We had a fabulous evening honoring and gaining inspiration from our 2018 Spirituality Award winner, Rev. Traci Blackmon and Sustainability Leadership Award winner, Sheila Voss.
Center for Spirituality and Sustainability Leadership 15th Annual Awards Dinner Sponsors
We are very grateful to the following sponsors who are are joining the Center for Spirituality and Sustainability in honoring Sheila Voss and Rev. Traci Blackmon for the good works they've done to enhance the quality of life in our community, region, nation and world at large:
Each year the Center bestows two awards, one for Spirituality Leadership and one for Leadership in Sustainability. These dual awards reflect the Center’s mission to “promote humanity’s sacred connection to the Earth and each other.” This year’s recipients are:
Sheila Voss – Sustainability Leadership Award - Sheila Voss serves as the Vice President of Education at the Missouri Botanical Garden, helping engage, educate, and inspire current and future generations of citizens to transition to a more sustainable world. She leads a team of diverse professionals, including environmental science educators, early childhood specialists, curriculum developers, teen program coordinators, public engagement strategists, exhibit designers, and community outreach staff based at the Garden, Shaw Nature Reserve, and the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House.
Rev. Traci Blackmon – Spirituality Leadership Award - The Rev. Traci Blackmon is the Acting Executive Minister of Justice & Witness Ministries of The United Church of Christ and Senior Pastor of Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, MO. Initially ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Blackmon's communal leadership and work in the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown, Jr., in Ferguson, MO, has gained her both national and international recognition and audiences from the White House to the Carter Center to the Vatican. She was appointed to the Ferguson Commission by Governor Jay Nixon and to the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships for the White House by President Barack H. Obama.
The Center for Spirituality & Sustainability hosts an annual awards ceremony honoring two awardees each year. One award is presented for spiritual leadership and another for leadership in sustainability. These annual dual awards allow the Center recognize those who have shown leadership values that reenforce the Center's mission to promote humanity's sacred connection to the Earth and each other.
Call Juli to reserve your tickets today: (618) 650-3246
Meet the 2018 Spirituality and Sustainability Awardees:
Sustainability Award • Sheila Voss serves as the Vice President of Education at the Missouri Botanical Garden, helping engage, educate, and inspire current and future generations of citizens to transition to a more sustainable world. She leads a team of diverse professionals, including environmental science educators, early childhood specialists, curriculum developers, teen program coordinators, public engagement strategists, exhibit designers, and community outreach staff based at the Garden, Shaw Nature Reserve, and the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House. In this role, Sheila leads the public awareness and education initiatives of BiodiverseCity St. Louis, a region-wide effort involving more than 100 organizations working together to enhance and protect local forests, wetlands, grasslands, rivers, parks, trails, and community green space in ways that improve health, well-being, and quality of life for all. She also co-chairs the Biodiversity Working Group of the OneSTL Sustainability Plan, an East-West Gateway Council of Regional Governments-led initiative to transition the greater St. Louis bi-state region toward more sustainable policies and practices. In 2016, Sheila was appointed by the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat to serve on the Informal Advisory Committee on Communications, Education, and Public Awareness, a multi-sector group of biodiversity communications professionals from more than 15 countries. In this role, she collaborates with international colleagues to mainstream biodiversity into public awareness, policies, and practice.
Sheila has over 25 years of experience working in informal science learning environments, including zoos, aquaria, nature centers, and botanic gardens. Prior to joining the Garden, Sheila served as Corporate Director of Education and Conservation for the SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and Discovery Cove parks. In this role, she developed visitor engagement initiatives focused on the parks’ zoological exhibits and conservation programs, reaching more than 20 million people a year. She worked with global wildlife organizations including World Wildlife Fund, National Geographic Society, National Wildlife Federation, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, and others to launch public awareness campaigns, develop cause-related marketing programs, and further conservation education worldwide. Sheila also served as Executive Producer for the Saving a Species family documentary series, and earned a 2006 National Daytime Emmy Award for Saving a Species: The Great Penguin Rescue, documenting a catastrophic oil spill off the coast of South Africa. During her zoological career, Sheila co-founded and served as the executive director of the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, a non-profit foundation supporting species research, habitat protection, animal rescue, and conservation education around the world.
