The SquidFoo storefront

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to tour Squid Foo gallery and workspace. Among the many interesting, weird, and exciting projects, I felt a measure of creativity seeping its way into my brain; just what the doctor ordered. Down in the basement we came across another great project. Eric and Jessi Honeycutt, founders of Sustainable Happyness, have constructed an impressive aquaponics system from mostly found materials. An aquaponic system consists of a fish pool and a garden bed. The plants and microbes that live in the garden bed take the place of a filtering system, cleaning the water before it returns to the fish pool. The fish waste, a natural fertilizer, is removed by the garden bed filter and keeps the fish healthy. While we visited and explored the basement, I noticed how clean the water in the fish pool was when it returned. Clear water poured out of the garden into the pool, mixing in oxygen as it fell splashing from a pipe above the water’s surface. The pool was refreshed by clean clear water while the plants were sustained by nutrients.

The system at SquidFoo is much larger, but the idea is the same.

This relationship sparked a lot inside of me. One idea that resonated particularly powerfully is that of refreshing, cool water. Like a breath of fresh air, these fish recieved gallons of filtered, oxygen rich water every few minutes. I felt as though I had received the same when I walked in. The creative energy that filled the place; art on display, projects in progress, intentional use of signage and space; replenished the creative energy within me. On an even larger scale, I can see the way that our own creative staff and board at the Watershed Committee provide a steady flow of rejuvenating fresh water to our discussions and planning sessions, with new ideas presented at every corner. In an organization like ours and many others, a small staff is at a large risk of burnout. The inflow of fresh ideas is critical to maintaining relevance in the community. We can even take another step back. Our community itself is subject to the same struggle between becoming stagnant and remaining energized by new directions and imaginative concepts.

Thankfully, we have many opportunities as a City to be inspired. Next Friday, September 20th, the 11th Pecha Kucha held in Springfield will take place at the Idea Factory X. If you are unfamiliar with this event, get familiar. It is an excellent cross-section of what is happening in the art, education, planning, resource protection, and agricultural communities in Springfield. If you are able, I strongly encourage your attendance.

Sometimes, our cool water comes from an outside source to replenish our collective imagination. On October 2nd, the Watershed Committee will be hosting a dialogue on new energy and engineering practices. This event features Bill Ritter, former governor of Colorado and current Director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University; Jon Jones, professional engineer in 13 states; and Donald Brandes, Jr., professional planner and urban designer. This day is sure to be full of new thoughts and philosophies on what a city can be and what an urban environment can look like.

A consturcted urban wetland

If you could use some fresh water of your own, please join us on October 2nd for this truly unique event at the beautiful Watershed Center.

October 2nd Event Flyer

Rob Hunt
Watershed Center Coordinator

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