Go To Fielding’s 50th Anniversary Site

By Kerul Kassel, President of First Nature Ranch/First Nature Foundation 

Every day is Earth Day at First Nature Ranch. The ranch is the facility where First Nature Foundation (FNF) programs take place. At FNF, we aim to foster what we call 21st Century leadership skills through our programming. That could be with veterans who have been struggling with PTSD, homelessness, substance abuse, and mental and behavior health issues through our Horse Wisdom for Heroes program. It could also look like women who have been working to overcome substance abuse issues in our Horses Healing Hearts program; disadvantaged kids in our Leading for Change for Teens program; or even corporate folks through our Horseplay for Leaders programs. Everyone is exposed to not only the development of leadership skills but also the amazing wisdom and sentience of horses and other of/in nature.  

But that’s just the start! Our practices support the earth at the ranch every day in a plethora of ways.  Our barn was built to save energy through using high r-value insulation, with high windows to let in light but minimize both solar heat gain and lighting needs. Our barn floors are net-zero emissions waterproof cork, and our roof is a sun-reflecting silver to reduce heat gain and energy use. We compost and reuse a lot of the manure that the horses produce to prevent wetland contamination and fertilize our gardens and filling-worn areas to prevent soil erosion. We keep our barn air conditioning at 83 degrees except when we are having an event there. We keep our water heater unplugged except when we need hot water.  

We also use best management practices to minimize our water use and we follow rotational grazing practices to maintain the health of our pastures. We do not use herbicide to keep our fence lines trimmed (and we have MILES of fenceline, literally!). Our flower and herb beds and gardens welcome pollinators and the only pesticide we use at the ranch is for fire ant mounds, and that is applied very judiciously and only when needed. We are a haven for wildlife, too, with visiting deer, turkeys, coyotes, birds of prey, Sherman’s Fox squirrels, raccoons, opossums, and many other creatures.    

These measures will help the ranch – and our environment – for years to come.  

How to Get Involved During the 50 Actions for Social/Ecological Justice Service Year 

Whenever you volunteer in your community this year, send us a paragraph at media@fielding.edu about your experience. Please include photos. Stories will be posted on our website, social media, and other communications channels. 


Examples of Service 

  • Activities such as cleanup days, neighborhood bird counts (such as Project Feeder Watch), invasive plant removal, and creating a natural lawn. 
  • Volunteering for any nonprofit organization. Examples could include homeless shelters, animal shelters, food banks, literacy volunteers, organizations that focus on specific illnesses, local environmental groups, and so on. 

About the Author: Fielding News

Stories about people, issues, research, and innovation across the Fielding global community as reported by the Fielding News Team.

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