Earth day originated on April 22, 1970 and is considered to be the birth of the modern environmental movement. Ideated by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day was meant to serve as a “national teach-in on the environment” that would educate the masses about the effects our actions have on the health of our planet. While most of America remained largely unaware of growing environmental concerns prior to April 22, 1970, the first celebration of Earth Day brought these concerns to center stage.

Drawing from the energy of the anti-war protest movement, the first Earth Day saw 20 million Americans participate in rallies and demonstrations highlighting the need for greener practices. By the end of 1970, the United States Environmental Protection Agency had been created, and the Clear Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts had all been passed. In 1990, Earth Day became globally recognized, with 200 million people in over 140 nations participating, according to the Earth Day Network (EDN), a nonprofit organization that coordinates Earth Day activities. It has since grown into an internationally celebrated holiday that focuses on how to live a more eco-friendly life. The EDN estimates that more than 1 billion people are involved in Earth Day activities every year, making it “the largest secular civic event in the world.”

Thirteen years ago, a group of environmentally-minded residents came together to find ways to bring the movement to Plymouth Harbor. This was the beginning of the Conservation Committee, which then became a formal committee three years later. Now, members of the committee share a common mission: to promote conservation of resources within Plymouth Harbor, including recycling, water, and electricity usage, and other appropriate conservation measures. The committee also researches and makes recommendations on ways in which Plymouth Harbor may become more environmentally responsible.

“Our biggest job is to educate residents on simple ways to conserve resources,” said Isabel Pedersen. Tips and tricks can be found in the weekly flyer, and residents are encouraged to try to incorporate these small changes into their daily routines. “Although independently they don’t sound like much, lots of little things can add up and make a big change,” Isabel said.
If you want to learn more about the Conservation Committee, contact Isabel at ext. 561. There are also Conservation Committee liaisons in each colony. Although new committee members won’t be chosen until next year, you can still act as a role model for others by putting into place environmentally friendly practices.

While turning off lights and recycling are what you initially think of when you think about conserving resources, those aren’t the only ways. Conserving resources also means finding new uses or new homes for things you already have. Instead of throwing away old clothing, household items, and furniture, donate them to the Resident Fund Shop or the donation collection bins located on the Ground Floor of the Tower. These four organizations (All Faiths Food Bank, Resurrection House, Sarasota County Animal Services, and Meals on Wheels) and our Fund shop put our reusable items to good use and prevents the need for someone to buy something new that they can get used.

To celebrate Earth Day this year, the Conservation Committee will have a table set up in the lobby where you can get reusable cloth grocery bags, reusable water bottles, and information about what Plymouth Harbor is doing to reduce our footprint. Someone will be at the table throughout the day to answer questions, so make sure you stop by!

Sources: www.earthday.org, www.history.com

Ann has been an artist all her life, but she isn’t “a person who paints wide-eyed children and hibiscus.” To her, art is meant to challenge us. “It should create a reaction within people, challenge their beliefs, and stir our emotions,” Ann said. To do this, Ann’s work often references politics, environmental issues, animal rights, and overpopulation, just to name a few. Through her art, she expresses her ideals and opinions on the world around her.

The mediums she works with are just as varied as her subject matter. Ann has worked with oils, prints, textiles, and most recently (albeit 30 years ago) metal. As a metalsmith, Ann uses gold, silver, copper, and bronze to create all sorts of rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Using a torch, hammer, and a wide variety of pliers, Ann sculpts flat pieces of
metal into her desired shape, sometimes using chemicals to distort the metal’s color or adding various stones.

No matter the medium, Ann works in layers, allowing her works to claim a life of their own. When she begins her process, she has a good idea of what she wants to do technically, but it never turns out that way. “I find when a work is too controlled, too harmonized, and too predictable, it’s boring,” she said. She often turns an idea into a series so that she can “explore and develop all aspects of it and bring it to maturity.” Her collections typically consist of 10 to 20 pieces, each piece a unique part of a whole.

Ann comes by her artistic talent naturally, but she has also had extensive academic experience in the field. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in interior architecture, and over the years continued her technical education at six other art institutions. She continues her education by attending workshops, mostly for metalworking. “It challenges me,” she said. “There is always something new to learn.”

Ann has studied with many master artists and has shown her work both locally at the Ringling Museum of Art and internationally.

You don’t need to be a super hero to save the day.

