NCMC to present Deep Ecology Month in April for the Greater Newark Area

A Green Awakening for Deep Ecologists, EcoProtectors, EcoWarriors, EcoArtists, EcoHomeys, EcoCurious, GreenJeans, and of course, EcoYogis in the Greater Newark Area NJ. Let’s go deep!

It’s a first for NCMC — an entire month with one theme — that of urban nature, deep ecology, our ecological consciousness, and environmental issues. Programs will range for kids, teens, and adults. We’ll be planting seeds of understanding and hope, planting seeds of action, and maybe even planting some real seeds!

We want to uncover our True Nature so that we can wake up to think and act both radically and in equibalance with our ecological self, others, and our environment. We want to get down to the root of the problems, help uproot them, and plant new positive roots, especially in our children. This is so urgent in this time of Unrest and Climate Change.

These sensitized, educational, and mindfulness-based programs include a teen and family park clean-up, easy nature hikes, meditation sessions, ecoTalks, and a kids and teens farm workshop. Most important for adults will be the Deep Ecology Training Workshop to be taught by Kazi at Rutgers on Earth Day, April 22nd, that will make connections between environmental issues and world problems including racism, war, poverty, pollution, agri-business, to name a few.

Our collaborators and supporters for these programs include The Medicine Lifestyle, Hikeolution, and 4-H Youth Development Program of Essex/Hudson Counties at Rutgers. Program meals are to be catered by Rabbit Hole Urban Farm at 36-38 Rose Terrace, Newark NJ. We also greatly appreciate the use of classroom space at Rutgers University. These programs are free, though we do certainly welcome donations that help to gift the teachers and cover other program expenses.

Please take a look below and save some of these dates. Flyers for each program are also posted, so do scroll down all the way. We ask that you REGISTER for these programs using our online forms (preferred) or by email at so that we can plan thoughtfully.


Teen EcoWarrior & EcoProtector Pond Cleanup & Activities
Sunday, March 26th
11:00am-1:00pm in Branch Brook Park
Communing with nature and community service is what this is all about. Activities will include tai-qi-gong with Kazi, Clark’s Pond bank clean-up with Arelís Hernandez, and we’ll end with a deepEco talk by Andrea Lee. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch together, weather providing. Kids and adults welcome too.


We’re starting April off with two simultaneous hikes — one for male and one for female teens through adult, living in the urban Greater Newark Area. It’s a challenge for city girls and boys to get out into nature to experience the freedom and soft fascinations that can help mature them into upright urban earth women and urban mountain men. Equally as hard is to maintain this subtler mindfulness as adults without continual excursions into nature. We’re including other sensitizing activities with the hikes in order to enhance the experience and so that participants can quickly internalize it. Both hikes will be approximately 2-miles and easy-level with some grades. Details and registration for both below:

From City Boys to Urban Mountain Men Hike & Activities
Sunday, April 2nd
Light Rain or Shine (Heavy rain date: April 9th)

10:00am–2:00pm in South Mountain Reservation, South Orange, NJ
For aged 14 through adult, biological or male identified. Hike will be led by experienced hiking guide and wellness-spiritual coach Kazi and co-led by hiking leader Leslie S. Arthur. Other activities include tai-qi-gong, a drum circle, lunch, and more.

From City Girls to Urban Earth Women Hike & Activities
Sunday, April 2nd
Light Rain or Shine (Heavy rain date: April 9th)
10:00am–2:00pm in South Mountain Reservation, South Orange, NJ
For aged 14 through adult, biological or female identified. It will be co-led by hiking guide Keyana M. Jones along with meditation teacher and avid trekker Cornelia Santschi. Other activities will include poetry with Mesha Allen, yoga with Arelís Hernandez, nature meditations, lunch, and more.


Weekly NCMC Meditation Group with readings on The Four Great Elements
Wednesdays, April 5th 12th 19th 26th
7:00-8:30pm at City Without Walls, 6 Crawford Street, Newark NJ
This is our standard weekly meditation group, but for Deep Ecology Month our readings and discussions will focus on the four elements of earth, fire, water, and air — internal expressions, external environment, their causes and effects, and compassionate actions to take to create equilibrium. Instructor and peer-led.


Kid & Teen GreenJean Workshop
Saturday, April 22nd
10:00am-2:00pm at Rabbit Hole Urban Farm, 36-38 Rose Terrace, Newark, NJ
Kids and teens will learn how to work in an urban farm, mindful eating, conserving resources, making healthy snacks, and compassionate action! Younger youth will participate in hands-on activities and help us in the garden! Teens will engage in additional conversations about ecology and conservation. Teens will be asked to work along younger youth and will receive 4 community service hours for their participation. Teachers will be environmental educators Marissa Blodnik and Andrea Lee, and urban farmer Arelis Hernandez. GreenJean Party 2:00-2:30pm.

