Coyote in the Pasture, Mid-day. Turtle Rock Farm, February 2016

"Imagine the loss of wonder and excitement, the growing fear and sorrow as the continuity between human beings and the others tatters. Some of the threatened ones will survive in captive breeding programs, and for this stark generosity, one must give thanks. But the world we leave to the future will be brutally impoverished. Earth's gorgeous palette is fading, and there is no ark for our fellow creatures but us.
"My intention is to live by the doctrine of grief, to savor sadness as its own dark memo of instruction from the moral imagination. 'Up again, old heart--it seems to say--there is victory yet for all justice,' as Emerson once urged. Feast your spirit on the beauty that remains."

-- Alison Hawthorne Deming
   Moral Ground. Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril  

2016 - Making the Connections
Taking time to connect with our natural home, be in awe and inspired to have the courage to live sustainably, so that all can thrive.

What's this with Spring?! 
Way-Early Springings
at Turtle Rock Farm Retreat Center
and CommonWealth Urban Farm

OKC Thunder basketball player Kyle Singler donates $10,000 to CommonWealth Urban Farms to support urban farming.
The CommonWealth community gladly receives Kyle's support.
CommonWealth surprised Kyle with a basket of garden goodies. 
Allen Parleir and Lia Woods, co-founders of CommonWealth Urban Farm.
The Human Community Network monthly gathering...individuals and groups working together  
to create just and sustainable systemic change in Oklahoma.

The Deaconess, Home Missioner Service Committee made retreat at Turtle Rock Farm.   
Theirs was a combination of working sessions...
...meditations in nature...
...hanging out on the farm.
Shepherds during their retreat at Turtle Rock Farm.
Mosaic UMC ecospirituality small group during their weekly gathering at Turtle-Rock-Farm-in-Town.
Beverly Evans led the Earth Mandala Retreat:
 time in nature...

...connecting inner and outer landscapes...
...creating mandalas.
It was a fun, and inspired, day together!  
 Participants during Mindfulness Retreat enjoyed eating lunch--mindfully--on the patio during a warm February day.
First Saturday in March at CommonWealth Urban Farm... 
...volunteers composting...
...learning about mixed cover crop.

Spring Comes Early!  

Winter was mild, and short. Spring has come, with some blossoming a month ahead of "normal." The "normal" frost date is still five weeks away, so we're holding our breath that a cold snap doesn't take the fruit. We are feeling the Earth's warming. While early spring feels wonderful and looks lovely, there is the awareness among many we speak with that another mild winter and this way-early spring is a sign of global warming and, indeed, climate change. We greet spring with a mix of joy and sadness. Our work presses us and we are glad to hear Emerson's words, as in the quote above: "Up again, old heart!--it seems to say--there is victory yet for all justice."

Work in country and city have been exciting this winter.
At CommonWealth Urban Farm in Oklahoma City, Thunder basketball player Kyle Singler gave the farm community a warm and encouraging (and helpful) sign of support for growing food with his $10,000 donation. Watch the CommonWealth website for the hoop house workshop later this month. The hoop house will allow for year-round growing of lettuces. Lia, Sara and volunteers have grown lettuce, greens and root vegetables all winter and sold to local restaurants, where customers have enjoyed locally grown, organic, nutritious, delicious food (carrots grown in CommonWealth's composted soil are the best in the world!) The hoop house will expand the garden's productivity, keeping tender plants warmer on some of those chilly winter days. Kyle is from Portland, Oregon, where friends are urban farmers and he told the CommonWealth community that he wanted his contribution to the community to support urban farming. His gift and presence have been delightful.
At Turtle Rock Farm Retreat Center we have welcomed friends and guests for retreats and visits. No worries this year about ice and snow. We have been lunching on the patio! We welcomed the United Methodist Church's Deaconess, Home Missioner Service Committee, with participants from several cities on the East Coast. It was wonderful for Pat, who is a UM Deaconess, to welcome dear friends, who spent several days at TRF as they worked and got to know her ministry better. Each day of their visit, some of their time was spent outdoors, exploring and meditating in nature. Some were also able to tour CommonWealth Urban Farm.
The "Shepherds" came on their quarterly retreat; the Mindfulness Retreat day was especially fruitful and the newest retreat-Earth Mandala, led by Beverly Evans-was a very happy and meaningful day. Every time, and in so many ways, we are made aware of the profound need for humanity to connect to their roots: the natural world of which they are a part.
Away from the farm, Pat has been preaching, participating in the public education presentations about climate change that are sponsored by the Oklahoma United Methodist Environmental Coalition and in The Human Community Network's work to bring individuals and groups together to figure out how to make just and sustainable systemic change in Oklahoma. If you want to know more about these programs, or how to bring them to your community, please feel free to email her at or call her at 580.917.6011.

