Is living green important for you? For some, it’s just a trendy catchphrase. But at Asbury Communities it’s a purposeful way of life – not just one day. Asbury is home to environmentally conscious residents who are committed to restoring the planet and have created programs and spaces that support the earth in a range of ways.
Take a look at this graphic to see how as a company, Asbury Communities is equally committed to the environment. Sodexo’s use of OZZI reusable to-go containers for Asbury’s dining services also saves thousands of pounds of landfill waste – and Styrofoam – each year.
Here we share some highlights of the environmental sustainability efforts in place on our senior living campuses.
Keeping the environment “top of mind”
With its beautiful Patuxent River location, Asbury Solomons’ residents are especially passionate about protecting the environment. Their Go Green Committee leads efforts all year long and designates April as Earth Stewardship Month by showcasing guest speakers, hosting events and beach cleanups, and organizing a fundraiser for projects like replacing the Osprey nesting platform of the community’s dock.
In 2021, residents completed a storm water runoff project in support of the Patuxent River, which is a Chesapeake Bay tributary. Through an affiliation with the Citizen Science Project, the Solomons beach was identified as a location for diamondback terrapin nesting. Residents keep watch for newly laid turtle eggs and cover them with cages to protect them from predators. The committee recently funded the replacement of the Osprey nest platform off Asbury Solomons’ dock.
Go Green members also lead the charge in recycling efforts, including an ongoing collection of plastic grocery bags for the Trex composite decking company’s Bags to Benches program. Any group that collects 500 pounds of bags in a six-month period earns a bench, and Asbury Solomons now has 8 benches and counting.
Birds, bees, and butterflies
At Riverwoods in Lewisburg, Pa., residents and avid gardeners Mary Ellen Beaver and Diane Reed plant and tend to 15 large pots placed across the campus.
“Every day is Earth Day for me,” says Mary Ellen, who acquired her green thumb from her father, a gardener who grew flowers and most of the family’s produce.
Mary Ellen and Diane focus their efforts on creating pollinator garden pots which attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other beneficial creatures that transfer pollen from flower to flower. These small gardens can make a huge difference as pollinators – especially bees – have suffered from loss of habitat, misuse of chemicals, and the spread of invasive plants and species. They make a nice supplement the community’s original butterfly garden located behind RidgeCrest Apartments.
Campuses at Asbury Place in Kingsport, Tenn., and Springhill in Erie, Pa., have flourishing pollinator-friendly butterfly gardens. Springhill’s garden was established by a retired entomologist, and is maintained by residents in collaboration with Penn State master gardeners.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
At Normandie Ridge in York, Pa., the Environmental Committee spearheads common-place recycling efforts in addition to less common ones like eyeglass recycling and medication disposal. Two ‘recycling’ programs – one for sneakers and the other for LEGOs – support disadvantaged children.
When residents discovered that only corrugated cardboard, not other types of paper, was being recycled by their refuse hauler, they decided to do it themselves. Working with a local business, residents make daily pickups from trash and then deliver it to Continental twice a week.
The committee is also working with a local business that converts plastics and Styrofoam into gravel-like material for building blocks and paving. Volunteers collect plastic from trash rooms daily and are currently filling a 15 or more trash bags weekly.
Home to a 17-acre Nature Preserve with two ponds and a stream and a certified arboretum, Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg, Md., is a model eco-friendly campus. In 2017 Asbury partnered with a local company to compost all food scraps from its kitchens and dining venues – 84 tons worth of food the first year. Residents began composting one year later.
In April of 2023, the community was once again awarded a Gaithersburg Environmental Award from the city’s mayor. The community’s 2022 green efforts resulted in:
The resident-run Habitat Action Committee, a group of about 30 residents, works to nurture the environment and sustain the hundreds of species of plant and animal life on the 134-acre campus by eliminating invasive plants, monitoring newly planted trees, and tending to five pollinator gardens to attract butterflies and birds. Those efforts include the installation of 14 bluebird nest boxes as well as bird feeders in the Nature Preserve and monitoring four beehives.
“We have a campus that no other retirement community in the area can rival, and we’re honored to be able to advocate for it,” says Kris Martin, Chair of the Habitat Action Committee.