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.*

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