Be an Earth Advocate – Earth Day 2010 Events

Jump-start Earth Day’s 40th Anniversary Year

The world, now in greater peril than ever, also has unprecedented opportunity to build a new future. In 2010, April 22, the 40th anniversary of the first global Earth Day, we have the collective power to bring about historic advances in individual, civic, corporate, national and international commitments to sustainability. Earth Day Network, a nonprofit organization that spearheads care for the Earth among 17,000 partners and collaborating organizations, sees this year as pivotal.

“Earth Day is a catalyst for environmental change—40 years and 190 countries strong,” says Denis Hayes, the original Earth Day organizer and an Earth Day Network board member. Together, he says, “We will ignite this generation, the Green Generation, with the vigor and passion of the first Earth Day.”

Find scheduled Earth Day activities and register a personal or corporate green action at Plan now to attend and support these local events.

Earth Day 40/Stash the Trash 20
A Waterfront Celebration
Saturday, April 10
11am-4 pm
Louis Engel Waterfront Park

Pitch in for Parks
Sat. & Sun., April 10 & 11
Various locations

Riverlovers Pot Luck & Meeting
Friday, April 16, 6:30pm
Croton Point Nature Center

Third Fridays in Tarrytown
Friday, April 16, 5-9 pm
Tarrytown, NY

Earth Day Shore Clean-up
Saturday, April 17, 10am-3pm
Croton Point Nature Center

Irvington Earth Day 40
Saturday, April 17
Village Hall
85 Main St. Irvington, NY

Birding Basics
Saturday, April 17, 9am
Marshlands Conservancy
Rt. 1, Rye, NY

Earth Day Westchester 2010
Sunday, April 18
Kensico Dam Plaza
1 Bronx River Parkway, Valhalla, NY

Farm Fun at Muscoot
Sunday, April 18, 1-3pm
Rt. 100, Somers, NY

Earth Day Plant Sale
Saturday, April 24
Hilltop Hanover Farm
1271 Hanover St. Yorktown Heights

Film: No Impact Man
Thursday, April 22
7pm.Warner Library
121 North Broadway, Tarrytown

Earth Day Celebration at
Gossett’s Farmer’s Market

Saturday, April 24
1202 Rt. 35, South Salem.

Teatown Hike
Sunday, April 25, 10am
Teatown Nature Center
1600 Spring Valley Rd.
914.762.2912 x 110

Walkable Westchester
Thursday, April 29, 7-8pm.
Hilltop Hanover Farm
1271 Hanover St. Yorktown Heights

Area’s Biggest Wellness Expo Returns April 10, 2010

Awaken Wellness Fair

Awaken Wellness Fair participants at last year's event

The next Awaken Wellness Fair takes place on Saturday, April 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Tarrytown, NY. The producer, PPC Groups LLC, has organized the largest and most well-attended Body-Mind-Spirit Wellness Expos in Westchester and the Hudson Valley for the last three years. CEO Paula Caracappa produced the well-received Goddess Days in New Rochelle for nearly a decade prior to launching these expos.

More than one thousand visitors are expected to participate in a variety of interactive wellness activities, hear informative talks by recognized complementary wellness experts, receive valuable health screenings, meet providers offering  the latest in both hi-tech and “re-discovered” ancient healing methods, and purchase products and services that promote a healthy lifestyle. Attendees will receive a free eco-friendly bag to gather goodies throughout the day, healthy snacks will be readily available for minimal cost, and intuitive readers will be on-hand  for sessions.

The cost for the full day is $10 online, at through April 7, or $15 at the door. A smaller Awaken Wellness Fair will be held at the Best Western Hotel in Nyack NY on May 15. Vendors can register for the Nyack event online at  For more Natural Awakenings news, visit

A Glimpse into the Emerging Field of Integrative Medicine with Yorktown Physician Minerva Santos, MD

Dr. Minerva Santos

Dr. Minerva Santos, Integrative Medicine primary care physician in Yorktown, NY

Imagine a primary care physician who sends you home with recommendations for herbs, homeopathy, acupuncture, and a plan to not only get healthy, but stay healthy as well. Thanks to the field of Integrative Medicine, doctors like Minerva Santos, MD, are practicing these things with great results. Santos is among many physicians who have chosen to supplement their traditional training with studies at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, created by Dr. Andrew Weil. Graduates of Dr. Weil’s programs are able to provide their patients with the best of both worlds – traditional western medicine and complementary healing practices.

A Bronx native who has been practicing medicine in Yorktown since 1992, Santos pursued the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine because patients were asking her about things like herbs and acupuncture, and she wanted to be able to provide proven protocols. Now she uses the knowledge she gathered at the Arizona Center to advise her patients in these areas with confidence. Says Santos, “If we use an herb, there are the studies to back it up. What we do is based on proven therapy.”

Dr. Santos still prescribes antibiotics and other medications when necessary, but she also guides her patients toward the latest proven complementary medicine practices. Like others who practice Integrative Medicine, Santos focuses on prevention to help keep patients from getting sick in the first place.

