Taking Root: Donor's Gift Will Grow Forever 

Operation Fresh Start's Conservation Crews are teaming up to put more trees in Dane County parks.

An $8,000 gift from a donor-advised fund at Madison Community Foundation is enabling Dane County Parks and Operation Fresh Start (OFS) to team up for trees.

Thanks to the 2017 grant from an anonymous donor to support the Dane County Forestry Program, 450 saplings are on their way to a county park near you. A new gravel bed tree nursery, complete with a well and watering system, is helping parks foresters tend to the trees and look forward to hiring a seasonal staff member from Operations Fresh Start’s Conservations Crews to support the transition to planting and care.

“The goal for this project was to triple our tree planting capacity while still working within or existing budget,” says Darren Marsh, Dane County Parks director. “This is a wonderful new addition for our Forestry Program.” 

Marsh says the project utilizes young bare-root trees, or saplings, purchased from local nurseries. The saplings spend four months growing sustainable root systems in the gravel beds before being planted in area parks.   

One lucky person from the OFS Conservation Crews will be trained and hired from the nonprofit’s successful Pathways Program, which prepares youth for jobs in the local marketplace.  

“I want to thank MCF and the anonymous donor for providing us with the opportunity to grow our forestry program and create improved opportunities for our youth,” says Marsh.