Environmental action and awareness benefit all

Nancy Hart sees the big picture. She cares about the health of the planet so she impacts change in her corner of the world in Federal Way. After moving to Village Green in 2009, Hart inventoried the plants and wildlife and applied successfully to have the community registered as a Backyard Wildlife Refuge.

“I wanted to create an awareness of the diversity of nature and how we are all interconnected,” Hart said

With more than 40 species of birds, Northwest salamanders, bullfrogs, ducks, blue herons and other wildlife, Village Green is alive with color, sound and a thriving habitat.

“We are all healthier if our environment is healthy,” Hart said.

Born in Coulee Dam, Washington, Hart grew up near a reservation and was introduced to the culture of the Colville tribe. Native American heritage spoke to her, and years later she spent two weeks on an archaeological dig with the Makahs near Neah Bay, categorizing sea life, excavating artifacts and appreciating the sanctity of the native ways.

“It heightened my awareness of our relationship with the water, land and each other,” Hart said.

Impacting lives is a theme throughout Hart’s life. As a teacher for 15 years in elementary and high schools, she and her first husband, Rich, also raised two children, worked on an election board and volunteered with different groups.

When Rich succumbed to complications of Alzheimer’s, Hart stayed at Village Green with supportive, caring friends. Active on the Resident Council twice as past president, vice president and secretary, Hart, again, found ways to brighten lives by helping coordinate the Christmas parade, walkathon, Audubon Bird Count and participating in on-campus art and photography shows. Now married to Elwin Hart, who also lost a spouse to Alzheimer’s, the couple appreciate time with their five children, six grandkids and a great–granddaughter.

Hart also finds joy with other residents.

“These are people who lived with purpose, survived war, immigration and economic hardship,” Hart said. “There are great stories at every dining table.”

Her philosophy?

“Practice kindness and keep smiling,” she said. “Someone told me years ago of a Jewish saying: ‘The first third of life you learn, the second third you earn and the last third you give back.’ I am trying to give back.”

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