Donating blood is a fast, simple, and safe way to help change, and even save, someone’s life. Luckily, Plymouth Harbor makes it easy to do. Thanks to a partnership with the Suncoast Blood Bank, the bloodmobile is on campus five times a year, making it quick and convenient for residents and staff to donate.

Plymouth Harbor has participated in blood drives through the Suncoast Blood Bank since August of 2006. Since then, Plymouth Harbor blood drives have collected 251 units of blood. Each unit can save up to three lives, and with our donations we have helped save approximately 753 lives in our community, according to Susan Weber-Hegge, our Donor Representative from Suncoast Blood Bank.

Plymouth Harbor has supported the Suncoast Blood Bank for over 12 years, and we have recently seen an increase in the number of residents and staff that are actively donating blood and learning more about the importance of blood donation. There is always a need for blood, and an average of 40,000 units of donated blood are used each day in the U.S. and Canada, according to the Suncoast Blood Bank (www.scbb.org). Volunteer blood donors provide nearly all the blood used for transfusions in the U.S.

When you donate blood, you also have the opportunity to learn more about your own body and information that is pertinent to your own health and wellbeing. “I have had staff share with me that they learned what their blood type was for the first time because of our blood drives,” said Summer Rentsch, Wellness Director. Everyone belongs to one of four blood groups. If you know what type you are, then you can know when your community is in need of your blood type. You just might be able to help the right person at the right time. To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 16 years old and 110 pounds, and you must pass a physical and health history exam.

Each donation is helping to save a life. What could be a more powerful way to give back to our community than that?

My parents Elsa and Donald Price moved to Sarasota in the mid-70s after looking for a warm climate in which to retire. They settled on Lido Shores in an old Florida style home. After many visits, I myself relocated to Sarasota in 1984. A few years later, my father called me to say they were ready to move to a community that had all the amenities as they aged and had put a deposit down in a place called Plymouth Harbor.

I was shocked, but my father assured me he was doing what he thought best—he did not want to be a burden to us. I did some research and found that Plymouth Harbor was truly a hidden gem. They waited 5 years for their apartment, and then spent the next 3-4 years traveling on their boat Priceless and at Plymouth Harbor. My father quickly immersed himself in Plymouth Harbor daily life. He was the first resident trustee on the board in 1997-98, which paved the way for future resident trustees. My mom’s 25 years now at Plymouth Harbor have been incredibly satisfying and busy!

I was traveling the world for work, but after a career change in 1998, I was able to spend my entire time in Sarasota. I am very fortunate to be in financial services with my wife, Leslie Juron, guiding families to achieve lifelong success. Leslie and I spend many hours giving back to the community and thoroughly enjoy our clients who are either about to, or have retired. Our experience in this community has helped us understand how to age with a better quality of life. It has also helped us teach our clients and families how to achieve better family dynamics and communication. When children or spouses are not the caregivers, relationships with family have better outcomes.

Having been on the Plymouth Harbor Foundation board for a number of years, I now serve as the chair. I
have also served on numerous Sarasota nonprofit organizations in the past. I feel fortunate to have been able to get to know many of the residents and staff throughout my visits to Plymouth Harbor and through serving on the Foundation board. The Foundation supports positive aging by adding new and exciting opportunities for residents and employees. Some examples include employee scholarships, leadership development, and programming or capital support to improve life at Plymouth Harbor. In the past few years we have upgraded Pilgrim Hall, the Wellness Center, and the Memory Care program. We have clients in many other similar communities, but none that I have seen are as dynamic and forward thinking as Plymouth Harbor.

We are excited to begin 2019 with many initiatives that will make Plymouth Harbor an even better place.
We look forward to communicating those to you as they develop–always with resident input. While we will
greatly miss Becky Pazkowski, she has left us with a great legacy and in good hands with a very capable board.

I am also excited that we have added four new trustees who will be a huge asset with their past experiences. I hope everyone gets to meet them in the very near term. I appreciate the opportunity to serve the Plymouth Harbor Foundation for the next few years and look forward to continuing to meet all the residents coming to our gem on the West Coast.

Introducing yoga classes in our Starr Memory Care Residence

It is commonly known that exercise is important for everyone. Physical activity, whether it is
walking, working out at the gym, or any other type of movement you enjoy, can improve your
self-esteem, mood, and physical health. Maintaining a good level of fitness is key to healthy aging,
and it becomes even more important for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Incorporating regular
movement into our residents’ days is important to help maintain strength, flexibility, and a level of
independence. To help with this, we have begun a yoga program to keep our residents moving.

