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Sustainable Springfield Inc. (SSI) is an environmental grass roots organization that promotes and inspires sustainable solutions by our local governments, the business community, and Springfield area citizens through education, networking, and collaboration.

Your Sustainable & Environmental Information Network in Springfield


Each year Sustainable Springfield, Inc. recognizes businesses, organizations and individuals that demonstrate innovation or excellence in one or more sustainability categories.  These categories include renewable energy use, habitat protection, waste reduction and environmental education. 

Congratulations to our Best Of Award recipients for 2019.

Susan Helm and Francy Cobern, Best in Area Pollinator Protection

Susan Helm and Francy Cobern are community volunteers who worked with the Springfield Park District, local businesses and volunteers to revamp a 3,300 square foot native garden in Washington Park’s lower lagoon area.  The garden was originally created by Friends of Washington Park in 2007 but over the years it was taken over by invasive plants.  Last year, Susan and Francy provided over 400 hours of volunteer time, coordinating the weeding, mulching, fencing and planting of over 1,000 new native plants at the garden.   The area is now a thriving garden, which supplies food in the form of pollen and nectar for local pollinators.  It also serves as a way station for Monarch butterflies. 

Chuck Smith, Best in Forestry Preservation

Chuck Smith is the Superintendent of Natural Resources and District Arborist for the Springfield Park District.   Over the last several years, Chuck has worked diligently on a variety of forestry projects within the parks department.  One of his key efforts has been partnering with Friends of Sangamon Valley to develop plans and seek grants for tree canopy projects in Carpenter Park and Gurgens Park.  With the city of Springfield not having a forestry department, Chuck has taken on the extra role of forest preservation in the city.  He has assisted with training volunteers for tree care, insect surveys and fire management projects.  Chuck’s experience and knowledge has served as a focal point for preserving the tree canopy in the region.

Lincoln Land Community College, Best in Solar Development, Training and Education

This past year, Lincoln Land Community College began working with WindSolarUSA to investigate the feasibility of installing rooftop solar panels at its regional facilities.  The college’s board of trustees has approved solar projects for LLCC’s Jacksonville and Litchfield facilities, which will be installed in June.  Together the two projects will save the college approximately $400,000 in energy costs over a 25-year period.  Working with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Lincoln Land has also created a 30-hour renewable energy training curriculum, which will help prepare high school and college students for career opportunities in the expanding renewable energy field.  LLCC plans to share its renewable energy curriculum with five other community colleges in the state. 

Illinois Environmental Council, Best in Green Office Renovation

The Illinois Environmental Council is a Springfield based, non-profit organization that advocates on environmental and energy issues at the statehouse for over 80 groups across the state.  Last year, IEC purchased a building in downtown Springfield and made it a priority to incorporate green features throughout the office renovation process.  The walls were painted with recycled paint and wooden conference tables were acquired from Springfield Reclaimed.   IEC established a green purchasing policy for all office products and installed motion sensors to turn off lights when not in use.  It also selected a janitorial service that uses green cleaning products.