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From Nov 14-16, LAF held a series of events in Boston to honor the 2013 Olmsted Scholars, landscape architecture students who were nominated by their faculty for demonstrating exceptional leadership potential. Thirty-seven of this year’s 67 Olmsted Scholars traveled from across the U.S. and Canada to participate. Perhaps National Olmsted Scholar Leann Andrews best summarized the energy and camaraderie felt by all with, “This past week was nothing short of amazing.”
The culmination was the LAF Annual Benefit at the Boston Harbor Hotel’s Wharf Room, where the 2013 Olmsted Scholars were recognized during a special certificate ceremony in front of the nearly 400 guests. “It was truly an honor to recognize this impressive group of individuals,” said outgoing LAF Board President Bill Main. “These incredibly bright, talented, and engaged young people will lead the profession in addressing future landscape issues.”
The Olmsted Scholars Luncheon gave the scholars the opportunity to meet each other, the LAF Board of Directors, staff, and program sponsors. Short presentations from the two National Olmsted Scholars provided insights into the amazing people and projects that the program supports. Leann Andrews, winner of the $25,000 graduate prize, discussed how she is melding her background in dance, landscape architecture, and global health. With the Olmsted funding she has been able to carry out her capstone project working with an informal ‘slum’ community in Lima, Peru to envision, design, construct, and sustain personalized home gardens. McKenzie Wilhelm, winner of the $15,000 undergraduate prize, presented her research on Alaska’s Pebble Mine and design interventions that could minimize the threatening effects of mining processes on fragile salmon habitat. 2009 National Olmsted Scholar Emily Vogler gave an update on her research on sustainable regionalism.
Following the luncheon, the scholars participated in a brainstorming session, sharing their thoughts on leadership and how to further build the community of Olmsted Scholars, who now number 243 as the program enters its seventh year. The scholars also participated in organzied tours of Sasaki’s Watertown office and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates’ Cambridge office, as well as informal dinners and other gatherings.
Thank you to the generous Olmsted Scholars Program sponsors whose support makes the financial awards and events like these possible. Photos from the Annual Benefit (now posted) and other Olmsted Scholar events (coming soon) can be found on LAF’s Flickr Photostream.
LAF celebrated Park(ing) Day in downtown DC on Sept 20, joining thousands around the world who showcased the power of parks by creating temporary parklets in metered parking spaces. Park(ing) Day 2013 saw at least 22 pop-up parks designed and built in DC by nonprofit organizations, design firms, businesses, and city agencies.
LAF partnered with Valleycrest Landscape Companies to design and build a “light touch” space, in which all materials were borrowed, repurposed or on their way to a permanent home. Hay bales lined the park to create comfortable seating and shield visitors from traffic, while dogwoods and a street tree provided shade. Purple muhly grass destined for a park in Virginia framed the space, and caught visitors’ eyes from across the street with their distinctive color. The centerpiece of the installation was cornhole — a beanbag toss which lured many a downtown office worker into a break from their routine!
More than 150 people spent time in the park during the Friday lunch hour, with hundreds more stopping to observe and photograph the space. For LAF staff, the most memorable part of the day was seeing the many different ways people chose to use the space.
Visitors played dozens of games of cornhole, making an impressive number of three point shots! LAF Executive Director Barbara Deutsch’s cornhole skills were showcased in this Park(ing) Day video report from the local NBC4 station. Bloggers, fellow designers, non-profit professionals, and environmental activists visited the space, many of whom toured the various temporary parks in the city.
Patrons of a nearby food truck used the hay bale seating to enjoy ice cream and root beer floats. Several young families stopped by the space to take photos. An art class from George Washington University made a surprise visit, spending about a half an hour sketching the parklet, plantings, and surroundings.
Park visitors expressed how much they enjoyed seeing a bit of extra green in their city. Thanks to all who came by, and many many thanks to ValleyCrest Landscape Companies!
For more photos of the day’s festivities, visit LAF’s Flickr page.
For a social media play-by-play, check out LAF’s Storify summary.
On Sept 20, streets across the world will look a bit greener. It’s Park(ing) Day, an open-source day where citizens, designers, and organizations reclaim parking spaces to create temporary public parks. The global event seeks to raise awareness about the high percentage of our built environment devoted to parking – and the many other creative, inspiring ways this space could be used.
