Brushwood Center Announces 37th Annual Smith Nature Symposium

The Learning Curve: School Is Now An Antidote Few Families Can Access

Ryerson Woods Brushwood Center Press Release:

September 30, 2020

RIVERWOODS, IL – The Brushwood Center in Ryerson Woods welcomes endocrinologist Dr Disha Narang from Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, dietitian Monica Joyce from Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital and chef Catherine O’Meara from Heller Catering to Culinary Love: Cooking for You and the Planet at the Smith Nature Symposium.

This virtual cooking program takes place on October 3 at 2 p.m. This is a special addition to a seven-part live-air series on critical environmental issues, which culminates with the Oct. 9 awards ceremony honoring environmental leaders Bill McKibben and Sue Halpern. In previous years, guests of the Smith Nature Symposium gathered in person for the Awards Dinner at the Brushwood Center, but this year registrants can gather around the Brushwood Virtual Table and cook a delicious dinner at herbal from home.

“Food is such an essential part of eating well and feeling good, especially right now. Cooking together, even when physically separated, cultivates a sense of community. This expert team of presenters will focus on eating plant-based foods using a recipe that is good for both our body and the environment, ”says Catherine Game, Managing Director of the Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods.

Brushwood Center teamed up with Dr Narang, Joyce and Chef O’Meara to present this live demonstration and discussion to symposium attendees. Narang and Joyce will share the many health benefits of plant-based eating, and Chef O’Meara will demonstrate the featured recipe along with step-by-step instructions.

Dr. Narang, endocrinologist at Lake Forest Hospital in Northwestern, specializes in diabetes and metabolism and understands the importance of healthy eating in preventing chronic disease. Dr Narang graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and completed his residency and subsequent fellowship at the University of Chicago.

Joyce, who works in an endocrinology practice at Northwestern Medicine in Lake Forest, has a long history of fighting diabetes in the Chicagoland area and works to educate people about the importance of exercise and eating well. Joyce has over 47 years of experience as a dietitian and nutritionist and is the founder and CEO of Slam Dunk for Diabetes, a basketball camp for kids with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to have fun. and learn to manage their health. This free camp, which has locations in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Puerto Rico, was founded with the help of the Chicago Bulls. Due to her work with Slam Dunk, Joyce was selected by the American Academy of Foods and Nutrition to be part of a video series called Heroes: Showcasing the Registered Dietitian. The American Academy of Foods and Nutrition and the American Association of Diabetes Educators have also recognized her nationally for her dedication to helping children with diabetes.

Chef O’Meara, owner of Heller Catering at Lake Bluff since 2001, will lead the cooking classes for this program. Its culinary philosophy focuses on purchasing local ingredients, which is more sustainable for the planet and healthier for the consumer. O’Meara will share how to combine these local ingredients into a delicious plant-based meal for the Smith Nature Symposium awards ceremony. All registrants will receive a copy of the recipe in time to prepare for the Smith Nature Symposium Awards Ceremony on October 9.

All funds raised at the Symposium will directly support Thrive Together, the Brushwood Center’s Response to the COVID-19 Crisis for a Fairer and Sustainable Future. All presentations will be available in English and Spanish.

To register for this special addition to the Smith Nature Symposium and for more information on the series, visit

This press release was produced by the Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.

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