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Sustainable Destination: Mackerel Beach, Australia

In November 2014, Emily O’Mahoney, ASLA of Jupiter, Florida won LAF’s Sustainable Destination Sweepstakes: a trip to Mackerel Beach near Sydney, Australia. Accommodations would be an award-winning beach house on the Pittwater shoreline, 25 miles north of the city center at the edge of Ku-Ring-Gai National Park. The sweepstakes was sponsored by AECOM and LAF Board member Jacinta McCann, FAILA, who is originally from Sydney.

Emily and her husband, Brian, made the trip in September, adding on time at the beginning and end to explore Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Daintree Rain Forest. When they arrived in Sydney, they visited the Opera House, the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Darling Harbour area, and the Torango Zoo before heading to Hunter Valley and its wineries for two nights. They then made their way to the Sydney suburb of Palm Beach to catch the ferry over to the sweepstakes destination.

The architectural award-winning beach house, designed by Alec Tzannes, is built into the hillside on Mackerel Beach, where there are no shops or cars. All food and luggage must be carried along the beach to the house from the ferry. Here is how Emily described it in her travel journal:

“It is another world here. Most houses are vacation homes. There is an artist colony here too, down near the pier as I understand it. Foot paths are just that and the only way to get around once on land. You have the choice of taxi, ferry or private boat to get here. No cars, no roads. There are trail heads into the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park so hikers/walkers get off the ferry and disappear off the beach into the woods.”

pittwater-houseView of the house from the ferry depot — the one with the rounded roofpittwater-terraceEmily relaxing on the terrace

“It is a beautiful house situated in a beautiful location. There are two stories of steps to the front door and another story inside to the living area. And yes, another story to the loft/main sleeping room. Oh my, but the views. Lying in bed we had a wonderful view of the lights across the bay, the lighthouse and the stars.”

“There are 1.5 stories of straight rock right behind the house. Then there are several cisterns on up the hill to gather and store water. Quite a bit of real estate is given over to this endeavor. There are seven cisterns under the house with roof drains running to them.”

Emily and Brian took some short walks and enjoyed reading, playing Scrabble, and watching movies during their downtime. They saw wallabies, kookaburras, and other wildlife. They also did some longer hikes, which Emily describes in her travel journal:

pittwater-wallabyWallaby with a baby in her pouch, as seen from a house window

“We were on the trail about 8am and got back 3.5 hours later having seen no one, having the mountain to ourselves. We saw an Aborigine cave within the unique stone architecture. We saw beautiful views. I tried to get the feel of the landscape: grasstree, eucalyptuses and acacias. My book says that the forest here is a sclerophyll forest, an open forest dominated by eucalypts. We are in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. What a wonderful morning of climbing up and down and enjoying.”

“I went on a hike by myself to find the West End. There were patches of more tropical type vegetation (rain forest) around the valleys that feed streams that go down the mountain. Magical. The top of the mountain is more open so there are lots of wildflowers and plants blooming in this early spring. Lots of beautiful flowers and colors. The sandstone rock escarpments are beautiful and unique. Near the end of my 3 hours out, I saw the equivalent of a porcupine, an echidna.”

pittwater-overlookBrian on one of the many overlooks

“We climbed the hill outside the top level of the house where the cisterns are. It is not easy…at least for me. Once up on top we walked the distance of the Mackerel Service Trail up to the Basin trail.  We saw Aborigine pictograms on rocks.  We also saw some awesome rock formations and overlooks. The wild flowers are blooming in the open areas, which occur at the rim. This trail basically follows the crest of the hill/mountain. We had some light rain while out walking. By the time we got back I could sit in the sun on the terrace.

“What a wonderful vacation house! There are only 125 properties at Mackerel Bay. The whole area is a great relaxing place and only 1.5 hours from Sydney. We love watching the ferry come in on the hour at the half. We watch the sea planes, the sail boats, the motor boats, the ferries and the taxis. We watch the sun rise over Palm Beach and wake us before 6 every morning. We can see the stars at night.  It is all so very special. A trip of a lifetime. Thank you Jacinta McCann and Landscape Architecture Foundation.”