Coming Up...

Work in country and city continue this spring.
Ann is tending bees, managing pecan and walnut grove, putting in the vegetable garden (and welcoming her fifth grandchild!)
Pat will be in both city, country and beyond. See the calendar of retreats and presentations below.

And once again we are looking forward to Green Connections' Sixth Annual Earth Day Festival at Turtle Rock Farm. It is a wonderful day to be together outdoors celebrating life on earth-and learning, experiencing how it all works together. Too, there will be food, music and dancing! We hope you join us, bring family, friends, communities! Let us know you're coming so we will have plenty of food at the grill. Email us:; Details are below and will be updated periodically on our website:

We hope to see you soon!
Beauty, Peace, Wonder, 
Ann and Pat


Workshops and

The Human Community Network
Oklahoma Project Gathering
March 12
May 14

Symposium: April 8-9

Recognizing that everything is interconnected and that one social justice issue affects other social justice issues, The
Human Community Network is a network of individuals and groups across Oklahoma working together to bring a more just and sustainable life through changes in our social processes. Daunting, yes. Do-able, yes, as we work together--educators, environmentalists, activists, civic leaders, legislators, faith leaders...

In a series of monthly gatherings and occasional two-day symposia in 2016, Oklahomans will meet to work with issues around economic equality, worker equity, human resources, ecological innovations, developing leaders, engaging citizenry, enriching public education, recovering missional focus in faith communities, social and ecological grounding of academic curriculum.

Gatherings are held 1 to 4 p.m., Room 151 Walker Center on the campus of Oklahoma City University.

To learn more:
On Facebook: The Human Community Network If you "like" the fb page, you will receive notices of the monthly gatherings.
On Tumblr: The Human Community Network Foundational documents and other resource material.
On Twitter: The Human Community Network

You may also email Pat Hoerth: or message her on Facebook. 

Family Nature Walk
at Myriad Gardens, Oklahoma City

March 19
Pat Hoerth will lead this adventure at Myriad Gardens' Meinders Garden Terrace.
We'll learn how to use all our senses, gather a nature collection together and build tiny houses with collected items.  Parents will also get tips on engaging their child with nature for their future adventures!
10-11:30 a.m. Best for children ages 5-9. Meet in the Garden Room.
To register, click here. Deadline is March 15.  

Contemplation in Nature Retreat
at Turtle Rock Farm
April 2
This workshop will be held outside and give participants the opportunity to connect deeply in the natural world and spend contemplative time with nature. Spiritual practices may include a contemplative walk, lectio divina with nature, walking the prairie labyrinth, meditation on the story of creation, developing the practice of a Sit Spot, contemplation with animals...

9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fee includes lunch. 

To register, click here.    

Shepherds' Retreat
April 11-12

A 24-hour retreat for United Methodist clergy and lay leaders. Following the Spiritual Academy model of morning, evening prayer and eucharist and silence, reflecting on readings and small group sharing, the retreat is a time for spiritual renewal for church leaders. This retreat is held four times a year. For more information or to register, email Rev. Susan Ross at or Pat Hoerth at    

11 A.M. TO 4 P.M. 



Alpaca wool Spinning and Felting with Lisa Piccolo
Solar Demonstration with Bruce Johnson 
Bison Hot Dogs and Corn on the Cob 
Making Seed Bombs with Transition OKC 
Cosmic Walk 
Thanking the Earth Ceremony 
Tour of Straw Bale Hermitage 
Tour of High Tunnel Garden 
Walk the Prairie Labyrinth 
Meet the Alpaca and Goats 
Traditional live music by Matthew Hill & Friends 
Contra Dance, called by Louise Siddons

