Archive for Trees

October Classes; IYI Fall Fundraiser

Hi friends and family,

It may not feel like Fall yet, given the current heat and humidity in NYC, but at a visit to the Kripalu Yoga Center in the Berkshires, they had a festive Fall pumpkin display that reminded me how wonderful this season truly is. The leaves were just starting to turn to their bright orange, yellow and red hues.  The evening mountain air felt crisp, cool and clean while the days were warm enough to enjoy a morning walk and afternoon latte outside in the sun. Although NYC is usually a few weeks or so behind the Berkshires in terms of seasonal shifts, soon our city trees will  also be creating a kaleidoscope of colors for our viewing pleasure. Let’s allow the metamorphosis of the deciduous trees to inspire us as well; shedding what we no longer need in our lives and preparing for new growth and personal expansion.

Tree pose in yoga is one of the most grounding asanas; not only does it help us work on our balance, but it also helps us focus and still the mind as one cannot easily balance on one leg if the mind is scattered and not connected to what the body is doing in that moment.  Whether one is balancing on the yoga mat, or holding on to a chair or wall, envision the soles of your feet as if they were the roots of the tree reaching down towards the center of the Earth, your legs and torso as the strong, steady tree trunk, and your arms as the tree branches connecting to the sky above or laterally towards other trees in the forest. One nice, and challenging option, is to wave your arms and torso slightly from side to side emulating a tree swaying in the gentle breeze and further challenging our balance in the pose.  Perhaps next time you practice tree pose (vrikshasana), embody a beautiful Fall tree with its’ vibrant colors inspiring awe to those who view it.  Have fun with your experiment, and remember no judgments (employing the yogic concept of ahimsa in all our poses) – even if you come out of the pose sooner than you had planned! Yoga is all about practice and process, being in the moment and letting go of goals.

See below for this month’s class schedule.  Please note that I will be on vacation until mid-October, but hope to see you before or after my trip!  I will be attending the Integral Yoga Fall Fundraiser,and perhaps you will be there as well?  See below for the information on what will no doubt be a special evening supporting this historic NYC yoga center and ashram. IYI directors, Chandra and Swami Asokananda, are truly lovely people and dedicated yogis; you will have an opportunity to converse with them and your fellow students outside of yoga class, enjoy a delicious meal, and help support this yoga non-profit organization.

April Yoga Class Schedule; Sun Salutation Workshop; Chair Yoga; Super Blood Moon; Plastic Pollution Seminar;

Wishing you a very happy holiday weekend!  This weekend brings us Easter, Passover and a second “blue moon”.  A very auspicious time, it seems!  Here is an interesting article, with a beautiful photo slide show, describing this weekend’s phenomenon that also gives us a super blood moon and full lunar eclipse:  https://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/938509/Blue-moon-2018-spiritual-meaning-superstitions-astrology  Happy viewing!


Google Images

This April I have a number of workshops and classes I am offering; full descriptions are below. I hope to see you at one or more of these.  Also, I am seeking donations for my environmental community event I host in May that helps educate about the importance of our street trees, and provides tools and materials for New Yorkers to “adopt” and care for their own neighborhood tree! See below for more details.  Any donations would be most appreciated, as this is a matching opportunity, and is tax deductible!   https://www.ioby.org/project/love-your-street-tree-day-2018

SUN SALUTATION WORKSHOP: 
If you have struggled with all or part of the famous yoga sequence, the Sun Salutation, this workshop is for you!  Learn each position and transition in the flow with time to dissect it part by part and discover which modifications or versions work best for you.  This workshop involves discussion and practice and comes with a take home outline.  Bring a pen and your questions, and learn how to flow with ease the next time you salute the sun!


PLASTIC POLLUTION SEMINAR:
In honor of Earth Day 2018 and its’ focus on plastic pollution, I will be speaking at the Dorot Center for Seniors on Friday, April 27 on “How to Reduce Our Single-Use Plastic Consumption and Why It’s So Important”.  I will be joined by marine biologist Dr. Judith Weis; we are both steering committee members of the NY/NJ Plastic Free Waters Partnershiphttp://www.plasticfreewaters.org  Learn about the plastic pollution crisis currently facing our planet, how it impacts all of us, and what we can do to reduce our plastic footprint with easy to implement solutions.  It is estimated that at the current rate of plastic consumption, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050!

