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Registration for fourth to sixth grade students in the Junior Master Naturalist: Explore the True Nature of Texas program opens in July, with classes running from September through May at the Biodiversity Education Center in Coppell Nature Park. The program encourages children to become lovers of nature and responsible stewards of the environment through engaging classroom training and field-based discoveries. 

Led by the Biodiversity Center’s educational staff and North Texas Master Naturalist volunteers, this program includes seven sections that introduce different aspects of the natural environment. Each section consists of one classroom lesson, followed by a field trip practicum. Classes take place at the Biodiversity Education Center, where students explore foundational concepts through engaging activities. Each field trip is hosted at conservation sites throughout North Texas. 

The cost is $115 for Coppell residents, $125 for non-residents. Location: 367 Freeport Pkwy., Coppell. For more information, call 972-304-3581, email or visit




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North Texans can participate in Clean Air Action Day on June 21 by doing at least one thing to help improve air quality. This special day is held each year to help raise awareness for the problems of air pollution and the different ways that people can work toward making the air cleaner. This is an important way to help preserve the planet and make it better for both ourselves and future generations to live on.

People can share their plans on Clean Air Action Day, on social media by using #CAAD2019 and tagging @NCTCOGtrans to qualify for a chance to win a prize.

Clean air choices for June 21

  • Carpool or vanpool
  • Use mass transit
  • Bike or walk
  • Telecommute
  • Attend meetings remotely
  • Take lunch to work or summer activities
  • Maintain consistent driving speed by avoiding quick accelerations and hard braking
  • Reduce idling
  • Combine trips or drive less
  • Report smoking, polluting vehicles (#SMOKE)
  • Stay up-to-date on regular vehicle maintenance and state emissions and safety inspection
  • Consider an electric or other alternative fuel lawn mower
  • Switch to energy efficient light bulbs
  • Pursue energy-efficient home improvement projects
  • Choose a clean vehicle option if purchasing a new vehicle (electric, hybrid, natural gas, propane, biofuels, SmartWay)
  • Use a vehicle-approved biofuel in your car (E85 and B20)
  • Call for an alternative-fueled or hybrid vehicle if going to the airport or around town
  • Buy local or at places where less driving is required
  • Encourage someone else to make clean air choices on 6-21-19
  • Tell a friend about Air North Texas and options that help improve air quality in the region
  • Sign up for air pollution alerts
  • Commit to making clean air choices the entire ozone season
  • Create an account and log commutes at

Talking a walk in nature is also a great way to celebrate Clean Air Day 2019. We only have one planet, and this is a good time to reaffirming our commitment to protecting Mother Earth and making sure that the air that we breathe is as clean and healthy as possible.

For more information and help in implementing these actions, visit




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The North Texas Water Garden Society’s 28th annual Tour of Ponds on June 8 and 9 is a two-day, self-guided tour of 40 member ponds all across the Metroplex. Seven are new and nine ponds are included in the enchanted night tour that is open until 11 p.m. A $20 tour book guide features 40 pond listings, descriptions, directions and color pictures, a map and pond related articles of interest. One book per carload gains access to all 40 ponds.

The book is available at Creative Water Gardens, in Garland, Dickson Brothers, in Mesquite, Chesshir Stone, in Dallas, Whiz Q Stone, in Fort Worth, Shades of Green, in Frisco, Dr Delphinium, in Richardson, Jacksons Home and Garden, in Dallas, Sublime Water Gardens, in Flower Mound, Let’s Be Koi, in Waxahachie, North Haven Gardens, in Dallas, Plants and Planters, in Richardson, Puckett’s Nursery, in Allen, Wild Birds Unlimited, in McKinney, and online.

For more information and to purchase tour books, visit



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Hines Park, located at 9601 Harry Hines Boulevard, in West Dallas, was once a neglected and litter-filled green space. Groundwork Dallas adopted the park four years ago and has constructed a loop trail, rock garden, wildlife viewing platform, benches and fencing to make this a beautiful sanctuary in an industrial part of the city.

Groundwork Dallas will host the grand opening from 9 to 11 a.m., June 7, with light refreshments, music, binoculars for birdwatching and a guided walk on the newly constructed trails. There will also be a BioBlitz, which focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time, at 10 a.m.

Groundwork Dallas hosts one Saturday Volunteer Day per month at Hines Park, where volunteers clear litter and debris, maintain trails or install fencing that prevents litter from the highway finding its way to the lake and Hines Park environs. Volunteers have also planted about 75 native shrubs and flowers to foster biodiversity and a healthy ecosystem. Project supporters include the city of Dallas and many charitable foundations around the DFW area, including the Boone Family Foundation.

