Noble Horizons Blog

My latest birding excursion also turned out to be one of my most frustrating. I ventured with my mom to New York for the first blog post in the state. We chose the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, an ecological research center in Millbrook, NY dedicated to environmental research, preservation, and public programming.

Victory gardens that were planted in private residences and public parks during World War I and World War II not only served to help feed residents of several nations, but also boosted civic morale. Reminiscent of those efforts can be seen on a plot in this town, where many have joined together to help sustain neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ollie Firuski’s first memories are ones of life in Salisbury. Born in 1936, she grew up in the Main Street house that is now Elyse Harney Real Estate. Her memories are of an idyllic childhood during which she was free to roam and create all sorts of adventures with friends.

Noble Horizons’ Director of Dining Bridgett Sherman knows her way around the kitchen. And she should, considering she’s worked at Noble for upwards of 20 years.

This blog is a little different. I will be sharing my experiences of the same location but on two different days. It will also be another experience from Williamstown, Massachusetts. I hope you enjoy it.

For many years, Noble Horizons has drawn inspiration from the local farm-to-table movement.  In the early years, we hosted free community cooking classes with farm-to-table chefs and offered local farm produce for sale.  We also established our own gardens in which residents and staff grow herbs and vegetables which they harvest for use in meals they prepare together.
 
Today and every Friday, we will introduce you to local farms and farmers as well as community members who grow fresh, delicious food to nourish our bodies and our communities. We hope you enjoy meeting them and will support local farms and farmer markets by selecting products from their bounty for your table.

Noble Horizons campus is home to many bird species and we’re proud to provide a diverse habitat for them and our residents enjoy observing them year round while outdoors or through Noble’s large windows. This summer we’ve hosted a bird blog to encourage people to go outdoors and connect to the natural world. In 2018, Eileen Fielding, Ph.D., director of Sharon Audubon spoke at Noble exploring the link between the preservation of birds and the environment. Recently, she spoke to a local community group about songbird decline in Connecticut, its causes, and what we can do to help.

The Corona pandemic has profoundly magnified the vital and selfless role of our region’s volunteer first responders.  Northwest Connecticut fire and ambulance services run on volunteers and are fueled by the generosity and bravery of our neighbors who teach at our schools, fix our leaky pipes, and landscape our gardens. They are also our skilled and well-trained first responders.

Four-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, global humanitarian, author, and former Executive Director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute of Quinnipiac University, David Ives discussed his remarkable career on July 10 via a Zoom event hosted by Noble Horizons.

This week’s blog took me away from the hiking trails of Connecticut and into Massachusetts where I explored the birds of our neighboring state.

Lifelong learning has been at the heart of Noble Horizons since its founding almost 50 years ago. In fact, the room in which many of the daily classes, seminars, and programs have taken place for decades is called The Life Long Learning Center (nicknamed the L3)!

It was a calm but cloudy morning as I stepped out of the car in White Memorial Conservation Center. It is one of the most biodiverse places in Connecticut and a beautiful setting to experience many birds.

As we emerge from the long quarantine and seek refuge in our region's beautiful natural environment, Noble Horizons is proud to feature Caleb May, a rising senior at Salisbury School, who will help us discover the area's nature preserves, parks, forests, and trails. Using videos and brief essays, Caleb will offer a welcome respite and tantalizing ideas for exploration.

Christina Melius is a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) whose deep love for the elderly stems from her childhood. “My grandmother raised me from the age of eight. I lived in a neighborhood of grandparents and adored them.” This affection informed her decision to become a CNA, which she realized through Noble’s free CNA training program, and it pervades her interactions with Noble residents on a daily basis.

Helena Case, a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA), has always been drawn to the elderly because of the close relationship with her grandmother that she formed in her childhood. She reminisces, “We spent weekends at her house when my mom worked. During the summers we spent long periods of time with her cooking, baking, and gardening.” She remembers tender moments of applying sun lotion and taking care of her grandmother, doing what she “thought a nurse would do.”

Certified Nurse Assistant Kristin Middlebrook fondly remembers her time with her great-grandmother. “I was around 11 and she was in her 90s. I always felt so wonderful when I helped her and she was so grateful.” That feeling of caring for another and fulfilling a need stayed with Kristin.

“I’ve been here 24 years,” Ken Bathrick says with a smile.  “I really like making our residents laugh at one of my silly jokes.”

Frank Lalli, a journalist (Forbes) the former editor of Money and George magazines, author (Your Best Health Care Now), Health Care Detective™ and WHDD contributor has devoted his award-winning career to getting to the bottom of a good story. When diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma eleven years ago, a rare but potentially deadly blood cancer, he put his reporter’s instincts to work to save his own life. Twelve years later, Lalli is three years into what doctors call complete remission and on Saturday, June 13, he shared personal anecdotes and offered a grateful Zoom audience five essential steps anyone can take to be a better healthcare self-advocate.  

This is a story written by a woman who, in light of the severe PPE shortage, organized a group of volunteers to make face shields which they donate to healthcare organizations across CT's Northwest Connecticut. I was connected to the group through Elyse Harney Morris and am awed by the scope and size of the home-based project which has been driven by an inspiring and powerful will to help. This story exemplifies the theme that has been a gratifying silver lining through this pandemic: We are in this together and we will get through this together.

Jerry Baldwin is known to many throughout Connecticut’s northwest corner as a Rotarian, a banker, a father of five and a grandfather of many, a devoted community volunteer and avid golfer, but his years as a military man 55 years ago remain at his core. “The discipline factor when I finished the military was totally focused on doing well and I have always been proud to have served.”