In true Germantown-Schnitzelburg style, one concerned citizen has begun a project of passion for the community's sake. Schnitzelburg Area Community Council (SACC) board member Susan Brunton has started an organization called GoGreen Germantown in order to beautify and better the area. Recently, Brunton and her husband noticed large whiskey jugs on the corner of Texas Avenue and E. Burnett Avenue and used their own funds to plant shrubs and flowers. Community support in form of honks from passersby gave Brunton the idea to continue beautifying the neighborhood.
GoGreen Germantown has the distinct goals of encouraging planting and recycling, and to have a redbud festival, similar to the Audubon Dogwood Festival, within the next couple of years. GoGreen Germantown, partially funded by the SACC, is currently focusing on spreading the gospel of the redbud. Redbuds are trees that bloom their pink-purple flowers in early April, and grow to be between 20 and 30 feet tall. Brunton explains that redbuds are the perfect plant for the area because they are indigenous to the southeastern United States, and they are small so Germantown-Schnitzelburg residents can easily fit them in the characteristic small yards of the neighborhoods. A city arborist spoke with the SACC board last week and gave his blessing for the project, noting that these trees will cool homes with shade in the summer, block wind in the winter, and create a noise-buffer to help block out the noise pollution from train and plane traffic. Redbuds are also unusually cheap, costing approximately $7 for a four-foot tree, and the Arbor Day Foundation will send patrons 10 free seedlings with a new membership, which costs only $10.
Currently, this is Susan Brunton's passion project because she has personally funded the majority of the project, receiving a small, but greatly appreciated stipend of $500 from the SACC. However, she personally financed the initial flyering, the website, and even went around buying up redbud trees, the first of which will be planted tomorrow, May 6, in front of Moe's in Germantown at 7pm. GoGreen Germantown is planning on planting more redbuds and beautifying that area, a project that should be completed in the next two to three weeks. Everyone is invited to come and show their support, and interested volunteers are welcome to bring gardening gloves, shovels, and trash bags. This will be a community event to kick off the GoGreen Germantown beautification project and to raise some money for future endeavors like redbud planting at the AmVet, and the red rock project that will start after Mother's Day. The red rock project will remove grass from sidewalk lawns along parts of Goss Avenue in hopes of giving the area a uniform park-like look and cut down on the need for lawnmowers to decrease harmful emissions.
A GoGreen Germantown booth will be at the Germantown Beer Walk on Saturday, May 8, in front of Zeppelin Cafe where she will have information about the organization and its future projects while also fundraising. People can donate through SACC by submitting a check that lists the project in the memo line, or they can simply members for $10 per year, a part of which goes to support GoGreen Germantown.
Aside from beautifying the neighborhoods, Brunton sees this as an opportunity to bring the community together. She is volunteering to help anyone find and plant a redbud, and she hopes that this environmental cause will also bring more attention to SACC. Bruton says that the majority of SACC members are older residents, but their cause is universal and transcends age so it is a chance for younger people to join and become involved. She hopes that beautifying will translate into bettering by contributing to lower the area's crime rate.
Until more funds are raised, Brunton will continue to develop the project on her own. She says, "This is a personal dream of mine. The council helps, but I have to show them that people really want it." In the mean time, GoGreen Germantown is looking for nursery donations as Brunton plans on hopefully giving away redbud trees in the fall to Germantown-Schnitzelburg residents because the best time to plant them is around October, although this versatile tree can be successfully planted and cultivated any time of year.
For more information on GoGreen Germantown and on redbud trees, visit www.gogreengermantown.com, the GoGreen Germantown facebook page, or the redbud section of the Arbor Day Foundation site. Anyone is also welcome to contact Susan Brunton at [email protected]