The Importance of Natural Science Education

The Importance of Natural Science Education

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The Hort provides the Apple Seed program to underserved public schools, in the classroom and as part of after-school programs. Apple Seed is an inquiry–based program that emphasizes raising the level of critical thinking among students and sharpening their powers of observation. Apple Seed includes hand-on activities that integrate science learning with reading, mathematics, writing, cultural history, geography, and artistic expression. The Apple Seed curriculum is based on the National Science Education Standards.

At the Hort we love to introduce New York City public school children to the great outdoors — even in a gray cityscape. It’s no secret that access to urban green spaces, an emphasis on nutrition education, and connecting students to nature prepares young people for a more successful future. The curriculum we teach in schools offers further insight into the inspirational power of nature.

5Every semester our in-school (and in-garden!) educators work tirelessly to engage students with each lesson.  We don’t want the learning and experience to stop in the classroom or at the school. Lessons are designed to be taken home and shared with parents and siblings to reinforce the experience and empower others. For instance, when our 4th and 5th graders participate in a hands-on activity that teaches them to identify different types of herbs and build a ‘seasoning pack’ with a recipe to use at home.

In 2016, Hort educators measured the impact of our school lessons through process-based questions designed to show growth. Take a look at some of the highlights:

 

Brooklyn high school, 9 – 12th grade students

Before Apple Seed lessonsIMG_0136

  • None of the high school students were able to recognize sage, rosemary, and thyme, while 20% knew cilantro
  • None of the students had heard about a career in landscape design

After Apple Seed Lessons

  • 100% of students could name sage, rosemary, thyme and cilantro
  • Students participated in a design lesson with a landscape architect

Third grade students at an elementary school near Central Park

Before Apple Seed Lessons

  • Of Eighty students, less than ten previously held a lady bug
  • Only 5% have carved or cut open a pumpkin
  • Less than fifteen students had ever planted in school or at home

After Apple Seed Lessons

  • Every student participated in (and loved!) a lady bug inspection and release
  • Third graders ran around their school garden hunting in a pumpkin patch, received a pumpkin stew recipe card, and a pumpkin to take home
  • Each student planted a plant and helped it grow!

watering on 210 roofThird Grade Students at an elementary school in Harlem

Before Apple Seed Lessons

  • 60% of students previously tasted tea, while none had ever made their own
  • None had ever used rosemary, sage, or thyme to season their food

After Apple Seed Lessons

  • Every student made their own tea AND they all tasted it.
  • 55% of students used a mix of rosemary, sage, and thyme to season their families food at Thanksgiving.

Many of these findings are consistent with the schools we serve – reinforcing the importance of natural science and nutrition education in our city’s schools.

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Happy Holidays from The Hort’s Directors

Happy Holidays from The Hort’s Directors

Happy Holidays

We Don’t Just Plant…We Transform

“Something dwells already in our minds; and I believe it is the bond, the bond of fifty thousand generations with the natural world, that can make aspects of nature affect us so powerfully.”

The Moth Snowstorm, Michael McCarthy


How much is nature worth? A smart economist can cost out the value to society of fresh air, clean water, predictable climate, biodiversity, food and even beauty. But what is the value of ‘green’ to the individual? Especially those whose lives are restricted to the grayscape of the inner-city.

  • At PS 50, 0% of the third-grade students had TheHort_EHarlem3rdGrade_20160510_0273previously tasted Sage, Thyme, and Rosemary. After The Hort’s herb lesson that included Make-Your-Own take-home dry “rubs,” 55% of the children reported that they got to use their herbs for the family Thanksgiving meal.
  • A Hort GreenTeam participant, upon securing a full-time job after a season of rehabilitative transitional work on our Horticultural team, likened himself a tulip bulb. “Worn out, discarded, left to rot…but with care and love it turns into something so beautiful, but fragile.”
  • At The Hort’s new therapeutic program for adolescents at the Rikers Island Correctional Facility, one 16-year-old gang member facing serious violent charges could not believe that a carrot grew from his seed – under the ground, in the dark. He told us to “expect me here every day. I see I can learn a lot about life from you.”

The Hort’s mission is to connect people to nature. The benefits are inherent. With your support, we are able to change lives and make our city a better place in which to grow up and live.

Sincerely,

Sara Hobel_signature
Sara Hobel
Executive Director


 

greenhouse-240_2Living in a built environment makes the need for green space vital. The Hort’s work in the field encourages social interaction and cognitive learning while offering a setting of calm for so many individuals.

Through our education, horticulture, and prison programs, thousands of New Yorkers have the opportunity to experience, first-hand, the restorative quality of plants. Improved focus at work, school, and in daily life are all results of working with nature. Please join The Hort as we strive to continue our mission and connect all New Yorkers with the power of plants.