Today, Sheila remains an active board member of the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and also serves on the board of Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, a regional non-profit focused on restoring and protecting urban trees and forests. A native Floridian but lover of Midwest seasons, Sheila currently resides in Edwardsville, Illinois. She co-chairs the Environmental Committee of Action Metro East, a local group of 1,400 citizens working in focused ways to promote progressive people, policies, and practices that improve quality of life for all. In 2017, Sheila and her family participated in the Solarize Madison County group purchasing program, installing a 16-panel solar array in their backyard, nestled in the middle of their native prairie garden. In her spare time, she strives to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors with her husband and two children – hiking, gardening, volunteering, nature-sketching, and exploring. On the weekends, she especially enjoys planting trees and removing invasive species at local, little-known outdoor gems like Edwardsville’s Watershed Nature Center and cleaning up trash in local creeks and streams. Sheila holds an M.S. in Environmental Sciences (Public Administration and Policy) from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University.
Spirituality Award • The Rev. Traci Blackmon is the Acting Executive Minister of Justice & Witness Ministries of The United Church of Christ and Senior Pastor of Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, MO.
Initially ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Rev. Blackmon served in various ministry capacities for nine years prior to becoming ordained in the United Church of Christ and installed as the first woman and 18th pastor in the 159-year history of Christ The King United Church of Christ. A registered nurse with more than 25 years of healthcare experience, Rev. Blackmon's clinical focus was cardiac care. In later years, her focus shifted to mobile healthcare in underserved communities, with the greatest health disparities being in her region. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Birmingham - Southern College (1985), and a Master of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary (2009).
As pastor, Rev. Blackmon leads Christ The King in an expanded understanding of church as a sacred launching pad of community engagement and change. This ethos has led to a tripling of both membership and worship attendance over the last seven years, expanding membership engagement opportunities, and the establishment of community outreach programs. Community programming includes a computer lab, tutoring, continuing education classes, summer programming, a robotics team, children's library, and girls' mentoring program. All housed in the church.
Regionally, Rev. Blackmon's signature initiatives have included Healthy Mind, Body, and Spirit, a mobile faith-based outreach program she designed to impact health outcomes in impoverished areas. Sacred Conversations on Solomon’s Porch, quarterly clergy in-services designed to equip local clergy to assess physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health concerns within congregational life. Sista SOS Summit, an intergenerational health symposium for women and girls. In addition to, Souls to the Polls STL, an ecumenical, multi-faith collaborative that was successful in providing over 2,800 additional rides to the polls during local and national elections.
A featured voice with many regional, national, and international media outlets and a frequent contributor to print publications, Rev. Blackmon's communal leadership and work in the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown, Jr., in Ferguson, MO, has gained her both national and international recognition and audiences from the White House to the Carter Center to the Vatican. She was appointed to the Ferguson Commission by Governor Jay Nixon and to the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships for the White House by President Barack H. Obama.
Rev. Blackmon toured the nation with Rev. Dr. William Barber of Moral Mondays and Repairer of the Breech, Rev. Dr. James Forbes of The Drum Major Institute and Pastor Emeritus of The Riverside Church in New York, and Sister Simone Campbell of Nuns on the Bus, proclaiming the need for a Moral Revival in this nation.
Rev. Blackmon is a graduate of Leadership St. Louis and currently serves on the boards of The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Chicago Theological Seminary, and Woman Preach!
This year, Rev. Blackmon co-authored the newly released White Privilege curriculum through the United Church of Christ and has received several awards and recognitions, inclusive of:
- The White House President’s Volunteer Service Award
- The St. Louis American Stellar Award
- 2015 Ebony Magazine Power 100
- Deluxe Magazine Power 100
- St. Louis University - Community Leader of the Year
- 100 Black Men of St. Louis Community Leader of the Year
- The Coalition of Black Trade Unionist - Drum Major Award
- NAACP - Rosa Parks Award
- Rosa Parks Award - United Trade Unionist
- The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Woman in Leadership Award
- National Planned Parenthood Faith Leader Award
- The United Church of Christ - Antoinette Brown Leadership Award
- Honorary Doctorate, Eden Theological Seminary
Rev. Blackmon currently resides in both St. Louis, MO and Cleveland, OH and was recently named as one of St. Louis' 100 most influential voices. Rev. Blackmon is the proud mother of three adult children: Kortni Devon; Harold, II; and Tyler Wayne Blackmon.
