Your True Nature Reforestation in Nicaragua

For years we have been planting trees in Central America for our TreeGreetings ecard that plants a tree as well as our commitment to replant 10 new seedling trees for each one used in our publishing business. This January I visited Managua, Nicaragua where I was hosted by Prolena, the NGO that grows and plants trees in a variety of areas. I was picked up at the hotel by Marlyng, the director of the organization who gave a great tour. Here is a picture of one of the tree nurseries where over 100,000 Eucalyptus trees that have been started from seed are growing. In the temperate climate the trees grow amazingly fast. Check out this video for a tour.  We work here in Colorado with Trees Water and People who act as our planting partners and coordinate various programs for us in Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. If we each plant trees for the paper we use personally or in business it would make a huge difference. Check out how you can easily participate with the online tree calculator at Happy planting!

Speaking of Products!

The creation of simple, profitable products not only give you an additional steam of income when you are booking speeches or developing your business, but they give you much needed copyright and trademark protection. I think we all agree we want products . . . and we want them NOW! The questions I get are usually “How do it create a product?” Which products? Where do I start?  How much will it cost?  How can I get a trademark?

I can’t teach you the whole process here, let’s start at the beginning. First identify your key words and phrases, memorable concepts and signature stories. You are sitting on gold! In this valuable intellectual property it is your sole (or soul) focus and  job to sort through them to find the one or two or three nuggets. These are words or phrases that are distinctive and memorable. I encourage you to have a “garage sale of the mind” and get rid of the piles of boringly ordinary materials and just keep sifting through until you are left with only THE BEST. Use your audiences and clients and even your friends to help you identify your most creative and memorable material.  It’s ok to jump in with both feet, but this is about putting your BEST foot forward.

Now do a bit of homework to see if your words or phrases are available. I use three quick methods. First, I go to www.uspto,gov (US Patent and Trademark online site) and do a quick trademark search. Go to #2 in the middle column headed Trademarks to do a search. I suggest the simple search. It will show me quickly what has been trademarked or has been filed. Second, I google the phrase and see what I find and if there is something confusingly similar. Third, I go to and do a more broad search. All of this will give you a good idea of what is out in the marketplace. In order to be more sure your can hire the appropriate legal help, but this basic research will give me usually a 80 – 90% reading of if I should proceed. One great and handy tool is to sign up for Google Alerts. Simple to do and each time there is a mention on the entire internet of the key word or phrase you will get an email. I keep track of all my intellectual property this way.

Next take the first step in protecting your best properties, if you haven’t already, is by putting a very small TM to the right of the word or phrase. This puts others on notice that you are staking your claim. There is more to filing for a register trademark which allows you to eventually put a circle R in place of the TM. More on that another day.

A lot of people will now take their nuggets of gold and launch into the big task of writing a book and hoping for millions. That’s ok if that’s what you want to do, but I highly recommend taking a quick and much simpler first step. Design a bookmark. Not a cheesy, sales, look at me type approach, but a content driven, artistic and inspirational piece that captures your key words and the essence of what you have to share with people. A concise piece that when you hand this to people they receive it as a gift. And the meeting planner would also see this as a nice add on that is worth $2.50 and you can presell for $1. to your 2000 people in your eagerly awaiting audience. Let’s say the heading of your bookmark is “Five Best Tips in Turning Your Cold Calls into Hot Leads!” Put a TM to the right of it. List your five tips, put on some attractive graphics on the front and only on the BACK put in small letter you contact info, copyright and logo. It is all about content and the sales will follow. It is much easier to sell useful content than a sales or promo piece for your business.

Well there you have it. It’s not the whole story, but hopefully a good start. Come to the Colorado Chapter of the National Speakers Association  May 7 at the Denver Athletic Club from 1:30 – 5:30 for a content rich program on products, trademarks and licensing.