An impromptu 1-hour beach cleanup in Boca, Florida (Feb. 2018)

MY CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN TO HELP THE STREET TREES:
Seeking your support!  As you may know, I cofounded with a couple other folks, the NYC “Love Your Street Tree” initiative almost four years ago.  This initiative is to bring awareness to the importance of caring for our street trees especially now that the city completed its’ million trees planting initiative.  As part of our “Love Your Street Tree” project, we provide free educational events at schools and in the community, created and host our Annual “Love Your Street Tree Day” Spring Cleanup and Planting Day every May.  This May 20th, will be our 4th year hosting tree loving New Yorkers and providing them with free gardening gift bags that contain all the tools and supplies they will need to take care and steward the street trees in their neighborhood, including our popular double-sided “curb your dog signs” – dog waste being a health issue when it is not properly disposed of (and frankly disgusting when it is tracked into our homes on the bottom of our shoes).   At our event, we also teach participants how to properly care for a street tree and do sample demonstrations.


http://www.loveyourstreettreeday.com

This year, our project has been accepted by non-profit crowdfunding site – ioby.  This is very exciting, as all donations will be matched dollar for dollar!  Your donations will help us purchase the items for our free urban gardening gift bags, such as gardening tools, the curb your dog signs, watering buckets, gloves, plants or seeds – all the items necessary for beautifying the neighborhood and properly taking care of our beautiful and beneficial street trees!  You will be emailed a charitable tax receipt.  I and our other tree cleanup volunteers will be so grateful!

If you can do me a favor and donate this week before our official public ioby launch next week, I would very much appreciate it as that creates important momentum!  Street trees help clean, cool and purify our urban air, improve citizens’ physical and emotional health, absorb stormwater thus keeping raw sewage and other pollutants from entering our waterways during storms, increase property and business values, provide shelter for birds, and beautify our city!  

Please donate here:  https://www.ioby.org/project/love-your-street-tree-day-2018

By the way, when you donate, there will be an ask from ioby to make an optional gratuity to them as well – they are also a non-profit.  Just a heads up, in case that is confusing!  Thanks again.

Other Class Descriptions:  

Chair Chi and Prana is hosted by the beautiful yoga center – Integral Yoga. This fusion class increases our vitality, and improves balance and coordination by combining Chair Yoga, Qigong, and Tai Chi Easy™ walking. Seated and standing Yoga poses strengthen and stretch the body, gentle and flowing Qigong movements enhance our life force energy (chi or prana), and Tai Chi walking increases balance and helps with fall prevention.  Additionally, these practices are a moving meditation that calm the nervous system, increase immune support, focus the mind, and are accessible to all bodies and ages.  We end class with a long savasana and yoga nidra (deep relaxation) to fully relax and absorb the benefits of our practices.  All levels are welcome! No prior experience is necessary.

Seated Tai Chi Easy Teleclass hosted by Dorot Center for Seniors “University Without Walls” brings the benefits of seated qigong, meditation, and breathwork to those who cannot attend in-person classes. This is now our fifth semester of our teleclass, and I have found that distance is no obstacle to having a profound group and individual experience.  Written materials are provided in advance of the class, and each session is devoted to reading and discussing the materials, alternating with experiential movement and guided meditations.  We will continue with this course throughout 2018, so please call Dorot to sign up, or for a catalog.  No prior experience is necessary!  In general, Dorot’s University Without Walls is a wonderful resource for telephone learning and community-building, and their courses cover a myriad of topics.  Please help spread the word about this wonderful resource! http:// http://www.dorotusa.org/site/DocServer/UWW_Spring_Summer_2018_Catalog.pdf

Dec. 2017; Super Gemini Moon; Yoga Classes; Dorot’s University Without Walls Teleclass; Holiday Gift Wrapping for Community Work & Street Tree Care

Wishing you a peaceful and joyous holiday season!

As I write to you on this Sunday evening, I am aware that tonight brings us a special Super Full Moon in Gemini, and the beginning of a mercury retrograde period lasting until December 22, which is also just after the Winter Solstice. I was curious about any spiritual significance to these lunar events, and a quick internet search led me to this beautiful website:
http://foreverconscious.com/category/astrology .  According to this site’s author, Mercury retrograde is the opportune time for reflecting on the past year, journaling, and intuiting about the New Year, without yet making definitive plans or starting something new.  “December’s retrograde is really about releasing and shedding all the mental blocks and thought patterns from 2017 so you can enter 2018 with a fresh perspective and a new outlook.”  The author describes the Gemini Super Full Moon as signifying our connection with truth, including the truth of who we are: “… here for a journey of learning how to love yourself more, love the planet more and love one another more.”