Sincerely,
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George Pisegna
Deputy Director & Chief of Horticulture

 

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2016: The Hort’s Year in Review

2016: The Hort’s Year in Review

Happy Holidays

To our dear friends, supporters, and patrons,

As the holidays and New Year come to pass, the staff and the board of the Horticultural Society of New York would like to say Thank You for a fantastic 2016! We started the year with high hopes and big goals, and because of your support, we exceeded them! Take a look at a few of our highlights from 2016:

  • On track for a $2.8 million contract with the Department of Correction to double the size of our Horticultural Therapy program on Riker’s Island.
  • Expanded our beautification program to include 15 public plazas in low-income neighborhoods.
  • Before our lessons at PS50, 0% of 3rd grade students had used rosemary, sage, or thyme to season their food. After a dried herb demonstration and hands-on activity, 55% used those herbs to season their food at Thanksgiving.
  • Over the course of a week, the GreenTeam transformed a Maspeth step-street with 800 annuals and native plants.
  • Opened the Naval Cemetery Landscape, a key project collaboration with the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative and the TKF Foundation that created a public park featuring a native plant meadowland.

In 2017, The Hort is on track to expand every program, educating more students, rehabilitating more at-risk populations, and transforming more NYC neighborhoods. We hope you are as optimistic as us to ring in a new year of digging, planting, growing, educating, and creating a greener New York City.

If you want to stay up to date on all things Hort, sign up for our E-Newsletter!

Maspeth Step-Street Receives a Make-Over

Maspeth Step-Street Receives a Make-Over

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A Maspeth step-street received the GreenTeam treatment in the form of 100 trash bags hauled, 450 cubic feet of mulch laid, and 800 annuals planted.

IMG_3300The time has flown by for the Hort’s GreenTeam. Winter means they are hard at work planting bulbs, raking leaves into big fluffy piles, cutting back perennials, and removing vegetable crops from various gardens in Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn. The winter plant list is well underway, too: chrysanthemums, snap dragons, pansies, and ornamental cabbages and kales are introduced to thirteen public plazas throughout the city. All this work means GreenTeam interns can reflect on the full cycle of garden and plaza maintenance.

 

One project that excited the GreenTeam was the rejuvenation of the 53rd Avenue step-street in Maspeth, Queens. Sponsored and supported by Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, the first woman to represent the 30th Council District, The Hort beautified the grounds adjacent to the neglected staircase in preparation for its official re-naming ceremony.

Before the clean-up
Before the clean-up

The staircase was quite derelict and required a full day to clean and prepare. Rubble, trash, weeds, fallen leaves, and dead branches were so plentiful that the ten-man work crew filled over 100 trashbags! Once the area was clear of foreign and decaying objects, the degraded hillside and rocky soil was turned over with fresh compost – essential preparation for the hundreds of plants that were coming the next day.

IMG_3289Bright and early on election day, Van Houten Farms delivered over 800 annuals – a huge shock for the gardening crew! The Hort’s work van was also full with nine types of native shrubs, the beautiful and versatile Orange Bush Honeysuckles (Diervilla Kodiak) and Red Twig Dog Woods (cornus stolonifera) among them. The team worked right up until dark to plant as many mums, ornamental kales, and snapdragons as they could.

The next morning, the GreenTeam had to make quick work of the mums because there were over 200 bags of mulch on its way. Luckily, student volunteers from Maspeth high school arrived unannounced to help with the project. Their spirit and youthful energy (vital for carrying many bags of mulch) helped finish the project strong.

The Hort is honored to play a role in beautifying our city, especially in under-resourced neighborhoods. As one passerby noted, “Our little staircase looks like Manhattan now!” We are also so happy to work with dedicated council members like Elizabeth Crowley. Thanks to her, her team, and Maspeth High School, “Easter Rising Way” has been transformed into an important remembrance of Irish and American history.

PS 57: The Hidden Garden

PS 57: The Hidden Garden

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This fall, students at PS 57 in East Harlem have taken full advantage of the beautiful weather and fresh produce growing in their school garden.

Who wouIMG_2726ld have imagined that a small courtyard in the New York City would produce a vibrant pumpkin vine with over 50 cheerful blossoms? Not the students at PS 57 as they hop, skip, and play in their overflowing garden. Julia, our enthusiastic Hort educator and school gardener extraordinaire often hears exclamations of “Look at the size of that leaf!” or “Whoa, what is that plant?” She considers herself lucky to visit twice a week to tend the crops, lead hands-on lessons, and teach about healthy, nutritious vegetables.

