We received a phone call about being included in an article about organic lawn care. As we discussed our work, Cara instead decided to include us into the following week’s theme on trees for Daily Record’s Grassroots section. She did such a wonderful job of explaining our work!
You can read the article below.
Alternative medicine for a weary forest
8:33 AM, Jun 14, 2012
Written by Cara Townsend
Filed under: Grassroots
Jim Conroy believes that, like humans, trees and plants respond to touch, bioenergy and other alternative forms of healing.
Conroy, who calls himself the “Tree Whisperer,” intuits the health of trees and teaches others to communicate with nature in a way that will bring a broken ecosystem back into balance.
Along with Basia Alexander, he co-founded the Morris Plains-based Institute for Cooperative BioBalance. The two bring their hands-on tree-healing experiences to private residences, arboretums, institutes and research sites.
“It’s more than teaching people. It’s about giving people an experience,” Conroy said. “Tree whispering changes people’s relationship with trees, plants, insects, diseases and whole ecosystems.”
For seven years Conroy and Alexander have taught at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, where curriculum developer Susie Arnett says the ecosystem is “just blooming … it’s the greenest, healthiest place you could imagine.”
Conroy says he works to strengthen trees inner health; instead of trying to eradicate invasive species that devastate tree populations, Conroy says he brings the ecosystem back into balance.
“Today’s ecosystem is not connected. We move from one invasive species to the next, one disease to the next,” he said. “But these insects have a purpose. It’s about getting the trees healthy enough and bringing that dynamic balance back.”
Conroy is working on four sites along the Hudson River, studying trees affected by the Emerald Ash Borer and on a site in Colorado where weak trees were devastated by the Pine Bark Beetle.
Conroy says humans are largely responsible for the fragmentation of the ecosystem, but believes they can be the instruments of change to reconnect it.
They can do so through “intentional concentration and focus,” he said.
“The work of Tree Whispering and Cooperative BioBalance is about no less than creating a paradigm shift of thinking and changes in practices whereby people can live sustainably, gently, and healthily in their own backyards and on this planet,” Alexander said.
“Einstein said that we can’t solve our problems by using the same thinking that created those problems.”
The whispering approach
Conroy and Alexander are aware that their non-conventional approach might seem like a “lot of tree hugging.”
In fact, that’s exactly what it is, but with some proven science behind it.
Conroy earned a Ph.D in plant pathology from Purdue University and understands plant makeup. But he does not need to use equipment to determine when a tree is sick.
Conroy says he is able to communicate to the tree through touch. “It’s a heart-to-heart, intuitive experience with plants. I get in touch with the energy of the trees. Every tree is different,” he said.
At the Laurelwood Arboretum in Wayne, Conroy and Alexander led a group of about 40 individuals of all ages through a tree whispering exercise.
“I’m here to tell you you’re not crazy if you talk to your trees and plants,” Alexander told the gathering. “It’s important to receive communication and open our hearts and expand our intuition to the intelligence that is in nature.”
Alexander explained that the work of tree whispering is based on theories in quantum physics, cellular biology and fractal math. It also employs methods used broadly by psychologists to bring patients back into balance like Heartmath, energy tapping and connecting the heart’s electromagnetic field to other beings.
“There’s a deep intelligence in trees and they produce bioenergy fields just like we do,” Alexander said. “Your own heart energy field and the plant’s are overlapping. It’s like electricity.”
Participants gathered around sets of trees as Alexander led them through guided visualizations intended to allow the plant’s energy field to come into participants’ awareness.
“It’s a cycle of neural coherence — getting the heart and head working coherently,” Alexander said. “You might feel a warm tingling or a surge of memories.”
One participant shared that she had a wonderful visualization of climbing a hemlock tree in the same woods as a child.
Another said she visualized a black line, and upon examining the tree, found that there was a nail driven into its side.
Other participants enjoyed quiet time in the woods.
“I found it very relaxing,” said Virginia Meisch, a resident of Totowa. “It’s really a meditation.
Conroy led a whispering demonstration during which time participants employed the practice of energy tapping—reconnecting the various parts of the plant and sending positive energy from the roots, through the trunk and into the branches.
Franklin resident Artie Grimes said it was a spiritual experience. “It’s very emotional. We have to protect these trees,” he said.
Katherine Lane is using her B.S. in landscaping architecture degree from the University of Connecticut to train with Conroy and Alexander.
“It’s a way to reconnect people with nature in a way that they ultimately respect nature. It will help us to build a more sustainable future,” she said.
Conroy says he can feel a tree’s stress.
“Stresses are additive in trees and plants. A distressed tree starts to pull its energy in,” Conroy said. “You notice small leaves, off-color leaves and dead branches. The tree can’t support itself.
It is when trees are weak that insects become a problem.
“Insects can sense a sick tree. When the ecosystem is out of balance, the different components are not communicating with each other,” he said.
For five years Conroy and Alexander have worked with homeowners in Frazier, Colo. to bring back Large Pole Pines dying on the mountainside.
“The nine years of summer drought and warmer winters allowed more Pine Bark Beetle eggs and larvae to survive through the winter,” Alexander said. “Coupled with policies of fire suppression, the trees were ripe for the beetle to devastate them.”
Through bioenergy healing work, Alexander says Conroy turned what were brown, unhealthy trees into green, healthy ones by June 2011.
“There are energy shifts. I can feel it,” Conroy said. “Healing drives growing, growing drives healing.”
Alexander says the conventional approach would be to kill the insect. But Conroy says the insects are not the problem.
Conroy also employs this “live and let live” approach along the Hudson River where The Emerald Ash Borer, an insect native to Asia, was found on the western side of the river valley.
He uses tree whispering to improve the bioenergetic interconnectivity between the trees and the beetles at sites in Salisbury, Conn., Alford, Mass. Red Hook, NY and at the Omega Institute.
Arnett says the grounds at the Institute have been transformed through Conroy’s work.
“Our landscaping is healthy and gorgeous and thriving here. They’ve done a really beautiful job with the tree and plants on campus,” she said.
She also says the workshops Conroy leads line up with the Institute’s mission of holistic healing.
“We try to look at the whole system — at the person and their emotions. It’s like alternative healthcare for plants. That’s part of our mission and why they fit so perfectly,” Arnett said. “Sustainability is a huge part of our mission here.”
The workshops on Tree Whispering have become highly popular at the Institute, Arnett says.
“Participants come from all walks of life: some work with plants for a living, like landscapers or designers and some are just very interested in nature,” she said.
“People have an appreciation for a balanced ecosystem and learn very practical skills they can take home to help with their own trees and plants. When trees are healthier, we are healthier. It’s a mindset and an awareness they can take with them for the rest of their lives.”