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June 26 Webinar: Olmsted Scholar Perspectives


Please save-the-date to join us on Tuesday, June 26 3:00pm to 4:00pm EDT for a live Q2 webinar to hear past Olmsted Scholar National winners Azzurra Cox, Grant Fahlgren, and Erin Percevault share their personal and professional endeavors inside and outside of the office and how they balance these pursuits within the demands of their responsibilities as full-time designers in private practice.  If you would like to register, you can do so via this link:

These quarterly webinars are curated and inspired by the topics of interest of our Olmsted Scholars community. Last year we featured panel presentations on activism and advocacy, bridging academic and practice, and highlighted the professional journeys and challenges for three distinct and unique landscape architecture professionals in different stages in their career and perspectives in practice. We’ve featured past Olmsted Scholars as well as guests such as David Seiter from Future Green Studio, Gina Ford from SCAPE, and Billy Fleming from the Ian McHarg Center and co-founder of the Indivisible Project.

Erin Percevault, 2014 National Undergraduate Olmsted Scholar

Erin earned her Bachelor of Landscape Architecture with Honors from Louisiana State University in 2015. After research work with the Coastal Sustainability Studio and the completion of her thesis on emerging energy landscapes, she went to Bhutan where she studied rural livelihoods and conservation practices with the School for Field Studies. She then joined Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects and moved to NYC. Recent projects at NBW include Hudson Yards in NYC; the Gardens at the Jay Heritage Center; the Omega Institute Campus; and the Peabody Essex Museum. 

Grant Fahlgren, 2015 National Graduate Olmsted Scholar

Grant is a project designer at the award winning firm PFS Studio based in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 2015 he was named the Graduate National Olmsted Scholar while obtaining his Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of British Columbia. His thesis research and Olmsted proposal on the potential of traditional ecological knowledge to inform adaptations to climate change has expanded into his professional practice through work with coastal First Nations communities, participation with the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects as a founding member of the Indigenous Issues Task Force, along with conference presentations and publications.

Azzurra Cox, 2016 National Graduate Olmsted Scholar

Azzurra Cox is a landscape architect passionate about cities and public space. Her interdisciplinary background in social theory and the humanities informs her approach to the discipline, including her interest in the power of landscape to shape and reflect collective social narratives. Azzurra holds an MLA from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a BA in Social Studies from Harvard College. Concurrent to independent creative projects and ongoing research on landscapes of memory in St. Louis, Azzurra is a Designer at Gustafson Guthrie Nichol.

We encourage you to spread the word to your colleagues, friends, and professional networks too! In the meantime, you can also check out our Q1 call from March featuring Wes Michaels from Spackman Mossop Michaels on the Caño Martin Peña Restoration Project in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Announcing Our 2018 National Olmsted Scholars

The Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is delighted to announce that Elizabeth Camuti, a master’s student at the University of Virginia, and Karina Ramos, an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, were selected as LAF’s 2018 National Olmsted Scholars.

camuti-liz-photo-500x700Liz Camuti, University of Virginia

Liz receives the $25,000 graduate prize and plans to leverage the award to continue her ongoing research about new forms of socio-ecological infrastructure for isolated populations threatened by climate change and extreme weather, specifically the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Her work advances a design methodology that couples advanced digital technologies with local knowledge. Liz will use the award to support travel, tools, and surveillance technologies to better understand how infrastructural improvements implemented in the wake of recent storms might interface with new forms of human occupation. Liz graduates with a Master of Landscape Architecture in May.

Karina receives the $15,000 undergraduate prize and will use the award to design a physical plan for Puente Piedra, an emerging town 55 km away from Lima, Peru. Inspired by David Gouverneur’s “informal armatures” approach, which provides a framework for the processes of informal urbanization, Karina will first conduct case study research in her hometown of Los Olivos, an adjacent district that evolved through the planned growth and development of an existing informal settlement. She plans to present her findings and recommendations to Peru’s federal housing and urban development agency. Karina graduates this spring with a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture.

ramos-karina-photo-500x700Karina Ramos, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Also honored are six National Olmsted Scholar Finalists. The graduate finalists, who each receive a $5,000 award, are:

  • Rachel Ison, University of Southern California
  • Nicholas Jabs, University of Pennsylvania
  • Steven Nuñez, University of Texas at Arlington

The undergraduate finalists, who each receive a $3,000 award, are:

  • Toni Candanedo, Arizona State University
  • Bryce Donner, University of Florida
  • Karen Lomas-Gutierrez, University of California, Davis

Two independent juries of leaders in the landscape architecture profession selected the winners and finalists from a group of 50 graduate and 35 undergraduate students nominated by their faculty for their exceptional leadership potential. These top students earned the designation of 2018 University Olmsted Scholars and join the growing community of 634 past and present Olmsted Scholars.