Not only do the students get their hands dirty to dig, plant, and grow produce, they eat it too! On a recent visit, students prepared sautéed pumpkin blossoms stuffed with herbed ricotta, with chives and basil harvested fresh from the garden. Classes of 25 students, were divided into work groups: a). Pumpkin Blossom Partners b). Chive Chopping Committee c). Bureau of Basil Selection and the d). Chamber of Chard.

IMG_3169The Bureau of Basil Selection cautiously harvested herbs for the Chive Chopping Committee, who in turn washed and minced nimbly to mix with fresh ricotta. Meanwhile, the Pumpkin Blossom Partners gently washed the flowers, checked for rogue ants and carefully removed the flower’s stamen. The Chamber of Chard worked simultaneously to find the biggest, most impressive leafs for the healthy side dish.

Once each division reported their task complete, the pumpkin blossoms were stuffed with the herb ricotta filling and lightly sautéed in olive oil. The sautéed swiss chard and garlic provided a healthy, palate pleaser – surprisingly more popular and nearly stealing the show! None of the students had ever eaten a flower before, but by the end of the class, they were in love!

The following week, students set to work harvesting the rest of the herbs to store and dry.  Bunches of rosemary, sage, thyme, and lavender were wrapped in big bundles and hung throughout their classrooms – a unique take-home in a few weeks. Though the garden was put to rest for the winter, the kids have fond memories and tasty herbs to share with their friends and family.

If you want to visit the Garden of Dreams for yourself, it is on East 115th Street, between Park and 3rd Avenues.  Happy Harvesting!IMG_2725

 


Do you want to eat like a 3rd grader? Check out their recipe below:  

Pumpkin Flowers with Herbed Ricotta Recipe

  • One dozen fresh pumpkin blossoms
  • 1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. Fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. Fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 pinch o’ salt
  • 1 pinch o’ pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil for sautéeing the blossoms

Directions:

  • Mix ricotta cheese with finely chopped garlic, chives, and basil
  • Stuff the filling into the pumpkin flower
  • Heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan
  • Lightly sauté the flowers for a few minutes until golden and crispy
  • Enjoy with a friend!
Reflections from Rikers Island GreenHouse

Reflections from Rikers Island GreenHouse

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Many of our students, particularly those who are incarcerated on serious charges, are defined by the public, and sometimes their own families, by their crimes. The GreenHouse staff is dedicated to connecting with the individual, looking past their stories and viewing them as gardeners. Efforts would not be successful without interns that not only offer a helping hand but an open heart and a patient smile. The following are reflections from our interns about the GreenHouse and the transformative power of nature.

Kathryn Berg

“Some of the tangible therHort_Rikers_lcmorris_2012-45apeutic benefits of horticulture therapy are well-known, such as fresh air, exercise, and stress-reduction.  In my experience, it also improves self-esteem, mental focus, and cooperation. The most profound benefit I’ve witnessed at the GreenHouse: a connection with nature, with the cycle of life, produces a regenerative effect.

The interactions between plant and humans are at times almost astounding.  We work with one young man who is charged with murder for strangling a fellow patient while he was committed to a mental institution. Early on, he said that he felt that there was no hope for him because he had “gone too far to the dark side.” The longer he is with us, the more he opens up.  He has a sweet disposition and now he allows himself to smile, laugh, and joke with fellow students. Recently, he made a poster of the seeds he selected to plant and wrote next to one picture: “I want to hug this flower.” I highlight him because I think his transformation captures the magic of horticulture therapy.  Prior to working at the GreenHouse, I had no idea of the spiritual ramifications of gardening.  The longer I’m there, the more I’m convinced of a sacred connection between plants and humans.

Working one-on-one with us, our students are able 6to share concerns, hopes, sorrows, hurt, and joy. We are not in a rush, and nature reminds us to practice deep listening. We share stories and we laugh; sometimes we cry. Part of deep listening in the Greenhouse is to listen not just to what is spoken, but to what is silent. The inmates at Rikers don’t choose to be together, almost never get to be alone, and rarely experience any quiet.  The young men complain that their dorm is extremely loud and that they never get uninterrupted sleep.  With us, they are slow to speak. In gardening, we allow for silence as we work, so that they have room to share. While we do not eliminate the suffering of incarceration, we make it easier to bear.”


Hillary “Scout” Exter

“Spending time at the GreenHouse is an extraordinary experience on so many levels—the contrast between being “outside” and “inside” takes on a new meaning. The garden is a wild place — no manicured lawns here —but it’s also a very peaceful one.  It is a feast for the senses in an otherwise bleak and stark place: the colors, textures, fragrances of the garden, the sounds of birds, the taste of the food we have grown, the sun and breezes and drizzles always delight me.

