News & Events
The 2016-2017 LAF Board of Directors began its term on October 21 at LAF’s Annual Board Meeting in New Orleans. Jennifer Guthrie, FASLA of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol became President, succeeding Kona Gray, ASLA of EDSA, who was at the helm during LAF’s monumental 50th anniversary year, which included an unprecedented summit and major capital campaign. Adam Greenspan, ASLA of PWP Landscape Architecture became President-Elect.
Past-President Mark Dawson, FASLA of Sasaki Associates returned to a role as Vice President of Finance, and five other Directors assumed roles as officers on the Executive Leadership Team.
- Vice President of Education:
Stephanie Rolley, FASLA, AICP, Kansas State
- Vice President of Research:
M. Elen Deming, DDes, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Vice President of Leadership:
Monte Wilson, ASLA, Jacobs Engineering
- Vice President of Communication:
Richard E. Heriford, Landscape Forms
- Vice President of Finance:
Mark O. Dawson, FASLA, Sasaki Associates
- Vice President of Development:
Jim Manskey, ASLA, TBG Partners
This year, 11 individuals retired off the Board of Directors, in many cases after extended terms of service. LAF extends our sincerest thanks to the following outgoing Board members for their transfomative contributions:
- Susannah Drake, FASLA, AIA, dlandstudio (Director, 2014-2016)
- Deb Guenther, FASLA, Mithun (Director, 2008-2016; VP of Education, 2009-2011)
- Kristina Hill, PhD, Affiliate ASLA, University of California, Berkeley (Director, 2010-2016; VP of Education, 2011-2016)
- Jacinta McCann, FAILA, AECOM (Director, 2010-2016; VP of Communications, 2011-2012; President 2013-2014)
- Allyson Mendenhall, ASLA, Design Workshop (Director, 2012-2016)
- Forster Ndubisi, PhD, FASLA, Texas A&M University (Director, 1997-2000, 2008-2016; VP of Research, 2008-2016)
- Joe Runco, ASLA, SWA Group (Director, 2013-2016)
- Lucinda Sanders, FASLA, OLIN (Director, 2008-2016; VP of Finance 2010-2011; President, 2011-2012, VP of Leadership, 2013-2016)
- Laura Solano, ASLA, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (Director, 2012-2016; VP of Finance 2013-2014, 2015-2016; VP of Communications 2014-2015)
- Peg Staeheli, FASLA, MIG | SvR (Director, 2014-2016)
- Kate Tooke, ASLA, Sasaki Associates (Director, 2014-2016)
Thirteen new Directors joined the LAF Board, bringing a range of experience and perspectives from landscape architecture practice, academia, industry, real estate development, and the nonprofit sector. ASLA Immediate Past President Chad Danos, FASLA will serve as the ASLA Representative, and Bo Yang, FASLA continues as the CELA Representative. Nina Chase, a 2009 University Olmsted Scholar, was selected for the open Director position for past Olmsted Scholars.
Welcome to the new Board members:
- Gerdo Aquino, ASLA, SWA Group
- Kofi Boone, ASLA, North Carolina State University
- Rebecca Bradley, ASLA, Cadence
- Nina Chase, ASLA, Riverlife
- Po-Sun Chen, BrightView Design Group
- Dorothy Faris, ASLA, Mithun
- Skip Graffam, ASLA, OLIN
- Stephanie Grigsby, Design Workshop
- Diane Jones Allen, ASLA, DesignJones LLC
- Deborah Marton, New York Restoration Project
- Steve McCarter, ASLA, Ewing
- Roberto Rovira, ASLA, Florida International University
- Stan Wall, P.E., HR&A Advisors
During the three days of lively meetings and events in New Orleans, the commitment, passion, and thought leadership of this dynamic group was evident. We look forward to working together to advance the vision laid out in our New Landscape Declaration. Thank you all for your service!
Last spring, Elyzabeth Engle received our 2016 Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design, an award sponsored by the Garden Club of America to support the examination of gardens and their unique place in our environment.
Elyzabeth is a PhD candidate in Rural Sociology and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment at the Pennsylvania State University and grew up in a Pennsylvania farming community. Her dissertation focuses on the community capacity-building processes and outcomes of community garden programs within the rural context of Central Appalachia, a topic that is both of personal interest and extremely pertinent to the social and environmental challenges faced by today’s rural communities.
According to the Grow Appalachia website, citing data from the Appalachian Regional Commission:
- Unemployment is stuck well above 10% throughout the Appalachian region
- Per capita income in Central Appalachia was just $18,722 in 2013, considerably lower than the national average.
- An average of 18.3% of families in Appalachia fell under the poverty line in 2013, which is 4% more than the national average. In rural areas, poverty rates jump to 22.5%.
- In the poorest parts of the region, poverty rates often approach 25-30%.
Central Appalachia gives a snapshot of how globalization and urbanization have impacted America’s rural communities, where extractive industries have left behind degraded and resource-depleted landscapes. Elyzabeth notes that the challenges typically identified as urban problems are also very relevant in our rural communities. Poverty, unemployment, lack of economic opportunity, environmental degradation, water contamination, and poor health are prevalent in these places with a rich agricultural past.
“These issues transcend urban and rural divides.”
“There is a strong need for further research and practice towards sustainable development within rural, natural resource-dependent communities, particularly strategies that take a grassroots, place-based approach,” Elyzabeth emphasizes. This is where community garden programs can have a profound impact. Such programs could prove to be invaluable in fostering economic stability, resilience, and social capital for these neglected rural communities. While community garden programs are well established within the urban context, there is a dearth of knowledge, resources, and research about rural community gardens.
For her research in this area, Elyabeth is partnering with Grow Appalachia, a non-profit organization based in Berea, Kentucky, which manages and supports 30-40 garden sites in rural communities in Central Appalachia through funding, technical and physical assistance.
Elyzabeth asserts that there is so much room for collaboration and stresses the value of a multi-disciplinary approach to tackling the human, environmental, socio-cultural, and economic factors at play. “We have so much to learn about and from each other’s expertise.” Different perspectives make us push ourselves to think more deeply and critically about how we can combat ongoing challenges related to environmental and social equity.