By: Danny Woolums
Growing up in a city like Georgetown comes with many different perks. When you have a small community, you often find yourself able to walk from home to your favorite coffee shop (oh how I miss Lock & Key!) or to the elementary school playground to play on the swingset. I reflect on catching my first bluegill at Royal Spring Park, canoeing along the Elkhorn at Great Crossing or catching bugs by the Elkhorn near Bi-Water Farm for my 7th grade science project.
All of these cherished memories were behind developing a stormwater walk as part of our contract with the City of Georgetown.
Living in Lexington for the past 8 years means that I have enjoyed watching as stormwater murals have popped up all over town and I wanted to be able to give the same kind of experience to the city that raised me. I wanted to be able to share art with my family and protect the same waters I once loved for the future generations. Because of a fantastic partnership with the Scott County Arts Consortium and Girl Scout Elise Marion, I am thrilled to see such a project coming to life.
The stretch of Broadway in Georgetown between the Indian Acres Shopping Plaza and Garth Elementary houses 22 stormdrains. We will be inviting Scott County artists to develop art that will be digitally printed to cover each one of those stormdrains. The local community will have an opportunity to select their favorite submissions at the Scott County Public Library between April 22nd and May 6th; a public reception will be held on the 22nd at 5 pm at the library. Once the finalists are selected, the will be printed an installed throughout May and June. A panel of judges will select the top 3 for cash prizes.
The goal of the City of Georgetown’s ‘The Path of Water’ project is to increase public awareness about stormwater, and city residents’ role in keeping the local environment clean and safe. This project aims to be an exciting way to engage many members of the Georgetown community and leave a lasting, positive impact on the city that first stole my heart.
By: Danny Woolums
For many young adults like myself, PokémonGo has been the realization of a dream we’ve had since we were children. Becoming a Pokémon trainer and catching all 150 of the magical creatures excited me and my brother while we battled it out on our GameBoys. Almost 2 decades later, I get a text from my brother asking when are we going to meet up so he can show me all of his supposedly more powerful Pokémon.
Beyond the nostalgia that the app brings me, I have found it a truly rewarding experience. On a more professional note, as an environmental educator, I am pleased and interested in how this game invites individuals of all ages, including those who aren’t nature-inclined, to get outside and engage with their local environment in the quest to catch them all.
If you aren’t already familiar with this phenomenon sweeping the world, I recommend reading this article from USA Today. By interfacing with real world through Google, integrating local landmarks, and then using the camera on your phone, Niantic has engaged users with the world around them in a way they’ve never before experienced.
PokémonGo has been a fantastic tool of getting people outside and talking to one another. Perhaps you’ve driven past a city park and seen a far higher number of people congregated together anxiously staring at their phones followed by a moment of shared joy. I have walked by so many people who I make eye contact with, laugh, and then continue walking because we’ve just exchanged a knowing look that says we’re all on the hunt for a nearby Pikachu.
PokémonGo is not without its naysayers. Some may argue, how does this interface encourage social interaction and engagement with the local environment, when you’re staring at your phone? I would only point them towards several individuals and organizations who are harnessing the power of this global phenomenon to educate and do good work for the earth. There’s the guy from Reddit, who decided to also pick up litter in the parks he was walking in, and encouraged other users to do the same. That post has more than 5,000 views on the Reddit platform. Biologists are using the game as a research tool, and are encouraging users to submit upload photos of real animals they find to Twitter using the hashtag #pokeblitz, so that the online scientific community can identify wildlife the game players didn’t previously have knowledge about.
Above all, I think about all of the people who are outside despite the weather, ignoring their televisions, not blasting the A/C, not turning on the lights, and the people just really enjoying playing outside for the first time in years. We can lament and condemn all we want about what it means for us as a society that it takes a game to get us outside, and I’d be more than happy to engage in that conversation, but right now I see that there’s a bulbasaur nearby and I am about to go outside, enjoy some sun, and catch it. Maybe I’ll see you there.