Omega in Action | Page 15 | Omega

Omega in Action

Omega in Action highlights inspiring people and organizations making meaningful change. From protecting the environment to empowering women, healing veterans, and serving nonprofits, you'll find fresh perspectives, trending news, and the latest information on noteworthy events here at Omega and around the world.

Omega Awards $10,000 Grant To Scenic Hudson, Largest Environmental Group Focused On Hudson River Valley

3 years 9 months ago

Omega Elevates Environmental Stewardship with 2nd Annual Leadership in Sustainable Education Award

RHINEBECK, NY – Omega Institute, home of the award-winning Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL), today announced the second recipient of their Annual Leadership in Sustainable Education Award. The award recognizes nonprofit peers who exemplify leadership in sustainable education and who share Omega’s commitment to building a more just and sustainable world. This year, Omega recognizes Scenic Hudson, an organization working to protect and restore the Hudson River and its landscape. Scenic Hudson will be honored with the award at Omega’s annual Where We Go From Here conference, October 2–4, 2013.

“Last year, Omega created the Leadership in Sustainable Education Award to further our commitment to environmental stewardship, and we are thrilled this year to advance the conversation around sustainability and environmental protection by awarding the second annual award to Scenic Hudson,” said Robert “Skip” Backus, chief executive officer at Omega and visionary behind the Omega Center for Sustainable Living.

Founded four years ago, the OCSL originated as the first green building in America to achieve both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge™ certification, the highest standards currently available in sustainable architecture. The OCSL has since evolved into an environmental leader, offering programs that teach the regenerative environmental practices modeled by the building. Omega is integrating similar designs into other facilities on campus. The new office of the  Omega’s Women’s Leadership Center (OWLC) is the first commercial project in the United States to meet Passive House certification standards. The OWLC operates using very little energy and the space is designed to reduce heating costs by 75%.

“A true crusader for the Hudson Valley for 50 years, Scenic Hudson has been fighting day in and day out for the protection and restoration of the Hudson River. They have a strong emphasis on educating the community on the importance of the natural world and living by an environmental ethic,” concluded Backus.

“Omega is a world renowned institution that brings together people concerned with the environment and sustainable living. It’s a great honor for me to accept this award on behalf of all the people who make Scenic Hudson’s success possible. The support and partnership Omega is providing to us will inspire and catalyze our work to make the Hudson Valley a model of sustainable living in an ever-evolving world,” said Ned Sullivan, president of Scenic Hudson.

Scenic Hudson is credited with saving the Storm King Mountain from a proposed power plant and with launching the modern grass-roots environmental movement in the 1960s. The largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley, the organization uses a combination of tactics, including land acquisition, support for agriculture, citizen-based advocacy and sophisticated planning tools, to create environmentally healthy communities, champion smart economic growth, open up riverfronts to the public, and preserve the valley's inspiring beauty and natural resources.

In addition to the $10,000 grant, Scenic Hudson will also receive an organizational development grant for a strategic planning retreat at Omega, to help strengthen their organization and further its mission.

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation's most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 200 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the

About Scenic Hudson—Celebrating Our 50th Anniversary in 2013
Scenic Hudson works to protect and restore the Hudson River and its majestic landscape as an irreplaceable national treasure and a vital resource for residents and visitors. A crusader for the Hudson Valley since 1963, today we have more than 25,000 ardent supporters and are the largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley. To date Scenic Hudson has created or enhanced more than 60 parks, preserves, and historic sites up and down the Hudson River and conserved over 30,000 acres. and

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Omega Staff Member Launches Company that Helps the Environment

3 years 9 months ago

Kristen Hess worked at Omega as a seasonal staff member for two months in the summer of 2010, an experience she describes as “fun, educational, healing, and uplifting.” During her time at the Rhinebeck campus, she met a number of environmental luminaries, including Colin Beavan, author of No Impact Man, and Deborah Eden Tull, author of The Natural Kitchen. Hess expanded her awareness of ecological sustainability and received her first introduction to permaculture.

Upon leaving Omega, she said, “I was so inspired by the environmental lifestyle that I began working on a project with my Dad to help boost participation in composting.” Over three years that project has evolved into a fantastic company called CompoKeeper. Kristen Hess and her father developed special bins that streamline the composting process. The end result is an effective, cleaner, and simpler system that will allow more people to make kitchen composting, like recycling, a routine part of their lives. Kristen’s next step is to raise the funds that will make it possible to manufacture the CompoKeeper on American soil, in order to reduce the company’s carbon footprint as much as possible (a guiding philosophy of permaculture).