Unload Those Pesky Old Electronics
The following story is shared from the SIUE News:
SIUE Receives Prints of Original Buckminster Fuller Artworks
February 15, 2018, 9:34 AM
The legacy of legendary 20th century architect and inventor Richard Buckminster Fuller will take on even larger life at the Center for Spirituality and Sustainability (CSS-Dome), located on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, with the donation of a portfolio of the artist’s prints.
The Estate of Buckminster Fuller and Allegra Fuller-Snyder (Fuller’s daughter) donated “Twelve Around One” to the CSS, which Fuller designed.
“These 13 prints are rare artifacts and some of Fuller’s most iconic drawings,” said Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Rachel Stack. “Receiving this donation is just tremendous.”
“The donation was a way of honoring the good works being done by the Center on the SIUE campus,” said Benjamin Lowder, creative consultant at Fuller Dome SIUE and board member on the Fuller Dome Home at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
When Lowder learned that Fuller’s estate wanted to donate the prints to SIUE, he contacted the SIUE Foundation and the University Museum, where the prints are currently being stored until they are ready to be displayed.
“The silk screen prints are 30 inches by 40 inches,” according to Erin Vigneau-Dimick, collections manager at the University Museum. “SIUE has one of Buckminster Fuller’s own signed artist’s proofs of ‘Twelve Around One.’ A few notable other institutions which hold this portfolio include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum in New York City and Stanford University.”
Lowder and Vigneau-Dimick have written a grant proposal for a Meridian Award seeking funding to frame and display the prints, which are expected to be hung in November, according to Vigneau-Dimick.
“I hope that by displaying these prints, and having co-curricular activities and information to go along with them, it will make people more aware of a bona fide genius, who was a part-time faculty member at SIUE, although he had a full time appointment at (SIU) Carbondale,” said Stack.
Fuller had this to say about his work at the Center’s dedication in 1971, “A sense of orientation of each human individual within the profound magnificence of Universe is provided by the Center's miniature earth.”
“The comprehensive scope of Fuller’s intellect makes his world view uniquely impressive in the 20th century,” said Lowder. “The modern era has been a time of specialization with great thinkers, and the public at large, choosing a limited field of expertise in which to specialize. Fuller bucked this modern trend by resisting specialization and maintained a globally expansive vision.”
“Through his observation and understanding of nature, Fuller was able to see the impending ecological crisis that we are currently experiencing,” said Lowder. “This vision had Fuller promoting a package of concepts that have come to be known as ‘sustainability’ as early as the 1920’s.”
“Fuller epitomized the ability of being able to take STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) and make it STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math),” said Vigneau-Dimick.
“Fuller was an artist, engineer, mathematician and visionary, among other things,” she continued. “The Dome is not just a feat of engineering but is a feat of aesthetics, as well.”
The Center for Spirituality and Sustainability is an independent, not-for-profit organization located in the geodesic dome designed by Fuller on land leased from SIUE. Fuller worked as a professor in the SIUE Department of Design from 1959 to 1972, and since 1971 the SIUE Fuller Dome has served the University and area communities as a place for multi-faith and interfaith activity. A variety of educational, cultural and social events are held throughout the year inside this landmark structure. Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Baha’i and Native American faith traditions hold devotions, celebrations and public programs at the Center. The Center’s vision is to preserve the Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome in Edwardsville, Illinois, as the physical embodiment of Fuller's philosophy. The Dome’s translucent “miniature Earth” is a beacon for global unity, providing a place for connecting the world’s cultural and spiritual traditions through their common concern for the planet.
The University Museum of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, founded in 1979, is a repository and interpretive center whose interdisciplinary collections include more than 30,000 two- and three-dimensional objects of fine art, architecture, history, ethnology, archaeology and the natural sciences. The University Museum supports the instructional, research and public service functions of SIUE through the collection, interpretation, preservation, presentation and exhibition of objects which relate to the academic programs offered by the University to its students and the greater community which it serves.
Erin Vigneau-Dimick, collections manager at the University Museum, shows one of Buckminster Fuller’s prints of ‘Twelve Around One.’
The Plowsharing Crafts Sale at the Fuller Dome on Dec. 7th provided holiday shoppers with an opportunity to purchase some meaningful Fair trade gifts this season.
Plowsharing Crafts supports skilled artisans around the world by marketing their products in the St. Louis area since 1985. We are a ministry of the St. Louis Mennonite Fellowship.
