Last month we lost an inspiring hero and a true friend of the Nova Institute, Tom Stoner. Tom put his heart, energy, and visionary mind into work that has brought solace, hope, renewal, and flourishing to so many — and will continue to do so. We created the award-winning Green Road in partnership with Tom and Kitty Stoner and their organization, the TKF Foundation, which would later become Nature Sacred (and continue their terrific work under Alden Stoner’s leadership).
When Nova Scholar Fred Foote brought us his idea to create a wild healing garden at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he assured us we’d be successful in applying for support from TKF. But embarking on this ambitious project was quite a leap of faith in the early days of our organization.
We loved the vision and felt it was just the sort of big statement to make about how important nature is to promote healing and flourishing. Still, we felt some trepidation, in part because building the Green Road would require a binding proffer with the U.S. Navy, something we knew nothing about! But we jumped in feet first and were indeed fortunate to receive a TKF grant — but most of all, we were lucky to meet Tom and Kitty, who helped us realize this was a project that had to be done.
Tom perfectly understood the need to find places for a person to be alone with themselves and with the greater forces that make our planet such a beautiful place to inhabit, even as we face trauma and challenges.
He never failed to leave us feeling uplifted, with an ever-present twinkle in his eye and an engaging, impish smile. Tom was innovative, focused, and thoughtful, and a great listener — yet never forgot how to have fun. All of this comes through in the Green Road, which recognizes the value of family, friends, and community in its different areas for gathering and for nurturing inner peace by communing with nature on its benches, paths, and in its journals.
Tom’s spirit will live on in the Green Road and all the Nature Sacred spaces, where his light will be felt by those who come to heal. We will miss Tom as a friend and fellow dreamer. He will always have a very special place in our hearts.
— Brian and Sue Berman, November 13, 2023