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Award recognizes organization’s efforts to encourage environmental stewardship
VANCOUVER--The International Council on Active Aging® (ICAA) has selected The Orchards at Southington, a nonprofit independent and assisted living community in Southington, Connecticut, to receive its 2012 ICAA Green Award. An association that leads, connects and defines the active-aging industry, ICAA presents its annual ICAA Innovators Awards to those that are leading the way in active aging, setting new standards and making a difference in the lives of older adults. The Green Award, a category of the Innovators awards program, specifically recognizes organizations that encourage environmental stewardship by creating and/or implementing eco-friendly products, services, processes, designs or programs in their settings.
Now in its fourth year, The Orchards’ green initiative brings together staff from all departments, along with residents and their families, to support environmental efforts. A Green Committee, representing all these stakeholders, sets goals based on information provided through focus groups and other sources, and distills them into implementable tasks. Among the outcomes to date is “a program that generates an environmental benefit, beautifies the grounds, and unites all members of the community toward a common goal,” says Executive Director Audrey Vinci. This program promotes the “4 Rs”—reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.
For example, The Orchards now uses environmentally-friendly products for daily cleaning, while motion sensors on paper towel and soap dispensers have cut waste in half. Food scraps are composted into fertilizer for use on the grounds and in the local garden club’s projects around town. In addition, the community recycles paper, glass and plastic bottles, metal cans, newspapers, cardboard, and discarded computers, plus electronic and printing devices and supplies. And with the deposits from returned bottles and cans, The Orchards reinvigorated a green space on campus. A place for reflection and relaxation, the Serenity Garden “includes walking paths, bird baths, a bridge over a Koi pond, and a space used for tai chi,” according to Vinci. It is also Audubon Society-certified as a natural habitat for butterflies, bees and other pollinators,
“Today, many groups recognize that to support older adults in living well, they need to foster health and well-being in all areas of life,” says Colin Milner, ICAA’s founder and CEO. “Increasingly, environmental wellness is an integral part of the picture for older-adult wellness—from organizations that embrace ‘green’ building practices and incorporate healthier, more environmentally-friendly processes in their operations; to older volunteers who act to preserve and protect the environment for future generations; to programs that take place in the rejuvenating presence of nature.” It is inspiring, Milner adds, to see what organizations and individuals can accomplish when they work together to promote healthier communities. “For organizations that ponder the possibilities of an environmental commitment, The Orchards at Southington offers a sustainability success story to consider,” he states. “On behalf of ICAA, I congratulate The Orchards at Southington on winning the 2012 ICAA Green Award.”
As an ICAA award-winner, The Orchards will receive a crystal award of recognition. An in-depth article about the organization’s efforts will appear in ICAA’s flagship publication, the Journal on Active Aging®, in 2013.
Separately, ICAA will name the recipients of an additional two Innovators Award categories. These are the ICAA Innovative Solutions Award, presented for creative products/services that improve wellness for active older adults; and the ICAA Innovators Award, presented for concepts and programs that advance active aging.
About the ICAA Innovators Awards program
Established in 2003, the ICAA Innovators Awards program honors excellence and creativity in the active-aging industry. ICAA’s awards are presented in three categories: ICAA Innovators Award, for programs and concepts that advance active aging; ICAA Innovative Solutions Award, for products and services that improve older-adult wellness; and ICAA Green Award, for environmental stewardship efforts. By recognizing cutting-edge programs, products and environments as well as those who developed or nurtured them, ICAA highlights solutions for industry leaders and governmental organizations to learn from. Award-winners work on inspiring new directions in older-adult health and wellness. Not only do they give us a glimpse into the trends shaping the future of active aging, they also show us that with the right opportunities and environments, older adults can live as fully as possible throughout the life span.
About the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA)
The International Council on Active Aging® is the professional association that leads, connects and defines the active-aging industry. ICAA supports professionals who develop wellness facilities, programs and services for adults over 50. The association is focused on active aging—an approach to aging that helps older adults live as fully as possible within all dimensions of wellness (i.e., physical, social, environmental, vocational, intellectual, emotional and spiritual)—and provides its members with education, information, resources and tools.
As an active-aging educator and advocate, ICAA has advised numerous organizations and governmental bodies, including the US Administration on Aging, the National Institute on Aging (one of the US National Institutes of Health), the US Department of Health and Human Services, Canada’s Special Senate Committee on Aging, European Commission, and the British Columbia ministries of Health, and Healthy Living and Sport.
ICAA launched the Changing the Way We Age® Campaign (http://www.changingthewayweage.com) as part of the organization’s efforts to change perceptions of aging and overturn ageist stereotypes.
Contact: Colin Milner, CEO, ICAA
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