The 2018 jurors for the graduate award were: Adam Greenspan, LAF President and Principal at PWP; Shawn T. Kelly, ASLA President-Elect and Principal of Kelly Design Group, LLC; Kimberlee Douglas, Associate Professor and Director of the Landscape Architecture Program at Philadelphia University; Susan Szenasy, Director of Design Innovation, Metropolis Magazine; Brian Jencek, Principal at HOK; Skip Graffam, Partner and Director of Research at OLIN Partnership; and David de la Cruz, 2017 National Olmsted Scholar (Graduate) and Project Manager at Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust.

Jurors for the undergraduate award were: Stephanie Rolley, LAF President-Elect and Professor and Department Head at Kansas State University; Vaughn Rinner, ASLA Immediate Past President; Paul Voos, Department Chair at Morgan State University; Zach Mortice, Architectural Journalist and Web Editor at Landscape Architecture Magazine; Jim Laiche, Water Conservation Business Manager at The Toro Company; Tao Zhang, Principal at Sasaki; Ron Kagawa, Landscape Architect at Kimley-Horn, and Lauren Delbridge, 2017 National Olmsted Scholar (Undergraduate) and Landscape Designer at LandDesign.

Now in its eleventh year, the LAF Olmsted Scholars Program is the premier national leadership award program for landscape architecture students. The program honors students with exceptional leadership potential who are using ideas, influence, communication, and service to advance sustainable design and foster human and societal benefits.The LAF Olmsted Scholars Program is made possible with support from Lead Sponsor: The Toro Company; Annual Sponsors: HOK, IRONSMITH, Kimley-Horn, LandDesign, OLIN, Sasaki, Thomas C. and Gerry D. Donnelly, Steven G. King, FASLA, and Bill Main, Hon. ASLA; Promotion Partner: American Society of Landscape Architects.

Thanks to the generous support of LAF’s 50 & Forward Campaign donors, starting in 2018, the Olmsted Scholar finalist awards increased from $1,000 to $5,000 for graduate students and $3,000 for undergraduates.

Celebrating 10 Years of LAF Olmsted Scholars


The Landscape Architecture Foundation’s Olmsted Scholars Program, with its $25,000 graduate and $15,000 undergraduate prize, is the premier national award and recognition program for landscape architecture students. The program honors students with exceptional leadership potential and builds a network of support as they rise through their professional careers.

This year marks an exciting milestone as we celebrate 10 years of scholarship and recognition through LAF’s Olmsted Scholars Program. To commemorate, LAF is delighted to announce that starting in 2018, the finalist awards will increase from $1,000 to $5,000 for graduate students and to $3,000 for undergraduates, thanks to the generous support of LAF’s 50 & Forward Campaign donors.

We are also planning a number of activities in 2018 to celebrate the community of 549 LAF Olmsted Scholars recognized to date. These include bioregional events inspired by the calls to action in the New Landscape Declaration, as well as a celebration to coincide with the 2018 ASLA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.

Throughout the year, look for features of past Olmsted Scholars on our website and newsletter as we share the innovative work that they are doing to advance sustainable design and foster human and societal benefits. To get a taste, check out these interviews from last year:


LAF Olmsted Scholars: Ready to Act on the New Landscape Declaration, Part 4

Inspired by LAF’s 2016 Summit on Landscape Architecture and the Future and the New Landscape Declaration, a group of ten Olmsted Scholars developed their own response focused on moving forward with deliberate actions to meet the ambitions set forth in the Declaration’s four calls to action.

Through a series of blog posts, we are showcasing their action plans. Over the course of the past few months, we’ve introduced Action 1Action 2, and Action 3. Today, we conclude with Action 4:

We will work to support research and champion new practices that result in design innovation and policy transformation.



  • Partner with an academic institution and a professional office to implement a research project.
  • Implement a short/medium-term demonstration project to create knowledge and showcase effectiveness for long-term change.
  • Experiment with innovative tools and technology.
  • Become your own client. Support in-office research to proactively identify issues that can be solved with landscape architectural services.


  • Establish metrics to prove the environmental and cultural value of ecosystem services.
  • Expand funding sources for cross-disciplinary knowledge-building in both academic and professional practice.
  • Require ecosystem services, environmental justice, and research experience as requirements for ASLA membership and/or licensure.
  • Advance the integration of sustainable techniques and culture in our practices. Divest from fossil fuels and offset CO2 footprints.
  • Evaluate existing project delivery methods and test new platforms.