Hess recently shared with us her story about CompoKeeper and how her work as seasonal staff at Omega helped inspire it. “Omega has shaped my life and guided me to devote my energy toward helping others and the planet,” she said.

We are proud to have been a part of this remarkable staff member’s journey and are in turn inspired by the ingenuity, determination, and integrity of her work. Thank you, Kristen, for demonstrating Omega’s mission to “awaken the best in the human spirit.” Check out CompoKeeper’s Facebook page to learn more about Kristen’s work and the evolution her company.


Omega Hosts Food Quality Gathering

3 years 9 months ago

Omega recently hosted a gathering to talk about food quality. Judith D Schwartz reported on the event in The Guardian: "When it comes to eating well, the advice we get is that fresh is better than processed, fruit and veg are better than fats and carbs, and organic is best of all. But what if the food we eat is not truly feeding us? Many choose to buy organic to be assured food doesn't have the 'bad stuff' in it. But how do we know it's got the 'good stuff' in it—flavor, wholesomeness, vitamins, minerals?"

"This question was among those taken up last week at a meeting on food quality at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in the Hudson Valley, New York, attended by farmers, educators, researchers, and activists looking to bring quality into discussions of food, nutrition, and agriculture. The Hudson Valley has become a food destination due to its many small farms and celebrated chefs (and because the famed Culinary Institute of America is located there)."

Read the full story

Omega Hosts 7th Annual Camp Lightheart for Kids

3 years 9 months ago

Having a parent with breast cancer can be frightening for anyone, but especially for children. In an effort to help children navigate such a difficult time, Breast Cancer Options, the largest provider of breast cancer services in the Hudson Valley, created Camp Lightheart.

A free sleep-away camp for children ages 8–14 who have a parent with breast cancer, Camp Lightheart was launched in 2007 on Omega's campus in Rhinebeck, New York. Each summer since, Camp Lightheart has created a safe, nurturing, and fun-loving experience for children of breast cancer survivors.

This year's 7th annual Camp Lightheart was sponsored by Omega Institute, the United Breast Cancer Foundation, Ulster Savings Bank, and generous donations through Breast Cancer Options.

Learn more about Breast Cancer Options

Learn more about Camp Lightheart

Equine Therapy: How Horses Help Trauma Survivors Recover

3 years 9 months ago

Military women and women veterans face particular challenges, in their military and post-military experiences, including when they seek treatments for PTSD. One highly effective trauma treatment is not necessarily new, but is being approached in a whole new way: equine therapy.

More than 30 Veterans Affairs medical centers around the United States are now using some form of equine-assisted therapy for treating veterans. Equine therapy is effective because horses can sense human moods and can help trauma victims reconnect with their bodies, and remain connected in the present moment.

In programs like Freedom Farm in Minnesota, a free equine therapy program for female veterans, those who are recovering from sexual trauma can harness the healing, calming power of horses, while learning to reconnect with their own power. Omega also offers special programs for veterans—such as Healing From Military Trauma, a retreat for military women and women veterans—which often uses equine therapy to assist in the healing and recovery process.

Read more about Equine Therapy at Freedom Farm

Explore Omega's veterans programs

Omega’s Women & Power Retreat Aims To Redefine Strength & Leadership For Women

3 years 9 months ago

Weekend Retreat to Include a Free Live Stream Opening Night: 

Elizabeth Lesser in Conversation With Brené Brown & Joan Halifax Roshi

RHINEBECK, NY—The Omega Women’s Leadership Center (OWLC) today announced its biennial Women & Power Retreat—to be held September 20–22, 2013 on Omega Institute’s Rhinebeck, New York campus—will focus on helping women cultivate their strength and define it in their own terms. This year’s retreat will feature leading voices on the importance of combining personal development, self-care, and leadership skills as the foundation for making lasting and meaningful change, at home, at work, and in the world.

For the first time ever, the opening night will be available via a free live stream. Elizabeth Lesser, cofounder of Omega and the Omega Women's Leadership Center, will discuss the importance of having an open heart and a strong backbone in life, and will lead a conversation with Brené Brown, author and research professor, and Joan Halifax Roshi, author and abbot of the Upaya Zen Center. Together, these leaders will explore whether there is a uniquely female kind of strength, how vulnerability can make us stronger, and how we can courageously walk our talk.

