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Beautification Efforts Underway- Call for Volunteers

July 19, 2013 in Art, Community Development, Ideas & Projects, Stories by Jen

As  I was heading up to The Commons to see the special Community Band performance Tuesday night, I noticed a group of people on Mineral Street painting the cement retaining wall.

They didn’t appear to be vandals, so I stopped to check out what they were up to.

The Mural

There I met Mona Frye (pictured below) who told me about the mural project. What started out as a project of the Community School of Vermont has expanded to a community-wide effort. Funding has been provided by a number of area businesses and organizations.

Springfield mural flags

The large mural forming tells the story of Springfield. It seems fitting that the Vermont State Flag and the US Flag anchor the mural around the corner.

As you turn, you can see symbols and landmarks from Springfield emerging. The Calvary Baptist Church welcomes visitors at one end and towards the center, the Miller Art Center hovers majestically above the town.

Flowers adorn the bottom, mixing with a splash of colorful live foliage. I was told there is a large “Springfield” sign that will be added to the center of the mural when everything else is complete.

Appropriately, a Springfield Pride sign is proudly featured. And, as the project progresses, it is easy to see some of the reasons the town has to be proud- not just because of the buildings being shown, but because of the community and volunteers who are pulling together to do something that matters to them- and helps us all remember the beauty that surrounds us.Springfield mural- flowers

Get Involved: Call for Volunteers

There is still plenty of time to get involved- they are meeting every Monday evening around 7pm on Mineral Street. Everyone is welcome, as is any extra latex paint you might have laying around.

There is also a need for anyone with landscaping skills to help clear some areas to prevent water run-off from the hill and help preserve the mural.

Mona Frye explains the mural, the process, and why they need some landscaping assistance

Mona Frye explains the mural, the process, and why they need some landscaping assistance

A Facebook event was created to provide the most up to date information.

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by Jen

Thinking Spots

June 26, 2013 in Stories by Jen

Boat Landing SummerI have a few favorite spaces I like to go to think. They usually involve water.  One of my all-time favorites is the boat landing in Springfield. It offers all the ingredients to make a perfect thinking spot: quiet, nature, and people doing interesting (and sometimes weird) stuff. There is swimming, boating of all types (rowing crews, motor boats, canoes, kayaks, rafts, and inflatables), ice skating in winter, and fishing year-round.

Every time I go, I have found at least one thing that makes me laugh or invokes some deep thought. Generally I come away from my time there feeling a little bit restored and ready to take on the next project. And that is probably the best thing a good thinking spot can provide.

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Somebody should do something about that…

June 26, 2013 in Community Development, Natural Resources, Stories by Kelly Stettner

Sometimes all it takes is a nudge…
In the summer of 2000, I was walking with my husband and our toddler daughter on a bridge over the Black River in Springfield, VT.  I stopped to look into the water, hoping to spot a turtle or fish.  Instead, I saw shopping carts, tires, and cement blocks beneath the surface.  ”That’s terrible!” I remember exclaiming, “Somebody ought to DO something about that.”
My husband, ever the pragmatist, elbowed me in the ribs and replied, “Well, YOU’RE ‘somebody’.”
I recruited a couple of co-workers a month later and, with the help of my husband and daughter, we hauled out 14 shopping carts, a dozen tires, and a variety of household trash.
I’ve been organizing the RiverSweep every year since then, reporting our trash “treasure” tally to the CT River Watershed Council, based in Greenfield MA; the CRWC also supplies us with trash bags and work gloves each year.  Out of this annual event, which now brings in over 100 volunteers from around the river basin, the Black River Action Team (or BRAT) was born.
Among other projects, we plant trees on streambanks, help stock trout with the State, examine and explore habitat for fish and aquatic insects, take regular water samples from the river, work to identify and manage invasive plants and replace them with native species.
A simple phrase: “You’re ‘somebody’” has come to embody my work with the BRAT.  We are each the ‘somebody’ who can make a difference, the catalyst for positive change in our community.
(Editor’s Note: Want to find out more about this fantastic organization and get involved? Visit the BRAT Facebook page and…be the somebody!)

Youth in action for river clean up troops ~ being the somebody

Youth ~ being the somebody and making a difference