Staff/Contact Us


Nelson Villarrubia

Nelson Villarrubia

Executive Director

Nelson is Trees New York’s Executive Director.  Nelson’s innovative and results-oriented non-profit leadership coupled with his passion for environmental and economic development have introduced a host of innovative new projects and programs, including the Young Urban Forester Internship and FruiTrees New York.  Over the last few years, Nelson has made several keen personnel choices, while also bringing strong and creative new board leaders to the organization.  Among his many meaningful contributions to Trees New York, Nelson’s expertise and skills in development spearheaded the most successful fundraising campaign in the history of the organization.

In addition to his aptitude in managing people, projects, and fundraising, Nelson’s wide-ranging experience in program management, strategic partnerships, and community engagement brings multiple stakeholders together to drive positive and substantive change.  As a strong collaborator, he has forged fruitful partnerships with a diverse range of groups, including civic and government officials, foundations, and business leaders such as New York State RELeaf, Forest For All NYC, the New York City Housing Authority, and Green-Wood Cemetery.

Nelson has an MS in Urban Affairs with a concentration in Environmental Policy.

CONTACT: (e) nelson@treesny.org

Samuel A. Bishop II

Samuel A. Bishop II

Director of Education + Arborist

Sam is Trees New York’s Director of Urban Forestry and Education. Sam has over ten years of experience in urban and community forestry. He oversees all adult environmental education programs, tree plantings and green infrastructure projects.

Sam’s passion for trees is apparent in all that he does. When he isn’t teaching, he is out planting or pruning or huddled over a book researching. If he doesn’t already know the answer to your question, he will soon. As we like to say in the office, “Sam eats, breathes and sleeps trees”. We are lucky to have such a committed expert on our team.

Sam is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist and Municipal Specialist.

CONTACT:  (e) sam@treesny.org

Sarah Balistreri

Sarah Balistreri

Environmental Educator

Sarah Balistreri is a lifelong educator and environmentalist. She spent a decade teaching English in schools in New York City, Mexico, Chile, and China and later transitioned her passion for teaching into curriculum development. One day, Sarah took a tree identification class in North Brooklyn that opened her eyes to the beauty and benefits of the urban forest. Within a few years, Sarah became a ctizen pruner, co-founded a neighborhood volunteer corps focused on tree stewardship, orchestrated a successful adopt-a-tree program, led community tree walks, and eventually joined Trees New York as an environmental educator. Sarah relishes in delivering engaging, standards-aligned lessons on the urban forest to students across the five boroughs.

CONTACT: (e) sarah@treesny.org

Luis Figueroa

Luis Figueroa

Development & Communications Manager

Luis is Trees New York’s Development & Communications Specialist.  His love for New York City’s public spaces drives his professional focus towards fundraising for causes related to environmental stewardship and equitable urban design.  His effective communication skills are valuable traits he brings to Trees New York, where he manages our community outreach efforts and recruits diverse stakeholders to fund and participate in the organization’s environmental education and stewardship programs.  Luis’s enthusiasm and ability to promote Trees New York’s mission plays an essential role in developing and implementing mixed media strategies that increase the organization’s visibility and strengthen its capacity to sustain its programs designed to plant, preserve, and protect New York City’s urban forest.

Luis has a BS from Pace University.

CONTACT: (e) luis@treesny.org