Through our partnership with Sarasota Memorial Health Fit, we now offer 30-minute yoga classes
for our residents in the Starr Memory Care Residence and Seaside Assisted Living Residences. Every
Saturday morning, yoga instructor Nancy Zampella holds classes in both the Ringling and Lido
neighborhoods of our Starr Memory Care Residence.

Nancy has been practicing yoga since 1991 and is now the owner of her own studio, Yoga Libre.
She was a student of yoga for 10 years before she decided to pursue a career as a yoga teacher.
The training program was a transformative experience for Nancy that helped her heal her own
carpal tunnel by improving her shoulder alignment. She completed the course with a feeling of
empowerment and a new mission to show others they don’t have to live in pain.

On Saturday mornings, Nancy teaches chair yoga to residents in the Starr Memory Care Residence.
Chair yoga is a gentle, non-traditional form of yoga that reduces strain on the limbs and joints.
“A lot of people don’t know that you can do yoga while sitting in a chair, but it is a lot of fun,”
Nancy said. “This class has been an opportunity for me to try new ways of teaching, which has
been a wonderful surprise.” Whether in a chair or on a mat, yoga is all about moving your energy
throughout your body. As a teacher of yoga, Nancy’s goal is to help people open up their bodies and
feel better, mentally and physically. The class focuses on simple, rhythmic movements to increase
circulation and develop muscle memory.

Yoga is not only an exercise for the body. It also works the mind and helps reduce stress and improve
mood. Alzheimer’s can be disorienting, and yoga’s emphasis on connection with your body, mind,
and breath helps people reconnect with themselves and their world. The group setting of the class
provides residents with an experience they can share in together, and friends and family of residents are encouraged to attend the classes as well. “Both caretakers and residents can benefit from a yoga class, and doing it together can be a meaningful experience,” Nancy said. “The more the merrier!”

Sarasota is in the midst of a great reimagining of our bayfront, and Plymouth Harbor resident Karl Newkirk has taken on an important role in the future of our community as a member of the Van Wezel Foundation’s strategy committee.

After moving to Sarasota upon retirement, a friend invited him to join the Van Wezel Foundation board of directors in 2007. “As I got to understand Sarasota, I realized that the Van Wezel is one of the city’s special things,” Karl said.

The Van Wezel is an iconic piece of Sarasota, but at 50 years old, the building’s infrastructure has started to show its age. Karl and the Van Wezel Foundation Board evaluated whether the purple performance hall would be able to meet the future needs of the Sarasota community, and sadly the answer was no. Icon or not, the Van Wezel would need to be replaced with a new performing arts hall for Sarasota to continue its role as the art and cultural center of the west coast. “For the good of Sarasota, it needed to be done,” Karl said.

Around the same time, a dialogue about the future of the bayfront was beginning among community leaders. Enter the Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 initiative.

Started by local restaurant owner Michael Klauber, Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 is a group of local community organizations who “support the creation of a long-term master plan for the Sarasota bayfront area that will establish a cultural and economic legacy for the region while ensuring open, public access to the bayfront.” According to the initiative’s website, “more than 55 arts, neighborhood, foundation, and business groups have had their boards unanimously vote to support a common vision statement.” Thanks to Karl, Plymouth Harbor was one of them.

With so much support from the community, Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 caught the attention of the City Commissioners, who agreed to creating the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO). Karl, as a member of the Van Wezel Foundation’s strategy committee, worked closely with SBPO as they studied the area and developed a plan to best utilize the 53 acres. Fortunately, these acres reside in a trust that prohibits large-scale commercial development.The plan, which the City Commission approved last September, places a new performing arts hall at the hub of the design, along with walking trails, boat docks, and shops and restaurants. The beloved current Van Wezel will remain open and operating during the years it will take to fundraise, design, and build the new performing arts hall. Then, the City will decide how to re-purpose the old building. The goal is to create an accessible, walkable facility that has something for everyone, no matter their age or status. With three large pedestrian ramps crossing U.S. Highway 41, people will be able to traverse the area by foot or by bike without worrying about motor vehicle traffic.

“I love being able to be a part of something that will solidify Sarasota’s premier status today as a cultural center,” Karl said. “It is important we continue educating our community and exposing our children to the arts.”

This is a massive project, one that has been met with its fair share of pushback, but “it is important that future generations have the ability to experience what we have gotten to,” Karl said. “I want to see it through.”