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Book-inspired community greening

NeighborWorks network member Neighborhood Housing Services of Southwest Wisconsin (NHS Southwest Wisconsin) created a new class called “Going Greener,” based on the book, “EnAct: Steps to Greener Living,” by Sonya Newenhouse, Ph.D. The book explains the many ways residents can incorporate green into their lives. For nearly three months, class participants learned about a wide range of green-living topics from community leaders. Upon graduation, participants received a $500 grant for a green home improvement.
“Local speakers presented on green resources available in
our own community. I had no idea there was so much right here!”
— Mary Hanrahan, “Going Greener” graduate

“I was taking a financial literacy class with NHS Southwest Wisconsin when I first heard about ‘Going Greener.’ I really liked the idea, so I enrolled,” says Mary Hanrahan, one graduate who felt the class affected her life tremendously. “Local speakers presented on green resources available in our own community. I had no idea there was so much right here!”
The speakers were not the only ones leading class. “All the class participants had to teach at least one session and prepare presentations. We learned so much from one another,” says Hanrahan. “The town sheriff spoke to us about trails and greenways in the community. We also visited the local farmers market and spoke directly with farmers who shared cooking techniques and recipes for numerous vegetables. There are so many more things I now know how to cook, thanks to them! I’m eating healthier and getting lots of exercise.”
A gardening class photo

The lessons Hanrahan learned helped her save on energy bills, especially during the early 2014 polar vortex. “Those tips saved me a lot. It was frigid outside, so who knows what my energy bill would have been otherwise?”

Hanrahan had only one complaint about the class: “I had such a great time with everyone learning everything. I wish we could’ve kept going!”


NHS Southwest Wisconsin was founded in 1983, and provides assistance in homeownership education and counseling, new single family home construction, senior housing, and community building and engagement. NHS is committed to incorporating healthy and sustainable principles into every facet of its operations.  NHS Southwest Wisconsin is a green-designated NeighborWorks organization.

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