After five nights in Mackerel Beach, Emily and Brian flew to Cairns to explore the Great Barrier Reef and Green Island Sailing trip, then they traveld to an ecolodge in the Daintree Rain Forest for guided tours and an Aborigine art class. Details and photos from all of Emily’s adventures can be found at: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/emily.omahoney/1/tpod.html

pittwater-sketchEmily's first sketch with the “Paint” software

Support LAF During This Season of Giving

As 2015 draws to a close, your support of the Landscape Architecture Foundation will help us to continue to deliver innovative programs and expand our impact. Year-end donations provide critical support and help us determine the scale of good things to come!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

amazonsmilelogoDid you know that you can support LAF’s research and scholarship programs when you shop online from AmazonSmile? This holiday season (and beyond), simply start your shopping from smile.amazon.com and choose to support The Landscape Architecture Foundation (or follow this link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/52-6065505). A percent of sales will be donated to LAF at no extra cost to you!

Giving Tuesday          

givingtuesdayCelebrate the true meaning of the season on #GivingTuesday and make a statement in support of the causes that mean the most to you! #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving, observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. Kick off the charitable season by making a gift to LAF on December 1.

Thanks to the generosity of our friends at Aquatic Design & EngineeringSweeney & Associates, and ValleyCrest, any gift made between November 26 and December 2 will be matched dollar for dollar to have double the impact. We’ll need your help and participation to unlock these matches, so mark your calendar.

Don’t want to wait? Make a donation today!

Any Day

There are many ways to invest in the work of LAF as an individual or organization. From program sponsorships to planned giving, you have the opportunity to choose the type and level of gift that shows what is important to you. Do your part to help LAF do more!

Donate now or learn about ways to give.

Olmsted Scholar Events in Chicago

On Nov 5-6, LAF held a series of events in Chicago to honor the 2015 Olmsted Scholars, landscape architecture students who were nominated by their faculty for demonstrating exceptional leadership potential. Thirty-four of this year’s 72 Olmsted Scholars traveled from across the U.S. and Canada to participate.

2015olmstedscholars

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 showcased the incredible people and projects that the program supports. Maria Muñoz, winner of the $15,000 undergraduate prize, presented an overview of her research on Puerto Rico’s network of local vendors, their sources of home-grown agricultural products, and how this network may offer a more environmentally sustainable and resilient type of agricultural system. Grant Fahlgren, winner of the $25,000 graduate prize, discussed traditional ecological knowledge and how it applies to landscape architecture, using the Fraser River watershed in the Cascadia Bioregion as an example.

maria-markNational Olmsted Scholar Maria Muñoz with outgoing LAF President Mark Dawson

Following the luncheon, the scholars participated in a facilitated Leadership Conversation with members of the LAF Board and Board Emeriti, discussing how to continue to pursue their passions, stay accountable, and keep motivated as they transition from school to the workforce. They also shared their thoughts on how to enhance the Olmsted Scholars Program and the community of scholars, who now number 391 as the program enters its ninth year.

The events culminated with the LAF Annual Benefit at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium. The sold-out crowd of over 500 guests honored the 2015 Olmsted Scholars during a special certificate ceremony. “What an honor and treat it was to meet this impressive group,” said outgoing LAF Board President Mark Dawson, FASLA. “The future of our profession is in good hands.”

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 and other Olmsted Scholar events can be found on LAF’s Flickr Photostream.

Welcome 2015-2016 Board of Directors

The 2015-2016 LAF Board of Directors began its term on November 6 at LAF’s Annual Board Meeting in Chicago. Kona Gray, ASLA of EDSA became President, following now Past-President Mark Dawson, FASLA of Sasaki Associates, whose leadership and business saavy guided LAF through a critical year of program development and planning for the foundation’s 50th anniversary in 2016. Jennifer Guthrie, FASLA of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol became President-Elect.

