Green Cities:  Urban Forestry in NYC, Chicago and Seattle

North American Tea Championship Selects Best Iced Tea for Summer 2013

What You Should Know About Juicing Before You Start

Monarch Memories Last a Lifetime

Sierra Magazine Rates Top Plug-In Hybrids

nature conserve

Green Cities:  Urban Forestry in NYC, Chicago and Seattle

It’s easy to take them for granted, but trees are a living, breathing part of our communities. Trees are commonly associated with where they grow naturally:  forests, fields, mountains, and other “natural” areas.  Although trees aren’t immediately associated with cities, urban areas are where trees have some of their greatest benefits—and that’s often where they’re most needed.

Now, haphazardly planting trees in an urban area will likely bring some benefits, but to maximize the cooling power of trees, research and management is require. This process is known as urban forestry, which the Sustainable Cities Institute defines as “the art, science, and technology of managing trees and natural systems in and around urban areas for the health and well-being of communities.”

Urban forestry has become increasingly important as global temperatures have risen because, simply put, trees go a long way toward cooling cities off.

New York
America’s biggest city has gone a long way toward becoming the largest proponent of urban forestry—the Big Apple has increased its tree count by nearly 20 percent in the past 10 years. New York’s trees go to work for the city every day by sequestering over 42,000 tons of carbon emissions per year. Trees in the city also intercept 890.6 million gallons of stormwater per year, which saves the city over $35 million annually.

The Windy City has set its sights on developing a tree canopy to cool the city and reduce carbon emissions. A positive consequence of Chicago’s tree canopy has been a rise in property value for homes and buildings with multiple trees on-site. The City boasts 17.2 percent total tree coverage and about 3.6 million total trees in the city, which is more than one tree per resident.

Seattle’s 4.35 million trees help the city save $5.9 million in energy costs and store 2 million pounds of CO2. Like Chicago, Seattle has succeeding in creating a tree canopy that covers 23 percent of the city, and the City’s trees remove 725 metric tons of pollution from the environment annually, valued at $5.6.

Urban forestry initiatives are significant because they often catch on to individual residents who take up their own personal forestry projects. At USAgain, they’ve planted trees in St. Louis, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, in St. Paul, MN, in partnership with St. Paul Parks and Recreation, and in Oakland, in partnership with the Oakland City Council. They’ve also committed to sponsoring 200,000 new trees across the world with Trees for the Future, a non-profit agroforestry organization. 

Wouldn’t it be great to see more trees grow along city streets and in urban parks throughout the US?  As EPA research shows, trees in cities can reduce peak summertime temperatures by 2-9 degrees Fahrenheit… so it’s been statistically proven that trees are pretty cool.  For more info about USAgain, visit


North American Tea Championship Selects Best Iced Tea for Summer 2013

Just in time for summer, last month the North American Tea Championship (NATC) selected 20 first-place winners in numerous categories during its annual Iced Tea Class evaluation. TheChampionship is the only independent competition, judged by professional cuppers, to distinguish the highest quality and best tasting teas that are commercially available in the North American marketplace.

North American Tea Championship Judge Eliot Jordan, director of tea at Peet's Coffee & Tea, said, "The overall cup quality standard for iced beverages is higher than it was just a few years ago. Plus, innovation has strengthened. Let's hope these are trends that continue."

NATC Judge Anthony Tellin, a former tea buyer/formulator for Starbucks' Tazo and the current tea buyer and director of operations at Smith Teamaker, said, "From a consumer's perspective, it is a great time to be a lover of iced tea. With more options and higher quality across all iced tea channels, this summer is sure to be refreshing and delicious. In fact, it made judging and choosing the best in category that much more difficult, but what a wonderful challenge to have."

A complete list of first, second and third-place winners, as well as details on the Championship, is available at The next North American Tea Championship, for spring 2013 harvest teas, takes place July 2013.

Iced tea first-place winners include (company, tea and category):

  • QTrade Teas & Herbs ( Emerald Green, Foodservice Unflavored/Unsweetened Green

  • S&D Coffee and Tea (, Teafinity Sweet, Foodservice Bag-in-Box Sweetened Black

  • S&D Coffee and Tea (, Teafinity Unsweet, Foodservice Bag-in-Box Unflavored/Unsweetened Black

  • Tiki Tea (, Apricot Papaya Strawberry, Instant Flavored Black

  • Tiki Tea (, Tiki Tea/Acai Blueberry Pomegranate, Instant Flavored Green

  • Mellow Monk, LLC (, Lightly Roasted Iced Green Tea, Instant Unflavored/Unsweetened Green

  • Crystal Geyser Water Company (, Tejava Premium Iced Tea, Ready-To-Drink Unflavored/Unsweetened Black

