New Business to Downtown is a Perfect Capture

A big welcome to one of Downtown’s newest business, Paparazzi Peggi Photography!!

Peggi Trees Gant is the owner and photographer of Paparazzi Peggi Photography and if you haven’t had a chance to meet her, you’re missing out! She has a personality that literally lights up the room and she can make you feel so good about yourself just by saying hello!

She is a long time local and has done work for political parties, proms, weddings, downtown events, and has been featured in Springfield Scene Magazine. She’s an amazing mother to three wonderful children and loves her family! She says that “starting small, staying consistent, and being available to her clientele” has made her business what it is today. She’s most excited to see what avenues having a studio will bring to her. You can typically find her shooting downtown for this season’s prom pictures, capturing our great neighborhood during events, or at her new studio at 427 E. Monroe!

Welcome to the Downtown Family, Peggi! We’re so excited to have your spirit!

Part II of III: Sustainability In Downtown Springfield

Last week, we met with Michael Higgins and learned about his approach with “doing the we best we can.” Our food system is a big part of our environment. Eating local and buying from small farmers are all  part of lessening our carbon footprint while contributing to our local economies.

Leah Wilson, new Executive Director and Rachael Thomson, founder and board president of the Kidzeum.

This week, we’re meeting with Rachael Thomson (Board President) and Leah Wilson (Executive Director) of the Kidzeum Health and Science Children’s Museum.

Rachael and Leah believe that sustainability starts with the young future leaders of the world. Starting in 2004, the concept of the Kidzeum was born to bring awareness to childhood health and obesity while teaching concepts of environmental stewardship. Not only are they using an already existing building as the home of the Kidzeum, but they are also creating ways to be more energy efficient. Efficiency measures include all LED lights, doing as much as they possibly can through digital outlets, having all mechanical and electrical systems meet the current energy code, and using photocell sensors near windows, just to list a few. Leah says staff will be very conscious of their own individual carbon footprints too.

The Kidzeum will have many exhibits that promote conservation and sustainability includng a Farm to Market Gallery that teaches visitors the story of seed through plant cycle, harvest, storage, processing and distribution in efforts to promote buying local and reducing carbon footprints. Another exhibit will teach children how to reduce their own carbon footprints in their own homes.

Leah says that sustainability is a “contact-sport” where the best way to learn is to let kids get their hands into things. Rachael and Leah feel that through education, we can help better serve the planet. Rachael states, “Kids are mold-able and will be inheriting the mess that older generations are leaving behind.” To change the paradigm in which we live, we need to start young in education and teach “reduce and reuse” as something that IS the status quo.

Often in the realm of sustainability, it’s easy to lose hope. But, having just one meeting with Rachael and Leah reignites that hope for the future! We cannot wait to bring this museum to life!!

Follow the Kidzeum on Facebook to stay up to date on all of the progess!

*This sustainability blog post is the Second of a three part series about how Downtown Springfield organizations contribute to sustainability initiatives.*

Part I of III: Sustainability in Downtown Springfield

Ice caps are melting, our population is growing, and our winters are getting longer. So, what does that mean for our farm-dependent state?  In Illinois, our farmers depend on the land and climate to work together so that they, as growers, can yield bountiful crops.

Often, we are left overwhelmed as to what we can do to help the earth. From recycling, eating and shopping local, to turning the lights off when you leave a room, sustainability starts small and at the heart. Downtown Springfield, Inc. interviewed three of our business owners regarding their efforts to make Springfield sustainable, delving deep to showcase what makes them unique.

Michael Higgins, owner and chef of Maldaner’s Restaurant, says that buying from small farmers and eating organic is the way to go. Coming from California, one thing Higgins wanted to do when he arrived in Central Illinois was to bring more variety to Springfield. He noticed that the Midwest grew really great tomatoes, but unfortunately only one species seemed to exist. By working with local farmers and by providing them with seed, Higgins was able to add to the Midwest variety. Then in the late ’80’s, Higgins began offering organic chicken to his customers by working with farmers he met at the Illinois Product Show. One can see the pride in Higgins’ eyes as he speaks of the bond between the consumer and farmer. “It’s 100% trust,” he states. Small Farmers, away from agri-business, “ARE small businesses and we need to remember that,” Higgins says.

We are trusting these farmers to feed us with incredible food that provide us with the nutrients we need and at the same time, they are trusting us to understand that where we buy from is important.  Buying from farmers markets and your local or small farm not only helps them but helps our community, and helps our planet. We asked Higgins what he thought was the best solution to feeding our growing population while sustaining our planet and he had the best answer: “Do the best you can.”

