Web series about Dickerson Park Zoo wins awards

“Discovering Dickerson Park Zoo” wins awards

A nine-episode web series, “Discovering Dickerson Park Zoo,” filmed and edited by students in the Department of Communications, Media, Journalism and Film at Missouri State University, has won a Student Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts & Film. Science.

Students taught by Jon Mabee, associate professor of film and television, spent three weeks filming at Dickerson Park Zoo in 2023. The episodes take viewers behind the scenes and highlight the animals, zookeepers, events, educational programs, zoo medicine, staff and animal care at the zoo. The episode “Medicine of Dickerson Park Zoo” won a Student Emmy Award for Best College Non-Fiction Long Form and won second place in the Video Documentary category from the Missouri Broadcast Education Association. The episode “Education of Dickerson Park Zoo” received a Student Emmy nomination for Best College Non-Fiction Short Form.

The Emmy-winning episode, Medicine of Dickerson Park Zoo, was edited by Trevor Huck and Jacob Lenhardt. Series credits include: executive producers, Jon Mabee and Joey Powell; producer, Lucy Atwood; directors, Jon Mabee and Autumn Girgin.

All episodes can be viewed on the Dickerson Park Zoo YouTube channel,

MexiVAN celebrates enGAGE Mobility

enGAGE Mobility, a nonprofit organization that helps families finance wheelchair-accessible vehicles, has announced its upcoming fundraiser, MexiVAN 2024. The event will take place on May 5 from noon to 2 p.m. at the 4 by 4 Brewing Company location in Fremont Hills .

The event is a celebration of the local families supported by enGAGE Mobility, who now drive wheelchair accessible vans after receiving grant funding to purchase their vehicle. There will be a taco lunch, family-friendly games and entertainment, and opportunities for guests to help further GAGE ​​Mobility’s mission.

Tickets for MexiVAN 2024 are $15 for adults and $10 for children and can be purchased online at or at the door on the day of the event. All proceeds from ticket sales and additional donations directly benefit families in need of accessible transportation.

Event sponsors include: Alliance Rehab, Brandi & Ryan O’Reilly & Family, Crane Agency, Fabick Cat, Hayden Machinery, MobilityWorks, Monday Trailers and United Access.

For more information about MexiVAN 2024 and enGAGE Mobility’s mission, visit

Give 5 has a new coordinator

Nancee Dahms-Stinson has been named program coordinator for Give 5 Springfield-Greene County. She retired from the Springfield-Greene County Library District in 2021 and is a graduate of Give 5 Class 17.

Dahns-Stinson served as youth services coordinator for both the Springfield district and the Missouri State Library. She has a bachelor’s degree in recreation and park management and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She succeeds Renie McClay and Sony Hocklander, both of whom served as Give 5 program coordinators.

Give 5 was founded in 2018 to help prevent social isolation among people ’60 and over’, while vital non-profits provide much-needed assistance to those in need. Give 5 participants provide a wide range of assistance to various nonprofit organizations in Greene County, from facilitating strategic planning to conducting data analysis, building sheds and maintaining facilities, and perhaps one of the most helpful activities : recruiting additional volunteers.

Recruitment is currently underway for Class 25, which will be held on May 16, 23, 30, June 6 and 12.

For more information or to register to participate, visit

Statewide partnership supports United Way programs

United Way of the Ozarks is participating in a statewide partnership of United Ways designed to support at-risk families across Missouri.

For the first time, UWO is receiving funding from a $5 million state allocation distributed across Missouri in partnership with the Missouri Association of United Ways. This impact investing strategy expands existing programs and infrastructure statewide to improve the trajectory of Missouri families and their communities.

The money comes from the state’s TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) grant. Locally, TANF funds are distributed by UWO partners, Community Partnership of the Ozarks (CPO) and Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation (OACAC).

Financing for qualifying families is available through June 30 or until funds run out. Interested individuals living in Douglas, Greene, Hickory, Laclede, Texas and Wright counties can contact Community Partnership of the Ozarks at 417-888-2020.

