Morning Sun Over the Big Pond, April 2016

"Clearly, we are a very complex species, and we live in an amazingly beautiful, magnificent, and complex world that constantly challenges us on many different levels. We are also a very talented and compassionate species; many people do not feel comfortable with what humans have and are doing to the planet and about what this says about who we are. Yet I also feel we often make things more complex than they need to be. On the one hand, I know that the messes we've made are not at all simple: We struggle to understand what's happening and why, much less with how to fix the damage. On the other hand, I think if everyone made some simple changes to their lives, the world would soon become a more compassionate place for all beings and landscapes. At root, it's about adopting the attitude that you can never be too kind or too generous or too compassionate, for these attitudes are our most powerful tools for connecting with other and with our world...Another vital attitude is to believe you can always do more. If we constantly challenge ourselves to do better within the context of our own lives, these good acts will radiate outward and transform our world."
-- Mark Bekoff
   Rewilding our Hearts.
Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence

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.
Getting to Know and Celebrate Earth

First United Methodist Church of Perkins Cosmic Walk during Lent.
Pat led this retreat at St. Francis of the Woods.
Family Nature Walk at Meinders Garden,
Myriad Gardens, Oklahoma City.
Children show the treasures they found on the floor of Meinders Garden. 
Heads in the clouds of tree blossoms!

Friends on a day retreat meet the alpaca.   
Family on a day retreat meet the alpaca...
explore the creek... a dam...
...look closely at life in the creek. 
Brothers and sisters walking in the country.
Eco-Spirituality Retreat with Mosaic United Methodist Church, Oklahoma City 
Looking closely at nature...

...seeing themselves mirrored in nature... part of nature.
Getting to know, listening to, the land...
Preparing a local foods lunch.
Engaging in seventh generation dialogue.
During silence... Shepherds' Retreat.
New front yard gardens at Turtle Rock Farm site in the CommonWealth Urban Farm include a native perennial pollinator garden...
...and a vegetable garden. Great thanks to the community for the plantings, for the farming!
Green Connections Earth Day Festival 2016. 
Learning about bees and other pollinators.
Solar cooking.  
Making seed balls.

Spinning alpaca wool...   
...and learning about fiber arts.

Thanking-the-Earth ceremony... 
...and sweet music!

Contra dancing... 
...bison dogs, corn on the cob, and solar oven beans!

The Human Community Network's Spring Symposium: The Oklahoma Project.
Creating the State We Want to Live In.  
World Cafe discussions.

Creating systems change. 
Identifying next steps.

Pat led United Methodist Women's Children's Climate Justice study... Mission u in St. Louis. 

Getting to Know,
Learning to Help Life Flourish,

On the farm, in the city, at places
in between and beyond,
this has been a fruitful season
getting to know,
learning to help life flourish
and celebrating

During Lent, we spent time with the good people of First United Methodist Church of Perkins at St. Francis of the Woods Retreat Center sharing the experience of the Cosmic Walk and how understanding the creation of the universe with a wider view affects our understanding of how life came to be and how we are to live. During spring break, we spent a morning with families in Oklahoma City exploring closely the awakening of life in the Meinders Garden at Myriad Gardens. What a delight, the moment we discovered squiggly new life under rocks in the stream.

A family from Perry spent the day at the farm exploring the creek, building tiny dams and, with jeweler's loupes in hand, investigating life there. When we showed them the buffalo wallow, they laid down in it and wallowed! What a delight to be with children (and their nature-loving mother) who are thrilled to be in and a part of the natural world, eager to learn how to live sustainably.

In Oklahoma City, members of a new, merged church--Mosaic United Methodist Church--came together for an eco-spirituality retreat. In their process of discerning a vision for their future together, they spent an evening and a day exploring carefully the campus they own, attentively listening to the land there and carefully listening to each other around their insights for how church can be good for this good Earth.

At the Human Community Network's Spring Symposium--"The Oklahoma Project. Creating the State We Want to Live In"--the leadership team led participants through a process of deep listening and conversation as well as facilitated work groups to address issues and systemic changes. To read a summary poem describing "The Oklahoma We Want to Live In," go to the HCN fb page.

It was a happy occasion for Pat to be in St. Louis most recently, at the United Methodist Women's Mission u. There, she worked with 11 women who will be using the curriculum she wrote for the UMW to teach children about climate justice. "God's Extravagant Garden" is a book that lays out four two-hour sessions of experiential practices to help children learn to love nature, learn how to notice in the natural world and how they can help do things that help all on the planet flourish. The curriculum will be used in Mission u schools around the country this summer. Pat will lead children's studies in Oklahoma and Arkansas. the book is also a helpful resource for Vacation Bible School, other teachers, parents and grandparents. If you want Pat to come facilitate using that material, please email her at To order the curriculum, go to the United Methodist Women website.

