Facts in Brief Founded in 1972 Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning & Design
Ten months (September through June) of applied study in an integrated format. Core instruction relates directly to term-long projects.
he mission of the Conway School of Landscape Design is to explore, develop, practice, and teach design of the land that is ecologically and socially sustainable. The intention is to: ■■ provide graduates with the basic knowledge and skills necessary to practice planning, design, and management of the land that respects nature as well as humanity ■■ develop ecological awareness, understanding, respect, and accommodation in our students and project clients ■■ produce projects that fit human use to natural conditions.
Emphasis. Ecologically and socially sustainable design of the land, integrated communication skills, individual educational goals, learning through real projects with real clients. Size. 18–19 graduate students. Core Faculty. Seasoned professionals, trained in landscape architecture, planning, architecture, permaculture, and regenerative design. Master teachers, adjuncts and over 50 guest speakers each year bring additional depth. Degree Granted. Master of Arts in Landscape Design, authorized by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. Accreditation. New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. Location. Scenic western Massachusetts near the academic, cultural, and natural resources of the Five Colleges and the Connecticut River Valley. One hour from Bradley International Airport, Hartford, Connecticut. Campus. 34.5 acres of wooded hilltop located one-half mile east of Conway town center.
The school’s mission guides decision-making at every level: who is hired, what projects are undertaken, how courses are structured, and what offices and sites are visited on field trips. While the program is thoroughly based on ecological knowledge and practices, Conway’s educational focus is on design of the land rather than environmental science.
Facility. 5,600 square feet with four wood stoves and passive solar design, spacious design studios with individual drafting stations, library, classroom, design/print area, and kitchen.
The Conway School of Landscape Design, Inc., a Massachusetts non-profit corporation organized under Chapter 180 of the General Laws, is a training school of landscape design and land use planning. As an equal opportunity institution, we do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, marital or veteran status in the administration of educational, admissions, employment, or loan policies, or in any other school-administered program.
Be Surprised, Be Changed
What happens when you visit the Conway School
Celebrating Conway’s Fortieth
Fond farewells and hearty welcomes 5
Good Things Come in Threes
Alums on food systems, inauguration of Wildside Gardens, a toast to Nancy Braxton
Majora Carter on Home(town) Security, Paul Hellmund designs with R-words, Ken Byrne recommends improvisation
Farms and the future, retrofitting, competition for open space, urban streetscapes, ecosystems and the military
Bird Fellow’s Report
An ecology of ancient waters, social organization, and spiritual observances
News from Alums
Your classmates and friends from across the years 29
The Conway School is financially and educationally sound 41
Celebrating Conway’s Fortieth
Inside back cover
Save the date: September 28–30. Internationally renowned speakers, workshops, field trips, design charrettes, and more
Molly Hutt ‘12
Three directors: Donald L. Walker, Jr. ’79 (1992-2005), Paul Cawood Hellmund (2005-present), and Walter Cudnohufsky (founder, 1972-1992)
Four Decades of Innovative Design Education A Commemorative Conversation about Conway
Two events have inaugurated Conway’s fortieth year. All are invited to a gala celebration September 28–30. Bill McKibben will be our keynote speaker, and there will be many opportunities to participate, socialize, and look towards Conway’s future.
by Mollie Babize ’84
The P rocopio Room at UM ass was packed. Students and faculty from the university’s department of landscape architecture and regional planning were there for the November 3, 2011 session of the Ervin Zube Lecture Series. But at least half of the room was filled with graduates, staff, and friends of the Conway School. Conway Director Paul Cawood Hellmund outlined “Conway Design: Four Decades of Innovation in Design Education through Practice,” followed by a panel including Conway’s two former directors, Walt Cudnohufsky and Don Walker. This lecture, celebrating Conway’s fortieth anniversary, included the release of Jane Roy Brown’s book on the same subject, titled Drawing Lessons. Former Conway Trustee Jack Ahern hosted the presentation, and a reception followed at the University Club. Paul began his retrospective with a slide from the class of 1973. Sequentially highlighting members of that class, he quoted them about why they were willing to follow this renegade professor of landscape architecture from the conventional halls of their MLA program at UMass to his small (and essentially unfinished) barn and sugarhouse in Conway. Alternately moving and amusing, Paul’s images took us through the evolution of the school, its eventual accreditation and recognition, the remarkable ninety-seven percent graduation rate, and the transitions Conway has undergone in the course of four decades and three directors. He also emphasized what he calls the “Big Four” elements of Conway’s demanding curriculum: whole systems design, rigorous design process, thorough communication, and effective collaboration. It was profoundly moving to see all three of them— Walt, Don and Paul—acknowledging the improbable beginnings, visionary leadership, and remarkable legacy of the school. Each brought characteristic humor and humility to the event and emphasized what he felt were the most important messages of his tenure. I’m struck by the fact that Don spent twenty-eight