You can download a PDF copy of the full The Olmsted Scholar Agenda: from Declaration to Action, which includes all four action plans and corresponding precedents for reference and inspiration. The document is a framework for a more detailed action strategy that can be used to inspire, direct, and hold us all accountable. It is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather to be the beginning of a larger dialogue to address the concerns and hopes stated in the New Landscape Declaration.

As 2017 comes to a close, please take a few minutes to review and reflect on which calls to action resonate with you.

What is your action plan for 2018?

Thank you Olmsted Scholars for your leadership and inspiration! The Olmsted Scholars who contributed to this effort are: Leann Andrews (2013 National Olmsted Scholar), Andrew Bailey (2014 Olmsted Scholar), Zach Barker (2013 Olmsted Scholar Finalist), Marin Braco (2012 Olmsted Scholar Finalist), Nina Chase (2009 Olmsted Scholar), Kim Dietzel (2015 Olmsted Scholar), Karl Krause (2008 Olmsted Scholar), Tim Mollette-Parks (2009 Olmsted Scholar), Andrew Sargeant (2016 Olmsted Scholar), and Nate Wooten (2016 Olmsted Scholar).

LAF’s Olmsted Scholars Program recognizes and supports landscape architecture students with exceptional leadership potential who are using ideas, influence, communication, service, and leadership to advance sustainable design and foster human and societal benefits.

Olmsted Scholar Events in Los Angeles


To recognize and build community among our 2017 Olmsted Scholars, LAF held a series of events in Los Angeles on October 19-20. Of this year’s 81 Olmsted Scholars, 38 traveled from across the U.S. and Canada (and from as far away as Hong Kong!) to participate. The Olmsted Scholars Program honors students who are nominated by their faculty for demonstrating exceptional leadership potential and using their ideas, influence, communication, and service to advance sustainable design and foster human and societal benefits.

The events kicked off with the Olmsted Scholars Luncheon where the scholars had the opportunity to meet each other, the LAF Board of Directors, Board Emeriti, staff, and program sponsors. The luncheon included the award certificate ceremony and short presentations from 2017 National Olmsted Scholars David de la Cruz (MLA, University of Washington) and Lauren Delbridge (MLA, Virginia Tech).

David, winner of the $25,000 graduate prize, discussed his interest and work on environmental justice issues in his home community in South Central Los Angeles. David will work collaboratively with educators, school administrators, and students at under-resourced high schools to “build youth leadership around urban environmental issues in working-class communities and communities of color.” Lauren, winner of the $15,000 undergraduate prize, shared her thesis project and investigations into the complex nature of coal ash ponds where she is utilizing landscape architecture to develop remediation strategies that have the potential to transform these contaminated sites into multi-functioning places for human interaction, education, and experience.

Following the luncheon, the Olmsted Scholars participated in small group discussions facilitated by LAF Board Emeritus members and special guest 2011 Olmsted Scholar Billy Fleming, Research Coordinator at PennDesign’s The McHarg Center. Each shared their path, aspirations for the profession, and their own personal and professional development goals as they transition from school to professional lives and communities.


The day concluded with a visit to Studio-MLA’s new office space on an industrial site overlooking the Los Angeles River. Thank you to LAF Board member Mia Lehrer and to Studio-MLA Senior Associates Claire Latane and Kush Parekh for hosting and sharing your inspirational and impactful work in Los Angeles.

The activities culminated the following evening with LAF’s 32nd Annual Benefit in the historic ticket concourse of Los Angeles’ Union Station. The Olmsted Scholars were among the over 600 attendees who gathered to catch up with friends and colleagues and support LAF. The scholars were recognized as part of the program, which featured the launch of LAF’s The New Landscape Declaration book and recognition of 2017 LAF Medal recipient Cornelia Hahn Oberlander.


Thank you to the generous Olmsted Scholars Program sponsors whose support makes the financial awards and events like these possible. Lead Sponsor: The Toro Company; Annual Sponsors: EDSA, HOK, OLIN, Sasaki Associates, IRONSMITH, LandDesign, Thomas C. and Gerry D. Donnelly, Steven G. King, FASLA, and Bill Main, Hon. ASLA; Promotion Partner: American Society of Landscape Architects.

More photos from this year’s Olmsted Scholars Luncheon and LAF’s 32nd Annual Benefit can be found on LAF’s Flickr Photostream.