LTV_2016_lcmorris-5I love seeing each gardener find his or her special places within the garden. Whether it’s the rose wheel, pond, flock of guinea hens, raised bed vegetables, melon patch, vines dripping down on the pergola’s, students always take ownership of a particular area or task.  There are so many lessons to learn and to grow from. Students experience how to work as a team and follow instructions — and the consequences of not (e.g. a seed too deep won’t germinate). Together they foster patience, like waiting for guinea hen eggs to hatch, and the importance of proper care. They recognize their actions or inactions, such as watering plants to foster growth, enabling them to see their work through the season – taking joy in the cycles of life.

I have come to the GreenHouse as a beginner gardener and I have learned so much from working with Hilda, Sarah, Deb, my fellow interns, and the gardener’s who are incarcerated.  With sleeves rolled up, hands in the dirt, beads of sweat visible on our brows, we are all immersed in a common endeavor—the science and miracle of observing and helping things grow.”


Hannah Immerman

“There are numerous spots in the Greenhouse garden where you can look up and all around you and forget, if only for a second, that you are on Rikers Island. It can be restorative and rejuvenating to embrace those small moments and then focus on the task at hand.

5In the Greenhouse garden, inmates and interns are students, gardeners, landscapers, chefs and teachers. We learn how to prune roses and how to delicately water seedlings. We learn that weeding really can be relaxing. We learn when to talk and when to listen and that often, just being in the space together and working toward a common goal is enough. We learn that ladybugs flap their wings 85 times per second. We learn about the types of melon. We learn so much, so we can know ourselves.

Circling the rose wheel, climbing into the guinea hen coop, getting lost in the melon patch or weaving your way through raised beds filled with vegetables, herbs, and fruit, everywhere you turn there is proof that someone’s curiosity and care has made it all possible.”

 

Green Family Circle Fall Newsletter

Green Family Circle Fall Newsletter

GFC Fall 2016 Newsletter

fall16-activity1

Precious Pinecone Owls

Ages 3-10
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Materials:

  • 2 acorn cups
  • 2 leaves
  • Glue
  • Googly eyes
  • Pumpkin seed for the nose
  • Pine cone
  • Small notecard

Instructions:

  1. Cut the notecard into a circle, about the same size as the flat end of your pine cone.
  2. Glue the Pumpkin seed in the middle of the pinecone, this will be the nose.
  3. Glue 1 googly eye inside each acorn cup, and then glue the acorn cups near the top of the pine cone.
  4. Place a leaf on either side of the pine cone and attach with glue, these are the owl’s wings.
  5. Attach the notecard circle with glue to the flat side of the pine cone, make sure it stands upright – this is the base for your owl friend!

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All Natural Halloween Mask

Ages 10+
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Materials:

  • Small piece of cardboard
  • Nuts, seeds, or other small natural materials
  • Assorted sizes of leaves
  • Other all-natural material (flower petals, grass, feathers)
  • Hot-Glue (with adult supervision)
  • A long stick, about the size of a pencil
  • Tape

Instructions:

  1. Cut cardboard into desired mask shape – don’t forget eye holes!
  2. Glue heavier items onto cardboard first (seeds, nuts, etc.) Arrange in a creative and possibly, spooky design!
  3. Attach leaves with in desired pattern
  4. Glue any remaining materials to your mask and let dry
  5. Once dry, attach the stick to the back of the mask with tape
  6. Use your mask to impress your friends! (or scare them!)


corn-zucchini-salad

Corn and Zucchini Salad with Chives

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Ingredients:

  • 2 small Zucchini, diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 ears sweet corn, kernels shaved off
  • 1 cup minced chives
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint, plus sprigs to garnish

Instructions:

  1. Place the diced zucchini in a colander or small bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt. Set aside. Heat a deep skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil and the butter.
  2. When the butter foams up, add the corn kernels and cook, stirring frequently, until they are tender — about 5 minutes. Drain any excess water off the zucchini and add to the skillet, along with the chives and mint. Sauté just until the zucchini is barely tender — about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately while hot, or at room temperature.

Credit: Faith Durand, The Kitchn

Summer Success Stories: Parkside Plaza

Summer Success Stories: Parkside Plaza

BeforeAfter
The Hort is dedicated to sustaining a robust network of neighborhood plaza managers to maintain clean, safe and vibrant public spaces across New York City while promoting the economic, social, environmental, and quality of life benefits of neighborhood plazas to New York’s civic, business, and philanthropic communities; the media; and elected officials.