Recently, I came across this postcard and placed it by my computer as I found it very beautiful and its’ affirmations very powerful.  On this Super Full Moon, I share it with you as well and hope you will be equally inspired:

Regarding my yoga classes this month, I am subbing at UWS Yoga on Dec,. 28th, happily returning to that lovely yoga center after a few months off while on sabbatical!  Also, at Integral Yoga, our next Chair Chi and Prana™ class will be held Saturday afternoon December 9 at 3:30-5 pm. This is our first weekend afternoon class for this fusion class, and I am looking forward to teaching during this new time slot! In 2018, we return to evening classes.  This unique class will help increase our vitality, and improve balance and coordination by combining Chair Yoga, Qigong, and Tai Chi Easy™ walking. Seated and standing Yoga poses strengthen and stretch the body, gentle and flowing Qigong movements enhance one’s life force energy, and Tai Chi walking increases balance.  These practices are a moving meditation that calm the nervous system, focus the mind, and are accessible to all bodies and ages.  We end class with a long savasana and yoga nidra (deep relaxation) to fully relax and absorb the benefits of our practices.  All levels are welcome!

Additionally, I am so pleased to be again teaching a telephone class for the Dorot Center for Seniors “University Without Walls” that brings the benefits of seated qigong, meditation, and breathwork to those who cannot attend in-person classes. This is now our fourth semester of our teleclass, and I have found that distance is no obstacle to having a profound group and individual experience.  Written materials are provided in advance of the class, and each session is devoted to reading and discussing the materials, alternating with experiential movement and guided meditations.  We will continue with this course throughout 2018, so please call Dorot to sign up, or for a catalog.  No prior experience is necessary!  In general, Dorot’s University Without Walls is a wonderful resource for telephone learning and community-building, and their courses cover a myriad of topics.  Please help spread the word about this wonderful resource!  http://www.dorotusa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=seniors_programs_on_phone_D

Also, this holiday season, as in past years, I am volunteer gift-wrapping at our local independent book and gift store – “Book Culture” on Columbus Avenue at 81st street – to raise funds for my non-profit community organization (the West 80s Neighborhood Association – http://www.west80s.org).  We organize street tree care volunteer work, neighborhood beautification, rat eradication outreach, among other community-minded projects.  It has been lovely seeing some of your friendly faces at Book Culture already, and thank you for your support of my community work.  This year, as I am on sabbatical from my weekly group yoga classes, I have taken on more volunteer shifts at the store.  I find gift wrapping very zen, as are many arts and crafts projects (like knitting, for example). It is also enjoyable to chat with so many locals, as well as meeting tourists visiting our great city for the holidays.  I love the community that local businesses create (something not possible with online shopping), and I am very grateful to the community-minded owners of Book Culture for inviting small and local non-profits, like mine, to volunteer gift wrap for tips and to spread awareness of our charitable organizations.  In addition to books, Book Culture sells household products, scarves, hats, handbags, calendars, decorative items, Christmas tree ornaments, and more!  So I hope you will do your holiday shopping in your neighborhood and support your “mom and pop” independent stores.  I’m at Book Culture during these days:
Mondays:       December 4, 11, and 18 (10 am – 3 pm)
Tuesdays:       December 5, 12, and 19 (10 am – 3 pm)
Wednesdays:December 13 and 20 (10 am – 3 pm)
Thursdays:    December 7, 14, and 21 (3 – 8 pm)
Fridays:          December 1, 8 and 22 (3 – 8 pm)
Saturdays:     December 2 and 23 (3 – 8 pm)
Saturdays:     December 16  and 23 (10 am – 3 pm)
Sundays:        December 17 and 24 (10 am – 2 pm)
Sundays:        December  10 and 24 (2 – 6 pm)


http://www.bookculture.com/locations

Columbus Avenue Bike Lane Tree Bed Stewardship by West 80s Neighborhood Association:

http://www.loveyourstreettreeday.com

November Gratitude; Chair Chi Prana Class; Gift-Wrapping at Book Culture for Love Your Street Tree Cause

