The mission of the Spring City Garden Club is to share our love of gardening through beautification, environmental stewardship, education, community involvement and philanthropy.
In 1965, SCGC was instrumental in the drive to secure and develop 88 acres in the heart of Waukesha, adjoining the Fox River, to be used as a sanctuary and environmental teaching area for school children. In one year (1974) members planted 1,000 white pines and 1,000 Norway spruce to provide cover for birds. In addition to labor, the club donates money year after year. Today, thousands of children have learned about nature at the Fox River Sanctuary.
In 1983, SCGC established a fund to buy trees and shrubs for planting around Waukesha County. The fund answers two needs: Persons wanting to honor a child’s birth, graduation, an anniversary or to make a tribute to someone who has died, can use this as a gift. The second need, to beautify and protect the local environment, is filled in a lovely way through a Living Gift! We practice what we preach by honoring living and deceased club members and others, through the program. SCGC collects the monies from the donor, acknowledges contributions with a receipt, notifies honorees and turns the money over to the Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use for its Legacy Forest Program. That department then purchases trees and other botanical specimens and plants them at county expense at selected sites.
In 1991, the chairman of the Fox River Development Committee spoke to SCGC about plans and goals of a 4-stage riverfront beautification plan. SCGC became the second civic organization to give support to the project. A committee from SCGC was appointed to work with the river committee. Our proposal was to add a new dimension to the green pines and hardwoods planted in the Fox River Sanctuary—a new ecosystem!
Our club began planting a Butterfly Garden along the banks of the Fox River in the City of Waukesha in May 1995 and later a Prairie Garden adjacent to it. Our gardens became a sparkling gem of color visited by environmental classes of school children, the many users of the bike trail, hikers and walkers, senior citizens from nearby apartments and the many members of civic clubs that meet at the E. B. Shurts Environmental Education Center up the hill from the gardens. The Prairie Garden consisted of at least 18 varieties of prairie plants native to Wisconsin, providing nectar and larval plants for butterflies from spring through fall. The winter plants left standing provided shelter for small mammals through the cold months. Ice crystals clinging to the plants provided a beautiful waterscape for bikers and walkers.
In 2009, it was decided that the gardens would have to be abandoned. The forces of nature repeatedly destroyed the gardens by the Fox River overflowing its banks. It was difficult to replace the work and money it took to restore its beauty. We are currently working to beautify the City of Waukesha with mass plantings in pots throughout the main streets.