Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

County Partners with REI to 'Get Dirty for Dane,’ Connect Citizens Through Volunteer Service

April 26, 2012
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell, 608.843.8858
County Executive


The Dane County Environmental Council and outdoor retailer REI are teaming up to connect citizens to nature through ‘Get Dirty for Dane,’ a day of volunteer environmental stewardship on Saturday, May 12th, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.


Individuals or large groups are encouraged to sign up for a number of diverse projects across the county – including prairie restoration, invasive species removal, and the tidying of land and water trails.  Minimal experience is necessary, and volunteers will be trained on-site before work begins. 


Each site will also have prizes and giveaways, courtesy of the county’s community partners.  Volunteers can help out for hours or an entire day.  A current listing of project descriptions with links to sign up can be found below, or  online at events listed as ‘Get Dirty for Dane.’  More will be added in the days ahead.


“Our natural spaces, lakes, and waterways are big reasons why Dane County is such a great place to live,” said Parisi.  “Our continued community partnerships have played a large role in maintaining the quality of these treasurers.  Getting outdoors with your friends and neighbors to help with a local project is a great way to connect, or re-connect with nature.” 


Events across the county are being coordinated by the Dane County Environmental Council (DCEC) and REI.  The DCEC is a seven-member panel with citizen members appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Board.  The Council assists groups in recognizing and protecting natural areas in Dane County and assumes an educational role in the awareness, conservation and protection of the environment. 


"It's our pleasure to invite the public to get outside, have fun, and assist the organizations that work tremendously hard so that we can enjoy these natural areas,” said Shelly Allness, Chair of the DCEC.  “And if you've never visited these wonderful places, this is a great chance to explore and work with the people that know them best." 


REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. 

Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.


“REI is passionate about protecting the outdoors. Every year, REI mobilizes tens of thousands of volunteers across the country to build trails, clean up beaches, restore habitat and much more,” said Brandt Christopherson, Outreach Specialist at REI Madison.  “We are excited to help do our part in Dane County. Roll up your sleeves and help us give back to the natural places we love.”


“The county depends on, and deeply appreciates the volunteers that step up to help keep our recreation areas welcoming to residents and visitors,” said Dane County Environmental Council member Supervisor Sharon Corrigan.  “With so many diverse projects across the county volunteers are only minutes away from a great day outdoors.”

‘Get Dirty for Dane’ Project Listings From the REI Event Page


Nine Springs Creek:  Join Capitol Water Trails as we clean up Nine Springs Creek in Madison just south of the Beltline.  Volunteers will remove full blockages for better trout habitat and paddle navigation. Will also build piers at two separate sites. Volunteers must supply their own watercraft, work clothes, gloves, and waders if they have them. Supply tools, equipment and drinking water will be provided. This project will require paddling to a remote location and physical work. For questions, contact Capitol Water Trails at


Ice Age Trail Alliance – Tread Upgrades:  Volunteers will focus on the very popular Table Bluff segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail just 2 miles northwest of Cross Plains.  Volunteers will upgrade a number of small sections where the footing is no longer optimal. 


The Ice Age Trail is overseen by the U.S. National Park Service and other parks partners, but is built and maintained by volunteers through the non-profit Ice Age Trail Alliance. The Dane Co. Chapter of IATA will supply all tools (pick/mattocks, McLeod rakes, saws, shovels and dirt-buckets), and experienced crew leaders.


Volunteers should wear clothes they can get dirty, and boots if they have them. Volunteers are encouraged to bring leather work gloves and a water bottle if possible.  If volunteers would like to work past 1pm, they are encourage to bring a sack lunch.  This enjoyable activity can be done at any pace - people of many fitness levels can contribute.


Middleton Pleasant View Bike Park:Join the Capital Off Road Pathfinders (CORP) for a day to improve and polish an important part of Dane County's cycling infrastructure. Projects will include invasive species control, construction of a beginner area, and improvements to dirt jumps and existing singletrack. Volunteers should wear pants that can get dirty and supportive shoes/boots along with a pair of gloves.  Organizers will provide all necessary leadership, tools, snacks, and beverages during the workday. Volunteers are encouraged to join CORP for a pay your own way lunch in the club house following the workday.


Prairie Planting – Yahara Heights County Park:  Volunteers will gather to plant a prairie. Wayne Pauly, Dane County Parks Naturalist will be leading this project.  Volunteers should dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes as the ground is uneven in most of the areas the group will be planting. Please bring your own water.


Salmo Pond Near Festge Park:Volunteers will remove invasive brush around Salmo Pond and open up view of the pond from and to Festge Park. Great activity for individuals or groups.  Tools will be provided. Work is fairly easy, but can provide good exercise. Volunteers should wear work clothes and gloves, and bring water and a snack or lunch. It is not necessary to stay for the entire time, but volunteers can go longer into the afternoon if they wish to continue.


Volunteer for Donald Dash Run:Help with Donald Park's 8K and 16K run on May 12th.  Volunteers needed to facilitate parking, hand out water to runners during the race, hand out of treats afterwards, and clean up the park afterwards.


Please dress according to weather. There will also be a lot of walking involved to get to the areas we need the volunteers and to walk the trails for clean up.  Proceeds to this run will be donated to Donald Park and other trails.


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