Wishing you a peaceful and joyful holiday weekend, filled with gratitude and appreciation!  I saw this beautiful wall hanging at one of my holistic doctor’s offices, and thought it was inspirational.  On Thanksgiving, I share the Dalai Lama’s wisdom with you with the hope you will be similarly touched:

Our next Chair Chi and Prana class will be held Monday night November 27 at Integral Yoga (6:30-8 pm). This fusion class is functional and practical; learn the tools you can do at home or at the office to strengthen and de-stress!  Increase your vitality, improve balance and coordination with a unique practice that combines Chair Yoga, Qigong, and Tai Chi Easy™ walking.  Seated and standing Yoga poses strengthen and stretch the body, gentle and flowing Qigong movements enhance one’s life force energy, and Tai Chi walking increases balance.  These practices are a moving meditation that calm the nervous system, focus the mind, and are accessible to all bodies and ages. Class includes savasana and yoga nidra (deep relaxation). All levels are welcome! No prior experience is necessary to enjoy and benefit from this class!


Lanai, Hawaii

Also, this holiday season, as in past years, I will be volunteer gift-wrapping at our local independent book and gift store – “Book Culture” on Columbus Avenue at 81st street – to raise funds for my non-profit community organization (the West 80s Neighborhood Association) that does street tree care volunteer work and neighborhood beautification, among other things.  Remember to shop small and local not just during the holidays, but throughout the year!  We all bemoan the empty storefronts in NYC, but if we are supporting big online corporations with online shopping, how can these beloved brick and mortar shops survive?  How and where we spend our money is a choice, and our collective choices have direct consequences. I love the community that local businesses create, and I am very grateful to the community-minded owners of Book Culture (pictured below) for allowing small and local non-profits, like mine, to volunteer giftwrap for tips and to spread awareness of our charitable organizations.  In addition to books, Book Culture sells household products, scarves, hats, handbags, calendars, decorative items, Christmas tree ornaments, and more!  So I hope you will do your holiday shopping in your neighborhood, and come visit me at Book Culture during these November shifts (I will email my December shifts next week):     http://www.bookculture.com/locations
Monday, November 27 (10 am – 3 pm)
Wednesday, November 29 (10 am – 3 pm)
Thursday, November 30 (3 – 8 pm)

Part of the voluntary community work I do with my neighborhood association is to create awareness about the importance of our NYC street trees and to encourage neighbors and businesses to properly care for them. The West 80s Neighborhood Association, a 501c3 I co-founded with neighbors, is the main organizer of fun and educational street tree care events through our collaborations with other groups, electeds, businesses, schools, and government agencies as part of the Love Your Street Tree Day initiative.  We would love for every street tree to be “adopted” and cared for, as they provide so many environmental, social, emotional, and financial benefits to us.  To learn more about our work, check out http://www.loveyourstreettreeday.com  and to make tax deductible donations, please visit http://www.west80s.org  or stop by Book Culture when I will be gift-wrapping!  Thanks in advance for your support!


In front of one of our “adopted” street trees along the Columbus Avenue bike path at West 85th Street. New Fall cabbage arrangement, daffodil bulbs planted for Spring 2018 blooms, wood chips added for Winter protection, and Love Your Street Tree “curb your dog” signs added.
Many thanks for your continuing support of my classes and workshops, and your dedication to the healing arts!  No prior experience is needed to participate in most of these classes; all levels are welcome!  Please, remember that perfume, cologne, or heavily scented lotions or deodorant should not be worn during any of the movement classes and Reiki sessions. It is suggested that one not eat for 1 – 2 hours before practicing yoga.  I recommend for one’s health and the health of the planet, to not bring plastic water bottles to class; instead use reusable steel or glass bottles filled with filtered tap water.  Also, for the safety and consideration of all students, latecomers will not be admitted.

Please forward this e-mail to anyone who may be interested in these offerings!  Many thanks for spreading the word!

