Anyone familiar with the SSC grounds over the years has surely noticed a change in the last two years. As climate change and environmental sustainability become more prevalent, our philosophy in how we maintain and enhance our grounds has shifted. We have collaborated with several individuals and organizations to develop a strategy that is less “golf course” and more natural and native.
On Tuesday, March 21, Sheboygan Senior Community (SSC), Inc. held a solar dedication ceremony for their 198-kilowatt, newly constructed solar array. Sheboygan Senior Community is a faith-based, nonprofit continuum of care facility providing respite, short-term rehab, assisted living, skilled nursing, and end-of-life services.
The project, installed by Arch Electric, consists of 448 solar panels and will produce roughly 267,000 kWh of annual energy. It is projected to offset over 28% of the organization’s current consumption. Unlike many other solar projects, Sheboygan Senior Community’s array was installed as a ground mount on approximately 1.5 acres.
“What sets the Sheboygan Senior Community Project apart from any other commercial solar project in Wisconsin is the battery or energy storage system,” says Keith Conway, Energy Consultant at Arch Solar. “This system is designed to shave peak demand charges from the utility, thus reducing their monthly electric bill. The SSC is setting an example of what is possible to the rest of the state.”
Last year we also started adding rain gardens. Rain gardens are depressed areas planted with native grasses and flowering perennials that reduce runoff, filter pollutants, prevent erosion, and provide food and shelter for butterflies, pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. There are three in the back of the building, and we anticipate adding 2 more in the future in areas that erosion and runoff are an issue.
Last year we mixed White Dutch Clover into the areas of the property previously maintained with fertilizer, pesticide, and regular mowing. Why Clover?
1. It is low maintenance – requires little to no mowing, it usually grows up to 3-5” high and blooms little white flowers if left uncut. We are choosing at this time to only mow the front of the building, around the landscaped areas.
2. Self-fertilizing – takes nitrogen from the air and converts it to natural fertilizer providing a constant source for itself and surrounding grasses and plants, reducing or eliminating the need for synthetically applied fertilizer.
3. Less need for irrigation – unlike grass that needs at least half an inch or water every week, clover is drought-resistant and requires only small amounts of water to survive to keep its green color during the summer even in partial to no shade.
4. It attracts pollinators – clover blooms are not only attractive to the eye but attract pollinator insects vital to our eco-system, and are a source of naturally recurring food for birds and other wild animals.
Since the growth of the White Dutch Clover on the SSC property, we have eliminated the use of pesticides, reduced irrigation by half, reduced fossil fuel consumption, and increased the amount and variety of birds attracted to the land.
Our pond was constructed when we moved to our current campus. It has two basins, 22ft and 26ft deep, connected by a 10ft underground shelf. There are largemouth bass, yellow tail perch, blue gill (dropped in by migrating birds), and minnows. This fall we will be adding walleye.
Through our sustainability measures, we have increased the tree canopy on our campus and have dramatically reduced the pesticides we use. Because of this, we have seen an increase in migratory birds of all types. Whether it is a songbird, aquatic bird, or red-winged blackbirds, these singing and flying animals are beautiful to see and help us naturally keep our insect population down. If you see a bird on our campus, let us know what type it is; we would love to have a full list of all birds that call SSC home.
Our primary focus is attending to each resident’s medical, nutritional, social, and spiritual needs. Take comfort knowing our team of highly trained professionals in Maple Creek and Oak Drive look after your loved one like family.
Hickory Hills, our short-term rehabilitation household, provides specialized physical, occupational, and speech therapy in our state-of-the-art gym. Our goal is to get you back on your feet as quickly and safely as possible.
We emphasize independence and a full and life-enriching experience in Willow Lane Assisted Living. Our hope is that residents make new friends in a community of people with similar hobbies and interests.
SSC is the provider of choice for so many seniors in Sheboygan County. With scenic views from our newly built facility, our residents are comfortable, well cared for, and engaged in meaningful activities.
Contact us to learn more about our long term waitlists, or to schedule a tour today.
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