First Nature Notes
Check out all our latest updates.
Dear Friends of First Nature Foundation,
Thank you for your continued support of our nonprofit. Although the Delta variant of COVID-19 has postponed a number of programs and events, we are moving forward with several of them (more below).
Since our July newsletter, the weather has still been rainy, especially recently, making the back areas of the ranch quite muddy, and also lush with the growth that the rain, the heat, and the light of summer (as well as our fertilizing back in June and July) generated. It’s been a little bit of a struggle to keep it all well-maintained, but we are managing.
While the first phases of the build-out of the ranch are complete, we are still making improvements here and there. One tiny but fun improvement is our Worry Box, a birdhouse at the front gate that encourages visitors to leave their worries behind as they enter the ranch. We are also in conversation with our builder to add more shelters in our pastures.
Need a little peace, quiet, and reconnection…or just some horsey love? We have started offering Serenity Sessions…with a Horse! It’s an hour of supervised feeding, grooming, and petting. And it includes a tour of the ranch if desired. It makes a great gift for a horse lover, especially one who hasn’t been around horses much recently. Learn more here.
Several ongoing programs have continued and one new program has started since our last newsletter. Our Friday, September 10 Horseplay for Leaders introductory program, designed for newer leaders, was revised for the executive team at Career Source Central Florida.
In this half-day program, we partner with the horses to teach about leadership and how to overcome barriers to good communication. It was well-received and we are talking with this organization about additional programming for their managers. We have continued work on the design for additional advanced modules of the program that focus on diving deeper, with topics such as emotional intelligence, conflict management, resilience, and more. Our new date for the Horseplay for Leaders program is Friday, October 22nd. More about the program can be found here.
On August 30 we began our Yoga At The Ranch course: 6 weeks of yoga for beginners, with a really good turnout. We are 3+ weeks into the program and will soon consider whether to add another round of classes starting in October. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send you info when it’s ready.
Our PASOS (Parents and Spouses of Suicide) Grief Support Group continues to be scheduled as a virtual meeting for the first and third Wednesday of each month via Zoom and the participants tell us that it is the best grief support group they have found for their needs. If you know someone who has been struggling as a parent or spouse of someone who took their own life, please pass along this information to them.
We will soon be meeting with a veteran’s group to talk about offering a program for their vets, and we have a collaborator who has experience working with this particular audience.
Unfortunately, we felt compelled to postpone our Grand Opening due to the pandemic. We’ll reschedule once case numbers come down substantially. It’s an invitation-only event so let me know if you’d like to be included on the list.
It’s been a very hot and humid summer, and we remain grateful that all of our horses are doing well. Buster came to us with some fairly severe skin allergy issues and we’ve tried many different ointments, baths, lotions, and medications, most of which worked fairly well for a while but didn’t entirely “cure” him of the allergy. Over the last couple of months, due mostly to the weather, poor Buster has gotten a bit worse again and scratched himself raw, so we have reworked our pasture regimen and are continuing to try new treatments to minimize his discomfort (and damage to our gates and fences from this scratching himself on them!) We continue to play with all our horses to deepen trust, manners, and partnership. Even giving a horse a bath is a way to develop trust, especially with a horse who does not trust a hose.
Please think about any folks you know who are “experts” and consult with or coach or provide services to specific audiences (for example, veterans or autistic folks or executives or newer leaders) who might be excited to bring enhanced leadership skill-building opportunities with horses and nature to their clients. Our model is to collaborate on designing and delivering programs for these experts’ particular audiences.
If you haven’t already, please consider coming to see what the facility has to offer, in case there is any collaboration potential. Or maybe you know any groups or experts who might want to run a program or two or hold an event there, especially now that we are starting to actually schedule them. We are willing to consider hosting events at the ranch, as long as there is alignment with our mission. I’d be happy to give you a private, individual, socially distanced tour. Please contact me at email@example.com or instant message me on Facebook to set up a time.
Take care and stay healthy!
Kerul and crew