The Austin Green Team is a leader in helping to make Austin beautiful and clean. The team’s efforts to make Austin clean, beautiful and environmentally efficient is done by members who are devoted to keeping the area clean. There is no pay; the members are firm believers that you can tell a lot about people in how they live and take care of their communities.

Longtime Austin Green Team member Donna Kanapes had these thoughts about keeping the community clean: “I think people need to recycle more and they need to have more green space. I think the politicians need to work with the community groups to have block cleanups on a regular basis-to plant things to enable people to look at beautiful things and be encouraged and then work together to make their neighborhood a good neighborhood. That’s the most important thing people can do. Green things are so wonderful! They give us places to just be and we don’t have enough of those in our lives. That is one of the things I think the politicians can work towards giving people spaces to just be, not to do things, but just be.”

Vice President of the Austin Green Team George Lawson had these thoughts: “I think one of the main problems is that people have forgotten how to live in the house. You can drive all through our community and everybody is outside, no supervision for the kids out there and they are there from when you wake up until you go to bed they are still out there. So by them always being out there they throw trash and paper because there is no supervision there. So if we ever aim to reclaim a beautiful community like Austin, we must first pull the children back into the house.

“If we are to ever get back a community that really means something let’s take back over our households-come back home. By doing that we correct several things, we will be able to teach our children instead of letting someone else teach them, we can see what they are doing, we can monitor their progress and spend a little more time with our children. I heard the young lady next door say ‘I don’t have to be out there, Mr. Lawson is outside.’ And so she trusts me. If we come back home and then on the outside you’ll be able to monitor how well it’s kept. You see, you can tell what’s on the inside of a house by the front when you pull up. I have flowers. Now, if I care about flowers, that means I also care about my house. I made a deal with my wife: she takes care of the house, I take care of the yard, and I love it.”

President Mary Peery, feels that we can all make a difference if we all work together to make our community beautiful. Peery is very much involved with the children in Austin and feels if you start early with showing children how to keep things clean, they will take pride themselves and carry on by themselves. The Austin Green Team is not only interested in beautiful flowers, but also pollution and what all the chemicals are doing to our environment, states Peery.

The Green Team’s Irma and Willie Ferba maintain the large garden on the corner of Division & Menard called “Vision on Menard.” The large garden was once a dumping ground for abandoned cars and piles of trash. Once the Green Team and the Ferbas took over, this once eyesore is now a beautiful array of flowers and trees. Irma states, “We work on the garden every other day. Of course there is always something to do, pulling weeds, checking the flowers and watering. I am really thrilled when people stop to tell me how beautiful the garden is and that I’m doing a great job. The children in the area respect the garden and enjoy it, because we set the example on how to keep our community beautiful.”