Green Connections' Earth Day celebration  
is an educational event that is free
and open to the public.
Let us know you're coming, so we have a buffalo dog 
at the grill for you! 
To get to the Earth Day celebration... 
Interstate 35  to exit # 203 (Billings/Marland/Hwy 15) 
Turn right on Highway 15 and travel to second gravel road, CR 90. 
Green street sign on left. (It's leaning.) Turn right. 
Travel 1.25 miles. It's on the right. Parking is to the south of houses and barns.
 580.725.3411         580.917.6011

Hearts on the Line
Poetry Retreat with Jane Taylor
21 May

Hearts on the Line: a writing/listening workshop.
Let the natural line of poetry or prose reveal
your current concerns or long held passions.
Write the lines you need to write.
Please join us!
Let the laundry and cooking wait. We
will cook for you. The Farm will refresh
your inner outfit. Sustain yourself.
Hang out.   Be easy.    Be loved.
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. $75 fee includes lunch.

Workshop leader Jane Vincent Taylor earned her Master's in Creative Writing from University of Central Oklahoma, a Master of Library Science and a BA in Women's Studies from O.U. She lives in Oklahoma City. She is a Virginia Center for Creative Arts Fellow. Journal publications include Red Cedar Review, Nimrod, Whetstone, Enigmatist, Red Plains Review, Calyx, Flyway, Third Wednesday, Rhino, and many others. Jane also teaches writing at Ghost Ranch, Abique, NM. Recent publications and activities are posted at

To register, go to the calendar page on our website:

Where in the World are We
on Changes in Weather, Climate?

A Public Education Program
Available for your group, class, organization


While the very words "climate change" may elicit a charged response-fear, disbelief, denial, passion-the reality that we see changes in nature all around us and all around the world, raise some personal questions that we often are afraid to talk about, that cause us to be overwhelmed about what we alone can do, or even paralyzed by fear about what is happening to the planet.


This presentation, developed by a team with the Oklahoma United Methodist Environmental Coalition, is a user-friendly, interactive approach to facing, expressing and acting on our love for our planet home, our concern for the changes happening and our desire to do something to help. An interfaith, ecumenical or secular program, it is available for civic groups, clubs, youth and college groups, churches, synagogues, mosques, families. If you are ready to talk about what to do to care with the planet, personally or as a community, we're available to facilitate a process that will help you do that-in an hour program, or longer. There is hope!  


To find out more and schedule a presentation, contact:
Pat Hoerth, Turtle Rock Farm. or 580.917.6011

Nathaniel Batchelder, Oklahoma Peace House. 405.524.5577   



To Learn More about Turtle Rock Farm


Kate, Tripp, Craig Kupiec, Ginny Poindexter,
Rob Smith, Barry Denney (not pictured) helped
bring in, extract and bottle the 2015 Honey Harvest! 

If you, your group or family is interested in helping out or providing a service learning project at Turtle Rock Farm, let us know. It takes a village!

Scholarships, provided by the Oklahoma Disciples of Christ Foundation, are available for youth to experience nature at Turtle Rock Farm. Give us a call to schedule your children's group. 
Call -- 580.725.3411, 580.917.6011
Or email:
Comments from our wonderful guests...

"The retreat at Turtle Rock was very peaceful and sacred. This retreat helped me to refuel and to center myself. The atmosphere is conducive to learning--gentle knowledge--very inclusive. Thank you." -- M.R.

"So happy to be the first resident of the new year. What a treat for me! I am praying that this retreat with our Young Adults is just the first of many visits to Turtle Rock. I'm so happy to know you're here and not far away. We are kindred spirits and I look forward to much celebration!!" -- Bill Crowell, Tulsa, Boston Avenue UMC

"This is our fourth stay at the hermitage and visit with you. Each time has been a time of renewal. This short visit is no exception. Our conversation, the simplicity of the hermitage, and the stark beauty of the farm and rolling hills blend together to help bring the peacefulness we need." -- Bill and Jeanne Finely, Silver Spring, Md. and Blacksburg, Va.

"This hermitage is a gracious space-as is the whole farm. I leave grateful for everything-deer and wasps, damp 'possum and faithful dog; greedy goats and trumpeting guineas; laid-back alpacas and boisterous roosters. Sun, then storms; mild breezes and sleet. Happy fishing and beautiful lettuce and greens. Surprise wine and a week's worth of soup.
"This place is much like home without the distractions and anxieties. I take from here the resolve to make home more like this week. Thank you Ann and Pat for providing this space, this beauty, this time of rest. May it continue to bless more and more people as you continue your Great Work of caring for Earth and all her inhabitants." -- Jane Balenger, OP, Heartland Farm, Pawnee Rock, KS

"'O God What a Morning' Deer grazing in the north field, a hawk soaring in the west, no doubt looking for breakfast, a full moon setting in a clear sky, and then a bit later-sunrise. What a show. Thanks God." -- Mary Lou B.