Parkside Plaza, a cozy Prospect-Lefferts Garden corner on Ocean and Parkside Avenues, has drastically transformed over the past two years. The renewal is rooted in The Hort’s vision for each space: a beautiful, functional, and publicly managed green space where the community can relax and engage with one another. More broadly: a great spot to sit.

2picThis summer, the growth and transformation of the previously derelict, forgotten patch of concrete continued. The all-volunteer plaza management group, The Parkside Committee, hosted three major events or “plaza activations”: a celebration of the Plaza’s 1-year anniversary, an African Drumming & Dance festival, and a Community Resource Fair, which highlighted housing information, pre-K offerings, and voter registration. Thousands of people participated in each event, while hundreds more flocked to the newly founded Sunday farmer’s market.

At the Hort, we know that big events are only part of the equation for a successful plaza. We know that it is day-in, day-out maintenance that brings lasting change to a neighborhood and over time creates a true asset. A clean, well-maintained plaza sends an unmistakable message that investment is happening. For Parkside, that investment is the time, money, and sweat equity from the community stewards.
parkside2

To make the volunteer investment sustainable and worthwhile, the GreenTeam and the Association of Community Employment (ACE) arrive every morning to unlock and arrange tables and chairs, raise the umbrellas, and remove litter — reversing those tasks each evening. The work crews also plant season-specific flowers, bringing new, lush color to the Q-Train “greyscape”. The positive response has led the scope of the project to expand as the Parkside Committee guided the renewal of half a dozen tree pits on the nearby streets.

Parkside Plaza has been one of the many successes from New York’s Plaza Program. Our hope is that everyone is able to visit a plaza, engage in with the community, pull up a chair, and relax. Or as Ike Rosen, a Prospect-Lefferts Garden resident, stated on the Parkside Plaza Facebook page, “I’ve never been to the farmers market, but as a mobility-challenged resident of the neighborhood, I appreciate the seating area available when out shopping.”

Learn more about the Hort’s GreenTeam and Neighborhood Plaza Partnership at www.thehort.org

Also, learn more about our great partners, Parkside Plaza Committee and the Association of Community Employment (ACE).

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End of Summer Recipes: From the Garden to the Table

End of Summer Recipes: From the Garden to the Table

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As summer draws to a close, it’s time to think about how best to use the remains of your summer gardening efforts. What better way to celebrate a successful summer season than with a garden party full of delectable summer fruit and vegetable delights? It’s a great way to share locally grown produce and your gardening skills. Treat your guests to this perfect garden party menu of easy and delicious recipes below:

Pan-Cooked Summer Squash With Tomatoes and Basil

Credit: Martha Rose Shulman, NYTimes
Credit: Martha Rose Shulman, NYTimes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds medium or small zucchini or other summer squash, thinly sliced or diced (depending on what shape squash you use)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ripe tomatoes, grated on the large holes of a box grater, or peeled, seeded and diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped or slivered fresh basil (to taste)

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy skillet. Add the zucchini. Cook, stirring or shaking the pan, until the zucchini is lightly seared and beginning to soften, three to five minutes. Remove from the pan, and set aside.

Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, then the garlic. Cook, stirring, just until fragrant — less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have begun to cook down, about five minutes. Return the zucchini to the pan, add salt and pepper to taste, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until the zucchini is tender and translucent and the tomatoes have cooked down to a fragrant sauce. Stir in the basil, and taste and adjust seasonings. Remove from the heat and serve hot, or allow to cool and serve at room temperature.
Serves four to six.

Corn and Zucchini Salad with Chives

Credit: Faith Durand, The Kitchn
Credit: Faith Durand, The Kitchn

2 small zucchini, diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 ears sweet corn, kernels shaved off
1 cup minced chives
1/2 cup chopped mint, plus sprigs to garnish

Directions:

Place the diced zucchini in a colander or small bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt. Set aside. Heat a deep skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil and the butter. When the butter foams up, add the corn kernels and cook, stirring frequently, until they are tender — about 5 minutes.

Drain any excess water off the zucchini and add to the skillet, along with the chives and mint. Sauté just until the zucchini is barely tender — about 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately while hot, or at room temperature.

Fresh Vegetable BBQ Pizza

Credit: Iowa Girl Eats
Credit: Iowa Girl Eats

1/3 cup BBQ sauce
1 cup black beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
½ cup chopped red onions
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Pizza Dough or Pizza Crust

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread BBQ sauce evenly on top of Pizza dough. Layer with Black beans, corn, tomatoes and red onions. Sprinkle with cheese until covered. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Let cool five minutes then slice. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top before serving.