Faith is central to Tough Talks

Community Partnership and the Have Faith Initiative have planned a series of Tough Talks focused on faith in the Ozarks. These events are held in partnership with the Missouri State University School of Humanities and Social Sciences, along with MU Extension.

These conversations, titled Learning Together, focus on bringing together representatives from different faith groups around the Ozarks for the purpose of creating community conversations to increase understanding of diverse faith groups in our community.

The first of two sessions took place on April 11. The next session is May 9 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM in the Plaster Student Union Theater at Missouri State University and there is free parking in MSU Lots 22 and 24.

Panelists include Rev. Christopher Miller – Trinity Presbyterian Church, Dr. Nolan Porter – University Heights Baptist Church, Colleen Appel – First Unitarian Church of Springfield, Aziza Ettaif – Islamic Center of Springfield, and Fr. Patrick Ike – Pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

Geranium sales support the Salvation Army

The Salvation Army of Springfield Women’s Auxiliary is hosting its 32nd annual Geranium Sale, sponsored by Wickman Gardens. This community event offers 3.5-inch potted geraniums for $6 each.

Through this partnership with Wickman Gardens, the Auxiliary aims to raise funds to support The Salvation Army’s initiatives, including providing food assistance, shelter and educational programs to those in need.

Orders must be shipped by April 24, with a pick-up date of May 9. Various ordering options are available. You can email an order form, call for more information or visit to order electronically.

The Historical Society is seeking grant proposals

The State Historical Society of Missouri is seeking proposals for two Center for Missouri Studies grants that will begin Jan. 1. Each scholarship includes a $5,000 stipend for a project resulting in the completion of an 8,000- to 10,000-word scholarly essay.

Topics for 2025 Center for Missouri Studies Fellowships include:

  • Route 66 in Missouri: To commemorate the Mother Road’s centennial in 2026, proposals are being sought for a study of the legendary highway’s impact on Missouri and Missourians.
  • Migrations in Missouri: Proposals are being sought for a study of a population movement within Missouri and how it has affected the state’s history.

The deadline for submitting proposals is September 3. The competition is open to both academic and independent scientists. The fellowship awards will be announced in December.

More information about the scholarships and how to apply is available online at Proposals can be submitted online at

Inclusion & Belonging Grants announced

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks has selected the newest recipients of the Inclusion & Belonging Grants for the 2023-2024 grant cycle.

The five recipients include Children’s Center of Southwest Missouri, $3,000 for signage; Drury University, $1,500, in partnership with Springfield Public Schools, to support a summer program for Black youth and adults; Marshfield Saddle Club, $3,000, with support from the American Indian Center of Springfield, to revive the Marshfield Powwow; Queen City Rock Camp, $1,500 to support volunteer reimbursement for a weeklong summer day camp for girls, transgender and non-binary youth; and Springfield Public Schools, $3,000, in partnership with the English Language Development program, to support a new mural highlighting the cultural and linguistic diversity of Parkview High School students.

Approximately $11,000 remains available in the Inclusion & Belonging Grant Program. Agencies may apply for up to $3,000 to support expenses related to ensuring diverse representation in leadership roles and in the community; providing students with equal opportunities for community involvement and leadership; and organizing events that provide a visible representation of belonging to the Ozarks.

Applications will be assessed and awarded until mid-June. For more information about the CFO grant application process, visit

Kiwanis, CU is pioneering inclusive playgrounds

The Kiwanis Club of Springfield South, City Utilities, community partners and donors worked with Cunningham Recreation to design and build an inclusive playground in accordance with Play Core’s 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design.

The project is fully funded and is preparing to go under construction in early May. An opening is tentatively planned for July.

City Utilities tendered the land and agreed to maintain the play space for its entire lifespan. The CU team has also donated in-kind services, and more facilities are planned at the site in the future.

Play 4 ALL, a division of Cunningham Recreation, helped the Kiwanis group lead a fundraising campaign that mobilized $500,000 for this project.

Springfield’s first inclusive playground will take place May 3 at 1 p.m. at Miller Park near Fellows Lake, 4216 N. Farm Road 189, Fair Grove.