Advice from a Mountain – Afganistan

 Last month Sayed Alimi translated Advice from a Tree into the language readable by the Afganistan people. This month he as translated Advice from a Mountain. It is my sincere wish that this poem inspire the people of Afganistan to be uplifting to each other and reach higher in cooperation and understanding. Perhaps as we all look to the mountain and see it reaching to the sky, we are reminded how we can continue to grow and seek the highest and best for all concerned. You can see the translation and amazing character of the language at Sayed’s site Here’s to all poets that make words come alive by arranging them into ideas for use to read a give voice and hopeto our struggles in humanity. The advice from the mountain says it so well with “Follow the path of the wise ones”  Ilan

Think about this

I was talking to my friend John Springer today and he shared with me his usual profound wisdom and awareness of trees and nature. He said “When a leave waves at you, wave back!” Now that’s simple and beautiful isn’t it. He can be found at   Now how many opportunities we have to stop, breathe and connect in with the natural world. To savor and delight in this life experience. A good reminder to me to slllllloooooooooooooowww dooooooowwnnnn and enjoy the journey, one beautiful waving leaf at a time. Thanks John and thanks to the earth.  Ilan

Your True Nature is growing

It has been a great year and we are happy to be spreading Advice from Nature around the world. I was very touched to receive an email from an Afganistan American poet who requested permission to translate Advice from a tree into his native language. Here is what his email said:

I am an Afghan American poetry writer.
All my poetry is in (DARI) langiuge. I loved your great poem ( Advice from a Tree )
your poem is a great advice for Afghan people whom lost the hope during 3 daked of war
If you don,t mine I like to translate this poem in Dari and publish it at Afghani websides under your name
and I love to read more of your poems. Regards,  Sayed Homayoun Alimi

We gave him permission to translate the poem and he sent me this link to his website where the poem is translated. 


I am always inspired by a good  movie. Here I think is a great movie. The Soloist. It celebrates the gifts of a talented musician and the touching and poignant life story of him and others. Below is the listing on the movie website.

  • The Soloist is a biographical drama about real-life musical prodigy Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, who dropped out of Julliard after developing schizophrenia and became a homeless musician on the streets of Los Angeles. Journalist Steve Lopez discovers the former classical music prodigy, playing his violin on the streets. As Lopez endeavors to help the homeless man find his way back, a unique friendship is formed, one that transforms both their lives.

soloist movie
Another reviewer says: Over all, I found both the relationship between the two men, and the profound effects they had on one another, to be incredibly moving. But, I also thought the greater message, the way this incredibly personal and small scale relationship spoke to the larger social ill of homelessness in the greater Los Angeles area was a brilliant way to propagate a progressive message, in a way that really touched the viewer.

Eco-Friendly Fare

The New York Times recently had an article about London Develops a Taste for Eco-Friendly Fare. One of the restaurants mentioned was The Duke of Cambridge, an upscale London “gastro-pub.” It’s standard blackboard usually reserved with names of ales at other pubs- reveals instead a list of the restaurants ethical business practices, including a promise that 80 percent of its fresh produce comes from the “Home Counties.” In place of of a printed menu on each table, diners find a flier providing yet another two pages of Eco-facts about Britain’s first certified organic pub.

There is a new crop of green restaurants around London, run by chefs who may may want to be at one with the environment but also don’t want to limit their customers to vegan fare. We would like to offer a big shout out to these Eco-friendly chefs who are not only working to reduce their carbon footprint but are also trying to expand their business by teaching customers that eating green does not have to be a culinary sacrifice!

Going Green

Many  more corporations have green plans in their blueprints! In new Wal-Mart stores, the baseboards and moldings are made of plastic left over from diaper manufacturing. Chipolte, has installed an energy producing wind turbine outside a new store in the Chicago suburbs. A Florida pizza chain called Pizza Fusion reuses the draft from its ovens to heat water!

Another recent participant in the Going Green movement is McDonald’s. A newly rebuilt restaurant in Chicago is crammed with energy and water saving gadgets as varied as high-efficiency appliances, pavement that filters rainwater, and tables and chairs made out of recycled material-it even has a garden on the roof!

We salute all these companies for their Going Green efforts!

Recycle Christmas Cards

Don’t throw away those Christmas Cards-they can come in handy next year. Here are a few ideas that you might consider:

On the cards where there is no picture-cut them into name tags for presents next year

Cut out pieces of the cards that have great pictures. You can then assemble this collage into Christmas signs for next year-such as making a hanging sign that says Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. This is a great family project!

You can make some really great looking bookmarks with your old Christmas cards.

Consider our green Christmas cards for next year or some of our great bookmarks :)

Hope you all had a great Holiday Season and Happy New Year!!

Green Car Loans

Have you heard about the Governments $25 billion dollar auto industry loan program, set up by the Department of Energy to quicken the development of fuel efficient cars? Because it is open to any company with a promise and a plan to make more fuel-efficient cars, it has set off something of a gold rush as firms rush to get a piece of the program.

I’m happy to let you know that we have been selling green products and Eco-friendly products for years and will not be participating in the Government’s $25 billion dollar hand out!

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