When it comes time each year to celebrate Earth, the Green Connections' Earth Day Festival at Turtle Rock Farm is a great day on the prairie learning, being together and having a good time. We thank those who set up educational exhibits and provided music this year: Smart Pots, Lisa Piccolo and her fiber arts, Transition OKC, Cimarron Sierra Club, Central Oklahoma Beekeeper's Association, Oklahoma City Urban Ag Coalition, Bruce Johnson and Barbara Hagan with the solar ovens, Matt Hill and his friends playing music, Louise Siddons calling the contra dance. Thanks also to our board members helping out this year: Josh Buss, Bruce and Barbara, Marcy Roberts, Dorothy Gray. Too, a big thanks to the youth group from St. Stephen's United Methodist Church of Broken Arrow, who came Friday night to help us set up and stayed for Saturday evening's clean up!

Happily, Turtle Rock Farm's city site, in the CommonWealth Urban Farm in Oklahoma City, is becoming part of the urban farm. A potato patch in the side yard is blossoming, an inviting native pollinator perennial garden is shaping up on half the front yard and on the other half, a vegetable garden of Shishito peppers, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers. Soon also, okra and Sunflowers! So glad to see the bermuda grass go and help provide local, organic food for city dwellers.

Coming Up...

Jane Taylor's Hearts on the Line Poetry Retreat, Saturday May 21 at Turtle Rock Farm.
Please Note: Deadline to register is Monday, May 16. (See details below.) 
A day with Jane Taylor paying attention to the inner and outer concerns and letting emerge what's waiting to emerge is a great treat and joy. We look forward to next Saturday!

And a new retreat, facilitated by Mark Davies and Pat Hoerth
at St. Francis of the Woods Retreat Center, Coyle, OK., June 16-18:
Taking Nature Personally. Human Flourishing in Ecological Community

Mark and Pat have worked together on several projects concerning the ecological community and now will co-lead a retreat that gives participants the opportunity to focus on what it means to take nature personally, what human flourishing looks like, what flourishing of human and Earth entail, and what needs to change within our selves and our society and how we relate within the ecological community. This retreat is experiential, spiritual and informative. See more information  and the link to register below.

Green Connections Prairie Dinner and Concert is October 1.
And, we are happy to announce, this year the band Horseshoe Road will join Kyle Dillingham in concert!  As always, Chef Kam and Barb of Kam's Kookery will provide a 5-course local foods dinner alongside Doe Creek and there will be Woods & Waters Wine. It's not too early to reserve your place at the table:

Ann and I (Pat) are grateful for the work we get to do, growing food, caring for bees, leading retreats that help people connect with Earth and learn to live as part of the natural world in ways that all life can thrive. We hope to see you soon, at the farm, in the city, places in between and beyond! 

Beauty, Peace, Wonder, 
Ann and Pat


Workshops and

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:

Taking Nature Personally: Human Flourishing 
in Ecological Community
A Retreat
at St. Francis of the Woods Retreat Center,
Coyle, OK

6:30 p.m. June 16 to 4:30 p.m. June 18

A retreat that will explore how we as persons in community might live into an economy that respects our ecology, a civic life that fosters participation of all people and a culture that rekindles the human spirit within a Beloved Community. How can we cultivate flourishing within our human and ecological communities through person actions, local engagement and as part of a global movement for a more just, peaceful and sustainable world?
Incorporated into this retreat are spiritual practices of meditation and mindfulness, experiential learning practices and time for connecting with the beauty of nature on the beautiful Cross-Timber campus of St. Francis of the Woods. Retreat facilitators are Mark Davies and Pat Hoerth.

Mark Davies is the Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and Director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University. Mark has published in the areas of Boston personalism, process philosophy and ethics, and ecological ethics. Dr. Davies serves on the United Methodist University Senate. He and his wife Kristin live in Edmond, OK, and they have two daughters.
His love of nature was cultivated in childhood hikes in the Wichita Mountains near his Lawton, OK, home and summer visits to the Olympic mountains where grandparents lived in retirement.

Pat Hoerth is co-founder and co-director of Turtle Rock Farm: A Center for Sustainability, Spirituality and Healing in north central Oklahoma and a member of the CommonWealth Urban Farm community near the Paseo Arts District in Oklahoma City. A United Methodist Deaconess, she is co-chair of the Oklahoma United Methodist Environmental Coalition and has served on the leadership team of the National Association of Deaconesses and Home Missioners. She teaches in the United Methodist Women's Mission u and authored the 2016 Children's Study on Climate Justice: God's Extravagant Garden.
Her love of nature was cultivated in childhood on her family farm, on the Oklahoma prairie, which is now called Turtle Rock Farm.

To Register, click on the Turtle Rock Farm Website Calendar

The Human Community Network
Oklahoma Project Gathering
June 25

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.

Shepherds' Retreat
June 27-28

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    

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, 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:

Connect to Our Blog
Stay Connected

5900 CR 90, Red Rock, OK 74651 580.725.3411

Turtle Rock Farm | 5900 CR 90 | Red Rock | OK | 74651