Friends of Washington Park

The Friends of Washington Park (FOWP) started in 2005 with a small group of volunteers working on the lower lagoon restoration project. The group has grown to a volunteer list of over 75 individuals and a formal committee made up of 10 dedicated patrons of the park. The FOWP commitment to the preservation of Washington Park’s natural history is evident in our Mission Statement: "To preserve and promote the historic integrity and natural prairie style design of Washington Park through restoration, conservation, and education."

Our volunteer group performs many tasks in the park, including planting, weeding, pruning, removal of invasive plant species and general cleanup. Our main areas of interest are the native perennial planting beds at the lower lagoon boardwalk, the main playground area, and the central woods and trail system. The volunteer group has been recognized by the Springfield in Bloom Committee the past two years for its dedication to preserving the natural beauty of Washington Park. At the lower lagoon, our volunteer group maintains the perennial planting beds at the boardwalk along with the wetland plants that stretch along the shoreline to the east. These plants are thriving and we are working to split these and utilize them in other areas of the park, like the playground. In the centrally located main wooded area of the park, the FOWP group is working with the Friends of Sangamon Valley organization and other volunteer groups from the surrounding neighborhoods to remove invasive plants such as bush honeysuckle and winter creeper. It is the goal of FOWP to reestablish a healthy native White Oak stand in this area and to promote the conservation and preservation of the White Oaks in the area. The FOWP volunteers have also been working to reestablish the three main planting beds within the main playground area. These areas were replanted in 2009 with native plants donated from surrounding park neighbors or purchased through the Foundation at local nurseries. We will continue to work on these planting beds and carry the native plant scheme to the areas surrounding the playground.

The FOWP Committee is collaborating with the Springfield Park District and its Board of Trustees to establish a comprehensive Master Conservation and Restoration Plan. This plan would address the history of Washington Park and it’s unique Prairie Style design. The first restoration project will be the reconstruction of the Iron Spring area based on photos from around 1903-1910, and should begin the summer of 2010. Other restoration projects would include the 1914 Boathouse and the restoration of the Main Pavilion to its original grandeur.

If you are interested in becoming a FOWP volunteer see our "become a volunteer" page. We look forward to seeing you in the park.

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