Zucchini Bread Cookie Whoopie Pie

Credit: Iowa Girl Eats,Iowa Girl Eats
Credit: Iowa Girl Eats,Iowa Girl Eats

For Bread Cookies:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup (4oz) unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup finely grated zucchini (squeezed of excess moisture then measured)
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup flour
1-1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the icing:
2 Tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
4oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Combine butter, applesauce, and sugars in a large mixing bowl and beat for 2 minutes (mixture won’t be light and fluffy – it’s ok.) Add egg then beat to combine. Add vanilla then beat to combine.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients in two batches, mixing well between each batch. Add zucchini and mix to combine then add oatmeal and mix to combine. Cover bowl then place in the refrigerator for one hour, or until dough holds it’s shape when scooped.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop 1 Tablespoon dough onto parchment paper lined baking sheets then bake for 10 minutes, or until set on top. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the icing: While the cookies are cooling, combine butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scoop into a piping or ziplock bag, snip off the corner, then pipe onto half the cooled cookies and top with the other half. Store whoopie pies in an airtight container in the fridge.

The Greenhouse’s Top Twelve Life Lessons

The Greenhouse’s Top Twelve Life Lessons

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“When I’m in the garden, it doesn’t even feel like I’m in jail. It’s beautiful here”.
– 18 year old GreenHouse student.

The GreenHouse program on Rikers Island is a unique, longstanding collaboration between the Horticultural Society of New York (The Hort), the New York City Department of Correction (DOC), and the New York City Department of Education (DOE). GreenHouse combines year-round horticulture education, vocational training, and hands-on experiences to encourage cognitive behavioral change and provide participants the tools they need to positively redirect their lives.

greenhouse-240_2GreenHouse serves men and women aged 19 and older sentenced a year or less, and male detainees aged 16 to 21. Trained Horticulture Therapists develop a comprehensive, horticulture therapy curriculum, which offers inmates opportunities to design, install, and maintain gardens in several facilities and sites on Rikers Island. The curriculum is adjusted to the individual based on their needs, abilities, and comfort level. Participants’ input is highly valued as facilitators look to them to specify planting groups, develop plant lists, provide design ideas, and create work plans — encouraging ownership and responsibility.

The Rikers Island gardens are lush and offer a glimpse into the passion, commitment, and love the students have for their green space. Annual and perennial flowers, a wide range of herbs, an assortment of vegetables, fruit and berry plants, ponds and seating areas, composting facilities, and rainwater sections can all be found in the gardens; you would never guess it, but working in the garden is less growing plants and more growing people. People-Plant relationships teach many important life lessons and Hilda Krus, the GreenHouse director, shares her top twelve life lessons the GreenHouse teaches:

1. Everything has it’s Time

Year-round gardening is a regenerative cycle of planting, growing, ripening and preparing anew. The same can be said about each participant – they  prepare for the next steps in life.

2. Instant Gratification and Late Gratification

At any point, you can step into the garden, work to improve it, plant more flowers, or just do the basics and you will see instant success. But, gardening also requires patience for plants to ripen, or for blooms to appear. Flowers, fruit, vegetables, and blooms make the wait worthwhile.

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3. Responsibility

By taking care of a specific section or plant, students are encouraged to take ownership and responsibility without being burdened. Students practice nurturing something that is less demanding than an animal or a person. This does not put pressure on individuals but creates an environment where a living thing responds to care and love.

4. Being a Community Caretaker

Tending the garden teaches students that they directly impact the space they’re working and living in. Understanding this concept allows them to recognize, as a group, everyone impacts each other — positive or negative.

“What really takes place is camaraderie, a feeling that this is how it is supposed to be. That if fifteen men had a patch of land and some knowledge, they could make it thrive together.” – 20 year old GreenHouse student

5. Second Chances do Exist

A garden is (mostly) forgiving. If something is wrong, participants see the plants responding and can correct the error. Even with big mistakes, it usually isn’t life-or-death, teaching the value of life without being overwhelmed

6. Gardening as a Skill

When students are attentive, they learn to have success with their plants, meaning they can take pride in a new skill. Throughout the process, they receive compliments on their work, develop self-confidence, and encourage others to seek positive feedback rather than negative attention.

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7. Cognitive Stimulation

The garden works all senses: sight, taste, smell, touch, and hearing, allowing participants to let down their defenses and simply rest and enjoy

8. Learning to Treat Themselves with Care

Participants learn to take care of themselves by eating healthier, enjoying simple herbal teas and cosmetics, experiencing working in an open space, and paying more attention to their personal needs.

