The Jefferson County Parks Department hired 106 Group to develop outdoor wayside exhibits at two of its parks: Garman Nature Preserve in Waterloo and Indian Mounds County Park in Wisconsin. The Dr. J.S. Garman Nature Preserve is a wooded hillside with several trails and, at the top of the hill, 22 American Indian mounds. At Indian Mounds County Park, visitors hike a wooded, loop trail around 11 American Indian mounds and cross an ancient American Indian trail.
Our team of planners, designers, sculptors, and an Indigenous artist collaborated with the client team to develop 23 waysides, 18 for Garman Nature Preserve and five for Indian Mounds Park. We also coordinated with the Ho-Chunk Tribal Historic Preservation Office for appropriate, cultural content for interpreting the two sites and the mounds. The interpretive and orientation waysides included wayfinding and trail delineation information, as well as messages about protecting cultural resources. One of the interpretation waysides uses a bronze tactile to show the effects of glaciers on the landscape. Wayside development included research, text, graphics, maps, and illustrations. We contracted with a Ho-Chunk/Anishinaabe artist to create original art for the illustrations.
The waysides interpret the glacial landscape, plants and animals, and restoration of the native oak savanna. In both parks, interpretive waysides help visitors understand the Indigenous people who built the mounds, the mounds’ significance, and their meaning for today’s Ho-Chunk people. Wayfinding and orientation information help visitors move safely through the parks and provide stewardship messaging and information about park rules and regulations to encourage visitors to take good care of park resources.
“If you’re lost in the commotion of life, the Garman Nature Preserve is a peaceful, serene remedy. Come and get lost in the preserve. You’ll find yourself.”
- Jefferson County Parks Program Assistant