LAF is partnering with ValleyCrest Landscape Companies to design and build a pop-up park near the LAF office in downtown Washington, DC. Located in front of 1900 M Street, LAF’s parklet will offer downtown workers a lighthearted break in a newfound green space. Open from 11am to 2pm, the park is designed to be “light touch,” and will be constructed with re-purposed materials including haybales, dogwood trees, and grasses, either borrowed or destined for another home. The centerpiece will be a social and recreational element designed to introduce a little bit of friendly competition for visitors – come visit and see for yourself!
2013 should see active involvement in Park(ing) Day throughout DC, including from the District Department of Transportation, which recently announced its first-time participation. Since its inaugural year in San Francisco in 2005, Park(ing) Day has inspired participation across 6 continents, with parklets designed across North America and Europe, as well as in New Zealand, Indonesia, and South Africa.
Join the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) on Friday, February 8 in Long Beach, California for a special charity reception aboard the Historic Queen Mary overlooking the scenic Long Beach Harbor. The event is part of the Landscape Architects’ Expo (LA Expo), a two-day trade show and educational conference on February 8-9.
The “LAF Charity Reception” begins at 6:30 pm with complete deck access, live jazz, hors d’ oeuvres, and a keynote presentation by Calvin Abe, FASLA and special guest Andy Lipkis of Tree People: “The Strawberry Patch: A New Urban Paradigm.” All proceeds support LAF’s research and scholarship programs. Support the profession and LAF by attending this fun and educational event for only $95 (includes parking).
The LA Expo also features a “Free Seminar” with LAF Executive Director Barbara Deutsch, FASLA on Friday, Feb 8 from 10:30am-12:00pm. Barbara will present the Landscape Performance Series, an interactive set of resources that provides tools and information to quantify benefits, show value, and make the case for sustainable landscape solutions.
About the Landscape Architects’ Expo
The LA Expo was created specifically for Landscape Architects, Designers, and Commercial Specifiers in the western United States. The LA Expo is a regional venue in which Landscape Architects, Specifiers and those who provide goods and services to the profession can get together to exchange ideas, introduce new products and technologies, establish and renew business relationships, and talk projects.
If you’ll be in Phoenix for the ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO, we hope you’ll join us for one or more of the following events to support and raise awareness about LAF programs. We’ll celebrate the fifth year of our acclaimed Olmsted Scholars Program, showcase the new resources in the Landscape Performance Series , and promote the 2013 Case Study Investigation (CSI) progam.
Sonoran Celebration, LAF’s 27th Annual Benefit
Fri, Sept 28, 7:00-10:30pm
Join top designers and leaders from practice, academia, and industry for a vibrant and memorable evening at the Phoenix Art Museum. Enjoy cocktails, fine food, and live music all while raising money for LAF’s research and scholarship programs. We’ll celebrate the fifth year of LAF’s Olmsted Scholars Program by recognizing the 2012 scholars and $25,000 winner, catching up with past Scholars, and making a special announcement about the program’s future.
LAF Booth in ASLA Expo Hall (#446)
Sat-Sun, Sept 29-30, 9:00-5:00pm
Visit our booth to learn more about LAF, register for the Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes, meet the 2012 Olmsted Scholars, and learn how you can participate in our 2013 Case Study Investiga- tion (CSI) program to document the benefits of high-performing landscape projects. On Sunday, we’ll be conducting video interviews, so come prepared to share your thoughts for inclusion in our Conversations with Leaders in Landscape series - we’d especially like to hear from past Board members, scholarship winners, and research grantees.
Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes
Sun, Sept 30, 4:30pm
Join us at our booth in the ASLA Expo Hall as we announce the winner of our one-of-a-kind trip for two to New York City, featuring a day of private tours led by Michael Van Valkenburgh and staff. You can make a donation to register to win right up until the drawing. Entrants need not be present to win. All sweepstakes proceeds support LAF’s research and scholarship programs.
Assessing Performance Education Session
Mon, Oct 1, 8:00-9:30am
Don’t miss Assessing the Performance of Landscape Projects presented by LAF’s Heather Whitlow, Kurt Culbertson of Design Workshop, and Bill Wenk of Wenk Associates. Learn methods and tools to identify and quantify performance benefits based on two years of success, challenges, and lessons from the Landscape Performance Series and Case Study Investigation (CSI) program. Then hear how Design Workshop and Wenk Associates are using landscape performance in their respective practices to set goals, develop design strategies, assess the effectiveness of designs, and show value of landscape solutions to clients and other stakeholders.