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Course Listing - by Instructor

Name Biography
Patrick Austin Patrick Austin is the plant propagator and nursery gardener at BBG. A former BBG propagation intern, he has an undergraduate degree in Linguistics, and is always interested in learning about how plants got their names. He has also worked at Greenbelt Native Plant Center, propagating native plant species for habitat restoration around the five boroughs.
Kim Eierman Specializing in ecological landscapes and native plants, Kim Eierman is a certified horticulturist through the American Society for Horticultural Science, master gardener, master naturalist, and accredited organic land care professional. In addition to BBG, she teaches at the New York Botanical Garden, the Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College (where she is also on the steering committee), and several other institutions. Kim is an active speaker on many ecological gardening topics and also provides horticultural consulting to homeowners and commercial clients.
Joseph Giunta Joseph Giunta has led bird walks for the Nature Conservancy and the South Fork Natural History Society and taught a beginning birding course for Summer Fest. He has birded extensively in the U.S., Panama, Belize, Venezuela, and Costa Rica.
Lydia Paradiso Lydia Paradiso is currently a doctoral student in a joint program between the CUNY Graduate Center and the New York Botanical Garden, where she studies conifer systematics and the spontaneous flora of New York City. She previously received a MSc in Plant Biodiversity from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. Lydia has taught at Lehman College and for NYBG's School of Professional Horticulture, and was project comanager of the NYC EcoFlora project, NYBG's community science program. She is also the current president of the Torrey Botanical Society, the oldest botanical society in the Americas.
Carey Russell Carey Russell is a naturalist, educator, filmmaker and photographer based in New York City. He holds a master’s degree in forestry with an emphasis in landscape ecology, and is a certified interpretive guide, and a licensed guide and master naturalist in New York State. He has worked for the U.S. Forest Service, the Nature Conservancy, Discover Outdoors, and Khangi Nuruu National Park in Mongolia. Recently, he founded the Dendro Lab, a platform designed to improve the public’s relationship to nature through tree identification, which will include an online course, workshops, and podcast. As a filmmaker, he has been a frequent collaborator with director Terrence Malick (The New World, The Tree of Life); and directed and photographed the documentary series Tibetan Stories. Also a photographer, Russell recently published his first monograph, The New Arcadians, about the formative experiences of youth and nature at summer camp.
Valerie Striar Valerie Striar has led walking meditation at the Garden since 2014 with the intention of supporting our interconnection and reverence for the earth. Valerie has cultivated a longtime practice of mindfulness meditation and is certified with the Inner Strength Foundation and Inward Bound Mindfulness Education for Teens, iBme. She has completed trainings with Lama Rod Owens, Tara Brach; Jack Kornfield; Mindful Schools (the eight-week MBSR training), Compassion Cultivation Training, created at Stanford University; and yoga and trauma-informed training with The Lineage Project, among others. She has taught yoga in the Iyengar tradition for over 25 years. Valerie is also a performing dance and theater artist and is a master practitioner, facilitator, and advisor with Narrative 4, an international organization that brings people together in story exchanges to foster empathy, understanding, and connection.
Nsombi Woodson Nsombi Woodson is the founder of The Woodson Bloomery, an interactive floral art studio which teaches the artistic expression of floral design. Nsombi Woodson’s love of flowers began in childhood among the beautiful roses her grandmother grew in her Bronx backyard. Nsombi explains her artistic philosophy as “Trying very hard not to mess up what Mother Nature has given.” She loves demonstrating “the joyful, meditative, and restorative nature of floral design.” In her 20 year career, her floral designs have been featured in the Kips Bay Decorator Show House, Elle Decor Magazine, Southern Bride Magazine, Coveteur, and Architecture Digest.