There are significant differences between traditionally trained medical doctors and those who’ve also been trained in Integrative Medicine, notes Santos. “Where traditional medicine trains doctors to look at people as a bunch of cells and not look at what is going on in a person’s life to see what may be making them ill, Integrative Medicine seeks to find the underling cause of disease. Is the person depressed? Is it a spiritual issue?”

When people come to her office, Santos may ask questions like: “Do you have any community-based support? What do you do with friends? How do you like your job?”  “It’s important to look at the person’s life and see what is going on,” says Santos. “People who are stressed and feel lost don’t have things in their lives. There has to be more in your life than going to work and going home.”

In the past two years, Santos says she has seen more stress-related health problems in response to the economic downturn, such as irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ailments, headaches, and reoccurring sinus infections. She once asked a patient what was wrong and watched the person promptly burst into tears. “After they had a good cry they said, ‘I didn’t realize how unhappy I was,’” says Santos. “That realization, and the release, can play a big role in the patient getting better.”

Most new patients come to Santos looking for a new primary care physician, citing reasons like  “My doctor always wants to give me medicine,” or “I’m not being heard by my doctor.” According to Santos, many traditional doctors are having a hard time and suffering burnout from needing to see more patients while feeling less connection to them due to shorter appointments. In a typical day, Santos says her practice sees 20-25 patients, while other doctors may see more than 35. She usually schedules only two physicals a day, because those appointments take more time.

As for tests, Santos routinely checks patients’ vitamin D levels, citing reports that say that 95% of the NY population has a vitamin D deficiency. She notes that there is a strong correlation between multiple scleroses, breast cancer and low serum vitamin D levels, and says that studies are underway suggesting that low vitamin D levels may also play a role in the development of autism.

Santos sees a lot of adrenal burnout and stress in women at midlife, with symptoms like depression, weight gain around the middle, and fatigue. “People need to learn how to relax,” says Santos. “It sounds easy, but it’s not that easy.”  She offers weight loss programs that have had great success, and goes on the road to lecture about the need for stress reduction at corporations. “When a company lays off a group of employees, it is stressful for the workers who remain as well, because they are wondering ‘Will I be in the next batch of layoffs?’”

When asked if she has plans to expand her practice, Santos says she’d enjoy having a wellness center with modalities like acupuncture under one roof one day. In the meantime, she’s happy to be continually learning and loving what she does.

Practicing what she preaches, Santos, makes time for the things she enjoys. Currently, she is writing two books—a romance novel and a science fiction story. She is also a bee keeper, gardener and proud grandmother who makes her own jewelry line, just for fun.

For more information about Dr. Minerva Santos visit or call 914.245.6800. This article was originally published in Natural Awakenings. To read the April 2010 Natural Awakenings edition online, visit or click here.

Yoga Comes to Downtown New Rochelle

Yoga Comes to Downtown New Rochelle

Westchester Yoga Arts has opened in downtown New Rochelle as part of a project to revitalize the city center. The new, light-filled studio has the look and feel of Soho or Tribeca, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. An online registration and computer system facilitates signing in, so no cash or cards are necessary.

Westchester Yoga Arts has a spa-like setting, with a roomy waiting area, kitchen and full bathroom. The studio is conveniently located near the New Rochelle train station, and it’s open 7 days a week. Yoga classes range from beginner and gentle levels, to strong cardio levels 2 and 3. Pre-natal yoga is offered on Sunday mornings at 9:15a.m. Yoga for children is planned for the future.

In 2011, Westchester Yoga Arts will offer a teacher training program that includes webinars, phone conferences and studio-based workshops. Early sign-up students will receive 50% off the regular price.

Visit for more information. Westchester Yoga Arts is located at 82 Centre Avenue on the second floor, where Main St. and Centre Avenue intersect.

Sustainability Pioneers: Peggy Clarke & Roseann Rutherford

Peggy Clarke & Roseann Rutherford
Sustainability Pioneers

InterGenerate co-founders Peggy Clarke and Roseann Rutherford first worked together on an intergenerational project at the Junior League of Northern Westchester. They later stepped away from the Junior League to start a new organization, designed to create programs and effect change at a faster pace. Last year, they named their organization InterGenerate, created a logo, and forged a relationship with the Marsh Sanctuary in Bedford to create a new community garden. InterGenerate debuted publicly at the 2009 Bedford Summit, where Clarke and Rutherford proclaimed their mission to create environmental and social sustainability around shared concerns for food security. The organization has become a major creative force in Westchester, bringing people and organizations together to forge relationships and collaborations on projects that are creating meaningful change in communities.