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years at Conway—one as a “student,” fourteen as assistant director, six as academic director and seven as director. And I’m even more amazed that Walt has been absent from the school for as long as he directed it—a full two decades. Walt brought tears to my eyes (and his too) when he acknowledged how grateful he is that his experiment has survived and continued to graduate responsible stewards of the earth. He added, “The greatest source of pride is the nearly six hundred graduates, who daily are making discernable differences in the world.” Several of those graduates, representing thirteen different classes, were there and brought palpable energy to the following reception, as current students and alums shared memories, experiences, and contact information. It is a remarkable community, forged by similar experiences of an intensive, life-changing ten months. Jane Roy Brown’s book captures this remarkable story, made all the more so because of the school’s impetuous beginning and ingenious method of concentrating an enormous amount of education in ten short months. As Paul pointed out, ten months does not equal three years—meaning, this is not an “MLA lite” or a substitute for the traditional three-year professional degree—but neither does ten months at Conway equal ten months in “normal” time. Paul ended by quoting a California alum, who said, “Conway is as relevant and revolutionary as ever. To know if the fit is right requires either a clear understanding of what you want, or the courage to jump in and swim, and see where the ‘rushing’ waters take you. Either way, it will probably change your life.”
Drawing Lessons: Forty Years of Design Education at the Conway School Since 2006 work has been underway to create a book commemorating the Conway School’s fortieth year.
Drawing Lessons: Forty Years of Design Education at the Conway School by Jane Roy Brown is now available and your purchase of this 116-page, heavily illustrated book will include a tax-deductible donation to the school. Drawing Lessons expertly weaves together the diverse stories of the cutting-edge Conway School, from its first years as an alternative design school to its present stature as a widely respected program tackling current issues with international reach. To capture the many voices incorporated into this book, Jane conducted hundreds of interviews with faculty, staff, and graduates of the school. She observed students in classes and in the field. She served as a client for a student design project. She spoke extensively with the school’s founder and succeeding directors. She asked other professionals for their perceptions of the Conway School and the work of its graduates. $40 for 40 years! Part of which is a tax-deductible contribution to the school. To purchase your copy, please visit the publications section of our website (www.csld.edu). Contact us at email@example.com for a discount on three or more copies.
September 28–30 A Gala Weekend
Bill McKibben Headlines Conway’s Fortieth
Renowned author, educator and environmental activist Bill McKibben will be the keynote speaker on Friday, September 28, 2012, opening a weekend of celebrations in honor of Conway’s fortieth anniversary. Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, McKibben was described by the Boston Globe as “probably the country’s most important environmentalist.” His books— from The End of Nature to the New York Times best seller Eaarth—challenge us to pay attention and take action against climate change. In 2008 he founded the grassroots climate campaign 350.org, offering multiple ways to get involved. Conway is honored to welcome him in September, and will be granting him an honorary degree. Stay tuned for details about the event, which will be free and open to the public. Saturday Events, Sunday Festival
On Saturday, September 29, we will offer a range of activities for alums, families and friends of Conway. Still in the planning stages, ideas abound and we are
looking for more. Saturday night we’ll have a festive dinner—and probably some dancing is inevitable. On Sunday, September 30, all can enjoy the town of Conway’s annual Festival of the Hills. Do you have an idea for a workshop, site visit, or class gathering? Contact Mollie Babize (babize@csld. edu) and see more on the inside back cover.
Conway Launches Next Forty with New Website The Conway School has always taken a whole systems approach to teaching—this year, we’ve applied that approach to our website. The new site better reflects the work of our students and alums, whose contributions make it possible for our impact in the world to far exceed our size. And now we can share more of the excitement of what’s going on at Conway as it happens. The most important change in the website is invisible to the user. We have taken over the day-today management of the website and can add content directly without going through a central webmaster. That former webmaster—and masterful she has been—was Conway alum and the former chair of our board of trustees, Carrie Makover ’86. Carrie served as our volunteer webmaster for ten years. Many Conway alums contributed their ideas, writing, and images to the site; local firms Bidwell ID and Gravity Switch contributed technical assistance, and helped us craft the story we wanted to share. An intensive day-long “blitz build” got the site up in October 2011. This new website is a two-way communication tool. It is attracting new applicants and project clients, and serves as a resource for alums. One alum let us know, “The highlight for me was looking at the student project reports. Their graphic design is wonderful, the content is very thoughtful and thorough, and I will be back to scour around for graphic presentation and ideas to inform my own.” That’s just what we are hoping for: Real world. Real results.
