A Natural Inheritance
By Michele Berardi
In 1681, William Penn specified that settlers coming to the lands granted to him by English King Charles II (Charles called it “Pennsylvania”) must preserve one acre of trees for every five acres cleared. Their descendants extended Penn’s far-sighted conservation measures by planting and studying collections of trees. Nearly 300 years after Penn, Philadelphia-area Quakers opened Kendal~Crosslands Communities, a continuing care retirement community in Kennett Square, Pa., and immediately turned to improving the environment.
It is therefore not surprising that Kendal still maintains a focus on sustaining the natural environment. The campus features a 500-acre, arboretum- like grounds surrounded by forests, meadows, tranquil water features, luscious manicured gardens, and rolling hills. Preserving the campus’ capacity to sustain and inspire requires a responsibility towards the earth that has been inherited from previous generations. It is the community’s intention to leave the next generation a legacy of sustainably managed resources that is rich in beauty and diversity.
Both staff and residents take great care in maintaining and improving the landscaped grounds and have been very active in the stewardship of natural resources. On the campus, plans were established to restore a rich diversity of plants that provide native habitat for birds and wildlife. In the past few years, resident volunteers and staff have planted more than 500 woody plants in the forests and countless wildflower plugs in the meadows. Residents enjoy life and the natural beauty of the world around them, and it’s evident given their countless hours of labor to sustain it.
As a result of the efforts of the staff horticulturist and many residents, Kendal was awarded their official arboretum status, through the Morton Register of Arboreta. Joint committees work with horticulture and nature conservancy groups on each of the campuses to sponsor public events, service programs for area youth, educational programs and other events for the residents.
Kendal began 40 years ago in historic Chester County, adjacent to Longwood Gardens, and the Kendal organization has since grown to 12 other diverse Kendal communities in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Midwest regions. Opportunities to shape one’s social, cultural, intellectual, and spiritual life are combined with lifetime health care (within newly built and renovated health and wellness residences) and are all infused with the traditional Quaker values of integrity, care and respect. Consisting of four communities, Kendal at Longwood, Crosslands, Coniston and Cartmel, Kendal offers diverse choices in residential cottages and apartment living, featuring up to nearly 1,800 square foot homes with full basements. Neighboring local landmarks such as Longwood Gardens, Brandywine Battlefield, Winterthur, Brandywine River Museum, and local vibrant towns including Kennett Square and West Chester all contribute to the well-being of residents.
One of the area’s most highly regarded continuing care communities, Kendal has a long legacy to build upon and one to leave as well. Residents come from not only the local area but also from across the country, and they inevitably add to the diverse nature of the community’s outdoor spaces. The grounds of Kendal are a place of peace and tranquility, inspiration and joy; a place that supports each resident’s individual needs and interests, while reflecting the richness of community living.