 

9. Accessing a World Bigger than Us

So long as it’s given proper care, nature doesn’t care about the location or who cares for it. Inmates see this as an opportunity to connect to and thrive in a bigger world compared to their confined lives.

“No single person takes credit, we all take credit. No single person benefits, we all benefit. All of the creativity and talent we bring to the garden is allowed to blossom.” – 36 year old GreenHouse student

10. Connecting with Family and One’s Roots

Many participants have distant memories of parents, or more often, grandparents tending gardens and growing food. Interactions with the natural world reconnect them with family, reminding them of good times, and providing an increased appreciation of their heritage.

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11. Release Stress and Tension

A non-threatening environment does the world of good for each inmate. Along with the cognitive stimulation, they are physically relaxed and mentally engaged. It’s well known that fresh air and open spaces help everyone’s minds grow.

12. Positive Memories

When students are released or move on, they need to reconsider previous choices and come to terms with their lives. The memory of the GreenHouse brings participants a feeling of comfort and peace which can aid their decisions and change the course of their lives.

Upon release, former GreenHouse students are eligible to join the Hort’s GreenTeam, a transitional workforce development team. GreenTeam instructors collaborate with service providers such as substance abuse programs, mental health providers, and job-readiness organizations to support interns as they step back into productive lives. Interns without a high school diploma or GED are encouraged to pursue their diplomas while working with the Hort.

“Though many of us will move on quickly from the garden, we will never forget the experience. For while we were touching nature, nature was touching us.” – 23 year old GreenHouse student

GreenHouse serves as an internship opportunity for future horticultural therapists and individuals from other fields of study. GreenHouse has trained numerous horticultural therapy students from NYU, Columbia, Farm School New York, John Jay College, Union Theological Seminary, The New School, Temple University, and Penn State. The Hort collaborates with the New York Re-Entry Network, Sustainability in Prisons Network, American Horticultural Therapy Association, NY State Association of Incarcerated Education Programs, and have presented on the GreenHouse in Austria and Indonesia.

To learn more about the Hort’s GreenHouse Program visit www.thehort.org

Announcing the 19th Annual International Botanical Art Exhibition

Announcing the 19th Annual International Botanical Art Exhibition

19th Annual International Botanical Art Exhibition

American Society of Botanical Artists and The Horticultural Society of New York at New York Design Center, 200 Lexington Ave., New York, NY
November 3 – December 23, 201619th Annual Images IN 2

Opening Reception & Awards Ceremony
Thursday, November 3, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm

VIP Reception & Press Preview
Thursday, November 3 from 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Please RSVP by October 28 to Scourtade@thehort.org

The premier showcase of contemporary botanical art opens November 3, featuring some of the genre’s most established artists worldwide alongside emerging talents. Hosted by the New York Design Center in its 10th Floor gallery space, the exhibition features forty-eight artworks by artists from the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, and the UK. Artworks were selected from a highly competitive field of 258 submissions by jurors Susan Fraser, Director, Mertz Library, The New York Botanical Garden; David Horak, Curator of the Aquatic House, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Catherine Watters, Botanical Artist. Jared Goss, formerly an Associate Curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and a Board Member of The Hort, has agreed to serve as guest Curator for the exhibition.

This year’s exhibition has a broad range of botanical depictions, from flowers and fruit to roots, trees, and heirloom vegetables. Autumn is harvest time, and several artworks are timed for the season. Linda Medved-Lufkin (US) has depicted a tangle of filaments and husk in her dramatic watercolor Purple Popcorn, featured on this year’s exhibition card. Viewed from above, Speckled Hound Pie Pumpkin in Decline is a study in texture and color by Kathy Schermer-Gramm (US). And the upright spiky branches of Japanese Quince pit the aggressive thorns of its branches against its heavy orbs of fruit in Lizzie Sanders’ (UK) watercolor.

19th Annual Images IN smNoriko Kaneko’s (Japan) watercolor Chinese Cork Oak is evocative of the windswept rustle of dried leaves, with its muted palette of siennas and gray-greens. Coneflower, Winter is a silvery rendition in graphite of seed heads and dried foliage that remain long after the season has passed, by Jane Hancock (US). Rosalind Allchin’s (Canada) watercolor Blue Flag Iris Seedpods shows the wispy, desiccated pods cradling its mother lode of fertile bronze seeds. To examine the seed head and follicles of Coast Banksia is to take an exotic tour through a strange landscape, along with Australian artist Deb Chirnside.