Director Adam Greenspan became Vice President of Communication, succeeding Laura Solano, who returned to the role of Vice President of Finance. Director Susannah Drake became Vice President of Development. Three other officers continue in their positions on the executive leadership team.

  • Vice President of Education:kona-barbara-markPresident Kona Gray (L) and Immediate Past President Mark Dawson (R) with LAF Executive Director Barbara Deutsch
    Kristina Hill, PhD, Aff. ASLA, University of Virginia
  • Vice President of Research:
    Forster Ndubisi, PhD, FASLA, Texas A&M University
  • Vice President of Leadership:
    Lucinda Sanders, FASLA, OLIN
  • Vice President of Communication:
    Adam Greenspan, ASLA, PWP Landscape Architecture
  • Vice President of Finance: 
    Laura Solano, ASLA, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
  • Vice President of Development: 
    Susannah Drake, FASLA, AIA, dlandstudio

Chris Fannin, ASLA of HOK, Lynda Whiteman of Hunter Industries, and Uwe Brandes of Georgetown University retired off the Board at the end of their four-year term. Andrea Gaffney of Gehl Studio rotated off after serving a two-year term as past Olmsted Scholar representative, and Mark Focht, FASLA rotated off after serving for a year in an Ex Officio capacity as an ASLA Representative. Thank you for your service!

Nine new Directors joined the LAF Board, bringing experience and insights from landscape architecture practice and academia. Leann Andrews, LAF’s 2013 graduate National Olmsted Scholar, was selected for the open Director position for past Olmsted Scholars. ASLA Immediate Past President K. Richard Zweifel, FASLA will serve as the ASLA Representative, and Charlene LeBleu, FASLA continues as the CELA Representative. Welcome to the new Board members:

  • Leann Andrews, University of Washington
  • Elen Deming, DDes, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Brian Jencek, ASLA, HOK
  • Michael Johnson, ASLA, SmithGroup JJR
  • Jim Manskey, TBG Partners
  • Jim Stickley, ASLA, WRT
  • Lisa Switkin, Field Operations
  • Monte Wilson, JACOBS
  • K. Richard Zweifel, FASLA

The 32 members of the LAF Board of Directors bring their vision, passion, and thought leadership to the foundation at an essential time with a number of new programs and initiatives on the horizon. We look forward to working with this accomplished group and continuing the momentum. Thanks to all for your commitment and service!

Meet the 2015 National Olmsted Scholar and Finalists: The Graduate Students

The Landscape Architecture Foundation’s Olmsted Scholars Program is the premier national award and recognition program for landscape architecture students. The program honors students with exceptional leadership potential who are using ideas, influence, communication, service, and leadership to advance sustainable design and foster human and societal benefits.

Here, we showcase the 2015 graduate student winner and finalists, who were announced last spring. An independent jury of leaders in the landscape architecture profession selected them from a group of 43 graduate students nominated by their faculty for being exceptional student leaders. The winner receives the $25,000 graduate prize and each finalist receives $1,000. All of the 2015 Olmsted Scholars will be honored at LAF’s Annual Benefit in Chicago on November 6.

 

National Olmsted Scholar Grant Fahlgren of the University of British Columbia

Grant discusses the 7 generations philosophy of his Anishinabae ancestors, traditional ecological knowledge, and how it applies to landscape architecture, using the Fraser River watershed in the Cascadia Bioregion as an example.

 

 

Finalist Andrea Johnson of the City College of New York

Andrea discusses her interest in how design can empower communities that have historically been marginalized, including her work on land intervention strategies to improve quality of life in low income communities in South Africa.

 

 

Finalist Teresa Pereira of Temple University

Teresa discusses her goal to expand the interdisciplinary boundaries of landscape architecture by utilizing filmmaking to address experiential, ecological, and social components of landscape analysis.

 

 

Finalist Harris Trobman of the University of Maryland

Harris showcases a recently completed design-build project at a school campus for 500 children in northern Haiti and discusses his current action-oriented research as a Green Infrastructure Specialist at the University of the District of Columbia.