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Betty Atchison sits between the two birdhouses she decorated in an effort to provide more shelter for local birds. (Alyson Buschena/Daily Globe)

After ice storm, thinking of the birds

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WORTHINGTON -- After April's ice storm, Betty Atchison and Teresa Moser, both residents at South Shore Care Center, were worried.

Concerned that birds would have less shelter this spring after countless branches fell to the ground, they wanted to do something to help. Atchison went to Susan Wellendorf, activity director at South Shore Care Center, to ask if they could decorate and place birdhouses near the facility.

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"She said to me, 'I really feel bad. Those little birds don't have any homes any more, I bet,'" Wellendorf recalled.

For Atchison, providing a home for the local birds was simply following the direction God had placed in her heart.

"Those little birdies, they didn't have any place to go for shelter, and we just had to figure something out," Atchison said. "God placed birds here to give us joy and peace and happiness."

Wellendorf ordered six small, wooden birdhouses for the two women and any other residents interested in helping with the project. Atchison and Moser each finished two birdhouses and were able to decorate them however they wanted.

"I didn't have anything to do with it -- they did it," Wellendorf said, adding that she was amazed at Atchison's and Moser's dedication and attention to detail. "They worked on those birdhouses every Thursday afternoon, and if you get close to the houses, you'll see the detailed work that they did."

Atchison chose to paint one birdhouse yellow with a welcome sign below, and a house number above the opening and musical notes around the front. She decorated the other house in a bold red.

Moser painted one birdhouse lime green with a fuschia roof and the second blue with a bright sun, flowers and yellow bird on top.

"They worked long and hard on them," Wellendorf said. "Teresa even took it to her room to work on."

Moser said she has been doing art and craft projects "forever," and that she is happy with how the birdhouses turned out.

"I just hope they come and live in them now," she said. "I put a lot of hours into that."

After Atchison and Moser completed their efforts, they requested the birdhouses be placed outside of their windows so they could watch the homes as new residents get settled.

"If we can put a smile on their face, we've done our job," Wellendorf said of the project.

The two remaining birdhouses are still being worked on by other residents.

"Betty was really adamant about getting them out here right away," Wellendorf said.

Offering residents the opportunity to do as many activities as possible is one of South Shore Care Center's goals, Wellendorf explained.

"We have a resident council, and they help decide (activities) -- I mean, it's their house, it's their home," she said. "They pick trips that we take and activities that we do. We try real hard to do whatever they want to do if it is at all possible."

Future activities for the residents of South Shore Care Center include a tour of the Worthington Fire Hall and the Nobles County Fair.

Daily Globe Reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached at 376-7322.

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Alyson Buschena
Alyson joined the Daily Globe newsroom staff after spending a year in Latin America. A native of Fulda and graduate of the University of Northwestern, she has a bachelor's degree in English with a dual concentration in Literature and Writing and a minor in Spanish. At the Daily Globe, Alyson covers the crime beat as well as Pipestone and Murray counties, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and cooking. More of Alyson's writing can be found at http://throughthelookingglass.areavoices.com.
(507) 376-7322
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