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving! In honor of the First Nations of this country, enjoy this beautiful song by a Native American singer on this season’s Voice:  https://www.nbc.com/the-voice/video/brooke-simpson-praying/3623073

Namaste,

Melissa Mati

May 2017 Schedule; DC Climate March; Sun Salutation Workshop; Love Your Street Tree Day

Happy May!  I am back from an inspiring weekend in DC, marching in the People’s Climate Movement “March for Jobs, Justice and Climate.”  In a sweltering hot and humid day of 90 degrees, over 200,000 diverse people joined together in creative solidarity seeking a safer, cleaner, and better future for all. Just like the 2014 historic march in NYC, the vibe in DC was so uplifting, the artwork beautiful, the signs super creative, witty, and poignant.  It again demonstrated (no pun intended) how beautiful it is when people from all walks of life peacefully come together in support of causes greater than themselves to envision policies that curb runaway climate change, create a clean energy economy, support ethics in government, and bring about a more just system. I truly hope these newly invigorated political and environmental protests manifest those visions.  For those of us too young to remember the Civil Rights, Peace, and Anti-Nuclear movements that started in the 1960s (not to mention the preceding Suffrage Movements), the last six months has witnessed a remarkable shift in our country and in many other places abroad.  I do believe we are a part of a historic shift at this time – and all shifts have challenges, struggles, disappointments, successes, failures and victories along the way. Just like an EKG reading of our heartbeat, movement is not a straight line but rather a zigzag.  Let us rejoice in this new spirit of shared positive activism and keep the faith.

One tip for keeping the faith: I have been more content since I recently reduced my post-election habit of TV news watching time.  I am still staying informed, and not burying my head in the sand, but I have made a conscious decision to limit the amount of television news that I watch as, no matter the network, they focus on the drama, the negativity, and conflicts in a away that is emotionally draining (I believe) to the viewer.  So for me, I am learning to find that balance of being informed and not overwhelmed. Anyone else in a similar state of mind?

For  the climate march, I created a “vision board” on the back of my climate march poster.  I love creating vision boards, as the process is meditative, artistic, and a visible manifestation of one’s desires and intentions (either conscious or unconscious).  Perhaps, if there is interest, we can do a vision board circle in the near future – please let me know your thoughts!

On Monday, May 8th I will be teaching a “Sun Salutation Workshop” at Integral Yoga during which we will break down each pose and transition of the famous yogic salute to the sun, and explore ways to make it more easeful for each participant. If you have ever struggled with all or parts of the Sun Salutation, then this workshop is ideal for you.  And don’t worry, there will be lots of discussion time – so we will have breathers between the physical practice.  🙂  Bring a pen for note-taking as I will hand out take-home outlines.

For those of you interested in neighborhood beautification activities in NYC, my neighborhood non-profit organization (along with many co-sponsors such as elected officials, environmental groups, local businesses, students, government agencies) is hosting a large community cleanup and planting day on Sunday, May 21. It is rewarding to know that this is our Third Annual “Love Your Street Tree Day” Spring event, and each year it has been a fun and effective way to clean up our tree beds, bring awareness to our street trees, and beautify various NYC blocks!  If you are interested, please rsvp via the Eventbrite link. Please note it is first come, first serve for a free gardening bag, with tools, educational materials, and a “Love Your Tree” double-sided Curb Your Dog sign.  See http://www.loveyourstreettreeday.com
for more information!

November 2016 Class Schedule; NY1 Interview

Wishing everyone a happy and safe Halloween!

Some of you have already mentioned seeing my recent NY1 interview during which reporter Michael Scotto shadows me teaching Chair Yoga at Dorot for Seniors and doing community work around the Upper West Side.  It is a nice overview of some of my volunteer work (such as my “Love Your Street Tree” outreach and community events), and there is also beautiful video of the chair yoga class.  I am really honored that NY1 chose to profile me and my work, and that they saw the societal value in both teaching yoga and doing community work focused on urban trees, among other things. By the way, reporter Michael Scotto not only reported on the story, but he does all his own camera work as well. Impressive!  (And he is a lovely person).  Here is the link:
http://www.ny1.com/nyc/manhattan/news/2016/10/12/manhattan-week–the-mayor-of-the-upper-west-side-uses-her-green-thumb-to-keep-the-neighborhood-serene.html

On another note, many of you have asked about where to purchase non-slip socks. I found a supplier of attractive and reasonably priced traction socks in multiple styles and colors. Check out the Silverts website below.  Please wear some type of non-slip traction sock for the tai chi walking in my “Chair Chi and Prana” class, unless you are barefoot. These socks can also be used for yoga in the cooler weather (though I like the toe sox brand for yoga as each toe is separated so you can spread the toes wide in mountain pose, for example). The Silverts catalog also has some nice colorful velcro slippers for home wear, and if you experience leg or ankle swelling, they carry compression socks.  I wear compression socks on all long flights, and they make a huge difference in keeping one’s legs refreshed during the flight and reducing feet swelling due to the cabin air pressure. Let me know what you think of this website!

http://www.silverts.com

July 2016 Schedule; Core Strength Yoga Returns and OpEd on Urban Greening

Wishing everyone a happy and safe July 4th weekend!  A reminder that Integral Yoga is closed on Monday, July 4th.  Also, I will be on a working and pleasure vacation that holiday week teaching teen ballet classes at the Olga Dunn Ballet School in the Berkshires.

