This year Regenerative Design Group is thrilled to be working with Pony Power, a non-profit organization giving special needs and at-risk children and adults a unique opportunity to ride, care for, and interact with horses. Our work with Pony Power is primarily focused on a campus master plan, and over the last six months we have made several trips to their horse farm in New Jersey to help integrate a new property into their farm and program center. The master plan has involved working with the staff, board of directors, and program participants to design a safer entrance to the farm, add productive gardens, a sensory riding trail, and comfortable viewing area to the site, and improve stormwater management features to protect the sandy soils on the farm. In addition to the site planning work, we’ve enjoyed learning about Pony Power’s diverse educational programming and holistic teaching approach. Education is a strong part of RDG’s mission and scope of services, and it is so rewarding to see our principles of regenerative design integrated into learning opportunities by our clients.
Below is an excerpt from a blog post about recent activities at the Pony Power summer camp that included implementing our suggestion for using home-made seed balls to reseed some steep woodland edges with native understory plants. The seed balls, or seed bombs, are mixtures of clay and compost that each contain a few native seeds. When they are tossed into the woodland edge and germinate after a rainfall, the seeds have quick access to a small amount of nutrients in the moisture-retaining soil in the ball, which will aid in their establishment. The established plants will help to protect the highly erodible sandy soils along the forested banks, as well as enhance the local pollinator habitat.
“Summer is officially here at Pony Power! Week one of Operation Pony Power was a great success with a host of different volunteers and excited riders joining us. With riding exercises each morning, followed by farm education and activities, our first week provided these stellar children of active duty military personnel and veterans with some real summer fun and support.
The week focused on tending to the environment. We learned about the restoration of native plants, and how to best live among all our critters—humans, horses, bees, and more. We planted pollinators around the new barn and made “seed bombs” to throw in our most environmentally compromised regions of the property.”
What a great way to engage the community in a process of ecological regeneration and stewardship.