GreenTown Joplin transitioning out

GreenTown Joplin transitioning out
greentown joplin.PNG

Greensburg Greentown helped to rebuild energy efficient homes in its Southeast Kansas town after a devastating tornado in 2007. Years later, the non-profit did the same here in Joplin, helping residents to realize a greener vision. After four years, the organization is transitioning out of Joplin.

“I feel our greatest accomplishments have been in the educational field. We’ve reached thousands of people over the last few years through Third Thursday, through the Shoal Creek Water Festival, through some workshops that we’ve sponsored,” says Catherine Hart, general manager of GreenTown Joplin.

The organization worked to educate residents on integrating sustainability into the rebuilding process and Hugh and Ramona Shields did just that.

“We became convinced that our way to pay it forward, to rebuild, to show our commitment to the area and to the survivors of the tornado was to rebuild and rebuild in a responsible way,” says Joplin homeowner Hugh Shields.

Their house is well insulated in the walls and floors, the windows face the south and they even collect water on their roof which they use to water their plants. The Shields’ believe Greentown Joplin had a positive effect on the area and will help in the future.

“It allows us to avoid the mistakes of the past. It allows us to confidently move into the future without concern for the limitations of global warming,” continues Shields.

Greentown did not just focus on rebuilding the town physically. They also provided emotional support for residents to recover from the trauma.

“Building community is really about people to people, it’s all about relationship building. I just think that one of the things that we try to really pay a lot of attention to is being sensitive to a community as they recover from natural disaster,” says Hart.

Although GreenTown Joplin is naturally transitioning out of the city, the effects are long lasting. Hart says Joplin residents made her feel so welcome and that she loved the area so much that she moved here and plans to stay.