When I return to NYC, some great news:  Core Strength Yoga at UWS Yoga & Wellness will reconvene – we will now be on a new day of the week, but same lunch time spot!  Starting Tuesday, July 12th at noon, my fusion class of yoga and pilates returns!  Thanks to all of you who had communicated your wishes to UWS Yoga, and a special thanks to Ingrid and Stephan for being so flexible (yoga pun intended) and accommodating!  I am very grateful and appreciative!

Many of you already know about my interest in urban greening; when I am not taking or teaching movement classes, I am working on my volunteer community initiatives.  Here is a recent OpEd I wrote on the benefits of urban trees, why NYC needs citizen tree stewards, and the importance of well-permeable soil in tree beds for stormwater absorption and reduction of sewage overflows into our waterways.  I welcome your thoughts and feedback!
http://www.westsidespirit.com/columnsop-ed/20160615/greening-new-york

June Schedule; New Yoga and Ballet Classes this Month and Change to Thursday Core Strength Yoga

Hope you had a lovely Memorial Day weekend and took some time to honor all those who have bravely served all over the world in defense of freedom, human rights and liberty.  
Sailors and Soldiers Memorial, Riverside Park, NYC (2016)

Some scheduling announcements:

I am teaching a Yoga & Qigong fusion class at Integral Yoga Thur., night, June 16th – subbing for my friend Nadiya.  Additionally, this Sunday, June 5th, I am teaching two ballet classes at Alvin Ailey Extension – subbing for my teacher, Finis Jhung.  For brand new beginners (no experience necessary), the 12 noon class is ideal.  For those of you with ballet experience, you can take the 12 noon class if you want a great refresher on the basics and an opportunity to really feel your muscles work, and/or the 2 pm class as well – which moves faster, includes turns and more center work off the barre. Sometimes, I take both classes in a row, and it a great combo to solidify one’s technique and build strength.  Please email me any questions!

Also, staring this month, I am taking a leave from teaching the Thursday noon Core Strength Yoga class at UWS Yoga & Wellness in order to work on a friend’s local political campaign through the Fall.  Micah Lasher is running for State Senate in my district (to replace Senator Espaillat who is running to replace Congressman Rangel).  In case you live in my district, here is Micah’s site:  http://www.lasherforsenate.com

Depending on my campaign workload, I will possibly be subbing other classes at UWS Yoga and offering periodic workshops.  I have loved getting to know all of you at UWS Yoga individually and collectively, and being a part of the UWS Yoga and Wellness family!  I hope to remain a part of the teaching group there, and am trying to consolidate all my weekly group yoga classes on Mondays and Tuesdays during this Summer and early Fall (the primary is September 13th).  Currently, I am looking at spaces to potentially rent on Tuesdays for Core Strength Yoga, and I will let you know the details if a studio space is available.

So please, stay in touch, and email me if you want to organize periodic classes or semi-privates, etc., that can work around my campaign hours. I want to remain flexible (no pun intended) with my teaching and will have a better idea of my schedule once I start with the Lasher campaign.  Please email me your thoughts and/or concerns.  I do hope we can still practice yoga together, and can work something out if you are interested!

On another note, my neighborhood association’s Second Annual “Love Your Street Tree Day” event went very well on Sunday, May 22, with a large turnout of volunteers who came from the W. 90s down to the W. 30s in Manhattan!  It was a lovely day for cleaning and beautifying tree beds, removing litter, adding compost, mulch, flowers, curb your dog signs, and tabulating the amount and type of litter for our sidewalk trash audit. Here is a short article on the event, and stay tuned for hopefully a longer piece to be published.  http://www.westsidespirit.com/local-news/20160524/uws-trees-get-tlc

                                                                 

May Schedule; New Yoga Barre Class; Plastic Bags; Love Your Tree Day

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy May!  I am back from a fantastic vacation to Sedona. I highly recommend traveling to this beautiful area of our country for amazing hiking, sight-seeing (ancient cliff dwellings, petroglyphs, an artsy old mining ghost town, new age stores and crystal shops), and delicious food (found the best vegan garden restaurant and chocolate bar for lunch, and an incredible gluten-free pizzeria).  If you go, email me for travel suggestions!