Proud Member of the Fair Trade Federation
How to Have a ‘Green’ Holiday Season
Center for Spirituality & Sustainability is having a special presentation by Jean Ponzi, Green Resources Manager with Earthways Center at the Missouri Botanical Garden, on how to be a ‘green-savvy’ consumer during the holidays.
- Learn to distinguish between pitches for products that really are sustainably produced and those that are marketed as “green” but really aren’t.
- Broaden your horizons about creative and alternative gifting that’s just as enjoyable as a huge pile of packages on the table or under the tree.
- Learn about resources that help to keep you ‘green’ without being overwhelmed.
Please join us on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 7 PM
This program is free and open to the public,
parking in Visitor Lot B on the campus of SIUE
is $1.00 per hour until 8 PM.
Please join us for the Celebration of World Faiths, as we build bridges of understanding and compassion across our unifying faith traditions. This annual event, presented by The Center for Spirituality and Sustainability, is free and open to the public.
Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Center for Spirituality and Sustainability
Joanne Shenandoah is one of “America’s most celebrated and critically acclaimed Native American musicians of her time” according to the Associated Press. She’s won more than 40 music honors including 14 Native American Music awards. Nominated three times for a Grammy, she won in 2006 for her work on the album Sacred Ground. Her original compositions combined with a striking voice enable her to embellish the ancient songs of the Iroquois using a blend of traditional and contemporary instrumentation.
"She weaves you into a trance with her beautiful Iroquois chants and wraps her voice around you like a warm blanket on a cool winter's night."
-Robbie Robertson, lead guitarist for The Band
Everyone is encouraged to come share in the celebration on the SIU Edwardsville campus
Join us in the Fuller Dome on the SIUe campus for these engaging programs from the SIUe Native studies program from october 7th through the 9th:
Join us for an evening of cosmically inspired sounds as we journey to the stars! Weaving together breath, meditation, and guided journey deep within. We will utilize the power of Alpha/Theta states to bring our dreams into reality.
Pati Pellerito • Himalayan Singing Bowls, Planet Gongs (Sedna, Chiron & Nibiru), Shruti, bells & chimes
Mark Holland • Native American Style Flutes including the infamous sub bass big boys!
Ben Von Harz • Hand pans
You are invited to join SIUE students as they commemorate Earth Day with a ‘Stand for the Future’ walk and vigil on Thursday evening April 20, 2017. They will gather outside in the Stratton Quadrangle at the cougar statue in front of the Morris University Center at 7:30 P.M. and proceed with a short walk to several campus buildings that represent SIUE’s commitment to sustainability. The walk will end in front of the Fuller Dome with a candle light vigil and commitment ceremony. Weather permitting, it will conclude with light refreshments outside at the grove by the side of the building. The event is co-sponsored by Students Organized for Sustainability (SOS) and the Center for Spirituality & Sustainability.
The Center for Spirituality and Sustainability presented their 14th annual Spirituality and Sustainability Awards Dinner on Saturday, March 25th. Each year the Center bestows two awards, one for Spiritual Leadership and one for Leadership in Sustainability. These dual awards reflect the Center’s mission to “promote humanity’s sacred connection to the Earth and each other.” The 2017 recipients are:
MCT Trails system – Sustainability Leadership Award - Madison County Transit manages 130 miles of scenic bikeways in the MCT Trails system that consists of 9 unique, inter-connected trails, created primarily from decommissioned railways.
Dr. Billie Mayo – Spirituality Leadership Award - Dr. Billie Mayo has just completed a year as Board President of the Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis.
Student Honoree; Wolf Mark Veverka is also receiving a 2017 Sustainability Leadership Award. During his tenure as a student at SIUE, he has taken a lead role in student sustainability initiatives on campus.
The SIUE Native American Studies Program is bring renowned native pigment expert and artist Melonie Ancheta to the Fuller Dome onWednesday April 5th at 6 PM.
14th Annual Awards Dinner
Edwardsville, IL - The Center for Spirituality and Sustainability will be holding its 14th annual Leadership Awards Dinner on Saturday, March 25th, at 7:00 p.m. in the LeClaire Room on the N. O. Nelson Campus of Lewis and Clark Community College in Edwardsville. Each year the Center bestows two awards, one for Spiritual Leadership and one for Leadership in Sustainability. These dual awards reflect the Center’s mission to “promote humanity’s sacred connection to the Earth and each other.” This year’s recipients are:
MCT Trails system – Sustainability Leadership Award - Madison County Transit manages 130 miles of scenic bikeways in the MCT Trails system that consists of 9 unique, inter-connected trails, created primarily from decommissioned railways. The MCT Trails system is one of the most extensive, user-friendly Class One bikeway systems in the country. MCT Trails has preserved 1,500 acres of greenspace providing a sustainable recreation option for families. Jerry Kane has served as Managing Director of MCT since 1986 and he will be accepting the award on the agency’s behalf. Through his 31 years of service, Kane has overseen the development and growth of the MCT into a world class multi-modal public transportation agency.