  • TEAloe LLC (, TEAloe Mint, Ready-To-Drink Flavored Green

  • ITO EN (North America) (, TEAS' TEA Half & Half Green Tea with Lemonade, Ready-To-Drink Sweetened Green

  • ITO EN (North America) (, TEA'S TEA Green Tea,  Ready-To-Drink Unflavored/Unsweetened Green

  • Gizmo Beverages ( Tea of a Kind - Pomegranate Acai White Tea, Ready-To-Drink Herbal

  • Evy Tea, LLC ( Tea Cuvee Amber Oolong, Ready-To-Drink Flavored Oolong

The North American Tea Championship Iced Tea Class is evaluated once a year, and every submission is evaluated blind and through organoleptic analysis of characteristics, including flavor, body, color, clarity and balance. An overall numerical value on a 100-point scale is then calculated based on the ratings of each characteristic, and winning teas are determined by rank.

As a first-time NATC judge, Tellin said he was impressed with both the products and the competition itself. "NATC is well thought out and executed, providing categories to support different product types, formats and delivery systems; so each product is fairly judged against similar products in the marketplace," he said. "The results allow producers to understand how their products are compared to others through impartial judging by industry professionals, something that aids tremendously in marketing, operations and product development."

Wilbur Curtis, a leading manufacturer of tea brewers and accessories, was the host and equipment supplier for the North American Tea Championship Iced Tea Class evaluation. Global Customized Water provided 300 gallons of water for the competition.



What You Should Know About Juicing Before You Start

“The Juice Lady” Offers Tips for Beginners and Veterans

It’s no longer just celebrities, world-class athletes and alternative-lifestyle hippies turning to green smoothies and freshly juiced vegetable and fruits for improved health, says nutritionist and juicing pioneer Cherie Calbom, MS. (“The Juice Lady”).

“People from all walks of life are looking for proven ways to lose weight, energize, sleep better, strengthen their immune systems, and have brighter skin and a younger appearance.  They’re also juicing to help their bodies heal from a variety of ailments,” says Calbom, author of a new book full of juicing tips, tricks and recipes, “The Juice Lady's Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies,” (

“No matter your diet, juicing offers a shot of goodness – nutrition, minerals, phytonutrients and more – that you might not otherwise get,” Calbom says.

Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been juicing awhile and want to optimize the experience, Calbom shares some important pointers that will help.

• Fruits & veggies happiness studies:  Plenty of new research shows that adding more produce to your daily diet can benefit your mental health and sense of well-being. In one analysis of the eating habits and moods of 80,000 British adults, researchers at Dartmouth and the University of Warwick found that those who consumed the most fruit and vegetables every day rated themselves as significantly happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who ate lesser amounts.  Research shows that the well-being score for people who ate seven to eight servings of vegetables and fruits per day was consistently three points higher than for those who ate little or none.

• More studies ... Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health concluded from a study of 982 Americans that those who exhibited the most optimistic outlooks on life also had the highest blood levels of carotene, a key antioxidant that’s delivered by a colorful array of produce: dark green spinach and kale, carrots, and sweet potatoes, and vibrant yellow or orange fruits like peaches, papayas and cantaloupe, among others.  And “juicers” should consider starting at a young age.  A study of 281 adults with a mean age of 20, conducted at the University of Otago, New Zealand, showed that those who reported the highest daily intake of fruits and veggies also declared they were happier, calmer and more energetic than those who ate less. 

• “Do I need to juice; can’t I just eat produce?”:  This is a common response, but the reality is that most people in today’s society – especially those who are booked from morning to evening with a busy lifestyle – rarely get an optimal amount of produce throughout the day.  A half-cup of veggies is a serving and ¾ of a cup of juice equals one serving; chewing seven to eight servings of produce every day requires much more effort and time than drinking fresh juice for some of the servings.  That makes people much more likely to benefit from juice, she says.

• Flavor diversification: Some people soon fall into creative ruts because they stick to the same basic ingredients, and that can be a disincentive for sticking with juicing. Diversify! Try gourmet and exotic juice blends, or even plant-based ingredients you simply haven’t yet considered, some of which may include: butternut squash, one-inch ginger chunks, beets with leaves and stems, Brussels sprouts, and fennel bulbs with fronds. “Juicing is not about just using common fruit ingredients – spice it up and experiment with healthy vegetables; it works!” Calbom says.

• An exotic example:  A fennel-watercress-cucumber blend juice is an excellent way to mix up your typical cocktail. It includes:  1 handful of watercress;  1 dark green lettuce leaf;  1 cucumber, peeled if not organic; ½ fennel bulb and fronds;  1 lemon, peeled if not organic. Cut produce to fit your juicer’s feed tube.  Wrap watercress in lettuce leaf and push through the juicer slowly.  Juice all remaining ingredients.  Drink immediately;  this portion serves one.

