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Course Listing - by Instructor

Name Biography
Yarnelle Bauzil
Melissa Bennett Melissa Bennett earned a PhD in entomology from the University of California at Davis, studying the evolutionary biology of social insects. She has conducted field research and worked at museums including the Smithsonian, the American Museum of Natural History, and the British Museum. She has taught science to students from second grade to graduate school, and her blog explains the natural history and biology of gardening to a general audience. She has almost four decades of professional gardening experience, with her own gardening business From Root to Shoot LLC, serving the Catskills region of New York. She has also worked for a NYC-based horticultural firm, working on rooftops and brownstone backyards. She is a local specialist with a global perspective, having worked in a variety of natural environments (temperate hardwood, desert, tropical, and urban) as a gardener and a scientist.
Nina Browne
Nancy Carey Nan Carey is a painter and potter. Her watercolors and sketchbooks are exhibited widely, and she teaches classes and workshops in watercolor painting, sketchbook journaling, and collage. She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Kwok Kay Choey Kwok Kay Choey is an artist and tai chi instructor. He received his art education in Singapore, New York, and Europe and is proficient in both Chinese and Western painting. He has led painting/calligraphy workshops at the Metropolitan Museum and at the American Museum of Natural History and taught at Queens College, Westchester Community College Center for the Arts, and elsewhere. A practitioner of tai chi/qi gong for more than 50 years, he often participates in tai chi seminars in Asia and has instructor certification in Tai Chi for Arthritis from the Dr. Paul Lam Tai Chi for Health Institute. He practices the Yang style, tracing tai chi's martial arts origins while emphasizing its health benefits.
Mary Christiansen Artist Mary Christiansen taught art at the Brearley School for 29 years and has also been an instructor in botanical art at the New York Botanical Garden, where she received a certificate in botanical art. She has exhibited her work in many juried group shows, including the American Society of Botanical Artists exhibitions at the New York Horticultural Society and at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, DC.
Jibreel Cooper
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.
Ronen Gamil
Martha Harbison
Scout Kerensky-Coodley
Colin Kirk Colin Kirk graduated from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at The University of Georgia with a concentration in Horticulture. He has spent close to 10 years working in various areas of the horticultural industry in New York City, including green roofing, green infrastructure, and urban landscaping. He is currently a gardener at Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing.
Allison Maletz Allison Maletz is a contemporary watercolor and mixed media artist, with degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design and the Slade School of Fine Art, London. She has exhibited her work widely in Europe and the U.S. She has also taught people of all ages and currently leads classes in painting, drawing, illustration, installation, and professional practices for artists at Parsons School of Design, Marymount Manhattan College, and various continuing education courses in NYC.
Shanti Nagel Shanti Nagel is the founder of Design Wild, a landscape design firm that strongly believes the relationship between humans and the natural world is essential for individual health, the strength of communities, and the life of ecosystems. She works at the intersection of landscape design, humans, and community well-being. At the age of 20, Shanti founded an organic vegetable farm operating a CSA and market garden, an later moved from rural to urban agriculture, managing one of NYC’s largest urban farms. Shanti is a graduate of the School of Professional Horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden, a trained horticulturist, and a skilled landscape designer. For the last decade, she has dedicated herself to designing naturally wild and incredibly durable gardens in the heart of Manhattan for public space, community parks, affordable housing, and private residences. Collaborating across the country she works to develop collective vision,and foster community, and consults on farm and landscape projects to create high-functioning open space. Shanti is inspired by the magic of plants to transform the world, bring peace of mind, and guide us to a future on Earth.
Stephanie Pace
Georgia Silvera Seamans Georgia Silvera Seamans is an urban and community forester with field experience in Boston, Oakland, and NYC. She is also an independent researcher and freelance writer. Her research has been published in the journals Urban Forestry & Urban Greening and Arboriculture & Urban Forestry, and she has bylines in Popular Science and Audubon magazines and on the website Urban Omnibus. She is the founder of Local Nature Lab and directs the organization’s Washington Square Park Eco Projects initiative. Silvera Seamans is a co-organizer of #BlackBotanistsWeek.
Valerie Striar Valerie Striar has cultivated a longtime practice of mindfulness meditation and is certified with Ithe Inner Strength Foundation and Inward Bound Mindfulness Education for Teens, iBme. She has completed trainings with 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. Valerie currently teaches a weekly yoga and meditation class at Chan Space and is a guest teacher at the Berkeley Carroll School, where she leads high school students in mindfulness meditation practice. She is also a mentor with Access Mindfulness and volunteers at Pillars Recovery Center. Valerie is a Master Practitioner, facilitator, and advisor with Narrative 4, a national and international organization that brings people together in story exchanges to foster empathy, understanding, and connection. Valerie has taught yoga in the Iyengar tradition for over 25 years. Her classes are restorative in nature and combine imagery and visualization inspired by the natural world. Since 2014, Valerie has led seasonal walking meditation at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Valerie is also a performing dance and theater artist.
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