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OWL'S Nest History

The OWL's Nest Sensory Garden began as a dream of student volunteers and recreation therapy staff and has transformed into a healing space for persons served and families. The people served at On With Life now have an accessible outdoor space to spend their leisure time as staff assists them to promote physical, mental and social development. With the help of employees and volunteers, the OWL's Nest now serves as a beautiful and functional space for all to use.


After securing an unused outdoor space from the Glenwood Resource Center in 2012, a grassroots effort began to gather the resources needed to renovate the space and convert it into an area that could be used by persons served, families and staff. Then, after applying for and receiving a $6,000 grant from Home Depot, the OWL's nest started to become a reality. To date we have received grants from Home Depot, Mills County, Shopko and Farm Bureau to renovate the courtyard, creating a therapeutic sensory garden for the people served by On With Life. 


In the spring of 2013, construction was underway as twelve volunteers of Team Depot and several On With Life employees built the base for a gazebo and dug out a curving 90 ft. path that eventually became a winding wheelchair accessible path up to a quiet patio. The gazebo and large fountain are surrounded by bright colorful benches, making it the focal point of the courtyard.


No one is more excited than our persons served and families to now have a garden that is just as functional for their loved one, as it is visually appealing. Persons served will be able to plant, touch, see and smell the blooming plants, flowers and herbs throughout the seasons. You will find colorful displays of flowers throughout the season, along with plants that please your nose, rustle in the breeze, or tickle your skin with interesting textures. The garden also offers an outdoor grill, family seating areas, a memorial garden and various sensory areas. A "sand and sun" area allows persons served to feel their toes in the sand and their hands in the water. Bird baths, statuary, wind chimes, solar lights and kinetic spinners have also been added for sensory stimulation.


Thank you to all involved who helped make this dream become a reality for the people we serve.