Lifeworks Services, Inc., a non-profit that works alongside adults with disabilities, was one of our 2015 mini-grant winners. This year, they partnered with Minnesota Veterans Home. and did some really cool activities!
Lifeworks has had a wonderful relationship with Celebrate Urban Birds for the past six years and with each consecutive year the residents’ skills and passion for birds and their habitat has grown. This year, this love and curiosity for the outdoors was extended to the residents of the veterans’ home as well.
Once a week, between May and August, a birding event took place on the property owned by the veterans’ home. The 128 acre span of land has nature trails, a biking path, an outdoor pavilion, a garden, and a screened porch. This made it a perfect spot to get the residents outdoors and interacting with nature! The weekly birding events were led by birding mentor Kevin Smith. In addition to these birding events, there was a survey conducted on the various shrubs and other vegetation that helped the Lifeworks staff to make recommendations to the resident gardeners of possible plantings that would increase bird visits to the area!
These birding events were not the only thing taking place this summer, however! A beautiful mosaic was designed and placed in the newly created Edible Native Garden. The mosaic is a favorite art medium for the Lifeworks clients since it fosters collaboration and allows people of all skill levels to participate! A lovely bird bath was also created and placed in the garden, which will help bring more birds to the area while showcasing the historic surroundings as well. The adults at Lifeworks were not the only ones able to help out with these projects. A wooden frame for the mosaic was created by one of the veteran birders who works in the wood shop!
On August 26th, a celebration was hosted on the Minnesota Veterans Home property to share the exciting experiences from the previous months. The entire Hastings community was invited to the event! There were refreshments, a “make and take” art project, and a fun bird walk. This bird walk included a papier-mâché scavenger hunt of the Urban Birds and where they are typically seen in the wild.
A Lifeworks representative commented on the impact of this event on the surrounding area:
“After the presentation you could truly feel the good energy coming from the garden. I think it will be a blessing not just to the environment and the birds but the people living there as well.”
The wonderful energy that is felt coming from the garden really reflects the wonderful relationships built between the two organizations this summer. This union between Lifeworks and the Minnesota Veterans Home tremendously impacted the lives of all of the participants. Teaching people with developmental disabilities and mental or physical illness has allowed these adults to find a life-long hobby. This offers them an opportunity to become an expert at something and interact and give back to the natural community around them.
For more information about Lifeworks, click here.