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Keeping it Green at Brevoort Houses

Breevort Houses Green Committee
Tree Hugger
Breevort Houses Resident Association President and Green Committee Member, Pansy Nettles basks in the shade of one of her planted trees."
Photo credit: Leticia Barboza

Since April, the Brevoort Houses Green Committee has been growing fast, like the development's newly planted trees. With about 20 resident members, more seem to join at each monthly meeting. Brevoort is just one of 25 resident-led Green Committees that are part of the New York City Housing Authority's (NYCHA's) efforts to promote environmental sustainability.

Under the guidance of NYCHA's Environmental Coordinator Margarita López, members of Green Committees are tasked with instilling in their neighbors a sense of personal responsibility in the effort to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gases.

Brevoort has several upcoming programs planned, including a shred fest where residents can bring documents to shred using the paper shredder in the community center. The shredded paper will then be recycled afterward. Another idea of the Green Committee is to ask residents not to use electricity for one hour – an event similar to the Earth Hour that took place on March 28th, when several large buildings across New York City turned off their lights to draw attention to the importance of reducing energy consumption.

Breevort Green Committee Co-Captain, 28 year-old Essence Jackson, said she would like to see Brevoort's Committee help others get organized. “Even if you don't join our Green Committee, join one in your community,” she urged. “And bring somebody,” she added.

Breevort Houses Green Committee
Essence Jackson, Breevort Green Committee Captain with Eva Huntley, Co-Captain (background).
Photo credit: Leticia Barboza

As part of the MillionTreesNYC initiative, trees were planted at Brevoort this past spring. Residents can adopt trees around the development, taking responsibility for pruning and watering them. Many residents combined caring for their adopted trees with gardening, including Brevoort's Resident Association President Pansy Nettles, and Green Committee member Jeannette McCoy, who planted red and white impatiens around their trees.

The Green Committee Co-Captain Eva Huntley emphasized getting the children involved in the environmental programs. “They play in the dirt anyway,” she pointed out, so she encourages kids to help take care of the gardens and trees.

Ms. Jackson, whose own children have adopted trees, agreed that it is important to teach the younger generation how to keep the neighborhood green. "The kids in the community are like the trees,” she said. “Plant it in them, and they'll grow.”

Breevort Houses is located in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. It has 896 apartments housing 2,016 residents.

By Ashley Grosso,
Summer Graduate Intern
August 2009