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July 2023
First Nature Notes: The Storms Keep Coming

Dear Friends of First Nature Foundation,


It looks like we will be hosting another wine-tasting fundraiser in October! We’ll send the details as soon as they are available so you can sign up since seats are limited. Stay tuned! And if you haven’t already liked our Facebook page, click here for the latest news and announcements.


We are solidly in the midst of thunderstorm season here in Central Florida (and really hurricane season!) You may recall from our June newsletter that we had lightning impacts at the ranch, and believe it or not we were struck again just 2 weeks later. On the afternoon of Independence Day, the skies starting to look threatening, even though the weather apps showed low probability of rain and nothing on the radar. The rain started and I sent my staff member home to take care of her horse. All of the horses were under shelter as the rain’s intensity increased and as lightning got closer and closer. I was making a video of the storm, waiting for lightning to strike since it was on top of us, and after about 30 seconds turned off my video. Not 10 seconds later we were struck, taking out our entire hot wire system. I saw sparks and smoke, then went into the shed and found the cover of the fence energizer half way across the floor and the innards blown out. The 3-in-1 it was plugged into also exploded and was entirely black inside. When the danger had passed, I let the horses out only to find that the hot wire separating the paddocks was no longer hooked up. On inspection I found the gate handle on the ground, the hot wire melted and shriveled nearby, the connection between them elsewhere, and the post the hotwire was attached to split! Fortunately, it was just another $100 expense or so, not like the $2000 expense from the previous strike. The rain and lightning continue and I remain grateful for my new walled shelters and that all our sheds and buildings are equipped with lightning protection. We also invested in a whole barn surge protector, so if we get hit again that should take the damage and not our equipment. Fingers crossed we don’t get hit again, though!


We want to welcome our summer staff members, both of whom graduated high school in May and are earning funds towards their college expenses. Leyna Landers and Aimie Bissonnette have been a huge asset to our operations. Leyna has volunteered at the ranch for almost 3 years prior to being hired. They are both wonderful young women that are reliable, trustworthy, hard-working, and sweet. We want to offer our gratitude for their help, and wish them the very best as they venture off to a new phase in their lives in the next month or so.


We’ve also been graced by CareerSource Central Florida (thank you!) with a high school teen intern from NeoCity High School: Tom Kennedy is helping us weekday mornings at the ranch, doing everything from helping prep feed to grooming horses, mucking pastures and sheds, to power washing our mats and buildings. He’s been getting valuable work experience and has been an asset. We look forward to his careful and methodical efforts over the next few weeks of his internship.


We are now half way through our current cohort in the Horse Wisdom for Heroes program, and the men are getting so much from the experience: increased self-awareness and confidence, multiple practices to help them navigate the difficulties in life, and a welcome experience of peace, tranquility, and acceptance.


We’ve also started a multi-session program with Lotus Behavioral Health in our Horse Wisdom for Teens curriculum. They bring some of the kids who are enrolled in their residential treatment protocol. At the ranch they are learning to be gentle yet assertive when needed, embody the confidence and vision of a leader but ask for help when they are struggling. They also learn how to build trust, and pour their hearts and woes out to the horses.

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And we’ll be welcoming back the Pathways to Hope kids from Help Now of Osceola County in September. Plus, we are delighted to have the opportunity to offer a Horseplay for Leaders program with The Transition House leadership in October.  Want to bring a group out for a program? Book now before we fill up our fall programming slots.  


Are you someone who is looking to make a difference in the lives of others and are inspired by the work we do at the ranch? We are looking for board members, sponsors, volunteers, and donors! We are also looking for someone with experience in nonprofit fundraising, so we would truly appreciate any referrals for potential candidates. And if you know of an organization looking for some novel, fun, effective leadership training for their executives or staff, we would be very happy to talk with them. Our nonprofit depends on word of mouth for all of these functions, so please do give a moment or two of thought to who you might know that could be interested in our mission and programs.  We are now booking events and programs for the late summer, fall, and even winter months. 


If you haven’t been the ranch in the last couple of years, please do reach out and we’ll get a tour on the calendar. Now that kids are out of school, bring them with you for the tour! The horses would be happy to meet you and have you give them a treat!


How can you help?

Everyone has a talent or resource that is valuable. It could be time, money, contacts, or a love of horses. Every little bit helps, and your support can make a big difference in our mission. Here are some easy ways to help:


  • Write a Review: Have you taken a program or been to an event at the ranch? Leave us a review on Google or Facebook! It will help our credibility tremendously.

  • Volunteer: Your time and skills to help with our horses, facility, or programs. Or are you interested in serving as a board member for our nonprofit? We are still looking!

  • Donations: You can make a one-time donation, set up a recurring donation, or donate in-kind gifts, such as treats or equipment that can assist us with our programs and serving our clients. You can donate here!

  • Advocate: Spread the word about First Nature and share our mission to equip our community with leadership skills for the 21st century. 

  • Sponsor a veteran: It takes $500 to sponsor just one veteran for their 6-week Horse Wisdom for Heroes program. We currently serve about two dozen veterans a year, hopefully more! Consider donating and sponsoring a veteran.


Simply reply to this email to get started with one of these items today!


Happy Summer!

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.” 

A big thank you to our sponsors! (1640 × 800 px) (1640 × 924 px).png
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