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2011: A Look Back

This past year has been an extraordinary one for LAF. We’ve provided more support than ever to students, faculty, and firms to increase awareness, generate demand, and strengthen our collective capacity to achieve sustainability through landscape architecture. Over the last year we:

  • Awarded a record-breaking $100,000 to students.
  • Recognized 40 new Olmsted Scholars, the next generation of sustainability leaders, and offered $1,000 awards to the five finalists in addition to the prestigious $25,000 award for the national winner.
  • Provided unique collaborative research opportunities for 10 faculty, student and practitioner teams through the innovative Case Study Investigation (CSI) pilot program.
  • Added significant content to the Landscape Performance Series (LPS), including 30 new case studies, 25 tools and calculators, and 35 Fast Facts.
  • Met with over 2,000 professionals to increase awareness about the innovative resources in the LPS to help make the case for more sustainable landscape solutions.

We could not have accomplished all this without the support from our many donors! Thank you to all who contributed, participated, and offered their financial support to make this good work possible, so that we may all achieve our potential to create a healthier, safer, and more peaceful planet.

Happy Holidays from LAF!


Leaders Roundtable: Multidisciplinary Process

Each year, LAF and Landscape Forms co-host a Leaders Roundtable to foster dialogue among distinguished design professionals about emerging trends in design and professional practice.

In May, a group of 19 landscape architects, architects and interior designers, representing large and small firms, met in San Francisco to discuss integration and the multidisciplinary design process: how it works, why it sometimes falls short, and what design practitioners can do to make it better. The conversation was moderated by Joe Brown, Chief Innovation Officer at AECOM.

Participants emphasized the need for common language among the design disciplines, shared values, and cross-disciplinary opportunities at the university-level. A few excerpts from the dialogue are below. For a full summary of the conversation, see the Rountable Report on Multidisciplinary Process.

“The process is seriously broken. It’s disconnected, disaggregated. You’ve got open space over here, transportation over there, and land use, water and watershed issues somewhere else. I’m very interested in connected language and connected delivery because all these issues go together and we’re not considering whole solutions.”
                — Joe Brown, FASLA, AECOM

“We’re the artistic side of the process and we find ourselves fighting the engineers and others to preserve the purity of the construct. In fact, given our training as synthesizers and our place in the in-between zone of the different design professions, we should have confidence in our ability to re-invent the aesthetic construct as we move through the process and get inputs from our allied professionals.”
                — Jim Stickley, ASLA, LEED AP, Wallace Roberts & Todd

“The students coming out of the universities that we see are very excited, very compassionate and have a whole new way of looking at things. They’re born of the generation where you share everything and it’s forcing us to rethink how we do our day-to-day work.”
                — Kristen Lundquist, Brumbaugh Associates 

Olmsted Scholar Events in San Diego


From Oct 30 to Nov 1, LAF held a series of events in San Diego to meet and honor the 2011 Olmsted Scholars. Fourteen of this year’s 40 Olmsted Scholars attended, with National Olmsted Scholar Kate Tooke participating remotely via Skype following the recent birth of her daughter.

The events culminated with LAF’s 26th Annual Benefit, where the Olmsted Scholars were recognized during a special ceremony. Outgoing LAF Board President Kathy Garcia presented certificates to each scholar and said, “The future is in great hands with the caliper of these landscape architectural students. They are so inspiring!”

LAF staff, Board Members, and program sponsors had the opportunity to meet and interact with the Olmsted Scholars beforehand during a special luncheon. “It is always so energizing to meet these future leaders of the profession,” remarked LAF Executive Director Barbara Deutsch. “I was amazed at the variety of backgrounds and experiences that this group brings to landscape architecture — everything from farming to landscape history to cooking.”

Following the luncheon, the scholars participated in a brainstorming and strategy session on how to add value and further build the community of Olmsted Scholars, who now number 130 as the program enters its fifth year. Many of the Olmsted Scholars also came by the LAF booth in the ASLA Expo Hall to share their backgrounds and impressions on camera. The footage will be used to produce a video on the 2011 Olmsted Scholars for LAF’s Conversations with Leaders in Landscape series.

Photos from the Benefit and other events can be found in the photographer’s Picture Gallery or LAF’s Flickr Photostream.

Since 2008, the Olmsted Scholars Program has recognized and supported faculty-nominated students with exceptional leadership potential from each accredited university. For 2012, LAF is planning a number of events for all Olmsted Scholars past and present to mark the 5th-year anniversary of the program. Stay tuned!

Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes Winners Announced

LAF’s Third Annual Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes raised $12,000 to support our research and scholarship programs. Thanks to all who participated by registering online, mailing in entries, or stopping by the LAF booth at the ASLA Annual Meeting EXPO in San Diego!

sweepstakes-drawingRepresentatives from sponors EDSA and OLIN were on-hand at the EXPO booth on November 1 to pull the winning numbers from the nearly 200 entries (photo at right). And the winners are…

Cara Smith, ASLA of Alexandria, Virginia won the all-expense-paid, week-long trip for two to EDSA’s Crosswaters Ecolodge & Spa, one of China’s first ecotourism destinations, located in the Nankun Mountain Reserve in Guangdong Province. Cara, a 2010 graduate of Virginia Tech’s MLA program, works for the firm Lardner/Klein Landscape Architects. She said that she is extremely excited, thankful, and still in disbelief.

“Winning a trip to China was the last thing on my mind as I was standing by the cheeses at Trader Joe’s and received that momentous phone call from San Diego. In my excitement I almost abandoned my full shopping cart!”

 “As a young professional in the field, I am so grateful. Such opportunities to experience new cultures and environments are few and far between, and they truly enrich and inform the work of landscape architects.” Cara plans to travel to Crosswaters in April 2012.

Keith Wagner, FASLA of H. Keith Wagner Partnership Landscape Architects in Burlington, Vermont won the long-weekend for two at OLIN’s Carneros Inn, a vineyard oasis located between the Napa and Sonoma Valleys in California. Keith is extremely thankful for winning and says that he and his wife are looking forward to the trip.

“I wanted to donate to LAF because my old professor, Robert Reimann was a huge advocate of the foundation. By chance, I saw the sweepstakes invitation and entered, but really didn’t think I would win. In fact, I completely forgot about it until I got the call. It was very nice of OLIN to sponsor the trip, and I’m looking forward to seeing their work at The Carneros Inn.”