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Green Family Circle Spring Newsletter

Green Family Circle Spring Newsletter


GFC Fall 2016 Newsletter


Mr. Green Bean’s Spring Adventure

Mr. Green Bean’s Spring Adventure

Make Your Own Herb Garden

Ages 3-8


  • Biodegradable pots
  • Soil
  • Seeds (we recommend Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, and Chives)
  • Craft sticks
  • Shovels or something to scoop soil
  • Spray bottle filled with water


    1. Pick a location – an ideal location is close to the kitchen, but also somewhere that gets about six hours of sun a day.
      Scoop the soil and fill the container almost to the top
    2. Inspect and plant the seeds. Seeds are interesting and come in different sizes and shapes, take a few minutes to examine them! Place a few seeds in the soil and gently push some soil on top of the seeds.
    3. Label the container. With the craft sticks, write out which herb you just planted and place in the corresponding pot.
    4. Mist the soil right away and twice a day after that. Young seedlings love to be watered!

Watch them grow. In a few weeks, you should be able to harvest your first tasty herbs.

Tree Identification

Ages 10+

Street trees play an essential role in the New York City environment. Our city is home to over 590,000 street trees from 52 different species. Four of the most common street trees in NYC are Linden, Ash, Maple, and Hemlock. While you are on your next neighborhood walk, take a few minutes to examine your local trees and try to identify them!

  1. Look at the leaf! Are they simple or compound? Simple: one leaf per stem; Compound: many leaves per stem.
  2. Are they broadleaf or coniferous? Broadleaf trees have flat leaves; coniferous trees have needles and cones, like a pine tree!
  3. Find the seeds. You know those ‘helicopter seeds’ (Samaras)? They are often found on Maples. Just as acorns are indicative of Oaks!
  4. Feel the bark. When you get more experience, look at the bark to see if it is scaly, furrowed, papery, or smooth.

Fun Tip: Find out a tree’s age by measuring its trunk. For every inch around, that is roughly how old it is!

Seasonal Recipe

Vegetable Frittata



  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach
  • 4 ounces feta


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF with rack in center position. In a large bowl, beat eggs with milk, salt and pepper.
  2. Warm oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add red pepper and onion and sauté until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in spinach and sauté until wilted, about 2 minutes. Distribute vegetables evenly in skillet and pour in egg mixture. Crumble feta on top. Cook without stirring until eggs are just beginning to set around the edges, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Place skillet in oven. Bake frittata until almost set in center, about 15 minutes. Turn broiler on high; broil frittata until top is golden brown, about 2 minutes, watching carefully to prevent over-browning. Remove from oven. Let frittata rest for 5 minutes before serving.


PS 57: The Hidden Garden

PS 57: The Hidden Garden


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


  • 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!
Green Family Circle Fall Newsletter

Green Family Circle Fall Newsletter

GFC Fall 2016 Newsletter


Precious Pinecone Owls

Ages 3-10


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


  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!


All Natural Halloween Mask

Ages 10+


  • 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


  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 and Zucchini Salad with Chives



  • 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


  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

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

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 for updates. For further information or to arrange a guided group visit, contact 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.


For further information, please contact:

ASBA at 866-691-9080 / /


The Hort at 212-757-0915 / /

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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The Hort’s 4th Annual Green Bean Bash

The Hort’s 4th Annual Green Bean Bash


On February 6th the Hort hosted the Fourth Annual Green Bean Bash at Temple Israel. Over 300 children and adults gathered for an afternoon of fun crafts, delectable vegetables, crawly insects, glittery tattoos, and hang out with everyone’s favorite mustachioed friend: Mr. Green Bean. For three hours, families learned the intricacies of our natural world while having bundles of fun.

When the children finished their Green Bean Bash Curiosity quest – completing all bash activities – they earned their Mr. Green Bean mustache and sea-themed curiosity kit – a hands-on adventure in a box.

Alatia Bradley Bach, Paige Betz, Meg Chamberlin, Melanie Chisholm, Jessica Cho, Ashley Christopher, Dana James, Kamie Lightburn, Alison Strong, and Mary Van Pelt co-chaired the event which supported The Hort’s programs to beautify low-income communities across the five boroughs and help make New York greener.

