"We live in an Illinois prairie; 26 acres of it to be exact, and it's perfect for wildlife," said Judie Knott. "I just saw a whitetail deer. We live with nature here, which is wonderful."
Judie Knott, a resident of GreenFields of Geneva, was among the charter members of Birds of a Feather, a resident-run club that feeds birds in the area around the retirement community. In keeping their fine-feathered friends well fed, the club members have significantly increased the grateful winged population gracing their property. "This is our third summer here. The first year we never even saw a robin. Now we see song birds, water fowl, hummingbirds and more," Knott said. "We've attracted sand hill cranes which I've never seen before. "
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GreenFields of Geneva is a complete continuum of care retirement community (CCRC) offering independent living, assisted living, memory support, rehabilitation and skilled nursing.
"I've always been interested in birds,' said Knott. 'They're God's creatures, they're beautiful and delicate yet strong and there's such a variety."
She started a list of all of the birds she's seen at home and on her travels. "There are more than two pages, just in Illinois," she said. "I have a bird caller. I go out on my deck and talk to the birds."
Hardly alone in her love of birds, Knott said that Birds of a Feather has attracted almost 20 members. GreenFields provides the hook and feeders while the individual club members provide the food for whatever type of bird they want to feed and attract.
This spring, Knott actively sought to attract more members to the club. Deciding to run a promotion, she designed a bird using elements of GreenFields' logo, making it the logo for the club. Club members were given a T-shirt with the bird logo, which was subsequently named Amicitia, meaning "friendship." At a kick-off party, the club members were treated to chocolate chow mein noodles shaped to look like nests, with M&M eggs.
"There are more birds this season than ever before. I'm pleased with the number of feeding stations. That's what's bringing the birds around," Knott said. She's equally pleased with Birds of a Feather, which she said is wonderful on many levels. "It makes people so happy. I've made so many friends with this project. It's very fun," she said. "It's also therapeutic and fun for the residents to watch. People come to me all of the time and tell me what they've seen. You see the light in peoples' eyes when they're talking about birds. It just connects people."
Knott added that formerly somewhat shy, she finds that she has "blossomed" living at GreenFields. "It's because of the friendships that have formed. People have things in common with you, and there's a love for life. You walk in the front door and know it's a friendly place," she said. "Having interests in common breaks the ice. "
GreenFields is an exceptional LifeCare community offering an ideal location and a wonderful retirement lifestyle. GreenFields offers independent living, assisted living, memory support, rehabilitation and skilled nursing, with the most comprehensive plan available for long-term care if ever needed. For additional information, visit www.GreenFieldsOfGeneva.org.