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June 2024
First Nature Notes: Summertime Programs and Grants
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Dear Friends of First Nature Foundation,

Thank you for your prayers! Rain has greened up our pastures a bit, and while we need more, our grounds are now a bit more healthy and lush, than the yellowed and crunchy grass from the Spring drought. All of our pastures have now been fertilized and we will soon be trying a legume to help fix nitrogen into our pasture soils, all pasture management and environmental best practices.

 

Our gardens are happily in flower, too, and visited by many pollinators. Our woods and bird boxes have been busy with birds raising young, which we sometimes hear and see. Bluebirds have raised multiple broods this spring in one of the bluebird boxes affixed to our open arena. We hear the nestlings peeping audibly when mom or dad lands on the opening with some morsels for them. And two fledgling Red-bellied Woodpeckers have been hanging out on the rail by our birdfeeder loudly demanding their parents feed them. We pride ourselves on doing our best to be something of a nature sanctuary, especially in a time where many bird and other species are dwindling, so it’s all very heartening to welcome these creatures. 

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Our volunteers help us in many ways, not just with horse care and programs, but connecting us with potential sponsors, donors, and clients. They also help us with events and fundraising. Interested in helping us? Find out more about volunteering and applying here! And see below for more ways to support us.

 

We’re pleased to introduce you to another of our dedicated volunteers! She has been with us since October 2023 and has already been FNF’s most prolific volunteer. We met Jennifer Sierra at a chamber networking meeting and she soon came for a tour, quickly followed by a volunteer application. She’s been so committed and helpful with not only the usual horse and facility care, but with helping us during programs. Jennifer is a licensed mental health professional and has her own practice. We have been looking for ways to integrate her into more of our programming, so stay tuned. 

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We’re starting to bring in more grants and sponsorship and are excited to announce that Advent Health, one of our local  hospital systems, has committed to helping sponsor a portion of the costs for our Parents and Spouses of Suicide program. Central Florida Foundation has awarded us a grant to cover a whole year of twice-monthly Horse Sense for Teens programming for teens, to enhance their self- and social-awareness and regulation, and their emotional resilience. Keep your fingers crossed as we have applied for another sizable grant through Osceola County that will cover costs for our Horse Wisdom for Heroes program.

 

Speaking of that program, we graduated our second cohort of the year and have now started with our third, and are looking to expand our reach and impact through that grant, and others, as well as sponsorships, so if you know anyone who has a business and wants to give back to veterans, please let them know about us.

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Earlier this month, First Nature completed our second month of programming for Help Now of Osceola County and are now in the process of scheduling the 3rd month of our year-long programming agreement. You may recall we introduced Help Now in previous newsletters: they are a nonprofit shelter organization for survivors of domestic violence. This month we started programming for some of the women who are currently sheltered, and the feedback was awesome! We are super jazzed about the impact we can make through this program.

What They’re Taking Away from Horses Healing Hearts:

  • “You need to be first in setting the boundaries. This is the line, you don’t cross anymore.”

  • “The tone of your voice makes a difference. And they listen, and they’re very well behaved.” (in reference to setting boundaries with the horses)

  • “If I want to take a step forward in being more assertive, I just have to give more tone and…just being more assertive and letting whoever know…this is what it is.”

  • “It’s exciting to see the impact this opportunity has on their wellbeing…the impact has been huge.” (according to the Executive Director of Help Now)

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Are you interested in a whiskey dinner at the ranch or a wine and art event? We’re working on this idea for October and the months beyond. If you’re local and interested, please let us know. The planning is still in the early stages at this point, so keep a watch here and/or on Facebook and Instagram. We also host events and rent out our facility on an hourly, half-day, or full day basis, provided there’s some alignment with our mission. If you are looking for a venue for an event you may want to check out our gorgeous facility. If so, please contact me at kerul@firstnaturefoundation.org .

 

If you’ve read this far, you’re pretty special, and we know you appreciate our work. This year we need to pull in donations, sponsorships, and grants that will help us continue these programs. Please forward this email to people you think could be potential sponsors, or connect us with interested businesses who want to book a date for our Horseplay for Leaders playshops for their leadership teams, or nudge your friends to donate, maybe through a Facebook birthday fundraiser. If there’s nobody who comes to mind, there are other ways you can help…please continue reading!

How Can You Help First Nature?

Each person is bestowed with gifts or resources that are valid and valuable. Every little bit helps, and your support can make a big difference in our mission and out community. Below are some ways First Nature is looking for assistance:

 

  • Advocate: Let your connections know about us. Share our posts on social media. Forward our newsletters to a community leader who could use staff development for their team.

  • Fundraise: We’re looking for someone to help us with grants and sponsorships. Have you helped a nonprofit with fundraising? If so, reply to this email and let’s talk!  

  • Donate: There are a variety of donations we accept; one time, recurring, in-kind gifts, etc. You can find out more and donate here

  • Volunteer: Your time and skills help us maintain our horses and facility. Get the application here. Or are you interested in serving as a board member for our nonprofit? We are still looking! 

  • Sponsor: Make an impact in the lives of a veteran, a teen, a survivor of domestic violence, or a parent or spouse of suicide. Become a program sponsor or just sponsor the whole organization! Learn more here.

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Grateful for you all, always,

Kerul and Crew

 

 

 

First Nature Ranch / First Nature Foundation  

“Where the past, present, and future of leadership come together for the dignity and benefit of all.” 

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