Check out our Flickr album for more awesome Green Bean Bash pictures.

The Hort Welcomes Apple Seed Education Intern

The Hort Welcomes Apple Seed Education Intern


Pamela Ito, Director of Education:
I am pleased to introduce Maya Farestein-Weiss to our Apple Seed teaching team. Maya is a jovial, creative high school senior at the Institute for Collaborative Education. As a young child, Maya’s parents were members of a local Manhattan community garden, where she spent a great deal of time planting flowers, vegetables and herbs, as well as interacting with neighbors in the East Village. Prior to her Hort internship, Maya spent a summer living on and off a yellow school bus, where she visited and camped on Vermont farmlands. She investigated how food is grown, from the farm to plate– and its individual and societal meaning. We are so thrilled to have Maya “on board” and look forward living the motto of the Magic School Bus: Take chances, make mistakes and get messy!

Green Family Circle Winter Recipe

Green Family Circle Winter Recipe

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry Syrup


Black elderberries (Sambucus nigra) are known for being full of vitamins and immune boosting compounds that have been shown to help fight colds and the flu. You may also use juices from frozen blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, either from the grocery store or frozen from summer berry picking. This syrup is great on waffles and pancakes, mixed into sparkling water, or taken in sips to maintain your health throughout the winter.




2/3 cup black elderberries
3½ cups of water
2 tablespoons fresh or dried ginger root
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
½ teaspoon cloves or clove powder
1 cup raw honey (local is best!)


1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey!)
2. Bring to a boil and then immediately cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour the mix through a strainer or some cheesecloth into a glass jar or bowl.
3. Discard the elderberries (or compost them!). Add honey and stir well.
4. Pour syrup into a jar or bottle and store in the fridge. The recommended dose for a child is ½ tsp-1 tsp. and ½ tbsp. to 1 tbsp. for adults. If you get sick, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours until symptoms disappear; otherwise take a dose about 4-5 times a week to boost immunity.

Mr. Green Bean’s Winter Activities

Mr. Green Bean’s Winter Activities

DIY Desk Pals

DIY Desk Pals
Ages 3-8

Go nuts – and spices and beans! Have fun making these simple treasures with your children.

• 1 cup water
• 6 bags Chai tea
• 1 cup salt
• 2 cups flour
• Assorted spices and seeds: Cinnamon sticks, cloves, lentils, pumpkin seeds, peppercorns, cardamom pods etc.

1. Heat water and steep three chai tea bags for at least five minutes.
2. Mix the salt and flour in another container and add in the dry contents of three other bags of Chai tea.
3. Next, have an adult pour steeped tea into the dry ingredients and mix well.
4. Add more water or flour if the dough is too dry or sticky.
5. On a floured surface, roll out the dough and cut whatever shapes you wish. To make ornaments, remember to make a hole for the string.
6. Decorate the ornaments by pressing the spices and seeds into the dough.
7. Bake in a 200˚ oven for two hours and enjoy the aroma!



Pine Cone Chandelier

Pine Cone Chandelier
Ages 10+

Transform pine cones into a creative hanging “chandelier” that brings nature indoors!

• Pine cones
• Large & medium-size embroidery hoops
• An assortment of feathers
• Glitter
• Hot glue
• White thread
• White spray paint or white acrylic paint
• Scissors.

1. Gently coat pine cones with white paint, and sprinkle with glitter while paint is wet.
2. If desired, paint the hoops white.
3. Tie the embroidery hoops together by wrapping both hoops with the thread with the desired space in between. Wrap in at least four different spots to secure tightly.
4. Wrap thread around the tip of each feather and tie a knot-be sure to leave a 12” tail to hang them with.
5. Cut different lengths of thread and tie a knot at one end. Place some hot glue on the bottom of each pine cone and place the thread inside it.
6. Tie the feathers and cones to the inner and outer hoops.
7. Hang anywhere to enjoy the beauty of the natural world!