County Parks. We are excited to announce that we received our grant request of $1,994.88! We will purchase further needed equipment of a STIHL trimmer (with attachments), blower (with power sweep and bristle brush) and two backpack sprayers. The robust blower will be able to do several functions with the added attachments. All are needed items to help us perform restoration and maintenance in ever increasing acreage with further minimal mechanization.

When I said excited, I mean more like downright thrilled! 🥳This was the first round of grants offered by The Foundation for Dane County Parks and we are very appreciative to have received these funds. It makes a great deal of difference to us, along with the other Friends groups, to have a further opportunity for grants. As a non-profit organization, we have to purchase most of our supplies and equipment with providing personal equipment (such as chain saws) in order to do the restoration work.

A big thanks to Andy Lewis, Allocations Committee Chair and other the committee members who reviewed our grant and, especially, Bill Lunney, President of the Foundation for Dane County Parks for his efforts over many years to bring about a program to benefit the Friends groups of Dane County.

From our Board: Gary Nelson, President; Bill Carlson, Vice Pres.; Jeanette Hoard, Sect./Treas.; and Directors Bruce Javenkowski, James Parry, Dennis Connor and Justin Nelson.

Address


General information

President Gary Nelson 608.279.7401 [email protected] Secretary/Treasurer Jeanette Hoard 608.279.3755 [email protected]

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DO you folks know about this work day? Monroe is helping spearhead the project (creating boot wash stations for Black Earth Creek) and we need bodies to help put these together and place them along the creek. Sign up soon -- and you are eligible for free beer at an after-party! - Bartlett