“Since 1977 Omega has provided an integrated approach to personal growth and social change for women at every stage of the lifespan. Over the years more than 600,000 women have come through our doors, and we’ve learned firsthand that women are able to live and lead with greater compassion and impact when they take time to slow down, and nurture their inner lives,” said Carla Goldstein, chief external affairs officer at Omega and cofounder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center.

Featuring an extraordinary line up of teachers and presenters, the event begins on Friday, September 20 at 7:30 p.m. and ends Sunday, September 22 at noon.

Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and economist Heidi Hartmann, president of the Washington-based Institute for Women’s Policy Research, will also be featured keynote speakers. Saturday evening participants will be entertained by humorist and activist, Kate Clinton, author of Don't Get Me Started and What the L?.

In addition to hearing from renowned presenters, participants will also have multiple opportunities for hands-on activities, breakout sessions, and open classes ranging from memoir writing to drumming and dance, self-defense strategies to yoga, hiking to meditation, and more.

To connect via social media, follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @omega_institute. Use #OWLC when referencing the event.

This year’s retreat includes a new Tiered Pricing option. For additional information, or to register, please visit or call 800.944.1001.

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation's most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 200 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world.

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Finding Home Wherever You Are

3 years 10 months ago

Environmental lawyer and Omega board secretary and treasurer, Renee Martin-Nagle, has found her home in a wide variety of places, from Baltimore to Cambria County, Pennsylvania, and Virginia to Paris. But in the end, she has found the whole planet is her home.

Recently, she spoke to students at her alma mater, Mount Aloysius College, about the life changes that led to her passion for discussing the ethics of water on the global stage. She also encouraged students to strengthen their connection with God to help them create home wherever they are.

Read Renee’s full remarks 

Renee Martin-Nagle will be talking about apportioning water fairly among cities, agriculture, and ecosystems at World Water Week in Stockholm, September 1-6, 2013 

Omega Brings Its Winter Program to Costa Rica

3 years 10 months ago

For more than three decades, Omega’s campus in Rhinebeck, New York, has provided a welcome space for those who seek personal growth, wellness, transformation, and leading programs that bring hope and healing to individuals and society. But since our Rhinebeck location is not designed to support a winter season, many people wish our programs didn't have to end in October.

Luckily, the Omega experience continues to ripple outward into the world during the winter season too. From January 4–February 15, 2014, Omega offers a unique learning vacation experience in Blue Spirit Costa Rica, where there is something for everyone. Omega’s winter learning vacations offer the best of both worlds—time to spend in workshops with some of Omega’s top teachers, and time to rest and explore one of the most beautiful natural settings, a lush jungle on the edge of a Pacific Ocean beach. To tide you over until our campus season begins again in April, Omega Costa Rica is the perfect place to learn, relax, and be inspired this winter.

Learn more about Omega Costa Rica

How To Make the Most of Living With Cancer

3 years 10 months ago

After individuals get a diagnosis of cancer, they must then begin the task of living with the disease. Learning how to make the most of living with cancer can be a daunting challenge, and fortunately there are people, programs, and steps you can take that can help. 

At one time, a diagnosis of cancer was largely a death sentence, but thanks to advances in conventional and complementary medicines, that has changed. More and more people are living with cancer for decades as a chronic condition or as cancer survivors, and with this new health status comes a new way of living.

In mid-August 2013, Omega is offering the Living Well With Cancer conference to “help those who have been diagnosed navigate the myriad choices they face on the cancer journey.”

Learn more about the conference

Read more at EmaxHealth

Inaugural Issue of Journal of Yoga Service Is Announced

3 years 10 months ago

The Yoga Service Council, formed at Omega in 2009, recently released the first issue of Journal of Yoga Service. The mission of the new publication is to help build a professional community for people bringing yoga to underserved populations, and to provide a place for discussion, educational information, support, and inspiration. The journal ranges from reflective articles to case reports to member listings, and the first issue includes articles by Beryl Bender Birch, Bidyut K. Bose, and Jill Satterfield. Beginning to seasoned yoga service providers will find information vital to supporting their continued service.

Read the Journal of Yoga Service

Learn more about the Yoga Service Council 


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