Greencroft Communities Stories
Greencroft Communities commitment to the environment extends beyond the boundaries of our residents’ homes. The Greencroft Goshen Resident Environmental Committee has been working to make our communities greener and more sustainable.
The committee formed about 10 years ago, with a dual mission - to be stewards of the global environment and caretakers of our immediate surroundings. While most of us are aware of the importance of protecting the planet, the committee recognized the significance of fostering a healthy local environment where our residents thrive. Many seniors lack access to such spaces, and the committee aimed to change that.
One of their first initiatives was creating a wildflowers, native grasses, and butterfly garden on a hill adjacent to Juniper Pond. Committee member Don Yoder spearheaded the project and has continued to manage it, assisted by others.
“Promoting recycling and providing a way to recycle Styrofoam was another early focus,” explained Dale Way, chair of the committee. “Later, we looked at the woods and decided there were a number of things that needed to happen there.”
As the project list grew, so did the need for money to cover the costs.
“We were hearing from people who wanted to give, to support the projects,” said Eileen Saner, co-secretary.
In response, the committee worked with the Greencroft Goshen Foundation to establish a fund, and in January of 2022, the first gift was received. Since its inception, the Greencroft Goshen Environmental Fund has raised more than $30,000 for environmental improvements to the campus, with most gifts coming from residents.
The fund enabled the committee to complete several projects, including repairing the water wheel and a fountain near the outdoor pavilion, planting additional trees, replacing the split rail fence, and eradicating invasive plants and vines, which opened up the shoreline around the pond.
“The growing involvement of residents in the life and development of the Greencroft campus is something I’m proud of,” said Dale.
“The awareness we have built on campus has led to more people volunteering and getting involved,” added Floyd Saner, co-secretary.
Troy Handrich, Director of Maintenance, Grounds, and Security at Greencroft Goshen, credits the committee with helping to reduce the electric bill on campus by partnering with Greencroft Maintenance to replace fluorescent lights in hallways with LED bulbs.
“They have improved the look of campus and saved labor costs with their dedication to maintaining the wildflowers and pavilion areas,” Troy said, even clearing the sidewalks of goose poop. “They also raise money to plant new trees and volunteer to mulch and water the trees on campus.” A bigger, but less noticeable impact, he added, is their effort to clean up the woods and ponds from invasive species.
Unexpected benefits from the committee’s work have been an increased number of visitors to the campus to take advantage of the walking paths and more time spent outdoors by residents enjoying exercise and scenery.
Floyd tells about meeting a young couple by the fountain after it was restored to working condition. Their son, about 6-years-old and nonverbal, was letting the water run through his fingers. The mother told Floyd the fountain is their son’s “happy place.” He is disappointed if the fountain is not running.
“We’ve gotten so much response that the campus looks good,” Dale said. “We’re bringing a little bit more beauty to the landscape.”