Active Resident Brings Wildlife Habitat to Georgetowne Place

Resident Involvement Helps Shape Sonida Senior Living Community

Here’s a little story about the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees – to echo Jewel Akens. It’s a story about how an active senior in Fort Wayne, Indiana, did what it took to bring more birds, bees, flowers and foliage to the senior living community where he lives – Georgetowne Place.

80-year-old resident Fred Pentecost helped turn a 3.5 acre lot belonging to the Georgetowne Place community into a certified wildlife habitat. The new designation promises to help bring new life and activity to the area, including more butterflies, birds and small animals. 

“I’ve lived here at Georgetowne Place for over five years and quite frankly, there’s no place else I’d rather be,” said Fred. “My background comes from growing up on a farm. When I came here to Georgetowne Place, one of the first things I found was the gardening place that was available.”

That’s how it all started, with Fred’s love of gardening. Georgetowne Place has a gardening club with 17 garden plots and raised gardening beds. Fred began gardening the plots almost as soon as he moved to Georgetowne Place, and his leadership has helped make the gardens the success they are today. But Fred noticed as he was gardening that there weren’t as many pollinators as he expected, especially considering the community’s garden plots border a large field.

As Fred watched the field receive one of its regular mowings, he had the spark of an idea. What if that land were allowed to grow and draw in bees and butterflies and other wildlife? 

“I had an interest in the place becoming a nature area so that we could enjoy it and the wildlife could enjoy it too,” said Fred. “Things need to be allowed to fulfill their true purpose – to grow and thrive. If we leave nature alone, nature will be nature. I think that was the driving force for the idea.”

Fred’s goal was to help restore natural beauty to the area and allow life to return to the field. By doing so, he hoped to increase the number of bees, butterflies and other pollinators that could help ensure the Georgetowne Place gardens would flourish and thrive. He also hoped to attract more birds to the birdhouses and bird feeders in the community. 

Getting back to nature

When Fred set to work on his vision for the field, he started by making some calls to find out what could be done about the continual mowing. He learned of a local ordinance that requires weeds and tall grass to be kept under nine inches tall. He also learned the field could be exempted from the requirement if it were designated as a wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation.

Fred took this idea to the senior executive director at Georgetowne Place, Mellissa Carpenter. The field belongs to Georgetowne Place, so Fred needed the community’s support to apply for the wildlife habitat designation.

“Fred is very involved here at Georgetowne Place,” Mellissa said. “He’ll come to me with an idea for the community, and often I can assist him in getting those things taken care of. He has a lot of great ideas, and he deserves a lot of credit for doing so much of the legwork to make them happen.”

Mellissa helped facilitate the legal approval needed for the wildlife habitat application.

“My role with the residents is basically to be their advocate,” Mellissa said. “We love when our residents come to us with new ideas, new things we can do and try. It makes the community better for everyone. Residents are excited about those ideas, and that makes us excited about coming to work every day.”

Creating a wildlife habitat a benefit to the community

The field stopped being mowed as soon as the wildlife habitat designation was approved, and the land quickly began to come back to life.

“Right away, I started seeing some improvements out there,” Fred said. “I counted 26 different species of plants out there, and each one of them provides something for specific wildlife like butterflies, pollinators and birds. In the spring, once everything starts blooming, we’re going to see a lot of activity. Next year’s going to be a great year.”

Fred is particularly excited about the impact the wildlife activity will have on the Georgetowne Place gardens. The garden plots produced a great harvest last year – including lots of tomatoes and peppers that community residents enjoyed – and Fred expects an even better gardening season next year to keep him busy. 

“I’m 80 years old and I don’t want to just sit around,” Fred said. “When I moved here, one of the things I wanted to do was to make sure that I stayed active. I want to be active, and that’s why I get out and do these things.”

Fred also serves on the resident council at Georgetowne Place, where he has been able to collaborate with other residents on numerous projects to help make the community a great place to live.

“The things they do enrich the lives of everyone here,” Mellissa said. “We very much appreciate all that they do and how involved they are.”

Consider joining a senior living community

Fred is one of the many active residents who enjoys senior living and is making the most of his retirement years.

Have you considered joining a senior living community? Maybe it’s time to find a community near you. At Sonida, we’re always happy to speak with seniors and their families and answer questions. Contact us today to find out more!