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On With Life, Ltd., Hosts Grand Opening of Sensory Garden - October 4, 2013

Glenwood, Iowa-On Saturday, September 28, On With Life, Ltd. welcomed families, friends and staff to celebrate the grand opening of the OWL’s Nest, a sensory garden for brain injury survivors. It included a lunch, tour of the garden and live music by “Pluckin’ Nuts.”


“The Grand Opening of the OWL’s Nest will not only assist us in serving those impacted by a brain injury but it will also allow others to see just how special this is to persons served and their families,” said Jennifer Durfey, Therapy Coordinator at On With Life, Ltd. She added, “We are all so excited to now be able to provide such a unique therapeutic experience to better the lives of our persons served.”


On With Life, Ltd. received a $6,000 grant from Home Depot to build a sensory garden for persons served at On With Life’s Long-Term Skilled Care Program in Glenwood, Iowa. The idea for a sensory stimulation garden, which later became known as the “OWL’s Nest,” began nearly two years ago with student volunteers and recreational therapy staff. Team Depot volunteers, community members, local community colleges and On With Life employees have been working together to transform the garden into a therapeutic healing garden that includes:

  • A covered patio with wheelchair swing
  • An outdoor grill with seating area for family and staff
  • A gazebo with wheelchair accessible ramp
  • “Sand and sun” area for persons served
  • A memorial garden for persons served that have been loved and lost
  • A variety of bird baths, wind chimes, solar lights, and kinetic spinners for added stimulation

Sensory gardens are designed with the intention to provide experiences for seeing, smelling, hearing, touching, and tasting. While sensory gardens can benefit people of all ages, individuals with impairment of one or more of their five senses may find it even more special because they may have enhanced awareness of their other senses. Brain injury survivors will now be able to spend their leisure time outdoors with staff, to further promote physical, mental and social development.


The Grand Opening of the OWL's Nest was a great time for persons served and their families to explore the garden and meet the staff and volunteers who made the sensory garden come to life. A special thank you to the following vendors, businesses and organizations: Home Depot, Farm Bureau, Mills County Foundation, Shopko, True Value, Mulhall's, Ryan's Garden Treasures, Iowa Western Community College dance and cheer squads, St. Albert's High School, the Glenwood Resource Center, persons served and their families and On With Life staff.