Cherie Calbom, MS is the author of 21 books, including the best-seller “Juicing for Life,” with 2 million copies sold in the United States and published in 23 countries. Known as “The Juice Lady” for her work with juicing and health, her juice therapy and cleansing programs have been popular for more than a decade. She holds a Master of Science degree in nutrition from Bastyr University.  She has practiced as a clinical nutritionist at St. Luke Medical Center, Bellevue, Wash., and as a celebrity nutritionist for George Foreman and Richard Simmons.


Monarch Memories Last a Lifetime

Wild Ones:  Native Plants, Natural Landscapes, a national not-for-profit environmental education and advocacy  organization based in Wisconsin, with members in the NY area, wants everyone to be successful in planting a native plant butterfly habitat garden.

Not sure where to start or where to get locally Native Plants?  Your nearest Wild Ones Chapter always has members willing to share advice and encouragement on any Native Plant project.  For a listing of chapters, go to  Also be sure to check out the excellent information on landscaping with Native Plants at the Wild Ones national website:

Planting and caring for Native Plants can open up new worlds to even the most experienced gardeners! Some patience, some rain and following these steps for planting a native plant butterfly habitat garden will help create your own moments to remember.

Here are the steps for success in planting a native plant butterfly habitat garden:

1. Preparation:  Evaluate your site and choose a spot with at least six hours of sunlight. Simply add native plants to an existing garden, or replace a patch of lawn. If replacing a lawn, start with a clean planting bed and remove non-native vegetation if necessary.  Select plant species that match the light, soil, pH and moisture conditions of your garden plot.  

2. Design Considerations:  To be visually appealing, select native plant species of varied heights that bloom at different times. These plants will provide nectar for adult butterflies throughout the season.  Don’t forget to include native grasses such as little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) not only for contrast, but also to help keep the blooming forbs upright. If it all possible, plant at least two types of milkweed for Monarchs and then additional host species for caterpillars of other butterfly species.

Enhance your garden by adding a butterfly puddling spot and small brush pile for over-wintering
species like mourning cloak butterflies. Take a “before” photo of site.

3. Plant Selection:  Make a sketch of the planting plan, and perhaps color-code bloom times for early, mid-season and late flowers.  Fall blossoming nectar-rich plants are particularly important to migrating Monarchs.  Make a list of your plant species and check the number needed. Allow for sufficient room between plants as they mature.  Mulch to provide an initial weed barrier.  Find a reputable native plant nursery that carries plants and seeds from your area (local genotype) and uses best management practices appropriate for sensitive ecosystems.   If seeding, use a nurse crop of rye or oats to reduce weed growth. 

4. Maintenance:  At first, water regularly, remove weeds and keep mulched until the garden is
established.  Adopt pesticide-free practices since this garden is wildlife food. Some butterfly gardeners cut back some stalks of summer milkweed (late June or early July) to force new leaves for Monarch caterpillars—be sure to transfer any eggs or larvae to plants that you don’t cut back. Later in the season (August-September), practice benign neglect! In the fall, leave some dead leaves and stalks to provide overwintering sites for pollinators. Go back to your garden plan and update. Take an “after” photo of your garden.

5. Register your Butterfly Garden habitat. Monarch Watch (MW) and the North America Butterfly
Association (NABA) provide butterfly garden certifications. The Monarch Watch Waystation certification program encourages the planting of places that provide necessary resources for Monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration. The NABA program promotes habitat for butterflies, as well as other pollinators.  If your Waystation or NABA butterfly habitat garden is planted in at least 75% native species, you can also be recognized by Wild Ones.

6. Monitor: Keep records of Monarchs observed. provides contacts for several
monitoring programs to consider. Each week or two keep track of your observations, such as which
plants are preferred by butterflies and other pollinators as host plants and nectar or pollen sources.
Take photos of the garden throughout the season and share your favorites on the Wild Ones website,  

7. Share your seeds or divisions of plants to help start another butterfly garden! Invite others to visit your garden or habitat to enjoy the beauty of the butterflies in the natural landscape you created.

Sierra Magazine Rates Top Plug-In Hybrids

For eco-conscious drivers who also want the freedom of the open road, you should check out the July/August issue of Sierra, the official magazine of the Sierra Club, reveals which plug-in hybrids go the extra mile. The annual Electric Vehicle Guide reviewed six vehicles: Chevrolet Volt, Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion Energi, Honda Accord Plug-In, Fisker Karma, and Toyota Prius Plug-In.

In addition to Sierra’s feature article, there is also a new, complementary online Electric Vehicle Guide. The new EV Guide brings together, for the first time in one place, a buyer’s guide, links to Sierra Club's Go Electric campaign, information on EV incentives and emissions, and current specs for available EVs – all based on where you live.

Visit for the complete Electric Vehicle Guide.