A few exciting announcements:

First, I have a new 3-week class at Integral Yoga Institute for the next 3 Monday nights: My “Yoga Barre” at 6:30- 8 pm combines yoga warm-ups, pilates, and ballet barre to strengthen and tone the body, and increase balance and coordination.  Come to any one or all three classes! Go to http://www.iyiny.org  to sign up!

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Second, on May 22, please come join my West 80s Neighborhood Association, our elected officials and community board, environmental organizations, non-profits, students, businesses and city agencies, as we clean and green across the UWS. It will be a fun afternoon as we care for our important NYC street trees by adding mulch and compost, clean up litter, engage in a voluntary trash audit, and join with other New Yorkers who want to see our city be cleaner and greener.  Free goodie bags will be distributed with gardening tools, curb your dog signs, and other free items.  Compost and mulch will be provided in free take-home buckets, and coffee and snacks will be served.  We need volunteers to help that day, as well as volunteers to help market our Second Annual  “Love Your Street Tree Day”.  Please let me know if you are interested! To sign up for May 22, go tohttp://loveyourstreetday/eventbrite.com

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Finally, the most recent The New Yorker magazine has a great article on the plastic bag issue, and I am quoted in the middle of the article as the author shadowed me and my neighborhood group as we trained with Bette Midler’s organization, NY Restoration Project, learning how to remove plastic bags from trees with a tool called a bag snagger.  The article is very thorough regarding plastic pollution issues, laws seeking to curtail plastic bag use, and obstacles to that environmental fight.  I do hope NYC’s carry-out bag law currently pending before the City Council gets signed by Mayor De Blasio this week.  The Speaker just endorsed it, and there are 26 co-sponsors now in the Council!   Please see http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/05/02/saving-america-from-plastic-bags

April 2015 – Love Your NYC Tree Day Events

I hope you are enjoying these beautiful Spring days!  What a delight it is after our very long and chilly Winter. I am having Spring fever, and this is the ideal time for my neighborhood association’s upcoming NYC Tree Care events!  As many of you know, I spend much of my time on community work, and, like teaching, find it very rewarding.  Last year, I got certified as a “Citizen Pruner” by Trees NY, and loved the course.  It opened my eyes to the importance of our city trees and the condition of their tree beds/ soil (sadly, many are neglected or polluted resulting in challenging living conditions for our trees).

If you would like to learn more about my community group – The West 80s Neighborhood Association ( www.west80s.org )– and our work with neighborhood beautification and sidewalk tree care, please attend our first ever “Love Your Tree Day” events:  on April 30th, an educational and fun kick-off event with raffle regarding the proper care of NYC street trees and their community benefits, the issue of rats in tree beds, and the tree census.  Then on May 2, our first W. 80s neighborhood-wide street tree clean-up, beautification and tree adoption outreach day.   This is a historic collaboration of community groups and volunteers, non-profit organizations, local businesses, government agencies, schools, residents, our community board, and co-sponsored by my NYC Council Member.  (See our flyer below and attached for more details and for the full list of organizers and sponsors, thus far).

In addition to attending our kick-off party on Thursday night, April 30, we are also seeking participants for the May 2nd street tree clean-up and beautification.   This link will take you to the sign-up for both events:  www.helenrosenthal.com/love-your-tree-day/   When you come to the May 2nd kick-off at Helen’s office at 11 am, you will get a free tree care goodie bag, with a beautiful curb your dog sign – as long as supplies last.

We have noticed how neglected our street trees were this snowy Winter, and that the sidewalks and tree beds remain strewn with litter, so let’s join together and help beautify our beloved UWS in a fun community event, and help our valuable street trees in the process! We believe these events can easily be replicated in other NYC neighborhoods by other groups, and that is our hope!  Please help us bring awareness to this issue, and see attached flyer for more information.  Thanks!

Kim Johnson-Helen Rosenthal-AD-8.5x11-EMAIL