"What a wonderful weekend. I needed to get away from the big city life to think, pray, read, meditate. I found the right place for it. This place is good for my soul. I will most certainly return here. Warm blessings." -- Garrick Voth, Oklahoma City

"Strawbale Hermitage must have been a long time dream which called for much hard work as it came to life. Thank you for your great effort. It is a most peace-filled, comfortable and charming place. I am grateful for these three days surrounded by the sounds of nature and covered over by a dome of blue with lazy clouds. God has blessed me here. May God bless you also. Thank you." -- Susan D.

"We enjoyed the pond and watching the stars and I liked catching grasshoppers, kayaking, listening to the sounds of nature." Mason, Maranda, Bryce and Sherri 
"Thank you. I have had a balancing and purifying experience; hoping to take some of it back with me. As Persing said-the zen you find on the mountaintop is the same zen down below. I appreciate the opportunity to live in this special place for awhile." -- J. 

"Thank you so much or making me feel like family during my 2-week WWOOFing stay! I'm so glad I got to know you and learn from all the great projects y'all have going. I've met some incredible people and activists while here, which is a huge inspiration." -- Hannah

"Quiet, restful, beautiful sunset...I could go on and on. thank you for sharing this wonderful retreat with us! The beekeeping seminar was fun and educational too. Wish we could have stayed longer. Good friends, good food, good fellowship-what more could one ask for? Can't wait to come back!" -- Nancy and Steve

"Awoke to a thin covering of snow and brisk cold north wind-the changing of the seasons. Thank you. Thank you for this place of respite, renewal, encouragement!." -M.L.B.

"First glimmers of light
The hoot of an owl
The words of my teacher
This house made of earth
Many things made by loving hands
I am encouraged
To put my hands to work
And to know the work as good,
As enough for today.
Small steps are still steps.

Hearing the owl in this moment-
Is a step, a connection.
Morning arrives and I am awake
The farm offers its gift
And I am here
To receive it
With a grateful hear." - Pat W.

"Thank you for this in-between time, time to sink into solitude -- accentuated by the drumbeats/heartbeats of our friends from the north who are here to practice saying no to violating the earth. I will leave with their music, and the soul-full music of this place, in my spirit..." Susan

"I like feeding the alpaca and playing in the sand." -- Cohen, age 6

"Thank you very much for showing us the farm and taking us on a hike. I really appreciate it." -- Eden, age 9

"This was a great place to stay. I'd give it a 10 out of 10. I learned a lot while having fun. Best Mor-Mor Camp ever!" -- Colton, age 11

"Thank you for giving us your time and energy. You have made an investment in us! We certainly did "praise God under the open skies" in the labyrinth, the fields, the creeks, in our unstructured play and with each other. Hallelujah!" -- Gala, age 67 (aka "Moder")

"Thank you for this in-between time, time to sink into grieving and solitude-accented by the drum beats/heart beats of our friends from the north who are here to practice saying no to violating the earth. I will leave with their music, and the soul-full music of this place, in my spirit..." -- Susan


in support of

GC logo

Green Connections' Earth Day Festival 2013
Green Connections is a 501c3 Not-for-Profit corporation committed to helping people connect with Earth and learn to live more sustainably. We welcome the opportunity to bring their programming to Turtle Rock Farm.  



You may send tax deductible donations to Green Connections, 5900 CR 90, Red Rock, OK 74651. Or you can donate on the Green Connections website. Or, go to our website - - and click on Green Connections, and use Paypal to send your donation.  

Meet our board members

Green Connections: Vicki Rose (treasurer), Elizabeth Box Price, Dorothy Gray, Tom Temple, Pat Hoerth, Ann Denney, Mary Moloney, Marcy Roberts, Josh Bush, Adam Price. 


Turtle Rock Farm Advisory Council: Barbara Hagan, Bruce Johnson, Corey Williams  



Transition OKC is a program of Green Connections. Find out more about its work on its website:

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5900 CR 90, Red Rock, OK 74651 580.725.3411