Stay current on the latest 40th year celebration events at:
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School News Thank You, Nancy and Lynn
The number of hats Nancy Braxton wore in the decade that she worked at Conway would rival Bartholomew Cubbins. As administrative director, she brought in student community projects, oversaw the production of con’text, provided liaison to the board of trustees, coordinated alumni relations, authored and edited various accreditation reports, and coordinated development, including the capital campaign to purchase and move the school to its current location in 2003. But graduates of the past ten years remember her most fondly as the director of admissions, which was her primary focus in recent years. Nancy carefully shepherded hundreds of prospective students through Conway’s rigorous application process, making sure each understood not only the opportunities but also the demands of a Conway education. We are so grateful to Nancy for her commitment to Conway’s environmental mission, her generous and openhearted support of Conway’s students, and her sharp, legally trained mind, which served the institution well. We wish her the best in her new, post-retirement adventures. Though Lynn Barclay was here for only a year, her work as development director was strategic and timely. A well-organized researcher, she brought her extensive nonprofit management experience and ability to think outside the box to her development work. Lynn took the lead on the development of Conway’s new website: mounting the project scope, interviewing prospective designers, and coordinating the work with the selected firm, Bidwell ID. While we applaud Lynn’s decision to leave for personal reasons, we are sorry to see her go. Welcome Back, Mollie Babize
Mollie Babize ’84 is reprising a role she had at Conway from 1992 to 1998—she has rejoined the administrative staff for an interim assignment as associate director for admissions and communication, a position she will hold through June 2012. Mollie has been a very popular and effective adjunct instructor for the winter term since 2007. She has more than two decades experience in land planning in both the public and private realms; she was land use planner for the town of Amherst, Massachusetts and worked as a consultant on open space plans, town master plans, and town-wide visioning forums. Mollie
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was also an associate at Walter Cudnohufsky Associates for many years, where she managed a wide range of projects from residential site planning and design to community-wide visioning, campus master planning, agricultural viability, cemetery design, main street design, and historic town common preservation. Mollie is well known for her excellent writing and public-speaking skills and an enthusiasm for teaching. “Landings,” her regular column in a local newspaper, explores the concept of place, of our relationship to the land, and efforts people are making to renew, revitalize, and restore that relationship so we live in better balance with the earth.
Campus News Two Receive Honorary Degrees from Conway
Faculty & Staff
Honorary Degree recipients Majora Carter and Nancy Jack Todd with Director Paul Cawood Hellmund
The trustees of the Conway School recognized two extraordinary individuals with honorary degrees in sustainable landscape planning and design in 2011: Nancy Jack Todd and Majora Carter. Both degrees were awarded at the graduation ceremony on June 25, 2011. Co-founder with husband John Todd of the New Alchemy Institute and vice-president of Ocean Arks International, Nancy Jack Todd has written extensively about their collaborative and innovative work on appropriatescale technology. As author of the Journal of New Alchemists, publisher and editor of Annals of Earth, co-author (with John Todd) of several books, including Tomorrow is our Permanent Address and From Eco-Cities to Living Machines, her most recent book is a beacon of optimism: A Safe and Sustainable World: The Promise of Ecological Design. Nancy Jack Todd and John Todd have jointly been named in multiple awards including the Bioneers Lifetime Achievement Award, the Charles and Ann Morrow Lindburgh Award for bringing restoration ecology into school curricula, the Daimler/Chrysler Award “for work that significantly influences modern American culture,” the Swiss Threshold Award for contributions to human
Panel of Alums Addresses Food Systems Dave Jacke ’84, Principal of Dynamics Ecological Design, co-founder of the Apios Institute, and author of Edible Forest Gardens, urged the audience “to remember the ecosystem; we must get the social structure and the economic culture in balance with the natural system. We must design the whole system.” Jacke’s new book, Coppice Agroforestry, advocates a post-oil approach to food production. A reference librarian at UMass Amherst, and liaison to the Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Department there, Madeleine Charney ’03 also chairs the Higher Education Working Group of Pioneer Valley Grows, a network of people from Springfield to Greenfield who work in all aspects of food and agriculture. As a writer on food systems and land use, she has hosted a Valley Free Radio program that focused on agriculture and farmer. Karen Chaffee ’07 is stewardship manager of the Boston Natural Areas Network, overseeing fortythree community gardens in the city. Conway’s introduction to the community process inspired her to work in community education. “Immigrant communities are so skilled at getting a lot of food out of small lots,” she says. The gardens also provide a way for neighbors to meet, which reduces crime and creates bonds across linguistic and cultural boundaries. Abrah Dresdale ’10 collaborated with three classmates to produce a food security plan for Northampton, Massachusetts, following which she has integrated permaculture and food system thinking into curricula at Greenfield Community College, Wesleyan University, and in Vermont. Abrah
illustrated how site design, academic teaching, and program and curriculum development enhance each other as she pursues all three in her new-found vocation. “I learn as I teach,” she says, “which helps with curriculum development, that teaching is applied to design, and design work becomes part of the research for curriculum development.”