How does buying organic help the planet? 

Organic farming is less intensive on our landscapes causing less erosion to our soil compositions. While it does often require more land in general, the amount of pesticides and herbicides are far less than conventional commodity farming — meaning less chemical run-off to our water systems and airways. While too much demand on small farms can do harm by exploiting them, the good news it that more and more “big business” farmers are transitioning to organic due to the consumer demand!

Like Chef Higgins says, all we can do is try our best. Try our best to educate ourselves as to what is harmful to ourselves, others, and the planet. While remembering that even the smallest act is helping and that if we all did one small act, like buying local, those many small acts add up to a pretty big one!

Stay tuned for next weeks’ sustainable highlight when we meet with new Director Leah Wilson and founding Board President Rachael Thomson of the Kidzeum Health and Science Children’s Museum.

*This sustainability blog post is the first of a three part series about how Downtown Springfield organizations contribute to sustainability initiatives.*

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illinois Bicentennial Essay + Art Contest

DEADLINE: MAY 2, 2018

TOPICS OF CHOICE BY GRADE LEVEL:

For further detail of each topic please click above.

ELIGIBILITY
Bicentennial essay and art contests are open to students who attend a school in Sangamon County. Individual contest descriptions may limit the age and/or grade of eligibility based on selected topic or sponsor request. Immediate family members of board members of the Illinois Bicentennial Coordinating Committee of Springfield (IBCC of Springfield) or of the sponsoring organizations for individual contests are not eligible to participate. Void where prohibited by law.

SUBMISSIONS SENT TO:
SPRINGFIELD ART ASSOCIATION. 700 N. 4TH STREET, SPRINGFIELD. IL 62702

JUDGING
The winner of the Contest will be determined by judging all the entrants’ submissions based on the criteria established by contest sponsors. All entries to an individual contest will be judged using the criteria listed on the contest description. Judges will be selected by the IBCC of Springfield, but will not include members of the Board of Directors. The decision of the judges is final and binding on all matters relating to this contest.

PRIZES
There will be first, second and third place winners for each contest. Prizes will be different for each individual contest – review the contest description for complete information. All taxes, if any, are the responsibility of the winners or their guardians. The IBCC of Springfield will not be responsible for any loss, liability or damage arising out of any winner’s acceptance or use of the prize. All prizes are guaranteed to be awarded.

Selection of Winners: Winners will be selected within 30 days of the contest deadline date and notified by email. Return of prize or prize notification as undeliverable will result in disqualification and an alternate winner may be selected. Entry and/or acceptance of prize(s) constitutes permission for the IBCC of Springfield to use the winner’s contest entry, name and/or likeness for advertising and trade purposes without further compensation or authorization, worldwide and in perpetuity, in any and all forms of media, now known and hereafter devised, unless prohibited by law.

CONDITIONS
The IBCC of Springfield is not responsible for lost, late, misdirected or illegible entries, lost connections, miscommunications, failed computer or telephone transmissions, other technical difficulties or failures. The IBCC of Springfield is not responsible for any damage to user’s computer system from downloading/uploading any information necessary to participate in the contest or other technical difficulties or errors of any kind. Limit one entry per person. All entries become the property of the IBCC of Springfield and will not be returned.

The IBCC of Springfield reserves the right to terminate or modify this contest at any time for any reason. In this event, winners will be selected based on entries received to date of termination.
If you wish to receive a list of prize winners or have any questions about the Contest, specify your request and write to: IBCC of Springfield, P.O. Box 9108, Springfield, IL 62791-9108.

Play Bocce Ball Downtown

Spring time is everyone’s favorite season, especially us at Downtown Springfield, Inc. And we have some good news about everyone’s favorite activity! The gate is now open to join the Obed and Isaac’s Bocce Ball League!

I think I speak for all of us when I say, we all love sitting in the beer garden on a warm sunny day with a beer in hand, with good company, and fun games to play.

The best part? It’s so easy to join the Bocce Ball League. Just Email with the following information:

– Team Name & Captain
– Preferred League Day (SundayMonday or Tuesday)
– Captain phone & email address
– Interested in becoming a paid referee?
 Who says we can’t all feel like we’re true Italian’s playing a game of Bocce in one of the best hang out spots of the Spring, right here in Downtown Springfield!
 (P.S. fun fact: Bocce Ball originated from Ancient games played in the Roman Empire)

 

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