Community and Food Security
Clarke and Rutherford say they have seen an increasing desire in people for homegrown food. As a result, InterGenerate developed a teaching garden at John Jay Homestead in Bedford where adults and children learn how to garden, side by side. Growing food locally is critical for environmental sustainability, and InterGenerate’s model takes it a step further by promoting social sustainability as well—nurturing relationships between neighbors and generations. “It’s about building community and using food security as the issue to do this,” says Rutherford. “We can’t make changes without getting people to care about their neighbors [first].”
Last year, InterGenerate partnered with the Bedford Audubon Society to create an InterGenerational Garden Camp. There were four applicants for every opening at this wildly popular camp, so an additional location will be added this year. In February, InterGenerate started the Westchester Community Garden Network—an event at the County Center that drew surprising numbers. More than 200 people came to learn about things like composting and securing land for a community garden from a panel of experts. There was also time built in for questions and networking with other community garden enthusiasts and organizations. InterGenerate is now putting together a community garden message board, born of this event, to create an online network of community gardeners and resources.

New Programs
New developments at InterGenerate this month include the launch of their Lunch N’ Learn Series. The March 11 program, “On the Importance of Local Growing,” features keynote speaker Jayni Chase and takes place at the Glen Arbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills. Seats are still available.
This spring, a new 60-plot community garden will open at Marsh Sanctuary and serve as a resource for the Mt. Kisco Inter-Faith Food Pantry. Clarke and Rutherford are seeking private funding to build an InterGenerate center at the Marsh Sanctuary that will also serve as a sustainability demonstration center. The plan is to sustainably renovate an existing building on the site, using solar panels and renewable water systems.

How do they do it?
Although Clarke and Rutherford have identical roles as co-founders, their personalities differ and complement each other nicely. According to Clarke, Rutherford is an extrovert and a brilliant networker. “Roseann is the type of person you want to send into a room. She gets organizations involved easily and quickly.” A Somers resident, Clarke, describes herself as an introvert who prefers to work one-on-one with people at the back of the room and behind the scenes, providing structure to events and helping to keep things running smoothly.
Clarke’s other roles include Director of Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Croton, Co-Chair of the Westchester chapter of Slow Food, USA, and board member of the Westchester Anti-Racism Alliance. She’s also the mother of a newborn, and says that her work has always involved providing basic needs for people and translating theological concepts into worldly action. Clarke cites a powerful decision that she and her husband made 14 years ago to stay true to who they are and what they value.
Rutherford’s mantra is Gandhi’s: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” “You have to believe change can happen and want to be part of it,” notes Rutherford. “Be willing to step out of the box and do things a little differently to create change.” In addition to InterGenerate, Rutherford, a Katonah resident, is an active member of the Katonah-Lewisboro Parent Teacher Organization at John Jay Middle School, a member of the Westchester chapter of Slow Food, USA and a full-time mother of four.
Creating something from nothing seems to be a specialty for Rutherford and Clarke. They joke that InterGenerate is a “zero budget organization” with no paid positions. But somehow, whether they need a free venue for a large event or dozens of volunteers for a project, these two powerful women have a knack for manifesting what they need.

For more information about the programs at InterGenerate, including the March 11 Lunch N’ Learn Series, visit

Dr. Michael Gelb, Sleep Apnea and TMJ Expert

Community Spotlight with Dr. Michael Gelb

Dr. Michael Gelb

Dr. Michael Gelb of the Gelb Center

Natural Awakenings talks with Dr. Michael Gelb
who has been researching the effects of sleep apnea on human performance and focus for the last 20 years. He is a clinical professor at NYU, with private practices in NYC and White Plains, where he runs the Gelb Center.

Tell us about the Gelb Center.
We are a Center for Headache, TMJ and Sleep Disorders with a variety of specialists to complement our diagnosis and treatment services. We treat some patients from the top down and others from the bottom up. We are happy to work with our patients’ MDs, ENTs (Ear, Nose and Throat doctors) Chiropractors and Physical Therapists.

You’re known as an expert in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea.  If someone snores, should they be tested for sleep apnea?
They should be studied if they awaken fatigued and fall asleep easily and often, or have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease. Loud snorers with poor memory or an inability to focus should also be studied. Of course, if you wake up gasping for air or startled you should be studied immediately.

What are some other symptoms of sleep apnea?

In addition to snoring, common symptoms include non-refreshing sleep, daytime fatigue or tiredness, a history of falling asleep while driving, watching TV, or reading, morning headaches, elevated blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, reflux, grinding, mood swings and symptoms of depression or anxiety.

How are patients with suspected sleep apnea referred to you?
Some come with a referral from an MD after a sleep study showed mild to moderate apnea. Others see me because a concerned wife or bed partner was being kept up by the loud snoring.

The Gelb Center also treats temporomandibular joint (jaw joint) disorder, or TMJ. How do people know if they have this?
When one’s bite is off it can cause symptoms from earaches to headaches and neck pain. Those usually occur in conjunction with clenching, grinding and stress.

How often are migraines associated with TMJ disorder?

Migraines are often associated with a stimulation of the trigeminal system, which includes muscles, nerves, teeth and of course the TMJ.

You’ve opened a new center in New York City. How does it differ from your White Plains office?
In New York City we have an integrated team of physical therapists, chiropractors, a psychologist and a nutritionist. We also have the latest CT scan and other diagnostic equipment. We bring our New York City team to Westchester every Thursday for the same high quality treatment.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gelb, call 914.686.4528, 212.752.1662 or visit

%d bloggers like this: