News & Events

LAF News

Stay up to date on LAF!

Subscribe to RSS Feed

2012 Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes Winner Announced

Ashley Brenden of Phoenix, Arizona has won the one-of-a-kind trip for two to New York City in LAF’s Fourth Annual Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes. Ashley’s name was selected from the 178 entrants whose donations helped raise nearly $12,000 to support LAF’s research and scholarship programs. The prize package features a day of private tours led by Michael Van Valkenburgh and staff to five MVVA-designed sustainable landscape projects: Jacob Javits Plaza, Teardrop Park, Hudson River Park (Segment 5), Union Square Park, and Brooklyn Bridge Park. 

“I’m still in a bit of shock that I won this incredible trip to New York City — it is certainly one of the most amazing opportunities presented to me. I look forward to exploring the City, Central Park and also the work of one of our most talented modern-day landscape architects,” said Ashley who is a Site Designer at SmithGroupJJR in Phoenix and an MLA student at Arizona State University. “We plan on going in March to enjoy the wonderful spring weather and to celebrate graduating from the Master’s program — I can’t think of a more perfect way to celebrate joining the field!”

2012-sweepstakes-winnerAshley Brenden (center) is congratulated by LAF Development Manager Matt Alcide and Office Manager Emily DeDad.

Ashley happened to be nearby in the ASLA EXPO Hall when the sweepstakes drawing took place on Sept 30 in Phoenix. She was brought to the LAF booth, where LAF Board members were onhand to announce the good news. “When I was told I won, I actually thought it was a joke! I thought all the cameras and people were just a prank or that maybe they wanted to ask me questions about why I donated. It took me about 5 minutes to register what the Board members had said.”

Ashley was one of a number of SmithGroupJJR employees who helped LAF by providing on-the-ground assistance and volunteer support for the LAF Annual Benefit and other events in Phoenix. She chose to donate because of the people she met through this experience. “After meeting all these generous and kind LAF staff and board members I knew that contributing to an organization that is doing so much to help the field was important.” 

LAF truly appreciates the support of all who participated in the sweepstakes and sends a special thank you to Michael Van Valkenburg and Associates for providing the unique prize package. Stay tuned for information about our 2013 Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes — the location will be announced in February with registration beginning in June.

LAF Events at the ASLA Annual Meeting

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.

lafatasla1Sonoran 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.

lafatasla2LAF 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.sweepstakes-e-announce

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.

aslaedsessionAssessing 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.

2011 Sweepstakes Winner Returns from China Trip

Last fall, Cara Smith, ASLA of Alexandria, Virginia won LAF’s 2011 Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes and an all-expense-paid, week-long trip for two to EDSA’s Crosswaters Ecolodge & Spa located in the Nankun Mountain Reserve in Guangdong Province, China. She traveled to the resort in April with her boyfriend Brian, also a landscape architect, and had the following trip report. The two also compiled a slide show capturing their experiences.

crosswaterstrip1“While this was my first time in China, I think it is safe to say that the visitor experience at Crosswaters Ecolodge is highly unique to the region, if not the country. Brian and I were able to extend our stay in China for a second week to travel north to Shanghai, Suzhou, and Beijing, and though our time to explore was limited, in none of these places did we find or appreciate a similar kind of eco-luxury or very much ‘eco’-mindedness at all.”

“At Crosswaters we could connect the dots between people, place, and natural processes — we could see the garden from which our dinner was plucked; hike through a bamboo forest knowing that this local material played a major role in sustaining the community, as well as providing us with a stunningly crafted villa for seven nights; and we could and fall asleep to the sound of chirping frogs and a churning river just feet away. Crosswaters was the first ecotourism destination in China, after all, and it sets the bar high. (The luxury resorts that seem to be taking over a neighboring valley in Guangzhou pale in comparison.)”

crosswaterstrip2“The sustainable design philosophy, spearheaded by an ecotourism development company and  EDSA, resonates throughout the site. Crosswaters is nestled in a valley surrounded by bamboo forest, so the connection between architecture and the environment is quite clear. Bamboo is used extensively and elegantly in the architecture, as are river rock and reclaimed materials, such as roof tiles. The architectural details are stunning — from the delicately woven bamboo screen covering the roof inside of the villa, to the intricate river rock-studded medallions in the walkways. We learned that collaboration with the local Keija people living in the Nankun Shan Mountain Reserve was a priority from the very beginning of the design process, and they were involved in its construction, incorporating local building methods and learning new ones to take back with them. Principles of feng shui played a role in the site design, and though I am not well versed in feng shui, I can attest that there was an uncanny sense of balance, peace, and harmony flooding the space, much like the daily fog, that rose and sank over the valley.”

crosswaterstrip3“The staff at Crosswaters treated us like royalty.  They made sure that our tea cups were never empty and made every effort to keep us comfortable, entertained, and happy. The reception manager even took us on our own private tour of the local town and surrounding parks. Restaurant staff was extremely patient when it came time for us to order our meals, and we could not have been more pleased with the Cantonese and Hakka cuisines they prepared.”

“Needless to say, we are still riding the high of probably one of the best vacations we have ever had, and cannot thank LAF and EDSA enough for this opportunity. I believe that this experience will stay with me for a long time and provide a wealth of inspiration professionally, personally, and spiritually.”

Cara, a 2010 graduate of Virginia Tech’s MLA program, works for the firm Lardner/Klein Landscape Architects in Alexandria, VA. Cara’s name was drawn from nearly 200 sweepstakes entries, which raised over $12,000 to support LAF’s research and scholarship programs. Special thanks to EDSA for generously providing this prize package. Look for details on LAF’s 2012 Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes soon.

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.”

LAF Events at the ASLA Annual Meeting

If you’ll be in San Diego for 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. In addition to the Olmsted Scholars and Landscape Performance Series , we’ll be showcasing Case Study Investigation (CSI), LAF’s newest initiative to integrate landscape performance in professional practice and design education.

benefit-cropThe Sky’s the Limit - LAF 26th Annual Benefit
Sun, Oct 30, 5:00-9:30pm
Join us on the exclusive Ivy Rooftop at the Andaz Hotel for a delightful evening, where we’ll honor the 2011 Olmsted Scholars, recognize the faculty Research Fellows who led the summer Case Study Investigation (CSI) collaborations, and showcase the Landscape Performance Series a year after launch. Proceeds support LAF’s research and scholarship programs.

LAF Booth in ASLA Expo Hall (#1118)
Mon, Oct 31, 9:00-5:00pm
Tue, Nov 1, 9:00-5:00pm
expo-boothStop by our booth to learn more about LAF, meet the 2011 Olmsted Scholars, see the Landscape Performance Series and results from our Case Study Investigation (CSI) initiative, and register for our Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes. We’ll also be conducting video interviews, so come prepared to share your thoughts for potential inclusion in our Conversations with Leaders in Landscape - we’d especially like to get anecdotes from past LAF Board members, scholarship winners, and reserach grantees.

EXPO Learning Lab: Landscape Performance Series
Mon, Oct 31, 10:30am
expo-booth2Learn how to use the resources of the Landscape Performance Series to demonstrate the impact of your projects and showcase your work.

Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes
Tue, Nov 1, 4:30pm
Join us in the ASLA Expo Hall as we draw the two grand prize winners of the week-long trip for two to Crosswater Ecolodge & Spa in China and the long weekend at the Carneros Inn in Napa, California. Entrants need not be present to win.