Dr. Billie Mayo – Spirituality Leadership Award - Dr. Billie Mayo has just completed a year as Board President of the Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis. This organization strives to bring together people of faith for dialogue, celebration, service, and pursuit of social justice. Dr. Mayo has also been a facilitator for the World of Differences Program, the National Conference for Community and Justice Dismantling Racism Institutes, and the Leadership and Racism Program.
Student Honoree; Wolf Mark Veverka is also receiving a 2017 Sustainability Leadership Award. Veverka is a senior student at SIUE majoring in Geography with a specialization in Biogeography. He is past president of the Student Organization for Sustainability (SOS) and current president of Natural Connections, a sustainable gardens group on campus. During his tenure as a student at SIUE, he has taken a lead role in student sustainability initiatives on campus.
For reservations call Juli Jacobson (618) 650-3246 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets (partially tax deductible) are $50.
The Center for Spirituality and Sustainability is a nonprofit multifaith home for spirituality and sustainability efforts housed in the Buckminster Fuller dome on the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campus.
SELF-SIMILARITY; In the spirit of Buckminster Fuller
CEL – Center for Architecture + Design presents a talk by artist Benjamin Lowder, opening the exhibition of his work, Self-similarity: with reference to Buckminster Fuller. Mr. Lowder will speak about how nature’s geometric patterns and proportions have informed the legacy of Buckminster Fuller and other modern architects like Eero Saarinen, as well as Mr. Lowder’s own artwork.
Benjamin Lowder promotes the legacy of Buckminster Fuller as a Creative Consultant for the Center for Spirituality and Sustainability, located in a Fuller-designed geodesic dome on the campus of Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Lowder also serves as a board member of the Fuller Dome Home historic site which is the geodesic dome that Bucky lived in at Carbondale, Illinois.
For 15 years after studying at SIUC and the University of Illinois Lowder worked as an award winning commercial artist. He turned to fine art after building his own family’s home using ancient building techniques, an experience that revealed to him the powerful beauty and efficiency of design that is rooted in the sacred geometry of Nature.
This passion for design and architecture rooted in Nature has lead Lowder to create a body of artwork built from reclaimed barn wood and vintage metal signage that echo the patterns of natural geometry – the same patterns found in Bucky’s geodesic domes and in Lowder’s own home design.
Local architecture to be covered in this talk includes:
- Buckmister Fuller’s 1972, geodesic domed cathedral for the SIUE campus
- The mile-wide dome for East St. Louis called “Old Man River City” designed by Buckminster Fuller at the request of local community leaders
- The evolution of modern American architecture through local examples like Louis Sullivan’s Wainwright Building, Gyo Obata’s St Louis Abby, and Eero Saarinen’s Arch.
CEL – Center for Architecture + Design
3307 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO 63103
Friday, Feb 3, 2017 – 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
For further information and to RSVP please contact
"Balancing Faith & Reason: Religion in a Scientific Age."
Arts & Issues and the Center for Spirituality and Sustainability present:
Autumn’s Child with Mark Holland
Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, 7:30 p.m. at the Center for Spirituality and Sustainability
Award-winning artist Mark Holland is considered one of the best performers in the world today on his instrument of choice, the Native American flute. His ensemble Autumn’s Child will present an evening of acoustic instrumental fusion--a hybrid of world, jazz, classical and folk styles described as “global chamber music.” Holland showcases the versatility of the Native American flute through this combination of instrumentation and the blending of musical genres which creates his one of a kind sound.
Holland started Autumn’s Child in 1995 and has released more than 20 CDs on his own label. He tours regularly throughout the country sharing his unique and skillful “playing from the heart” presentation. The concert will feature the haunting beauty of the Native American flute along with piano, guitar, bass, cello and percussion. Join us for this beautiful music in an intimate and stunning space. Seats are limited!
Sponsored by: Scott Credit Union