Staff/Contact Us


Nelson Villarrubia

Nelson Villarrubia

Executive Director

As Executive Director, Nelson has 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, bringing strong and creative new staff and board leaders to the organization. Nelson spearheaded the most successful fundraising effort in the history of the organization. In addition to his aptitude in managing people, projects and fundraising, Nelson is a strong collaborator and has forged fruitful partnerships with groups as diverse as 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 Balastreri

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

Development & Communications Manager
Luis is Trees New York’s Development & Communications Specialist. While Luis spent the better part of his career working in the real estate industry, his love for New York City’s public spaces redrew his professional focus and interests to urban design and environmental stewardship. His effective communication skills are valuable traits he brings to Trees New York, where he coordinates and conducts our community outreach efforts and identifies and recruits diverse stakeholders to participate in Trees New York’s environmental education programs. Luis’s enthusiasm and ability to communicate Trees New York’s programs and mission play an essential role in sustaining the organization in its mission to plant, preserve and protect New York City’s urban forest. Luis has a BS from Pace University.