Silverwood Park's Sustainable Agriculture Summer School

Final report for YENC21-167

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2021: $4,000.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2023
Grant Recipient: Friends of Silverwood Park, Inc.
Region: North Central
State: Wisconsin
Project Manager:
Kyle Richmond
Friends of Silverwood Park, Inc.
Expand All

Project Information


Silverwood Park is a 300-acre public park with a focus on sustainable agriculture education.  This project will strengthen an existing summer school partnership between the Friends of Silverwood Park (FoSP) and the Edgerton School District by allowing FoSP to hire a summer school coordinator. The coordinator will enhance the current program by planning and augmenting the sustainable agriculture components of summer school classes by arranging presentations/activities with local and regional individuals employed in agricultural fields. This project also will allow FoSP to develop a better model to extend the summer school program to other, neighboring school districts in the future.

Project Objectives:

At the end of session, students will be able to:

  1. Define sustainability/regenerative agriculture practices and discuss various examples. 
  2. Describe soil formation and how to keep soil healthy, including no-till planting.
  3. Describe organic production methods and steps to organic certification.
  4. Identify the importance of crop management and its relationship to sustainable agriculture, including identifying plants that work well together in companion planting settings.
  5. Identify pests and demonstrate actions to manage, including insects & weeds. 
  6. Describe methods and benefits of composting
  7. Identify agriculture-related careers, actions needed to pursue those careers, and how the presenters employ sustainable agriculture practices. 


Click linked name(s) to expand/collapse or show everyone's info
  • Katie Whitten
  • Barb Gausman (Educator)

Educational & Outreach Activities

2 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
1 On-farm demonstrations
1 Other educational activities: Blog post, promoted to the Friends of Silverwood Park's e-mailing list.

Participation Summary:

58 Youth
25 Parents
3 Educators
Education/outreach description:

Summer School participants created presentations for parents and other visitors on the last day of school in July.  They first listened to presentations on topics ranging from pollinators to composting, and then took visitors on a tour of garden plots created during the summer school session.

Learning Outcomes

12 Youth reporting change in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness
Key changes:
  • Soil formation and how to keep soil healthy

  • Organic growing methods

  • Companion planting / plants that grow well together

  • Pests - including insects & weeds - and discussed actions to manage

  • Methods and benefits of composting

  • Agriculture-related careers and actions needed to pursue those careers

Results and discussion:

Parent Survey: Silverwood Summer School program participants' parents were surveyed by e-mail through the school district in August, between the time the course ended and the beginning of the autumn school semester.  Only 12 parents responded to the survey.  Below are the general comments offered at the end of the survey in response to this request: "To help us plan for next year, please share thoughts and comments you may have about 2021 Silverwood summer school below."

  • I loved the outdoor option for summer school.
  • We thought it was a great program, and Amelia can't wait to do it again next year.
  • Fishing for the older kids
  • My child really enjoyed his time at the Silverwood summer school camp. We will definitely encourage him to attend in the future.
  • Amazing curriculum and teaching staff!!
  • I am pretty sure Declan will be signed up again! He loved this class!!
  • Better communication between program and parents
  • Excellent curriculum and teaching staff!
  • I think everything was great. I loved the 1/2 days twice a week through July. My 2nd grader taught me things he learned!
  • I loved the variety of topics and presenters that came. It was very hands on for the kids, which they will remember for a long time.

Project Outcomes

1 Grant received that built upon this project
2 New working collaborations

Below are considerations for summer school program improvements envisioned for 2022: 

  • Daily ask students to reflect or journal on their experiences, so that they can refer back to their ideas 4 -6 weeks later. 
  • Weekly communication with parents through email. 
  • Coach presenters to KISS (some presentations were way too long and detailed, use activities rather than lecture).
  • Ask parents to complete a pre-survey to measure growth.
  • Invite more school district personnel to field day.  Perhaps include Dane County Parks or County UW-Extension staff.  
  • Consider becoming a monarch station for middle school students. 
  • Budget for mulch.
  • Seek FFA or 4H members as helpers or volunteers. 
  • Connect with Sassy Cow Dairy,  Seth Oren use of drones for agriculture,  solar or wind power speakers or activities, Organic Blue Farm Corn Chips in Janesville, Basics Food Cooperative, Goat to Go, 
  • Engage the teachers in taking more responsibility for curriculum activities, set up and clean up - currently, they basically show up, teach/supervise, and leave the park. 

Information Products

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.