Deep Ecology Training Workshop
Saturday, April 22nd
10:00am–2:00pm at Rutgers University, Smith Hall, 101 Warren St., Room 242, Newark NJ
This workshop taught by Kazi is meant to be an intense immersion into DEEP ECOLOGY to make a comprehensive connection between our environmental issues and our world’s problems. These diseases of civilization including racism, war, poverty, pollution, agri-business, depletion of resources, drought and famine — all stemming from root causes of greed and fear — have created a global ecological crisis, especially Climate Change. It’s a workshop that requires an open mind and heart and a willingness to explore not just practical solutions but to go deep in our ecological consciousness. The workshop will include some optional preparatory homework, questions for contemplation, practical applications, and simple daily mindfulness exercises. Follow-up resources will be included to help students go deeper on themes from the workshop. Marcie Barth, Kamilah Crawley, and Mesha Allen will also present. Lunch included.

Closing Deep Ecology “Greening Self” Reception
Saturday, April 22nd
2:30-3:30pm at Rabbit Hole Urban Farm, 36-38 Rose Terrace, Newark, NJ
We invite you, your friends, and family to join NCMC for a farm gathering with our host, Keven Porter, director and co-founder of Rabbit Hole. We’ll view inspirational art and GreenJean projects, sample natural green juices and teas, and enjoy refreshments. (Farm Open House starts at 9am so you can also stop by any time.)
RSVPs are helpful if you can at:
NOTE: Those registering for the Deep Ecology Training Workshop can RSVP on that registration form.


D.C. People’s Climate Mobilization
Saturday, April 29th
All day compassionate activism, Washington D.C.
We encourage anyone who can to join this march on your own, with friends, or with your group. It’s a chance to walk the talk at what is to be a HUGE climate change march with and partners.

NCMC hopes that you or your youth will find one or two of these programs inspiring enough to attend!

Flyer_Teen EcoWarriorProtector Clean-up.png

Flyer_CityGirls2EarthWomen Hike.pngFlyer_CityBoys2MountainMen Hike.pngFlyer_Kid Teen GreenJean Workshop.pngFlyer_Deep Ecology Workshop.png

Meet our Deep Ecology Teachers, Leaders, and Presenters

We’d like to introduce you to the teachers, leaders, and presenters in our series of April programs for our Deep Ecology Month for Greater Newark Area urban dwellers and presented by Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC). Please do take a look at the programs too to see which you might like to attend. In alphabetical order, the bio-notes are:

Mesha Allen is a senior at Ramapo College. She is passionate about improving the wellbeing of her community and aspires to open her own wellness center before she’s 30. She is the founder of Newark Integrative Enrichment Society and co-founder and trustee of New African Liberty Organization. She lives in Newark and advocates for people suffering with chronic pain and Fibromyalgia. This will be her first hike.

Leslie S. Arthur has been a teacher of African American history and economics for over 27 years. He is currently pursuing his PhD with a research interest in the Black Power/Black Arts Movement of the 1960s. While teaching at Carteret High School he has been the co-facilitator of a youth organization called Passport to Manhood, through the local Boys and Girls Club. Mr. Arthur began hiking four years ago for spiritual well-being and physical fitness. He is currently an assistant hiking leader for Hikeolution.

Marcie L. Barth began her inquiry into both sitting and moving meditation in 1998 with a focus on tai chi. In 2001 she became more committed to her sitting meditation and ongoing study of Buddhist philosophy and psychology. Her personal activism is about right living — conscientious consumption, the right to food and shelter, social harmony and non-discrimination, and protecting our environment. She has had long career in visual communications, printing, and publishing in NJ and NYC and was partner in a graphic design business. She served on the board of Flowering Lotus Meditation and Retreat Center in Mississippi. Marcie is a founding board member of Buddhist Global Relief, a hunger relief organization established in 2008. Marcie develops programs and is a meditation instructor with NCMC.

Marissa Blodnik holds a Bachelor degree in International Relations and a Master in Public Administration. Her program interests are environmental sustainability including climate change, gardening, outdoor adventure and urban development. Marissa is an environmental educator currently running the 4-H Youth Development program in Essex and Hudson County, NJ. Her focus is to educate and inspire the community to be more respectful and understanding to the earth.

Kamilah Crawley is a Certified Health Education Specialist with over 10 years of experience planning and implementing sexuality and health education workshops and trainings for students, parents, community groups, teachers, and professionals. Over the years, she has implemented several evidenced-based HIV and Pregnancy prevention interventions and provided individual educational counseling utilizing both client-centered and risk reduction skills. Currently, Kamilah works for the Children’s Hospital of NJ at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center as a Program Coordinator. She provides pregnancy prevention education and counseling and coordinates and develops health and wellness programs for their School-Based Youth Services Program at Barringer H.S in Newark. She received her B.S. in Public Health from Temple University and her Master of Public Health from the Rutgers School of Public Health. Kamilah began her meditation practice in 2014 with her first weekend residential retreat in 2016. Kamilah is a meditation group peer-leader and presenter with NCMC.

