MECHANICSBURG, PA - Since its inception 40 years ago, Earth Day has been perceived as an environmental movement for the young. However, that is not the case for residents of Bethany Village, a continuing care retirement community in Mechanicsburg, who work tirelessly to live green year round.
Source: Bethany Village
Take Derr Carpenter, for example. Derr, a six-year Bethany Village resident, was a landscape architect for 54 years and owned a Camp Hill firm. He turned his professional knowledge into an opportunity to educate other Bethany Village residents about living green. As a member of Bethany Village's Garden Club, Plant Committee, Tree Committee and Green Team, Derr works with the grounds crew in recycling leaves, grass clippings and tree trimmings to enrich the soil and mulch, and cultivates an organic vegetable garden. He's assisting with plans for a small forest to shelter birds and wildlife. In addition, he participates in implementing "green" changes around the community and helps educate residents on how to save energy and money.
"When you've done something the same way your whole life, it's hard to change your way of thinking," observes Mr. Carpenter. "Our team's goal is to inspire residents to replace old habits with better, earth-friendly practices."
In an effort to do just that, Bethany Village's Green Team toured a York recycling plant to learn first-hand how to educate residents about recycling. The team communicates green information, including tips on living green, to educate residents through the Bethany Green newsletter.
"There are so many simple things Bethany Village residents can do," said Chris Manecke, director of facilities for Bethany Village. "For example, using compact florescent bulbs, washing clothes in cold water, and taking short showers are easy changes anyone can make."
In the future, the team hopes to continue to educate the residents on green initiatives, as well as perform an energy audit, develop a plan for a green footprint, and pursue organic food sources and water management options.
To fund these plans, Bethany Village's Green Team held its first Green Fair in June 2009. The event resembled a trade show, and featured several local businesses demonstrating ways to conserve energy, discuss "green" topics, and display types of "green" equipment, appliances, and vehicles. The Green Team also plans to hold a 2010 Green Fair on May 19.
In addition to the funds raised by the Green Fair, the Asbury Foundation established The Green Fund for Bethany Village. The general fund was launched in 2009 and has been used to fund small "green" projects around Bethany Village.
Bethany Village is a CARF-CCAC-accredited continuing care retirement community that is part of Asbury Communities, Inc., which provides management and support services for a system of continuing care retirement communities for older adults. It is ranked by the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) and Zeigler Capital Markets Group's AZ100 as the 14th largest not-for-profit multi-site senior living organization in the country.
Bethany Village is supported in its green efforts by Sodexo Senior Services, which provides comprehensive service solutions, such as dining, housekeeping, and maintenance, throughout the Asbury system.