Wildside Inauguration Following the lively discussion, more than three dozen attendees walked over to Wildside Gardens, which has become an outdoor learning laboratory for Conway students and the larger public as well. Homeowner Sue Bridge welcomed people to the eight-acre site, designed and planted by Jono Neiger ’03 and Keith Zaltzberg of Regenerative Design Group and the Conway School. Jono takes students to Wildside to introduce them to concepts of forest gardens, green roofs, and permaculture management. Two students in the class of 2011, Zach Mermel and Sean Walsh, led tours of the grounds for the alums, trustees, prospective students, and other guests who attended. And a Celebration of Nancy’s Remarkable Decade at Conway Finally, everyone gathered on the patio outside Sue’s home to toast (with elderberry “cassis” made locally by Kate Kerivan ’84) Nancy Braxton, whose wellearned retirement from Conway caps ten years as administrative director, admissions director, and the person in charge of accreditation review, advertising, and many other functions. Alums represented a dozen or more classes, many from those in the past ten years who were encouraged, supported, coaxed, and otherwise recruited by Nancy. Standing on the low stonewall encircling the patio, Nancy listened to a range of thanks and stories of how she influenced ten classes at Conway. A small book of reflections, individually written by participants and also sent in from those who couldn’t attend, and one of Walt Cudnohufsky’s beautiful watercolor paintings of a barn expressed our thanks to Nancy for all her hard and gracious work.
Paul Hellmund toasts Nancy Braxton’s ten years at Conway.
Conway Marks Past, Present and Future on May 28, 2011 In a single day in late May, Conway hosted a panel of alums working on issues around food security, inaugurated our affiliation with Wildside Gardens, and celebrated Nancy Braxton’s ten years as administrative director at Conway. Food security is an increasing concern across the nation. Traditional agriculture depends upon foreign oil for fertilizer and transportation and has proven unable to assure the health and safety of food. Many communities, particularly those in poorer urban areas, do not have access to fresh, affordable produce. Health concerns such as obesity and diabetes are accelerating. On the positive side, the local food movement is burgeoning, and the Conway School has been on the cutting edge of food security studies as communities explore how to provide for themselves in a post-peak-oil economy.
Abrah Dresdale illustrates her point with a Venn diagram in true Conway style.
Good Things Come in Threes
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knowledge, and an award from the UN Friends of the Environment for contributions to the global environment. Nancy Jack Todd embodies the very principles they espouse in their work: she is dynamic, resilient, ingenious, disciplined and hopeful. Following her graduation address, Majora Carter received her honorary degree from board member Ginny Sullivan ’86. Read more about honorary degree recipient and 2011 graduation speaker Majora Carter on page 10. Welcome to the Class of 2012
Though small in numbers, the class of 2012 represents the kind of diversity typical of the Conway School. They hail from eleven states—mostly from the Northeast and eastern seaboard, but also from Oklahoma and California. Four have degrees in environmental studies or science (from Oberlin, Amherst, Brandeis, and Skidmore Colleges); others earned degrees in the arts (photography, graphic design, and studio art), business, history, psychology, and horticulture. Some have worked in designbuild or environmental education at various scales and in diverse climates from Cape Cod to Costa Rica, and New Hampshire to Oklahoma; others have made their living in social work, law, museum art, jewelry-making, carpentry, insurance, and graphic design. Wide-ranging experiences include reforestation in Costa Rica, farming in New Zealand, rehabilitating raptors in Montana, and gutting houses in post-Katrina New Orleans. Spanning two decades (from twenty-two to forty-two), this unique constellation of Conway students shares an enthusiasm in and commitment to sustainable, resilient, healthy, productive landscapes. We are delighted to have them here.