Park at Xenco Labs, 9701 Harry Hines Blvd. For more information, visit



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As part of the 2019 Health, Home and Garden Expo, the Healthy by Nature radio show will be broadcast live from the Plano Event Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., August 24. Attendees will enjoy the unique opportunity to get fresh perspectives on health from a dozen top-notch speakers, including integrative medical doctors, and to visit with dozens of carefully selected exhibitors showcasing cutting-edge, science-based products and services.

There will be free health screenings and practitioner interviews before making appointments. Free samples and prizes add to the fun.

Martie Whittekin, CCN, says, “There is a lot more to health than the absence of a diagnosis. We want to be energetic, cheery, calm, pain-free, well-rested, clear-headed, happy with your weight, and not get colds and flu when they are going around. We should all want to learn what we need to know to balance our systems and stay off the slippery slope to crisis medicine.”

Tickets are $10 at the door beginning at 7:30 a.m., $5 online or with a coupon that will appear in natural awakenings magazine. Location: 2000 E. Spring Creek Pkwy. Plano. For more information, call Whittekin at 1-877-262-7843, email or visit




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Mata Amritanandamayi’s life, affectionately known as Amma, the “hugging saint”, is someone who has offered her every thought, word and deed for the benefit of others. On average, she only sleeps a few hours a night and teaches by example, emphasizing selfless social service. She says, “Love is the only medicine that can heal the wounds of the world.” Amma will make an appearance in Allen June 25 and 26 at the Marriott Delta. Since 1989, she has been traveling the world giving tender motherly hugs, known as darshan, to whoever shows up.

Amma is a humanitarian, philanthropist and spiritual teacher. She inspires, uplifts and transforms through her physical embrace, her spiritual wisdom and through her global charity, Embracing the World, which has inspired charity projects in more than 40 countries, exists to help alleviate the burden of the world’s poor through helping to meet basic needs. Amma believes that these needs are fundamental rights of every human being.

Amma talks about how happy she is that many thousands of people from around the world affiliated with her organizations, including Dallas, volunteer and give of their time and energy to help others in need. “Being around Amma inspires me to be more compassionate, and to want to do more service work for others,” said Siva Kumaran, of Grapevine.

Amma has provided more than 200,000 economically vulnerable women with vocational training, start-up capital, and marketing assistance, as well as access to microcredit loans from government-regulated banks and affordable insurance plans.

Amma has many spiritual centers in the U.S., including one in Aubrey, outside of Denton. Each center conducts outreach programs, such as Mother’s Kitchen, where they provide meals for the homeless, fundraisers, youth programs, Green Friends, letters to prisoners and other programs that help the needy.

Seeing the whole world as an extension of her own self, Amma is ever ready to forego her own needs in order to bring a smile to someone’s face, wipe their tears or to simply listen to their sorrows. Be they young or old, sick or healthy, rich or poor—everyone receives the same unconditional love. Amma turns no one away. She says, “Love is our true essence, and the more you give, the more your heart is filled. Love is a never-ending stream.”

Location: 777 Watters Creek Blvd, Allen. For more information, call 806-414-6223 or  isit go to



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Most women are pushing themselves to the limit. They have been taught all their lives that a woman’s value is in how capable she is of serving others and how pretty she can manage to look while doing it. That’s a horrible message that keeps women stuck in an exhausting loop. Thus, many women are working as hard and fast as they can to keep up with all the demands and have kept self-care on a back burner for years.

Putting off their own development until the children are grown or a business gets off the ground amounts to taking care of everyone else first before themselves. The problem is that time may never come. On some level, women know that they need to take time for themselves, but so often they report that they feel guilty doing that when there’s so much that needs to be done.

We can only give to others what we, ourselves own, and if you are running on empty, you don’t have a lot left to share. Also, when we are tired, we are less patient, less kind, less loving. We are struggling to keep up, and the needs of others just add to our frustration… and it shows even if we don’t intend for it to.?

When we don’t take time to recharge and renew our energy, stress levels rise and set up a chain reaction that creates all kinds of issues. Stress causes the brain to use excess energy and, to manage the energy drain, the brain reduces the function of the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for clear thinking, decision-making, planning, strategizing, learning, and memory. We need those functions to get things done.

Stress increases cortisol levels which causes us to feel anxious or nervous and to gain belly fat. Chronic stress causes insomnia, depletes  our energy, impairs our ability to interact with others and makes us even more susceptible to stress, setting up a vicious cycle that’s hard to escape. We don’t have the inner resources to realize our dreams, and over time we go from exhausted to feeling hopeless.

EASE is a free and very powerful strategy to release stress, increase energy and enjoy life and loved ones a whole lot more.

EASE is an acronym for energy aligned success expansion. For more information, visit



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Self-care and beauty have such a natural relationship that we may take it for granted. The mindfulness we extend to the process is a reflection of the self-esteem that lights us from within.

Maple Shade Spa says, “Caring for ourselves through diet and exercise is very important; it’s also important to use good skin care. We have found that many people neglect to exfoliate, and without exfoliation, our skin has trouble absorbing skincare products. We highly recommend using a cleanser with exfoliation such as an AHA/BHA cleanser.” 

