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September 2023
First Nature Notes: Losing a Friend & Board Member

In Memoriam: Board Member Patty J. Foley


Dear Friends of First Nature Foundation,


We lost one of our own this past week. Our long-time board member, Patty J. Foley, passed away after a 5-year battle with mucosal melanoma cancer. Her courage, vulnerability, and fortitude has been an inspiration to all of her family and friends. Patty was an original member of the FNF board, and was always so supportive and giving of her time, knowledge and resources. We met in 2001 shortly after 9/11 when we both attended the national conference of NAWBO, the National Association of Women Business Owners. We formed our own little Mastermind Group and talked monthly for many years to help each other with our long and short-term goals…until the cancer and the treatment for it made it too difficult for her to continue doing so on a regular basis.


From the start, I could see that Patty was a community-minded giver of her time, knowledge, wisdom, and experience. Her career was as a certified public accountant, and she used her professional acumen and experience to help nudge a number of organizations toward success. For many years she was very active in the Newington, CT Friends of the Library, as well as a regional lace-making group. More recently, she was on Newington’s sustainability committee and volunteered with the town’s local cable channel, too. Patty was always one of the 20% doing 80% of the work. She expressed gratitude for life’s blessings (“Life is good” she would frequently say), and always injected her own brand of sly humor into any situation that she felt could use it. Patty is already sorely missed by many, and we expect she is helping organize the goings on at Heaven’s Gate. She didn’t want a service or flowers, but she did make a list of nonprofits that people could donate to in her memory, which included First Nature Foundation.

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Fundraising for a Good Cause

Reserve your seat before they’re all gone! Enjoy fine wines, mouth-watering charcuterie, and delectable desserts at our upcoming wine-tasting fundraiser on Friday, October 20. In addition to the in-barn festivities, come a little early and get your photo taken with one of our horses! We believe strongly in this event because first, it’s fun to host, and second, it supports some incredible programs! All proceeds from the suggested donations and silent auction will go towards continuing our programs that we hold at no cost to participants, like PASOS, Horse Wisdom for Heroes and Horse Sense for Teens. Register for your tickets here!  


As I compose this newsletter it is the day before the Autumnal Equinox, when day and night will be approximately equal in length, before the days proceed to their shortest in December. And, while it doesn’t look any different from Summer, we are finally feeling some relief with the temperatures and the humidity here. The horses are feeling much more comfortable, and for that we are very thankful.


Remember those new walled sheds we had built earlier this year? They came in handy this summer to protect the horses not only from the terrible lightning and thunderstorms but also from the unrelenting sun. Thanks to those of you who have donated toward helping us improve our facility. The horses thank you, too!


On the other hand, it’s love bug season! Time for daily car washes! If you’re not familiar with love bug season, it happens twice a year in Central Florida: many thousands of these insects, most of which are male/female attached and mating couple, crowd roads and fields. They particularly love rural areas. And then they smash against windshields and front bumpers until they are a mass of black and red bodies with orange guts blocking visibility. Not pretty! And their innards will damage your car paint job unless you remove them within a couple of days. Fortunately, it only lasts a couple of weeks.


We’re in the midst of our next Horse Wisdom for Heroes cohort, and they are an amazing group of men. Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages for photos, videos, and info about these and our other programs, like Horse Sense for Teens, which we have been holding biweekly for Lotus Behavioral Health, and for the Pathways to Hope program organized by Help Now of Osceola County.



In a couple of weeks we will be welcoming the leadership at The Transition House at the ranch for a Horseplay for Leaders playshop. We have been serving their veterans through our Horseplay for Leaders program, and now we are excited to be serving their executives. They will be playing with our horses under our trained facilitation to improve their communication, emotional intelligence, conflict management, and team building skills.

Are you interested in a program or event at the ranch? We do have some days available this fall, so if you want to bring a group out for a program book now before we fill our fall schedule.


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:


  • 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 or a teen: It takes $500 to sponsor just one veteran for their 6-week Horse Wisdom for Heroes program, or $300 for a teen in the Horse Sense for Teens program. Consider donating and sponsoring a veteran or teen.

  • Fundraising: Have you helped a nonprofit with fundraising? If so, we’d love to speak with you!

  • Join Us: Come to our premier Fall fundraising event, the wine tasting to support our no-cost programs for veterans and teens!


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

Happy Fall!

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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