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Greensburg GreenTown is a charitable nonprofit organization working in Greensburg, Kansas to rebuild the town following the devastating tornado in May of 2007. The town has made a remarkable comeback, reinventing itself as a model for sustainable building and green living now recognized around the world. GreenTown works to make green building and living easily understood, appealing and accessible to all.

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« All Bottled Up! | Main | Anniversary Weekend Coming Right Up »

Oh Beautiful

Today's article is dedicated to the memory of Jean Astle, who passed away last week in Pratt, Kansas. Our friend Jean delighted in her garden, and there is a certain symmetry that her memorial service coincided with the installation of the demonstration garden project in Greensburg.

Barbara helps some of the Girl Scouts plant peppers.It was a beautiful Girl Scout weekend in Greensburg. Over 1,200 girls and their families and leaders - plus a large contingent of scouting alumnae - spent their 100th anniversary celebration with us. Many of Greensburg's streets were closed to through traffic so that our visitors could freely walk around the community, tour various projects, enjoy drugstore fountain refreshments at the Commons, shop, play on inflatable play equipment, and perform community service. We met a lot of delightful girls and made a host of new friends from the Kansas Heartland scouting organization.

GreenTown's Silo Eco-Home was one of the hubs of activity in town and the site of a large service project. Our staff Sarah Thyparambil and Barbara Summers did an extraordinary job of organizing the demonstration garden that the girls planted on Saturday. They worked closely with Girl Scouts Membership Specialist Becky Ayers, whose enthusiasm infused the project from the outset. Ruth Ann Wedel, who serves as Site Manager for the Silo home, did a remarkable job of recruiting folks to help get the yard ready and others to serve as volunteers the day of the event. (At the end of this article you'll find a roster of our amazing helpers and sponsors and donors - it's a long list!) Words cannot possibly do justice to express our gratitude to staff and volunteers who made this project run like a finely-tuned machine.

Girls plant flowers in the Girl Scout Trefoil-shaped planterWhen the girls first checked into town, they were given reusable bags to carry during their stay. Each bag included a beautifully-designed seed tag (thanks to the artistry of Sarah Thyparambil) that the girls could personalize to make their carry-all identifiable. Girls have the option to plant the tags at home and watch the flowers grow!

Girls arrived at the Silo House lot and were greeted at the first station by volunteers who talked about the importance of gardening and got the girls excited about being a part of history. (We always tell visitors that Greensburg is being rebuilt on a foundation of generosity, and the Girl Scouts are now part of that foundation.) The girls went to the next station and picked up their plant and a tag they filled in with the plant name. At the next table they picked up garden gloves and trowels, and then got to work adding their items to the raised bed garden area. Staff and volunteers guided them to the appropriate bed for their planting experiences. Of note is a beautiful flower area in the shape of the Girl Scout trefoil emblem! (Becky Ayers' brilliant idea was implemented by the Frame-It-All company, who provided the raised beds which are crafted from recycled plastic and natural fibers.)

Vining petunias grow in a found-object planter.

Girls were also invited to show their artistic flair with sidewalk chalk in the street next to the Silo House. It was heartening to see lots of variations of "go green". They could also braid their own beautiful jump ropes from recycled fabric.

In the GreenTown lot to the east of the garden, the Wendland family set up their petting zoo, complete with goats, a miniature horse, chickens, and assorted other barnyard critters. The animals were a big hit with the girls. (The set-up was such a success that the Wendlands will be back next Saturday for Anniversary Weekend!)

The weather couldn't have been more beautiful, and it was a wonderful gift to have the energy of so many caring girls and young women infuse the community at one time. We will be forever grateful that Forever Green came to Greensburg. We look forward to many of these Girl Scouts returning to town in the years ahead to check on their garden project.

Here's that list of donors and tireless volunteers:


Frame-It-All ~ Clif Bar ~ Stutzmans Greenhouse (Hutchinson) ~ Benton's Greenhouse (Newton) ~ Southwest Nursery-Landscaping (Dodge City) ~ Nature's Corner Greenhouse (Dodge City) ~ Dillons (Pratt) ~ Walmart (Pratt)~ Walmart (Hutchinson) ~ Skaggs Ace Hardware (Pratt) ~ Tractor Supply Company (Dodge City) ~ Waters True Value Hardware (Dodge City) ~ City of Joplin Recycling Center


Jean Beeley ~ Kathleen Barber ~ Carol Panzer ~ Beth Kershner ~ Phyllis Brown ~ Carol Montgomery ~ Ruth Hayse ~ Nancy DeGarmo ~ Linda Fegley ~ Barbara Allen ~ Barbara Fetters ~ Sue McGuire ~ Donna Hobbs ~ Judy Conyac ~ Valorie Gean ~ Vivien Elliot ~ Beverly Baker


Rex Butler ~ Joan Hayse ~ Ron Shank ~ Matt Deighton ~ spring break students from George Washington University ~ Carol Montgomery ~ Betty Jo Russell ~ Cinda Morehead ~ David White's math class and Travis Powell's wight lifting class from Kiowa County Schools ~ Wanda Booth ~ Dana Trummel ~ City of Greensburg ~ Janice Adamson ~ Nathan Adamson ~ Tom Kotch ~ Girl Scout GreenTeen Volunteers ~ Randy Rinker