Misaotra Beauty Sanctuary notes, “We can redefine the way women nourish the body and the spirit with wholistic facial rituals and self-care ceremonies that are deeply rooted in authenticity and the belief that true ageless beauty comes from self-awareness and self-love. Using Chinese medicine protocols such as gua sha and Italian facial reflexology, skilled, loving hands can create remarkable results erasing the signs of time.”

Maple Shade Spa, 432 Mapleshade Ln., Dallas,

Misaotra Beauty Sanctuary, 6465 E. Mockingbird Ln., Ste. 344, Studio 27, Dallas,



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The Dallas Arboretum dedicated the  new, eight-acre Tom and Phyllis McCasland Horticulture Center on April 3. They had been searching for appropriate land and greenhouse space, and in 2017, found it just seven miles away on a parcel that straddles Dallas and Mesquite. Then, they prepared the land and installed 17,000 square feet of climate-controlled greenhouses.

The McCaslands provided much of the funds for the project and are among the most generous supporters of the Dallas Arboretum, from seed money for the Chihuly exhibition, the impetus behind The 12 Days of Christmas celebration and the renovation and permanent site of the sunken garden. The Executive Committee voted to name the Horticulture Center and acreage in honor of them as a tribute to their generosity, as well as the Jeanne R. Johnson Foundation and the Hoblitzelle Foundation.

For more information, visit



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Self-care is critical for stress management, wellness and overall well-being, but it is not an intuitive practice in today’s always-on, outcome-driven world. Coping with stress through self-care activities like exercise, meditation or catching up with friends may seem like an elusive luxury. Yet, research demonstrates that self-care boosts overall well-being and improves workplace performance.

Studies by University of Texas Associate Professor Kristin Neff, who created the Self-Compassion Scales, have found that women actually tend to have slightly lower levels of self-compassion and self-care than men. Women often take on caregiving roles in addition to other demands, and they can be particularly susceptible to the belief that self-care is selfish. Therefore, their own self-care falls by the wayside as they prioritize caring for others.

One way to practice self-care for physical and mental health is through mindfulness, the practice of paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Benefits include reducing stress and anxiety levels, encouraging positive emotions and bolstering social connections and emotional intelligence. Here are a few mindfulness-inspired tips to practice self-care for wellness and stress management.

  • Breathe: You may not have time to sit for a 10-minute mindfulness meditation, but you always have time to take a deep breath. When stressed or distracted, people tend to take shallow, hurried breaths. The next time you notice yourself getting frazzled, breathe deeply into and out of the lower abdomen. Breathing in this way massages the vagus nerve, which calms the central nervous system.
  • Practice Gratitude: The human brain has evolved with a negativity bias, meaning that human brains are wired to cling to bad memories and discount good ones. To train your brain for positivity, practice being extra aware of the good things during your day. A positive attitude will enhance your productivity and help you keep your stress levels down.
  • Enjoy Time in Silence: Practicing silence on a regular basis rejuvenates the mind and body. Carve out small chunks of silent time during daily life. Ideas include committing to a daily mindful meditation practice or practicing a “digital detox” where you abstain from using technology for 15 to 75 minutes per day.
  • Practice Lovingkindness Meditation: Lovingkindness meditation is a practice of cultivating love, compassion, and acceptance for yourself and all beings. It is particularly helpful in boosting self-compassion, lowering stress levels, reducing tension headaches and fostering social connectedness. Find a quiet place to sit and let your mind rest on your breath. Invite in a sense of caring for yourself, perhaps imagining yourself through the eyes of a loved one. Then, begin to send that love outwards to others. You might start with someone you love unconditionally, and then expand outward to friends, acquaintances and eventually to all beings.
  • Take a Mindful Walk: Sitting behind a desk and in the car for many hours each day can make it easy to forget that the mind and body are connected. Improve your state of mind and body by taking a mindful walk. Leave your phone behind and let your mind rest on sensory inputs and body movement as you walk. Even just five minutes of mindful walking can change your perspective and raise your energy levels. If you don’t have time for a dedicated stroll, stay mindful of the body by getting up to stretch at your desk or by parking far away from your destination to get some extra mood-boosting movement.
  • Make Space: Carve out a dedicated space for mindfulness and self-care in your home. Consider creating a meditation space in the corner of your bedroom or dedicating a cozy armchair for self-reflection. You can adorn your self-care space with photos, plants, candles, journals, pillows, blankets, and anything else that nourishes you. Having a regular space for self-care will make your self-care time more enjoyable and remind you of your practice whenever you see the space.

Experts recommend doing at least one small thing every day to invest in our mental and physical wellness. Self-care will help us recharge, feel better and perform better during the hours we do work and care for others.

Dorsey Standish is chief mindfulness officer of Mastermind Meditation. For more information, visit



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