Arelís Hernandez is a Licensed Professional Counselor and graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University. She also practices as an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Coach in Newark, having completed extensive study courses at the School of Ayurveda and Pancahkarma in Kerala, India. She is an urban farmer and co-founder of Rabbit Hole Urban Farm Newark. She is a Certified Yoga Instructor in the area as well. Arelís is a founding member of Newark Center for Meditative Culture and coordinates retreat meals and instructs in eco-living for the group.

Keyana M. Jones is a mother, natural born leader, avid reader and life-long learner. She embodies the mantra of living, laughing and loving, every day of her life. Whether at work providing exceptional service to her clients, volunteering with a local organization, exploring the trails on a day hike, or spending quality time with her family and friends, Keyana is all about letting her light shine. Recently she announced the launch of her brainchild: Hikeolution, a company geared towards bringing a lifestyle of hiking into practice for all. State employee by day, Superhero by night, Keyana easily champions causes near and dear to her heart and seeks to forge new paths where there are none.

Ib’nallah S. Kazi (Kazi) is a Newark-based tai-chi and meditation teacher as well as an urban naturalist with decades of experience. He has led urban hikes in the Newark/NYC area as well as deep woods hikes in other areas of the U.S. After a long career in public health in the New York City area, he then placed an emphasis on wellness and personal development through his own program, The Medicine Lifestyle. As a spirit-centered wellness coach, Kazi emphasizes a lifestyle that embraces the medicinal qualities inherent in movement, a real food diet, personal development, spiritual awareness, healthy social engagement, and regular communion with nature.

Andrea Lee is a founding member of Newark Center for Meditative Culture where she serves as an environmental educator and facilitates meditation exercises and yoga sessions. Living in Montclair, she is currently an Assistant Teacher at Montclair Cooperative School. She is also a yoga instructor and performs in a chanting group.

Keven Porter has been a yoga instructor for several years after having studied at the Yoga Institute in Mumbai, India. He is also a children’s meditation course teacher in the vipassana tradition of S.N. Goenka. He has completed a study program on ayurvedic nutrition and yoga therapy at the School of Ayurveda and Panchkarma in Kerala, India. He is Director of Rabbit Hole Urban Farm in Newark. Keven also served as a board member of Eyes Like Mine in Newark where he instructed a Yoga for Your Eyes class. He is a licensed massage therapist. Keven and his wife are both committed yogis serving this community. Keven is a community liaison and sits for NCMC.

Cornelia Santschi is currently studying in the Community Dharma Leader Program (CDL5) through Spirit Rock and Insight Meditation Society to become a meditation teacher. She has been a vipassana (insight) meditator and dedicated student of Buddhist psychology for over 15 years. She is the director of Neuro-psychology at the Institute for Neurology in NJ, and founder/director of Anatta World Health & Education Outreach, a grassroots non-profit organization. She has been an avid hiker and outdoors person since childhood. Cornelia is a founding member of NCMC and serves as an insight meditation instructor there.

We hope getting to know our teachers, leaders, and presenters will peak your interest to attend one or two of our Deep Ecology programs. Let’s go deep!


NCMC Meditation Day on February 19th

Cultivating the Beginner’s Mind: Staying Calm — Acting Wisely in a Challenging Time”

Led by guest teacher Rebecca Li, assisted by Shaka Georges
Time: 10:00am to 4:00pm
Venue: City Without Walls | 6 Crawford Street | Newark, NJ
Register at:

In this uncertain time we often wonder, how can we stay calm? How can we resist and take positive action without burning out? A first step is to take breaks from our hectic lives and to be a friend to our minds. This takes a little skill and effort. We’ll learn how to cultivate the “beginner’s mind” and discover how meditation can help us stay calm and make wiser decisions especially during this challenging time. This workshop is under the guidance of NCMC guest teachers, Chan (zen) teacher Rebecca Li and tai chi/qi gong teacher Shaka Georges. They’ll take you through the practice of sitting, walking, moving, and eating meditation. Express yourself and have your questions about the practice answered in group discussion and/or personal interview. Both beginners and experienced practitioners welcome. Venus Banks will serve as announcer for NCMC at this retreat. A bonus, we’ll be meditating within the Sanctiloquence installation, an art sanctuary that turns the ordinary into sublime. Read More

NCMC Wednesday Meditation Group

7:00 to 8:30 pm | City Without Walls, 6 Crawford Street |

Short meditation sessions, good for beginners and experienced. There’s power, unity, effectiveness, and skills acquired by meditating together. Try out some mid-week peace-of-mind. By the way, if you need a lift to or from group don’t hesitate to inquire. There may be someone able to help.

For more information email us at