Some very dramatic flowers are represented here as well. Jean Emmons’ (US) watercolor on vellum Hibiscus ‘Hugs and Kisses’ is a rendering of action, its flower’s center seemingly a vortex around which its rainbow-colored petals whirl. Camellia ‘White Phoenix’ is a contrast between dark waxy leaves and pom pom-like white flowers in Akiko Enokido’s (Japan) lush watercolor on vellum. Cockscomb II, Carrie DiCostanzo’s (US) gouache painting, depicts playfully undulating stems, its many brilliant floral folds repeating the rhythm. For the traditionalists in the audience, Esmée Winkel’s (Netherlands) Blackberry Lily is skillfully rendered, showing beautifully modeled flowers and seeds, each leaf vein and wrinkle lovingly painted in watercolor.12576136-cockscomb-ii-by-carrie-di-costanzo

Fruits and vegetables find an enthusiastic audience in the botanical artist. An oil on paper by Ingrid Finnan (US), Breakfast Radishes, uses a bottom-up vantage point to depict a hefty clump of rosy orbs and imperfect leaves. Intricately frilled edges of Kale are satisfyingly shown in a breezy composition by Lara Call Gastinger (US), and Liz Shippam’s (UK) Blueberries ‘Coville’ are a hyper-real, asymmetrically composed watercolor of a ripening berry branch. Artist Asuka Hishiki’s (Japan) Dancing Duo humorously examines the scars a couple of heirloom tomatoes incur through the season, while still able to produce mouth-watering fruit. The two tomatoes barely touch, while anchored to their branch whose leaves have also seen better days.

This exhibition continues to surprise and amaze, the genre’s vitality demonstrated by the breadth of interpretations of the plants we find around us. A series of events is being planned for this year’s exhibition, see ASBA’s website at http://asba-art.org/exhibitions/19th-annual-international for updates. For further information or to arrange a guided group visit, contact exhibitions@asba-art.org. The American Society of Botanical Artists has a membership of over 1,500 from the United States and 27 other countries. Its mission is to provide a thriving, interactive community dedicated to perpetuating the tradition and contemporary practice of botanical art.

The Horticultural Society of New York’s Gallery mission is to sustain the connection between people and plants. Its social service and public programs educate and inspire, growing a broad community that values horticulture for the many benefits it brings to our environment, our neighborhoods, and our lives.

RSVP: https://19thannualexhibition.eventbrite.com

For further information, please contact:

ASBA at 866-691-9080 / exhibitions@asba-art.org / www.asba-art.org

or

The Hort at 212-757-0915 / Scourtade@thehort.org / www.thehort.org

1st Dibs Gallery at New York Design Center, 200 Lexington Ave, New York is open Monday – Friday from 9:30 – 5:30.

In Conversation with Lisa Miller, Ph.D.

In Conversation with Lisa Miller, Ph.D.

GFC Lunch & Lecture: September 27, 2016

Green Family Circle Luncheon and Lecture speaker and author of The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving discusses spirituality and her findings with The Horticultural Society of New York.

Lisa Miller

As a clinical psychologist your research into the spiritual development of children, adolescents, and families, has generated strong evidence that spirituality is part of our inherent biological nature and is foundational to thriving. In your new book, you not only synthesize the results of these studies but offer parents a pathway toward understanding the essential importance of promoting a spiritual life in their children. Why is this research so groundbreaking and why is it so important?

Models of child development have been essentially silent on the matter of spirituality in child and adolescent development, largely due to a lack of scientific research. With a relatively recent wave of rigorous science in top peer review journals, we now have a breakthrough wave of science that shows us: 1) children are born inherently spiritual, 2) this natural spirituality can be supported by parents and caring adults, and 3) if it is supported, it is the greatest source of resilience and thriving known to the medical or social sciences.

Just as the child is born with an innate social sense or cognitive ability, every child is born with a biologically based capacity for natural spirituality. This natural spirituality, if it is supported, is a tremendous resource for health and thriving. The research supports this: adolescents with a strong personal spirituality are 60% less likely to suffer from substance use and abuse and 80% less likely to engage in risky and unprotected sex than adolescents who are not spiritually oriented.

How would you define the science of spirituality?

Science is a way of seeing and testing, and an infinite range of topics can be regarded through its lens. We often look at a great force in terms of its impact, indirectly. For example, gravity– we cannot see gravity, instead we look at the expression or effects of gravity on objects or planets. The science of spirituality does the same. The science of spirituality examines the impact of spirituality on human thriving, health, and development by measuring the effects of spiritual life on the brain, our bodies, our health, and our relationships. The science of spirituality has shown there is a lifelong connection between spirituality and thriving. It has also shown that the essential foundation for spirituality is established in the first two decades of life.

The science of spirituality has shown there is a lifelong connection between spirituality and thriving. It has also shown that the essential foundation for spirituality is established in the first two decades of life.

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