The partnerships, the creativity and the kindness offer a silver lining to this pandemic and Safer at Home order. As the weeks wear on, I think Friday is a good day to share positive updates. Please send me yours at

Thank you to everyone who has donated masks and face coverings to the city! As you may have read, we are asking all city workers to wear a face covering in public, and you are helping to make that possible.

I was touched by the efforts of the Madison Police Department and their work to reach out to children and young adults. Look and listen to the #BooksAndBadges. In an effort to stay connected to the Madison community during this pandemic, departments around the country are reading books to children. The officer featured in this link is Assistant Chief John Patterson and he does a great job with Fox in Socks here.

Madison School  and Community Recreation (MSCR) is an active partner with the City and they have provided a number of opportunities for on-line adventures.  Check out the classed and other opportunities, and let me know what you think.

City Engineering has a great idea for a family project: build a rain garden! . you can help us reach our 1,000 rain garden goal. A rain garden is a garden of native shrubs, perennials, and flowers designed to capture and infiltrate water into the ground. A rain garden is a great option for stormwater management as it temporarily holds and soaks in rainwater runoff that flows from roofs, driveways, patios or lawns. As of April 21, 2020, the City has 624 rain gardens recorded on its rain garden map.

If you have a rain garden, and want it included on a future interactive map the City is working on, email the photo to with the location. You can find more information here. Keep in mind, as we wind down Earth Week, a rain garden is great for the environment. Rain gardens help Madison lakes and can attract birds, butterflies and bees.

Another option to get outside is to make our City even more beautiful by helping pick up litter in our parks. We all want you to remain safe though, so follow some important guidelines.

Pick up trash with the following safety precautions:

  • Do not come into direct contact with any trash
  • Be sure to wear protective gloves
  • Use a trash picker tool, if you have one
  • Dispose of bagged trash in Parks can
  • Use hand sanitizer when you finish
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds when you return home
  • If you're over age 60 or in a high-risk category, you may wish to consider other volunteer project

You could also help get rid of another problem in our parks by pulling garlic mustard! Garlic mustard is an invasive plant, which has heart-shaped leaves with scalloped edges in its first year. By the second year, it has triangular tooth leaves with tiny white flowers. Crushed leaves smell like garlic. This short video from the UW Extension provides information on how to identify it. If you find a patch, pull it up and make sure you get the roots! It’s best to put it in a bag, which you can leave at the edge of the park near a trash can or paved path. Staff will dispose of it properly.

As the weather gets warmer, we all look forward to spending time outside, but please maintain appropriate distances, wear your face coverings, wash your hands and please stay healthy.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Mayor's Office and a link back to the original post.