Growing The Future

Atlas Helps Historic Wisconsin Farm

Angie Lewis, Writer
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By 2050, food production will need to increase by 50 percent, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Young farmers can play a key role in meeting that demand, which is why facilities such as Silverwood Park in Dane County, WI, are helping to educate future generations of agriculturalists. 

Donated by former Edgerton High School teacher Irene Silverwood in 2001, the park’s nearly 300 acres of farmland serves to educate the public on innovative agricultural practices that will sustain the land indefinitely.

However, many of the park’s historic structures — from 50 to more than 100 years old — have deteriorated over time. 

The 50-year-old tall corncrib, which previously stored corn, has been transformed into an illuminated art piece that glows against the night sky. The park’s pump house, which is more than 80 years old, was once a combination pump/milk house but now stores the water pump for the farmstead and is also used as a sign-in station for volunteers.

The drive-through corncrib dates back more than a century and originally stored food for pigs and milk cows. Today it is used for storage as well as an educational space for Silverwood’s summer school program and various workshops and events. The pig shed, built around the same time as the drive-through corncrib, previously housed pigs and farm machinery but is currently used as storage space for the park’s organic grower partners.

The roofs of the pig shed, drive-through corncrib and tall corncrib were in especially poor condition. They all had leaks and the pig shed also had holes in its roof.

Reciprocity In The Community

When Barry Wilcox, owner of Wilcox Construction in south-central Wisconsin and Atlas Roofing contractor for more than seven years, heard about the park buildings’ roofing issues in early 2017, he stepped up to help. He offered to volunteer his time and labor but reached out to Atlas for product support.

“We wanted to use an asphalt shingle that would perform for many years — and Atlas Roofing’s shingles are the best on the market,” Wilcox says. “I’ve used Atlas shingles since 1995. They are proven to hold up to the sun, snow, rain and ice.”

Darren Skaggs, Director of Sales for Atlas Roofing’s North Region, was more than happy to assist Wilcox with a donation of shingles for the Silverwood’s repairs.

“The willingness of one of our loyal roofing contractors to get involved in this project made our decision an easy one,” he says. “We recognized that this project is one of great importance in educating children about agriculture.”

A lifelong Midwesterner and resident of a farming community, Skaggs understands the importance of “hardworking farmers who keep our country fed,” as well as contractors who help protect homes from the elements and workers in the Atlas manufacturing plants who make the products.

“We live in these communities that use our products,” he said, “and we are proud when we can make an impact with projects such as Silverwood Park that will serve for many years to come. It’s part of our Atlas culture — we care about the difference and impact we can make.”

Up On The Roof

Atlas donated 50 squares of Pinnacle® Pristine roof shingles featuring Scotchgard™ Protector in Pristine Sienna for the Silverwood Park job, which took seven days to complete. Wilcox Construction donated the rest of the material, including plywood sheathing.

“Not only is Pinnacle a high-quality shingle but it also features Scotchgard™ Protector by 3M, which ensures Silverwood’s buildings will look great, without the black streaks caused by algae that you see on many roofs today,” Wilcox says.

Wilcox and his crew removed the existing damaged shingles, installed ¾-inch plywood decking in the spots that were rotted, and then papered in and re-shingled. They repaired the roofs on three of the park’s farm buildings and are working on the fourth.

In recognition of the donated time, labor and products, Silverwood Park will put up a plaque recognizing both Wilcox Construction and Atlas Roofing.

“As a business, it’s nice to know that we work with people like Atlas, who are willing to help us donate [to these types of projects],” Wilcox says.

Thanks to a tremendous community effort, Silverwood Park will be able to teach the next generation how to sustain southern Wisconsin’s agricultural heritage.

Eventually, the park will build an education facility for beginning farmers, as well as greenhouse facilities and other research components. In the meantime, the park benefits from volunteers who plant, weed and water gardens, remove invasive species and restore the historic farmstead.

To learn about Atlas Roofing’s products, visit For more on Silverwood Park, visit For more info about Wilcox Construction, visit