Trustee News New Officers Elected to Board
At its October 2011 meeting, the Conway School Board of Trustees elected Ginny Sullivan ’86 as its chair and Al Rossiter as its vice-chair. The two bring many years of experience to their leadership of the school. Having served earlier on the board, Ginny’s most recent service began in 2006. Since then, she has served on the development and outreach committee, committee on trustees, and the executive committee. Al (father of Selina Rossiter ’02) began his tenure on the board in 2002. He has served on the academic committee, the committee on trustees, and the executive committee. He also brings his many years of experience as an English teacher and administrator at the Buckingham Browne and Nichols School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to renewing Al Rossiter’s term, the board also reelected Jack Barclay to a three-year term. Bringing a broad range of experience and diversity, five new members joined the board this year. And with a heartfelt thanks, the school said farewell to three of its members, who have given a total of thirty-six years of service to the school.
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New Trustees Join Board
Joey Brode comes to Conway with a broad background in the financial industry, managing business services for banks. She was introduced to Conway through long-time family friend and Conway trustee Nick Lasoff ’05, whose experience when a student impressed her. Joey shares a passion for gardening and, in particular, “the way outdoor space has an effect on people.” Joey will apply her business acumen to long-range planning for the school. She sees no disadvantage to staying small: “Many organizations have destroyed themselves by growing.” At the same time, she says Conway needs to set clear priorities to make the best use of limited resources. “You need to be very clear about what the message is, and build on the school’s values and how they are communicated. Focus on the aspects that are most essential, celebrate them, and explain them to the world.” In her two decades teaching and as associate academic dean at Elms College, Carla Oleska developed a number of special programs, such as an honors program in leadership and another targeting underserved populations. She also had to learn how to raise the money to support the programs. That led to her current role as CEO of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, where she cultivates individual and corporate donors, and is responsible for strategic planning and board development. “Most foundations are looking for a public impact of the work of higher education,” she says. “Higher education is the bridge between the philanthropic world and community grassroots. Conway is already deeply involved in having an impact on communities.” According to Carla, foundations must cultivate a broad view of community needs, “to highlight possible connections, and to facilitate the opportunity for people on the ground to work together.” She applauds how Conway introduces people—both students and clients— to new ways of thinking, but also of taking the wisdom of old ways and combining them with new technology. She sees Conway as being a perfect fit to her dedication to the mission of the Women’s Fund, which she articulates as “making sure there is a world for generations to come, and making sure it is just and equitable.” Nitin Patel is a mathematician and statistician, a visiting faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1975,
and founder, chair and chief technology officer of Cytel, Inc. His work involves using mathematics to improve clinical trials for the pharmaceutical industry. At the same time, he is interested in ecology and the sensible use of the environment. Nitin is impressed with the pedagogical model that Conway employs—learning by working on projects, gathering knowledge as you go. “It is not easy, and it is remarkable that it is possible to do,” he says. A longtime acquaintance of Paul Hellmund, he appreciates Paul’s commitment to an expanded international focus in Conway’s projects, students and board members. And the number of graduates who become entrepreneurs also impresses Nitin: “This combination of entrepreneurial work with a sensible use of resources on the planet—it’s something of interest to me. You are doing this work on a small scale, but broad in terms of its scope.” Dolores Root brings big picture thinking, along with her experience in organizational development and strategic planning, to Conway’s board. She has applied a PhD in anthropology to managing a “museum of ideas” (the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center in the 1980s), to developing new educational models (New Community College Initiative in New York, 2009–2010), and to teaching courses in social theory and museum practice (on-going at UMass). “I love working with communities, and the big ideas we are dealing with,” she says. “Education is one of the themes in my life.” When her son, Josiah Simpson ’10, enrolled at Conway, she was “really impressed with the interdisciplinary approach and the kind of supportive, interactive critique the faculty gives.” Dolores has no problem with Conway being perceived as alternative. “Mainstream places are about maintaining status quo. To be marginal is to be more nimble; there are more opportunities to be innovative.” Of course, she adds, there are constraints, such as not having the same resources as larger institutions. But, as she notes, “There are extraordinary resources hidden in these hills!” Following an undergraduate degree in Russian language and literature from Berkeley, Tim Umbach got an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and entered a career in finance—much of it overseeing international projects for Pfizer in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, as well as Puerto Rico and Ireland. When he took an early retirement in 2000, he was chief financial and administrative officer for Pfizer Canada.
His move to Northampton included seven years as CFO with Martello Investment Management in Great Barrington, but Tim is making a career of public service. He is on the board of the Friends of Forbes Library, and has spent time volunteering for a number of local nonprofits, primarily lending fiscal expertise. “I’ve found you tend to get a lot of people in those organizations who actively dislike working with money. It’s nice to be able to feel useful, doing something I enjoy.” His expertise will be put to good use at Conway, which he learned of through former Development Director Lynn Barclay. Thank You Jack Ahern, Art Collins ’79, and Nat Goodhue ’91
Vice-provost of international programs at UMass, