First Nature Notes
Dear Friends of First Nature Foundation,
Happy Summer (unless you’re in the southern hemisphere)! Our Florida summer dog days are here, for sure, and that makes me so glad we now have our shade structures in all the pastures and paddocks so the horses can get out of the sun (and the thundershowers). We use a combination of rotational grazing with a track system at the ranch, as a best management practice to keep our pastures healthy. Each week the horses get moved from one paddock to the next within the same pasture, so the paddock they were on the previous week gets 2-3 weeks of rest before the horses are back on it. This way the grass has time to regrow and the manure we drag over it has time to compost and provide nutrients to the soil. Our shade shelters straddle two paddocks, so when we know that a storm is coming we open the access to the next paddock so they have more shelter structure to stand beneath.
At the ranch we endeavor to use the latest research for the most environmentally-friendly and horse-health-friendly practices. We also collect manure where it’s concentrated. The horses like certain spots along the fence lines, so we pick that manure up rather than drag it, and we age and re-use it to fill holes in the pastures. Another of our practices is not using Round-Up along our fence lines; instead we use a wheeled fence line trimmer and have someone move that along our miles and miles of fencing to keep our fences maintained and the property looking tidy. It’s more expensive but better for the environment and the horses.
Speaking of horse care and pasture care best practices, we have just hosted a 4H event on those very topics, where we were able to show some of these practices to the folks who attended the event. Earlier this month we hosted a private retreat for Tampa Learning Connections, and had our Wine Sampling Experience Fundraiser at the Ranch. These events were all very successful! You can see all available and upcoming events on our Events page.
We’ve had really beautiful a new video produced, and as a way of thanking your for having given us permission to send you these newsletters, we’re offering you a sneak peek before we advertise the video on social media and to the general public. Please feel free to reply to this email and let us know what you think of it! Thank you to Kristina Bozanich and Chris Brookens for their excellent work on the video.
We are scheduled to start with our next cohort of veterans in our Horse Wisdom for Heroes in early July. In addition, we’ve also scheduled an event for graduates of the first cohort during which we will have them bathe some of the horses and then take them for a walk down the trail to survey the fence lines. The veterans really look forward to their time at the ranch! In case you missed our last newsletter, in the first cohort we used an assessment called the Perceived Stress Scale to measure the participants’ stress levels at the start and at the end of our 6 session program. Preliminary data collection indicates that the veterans experienced an average stress reduction of 40% by the end of the program!
Please help us continue these programs for more vets by becoming monthly donors or sponsors. And yes, we continue to welcome new participants to our PASOS grief support group, a twice monthly virtual meeting which serves those who have lost a spouse or child to suicide. Might you consider becoming a monthly donor or a sponsor for this program?
We will be holding another special VIP event in September for our donors and sponsors, so you’ll be invited if you’ve donated or have signed up for sponsorship this year. We’re still working out the details of the event, and we will keep you posted.
More programs and events are on the horizon We hope you can see that we have been busy helping different audiences increase their self-leadership and their shared leadership skills through our various programs. Even a one-time donation, if you haven’t made one recently, will help us. Here’s a link to donate.
We are willing to host retreats and other events at the ranch as long as there is some alignment with our mission, so please do refer us to those you think would be interested, or reach out if you have an event you think you’d like us to host. Or, perhaps you know groups or experts who might want to run a program or two at the ranch now that we are scheduling them?
As always, I’d be happy to give you a private individual tour. Please contact me at email@example.com or click one of the following links to conveniently schedule a tour!
Take care and stay healthy!
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.”