Village News

Putting the 'Green' into Greenwood

23 July 2022

Stephen Parr

Putting the 'Green' into Greenwood

He devoted much of his working life to restoring native forests – but he never dreamed he’d retire in one.

Meet Stephen Parr: Ex forester and native forest restoration expert, passionate sustainability warrior, and resident at Metlifecare’s Greenwood Park, a Welcome Bay retirement village nestled on 42 acres of park-like grounds. Thanks to an expanse of native forest that’s constantly requiring restoration, the energetic 75-year-old has found his perfect retirement lifestyle.

“The unique thing about this village is that it attracts people who enjoy the outdoors. It really is like living in a park,” says Stephen.

Since moving in 18 months ago, Stephen’s well-honed foresting skills have been in hot demand. As Chair of the Greenwood Park Environmental Sustainability Group, he plays an integral role in improving and maintaining the village’s Quail Trail, a tranquil nature walk winding through native fernery, wetland and peaceful glades. Once an overgrown wasteland, it now provides peace, joy and purpose to many villagers, and has been a labour of love for Stephen and countless others over the decades.

“The first Village Manager at Greenwood Park, who is now a resident, played an active role encouraging residents to get involved with parts of the track, and over the years more and more residents have ‘adopted’ their own parts of the trail.”

Bursting with the handy work of talented villagers, the Quail Trail features everything from unique outdoor art installations to a propagation shade house, built by residents and now used as a working nursery to propagate seedlings and cuttings for the future.

But even those not interested or able to help maintain the nature walk glean great enjoyment from it.

“It’s amazing to see residents in their 90’s walk the track for leisure and fitness. It may take them a while and they may need to use their walking sticks, but it’s important to them.”

For Stephen, retiring from a varied career that included forest restoration has certainly not meant hanging up his boots - and it’s reminded him that the learning never stops, no matter what age we are.

“The Quail Trail has taught me that there are no limits to what you can do with a bare piece of land. All you need is passion and dedication, something we have in spades here.

“It has also taught me that at 75, I’m a lot fitter than I thought I was!”

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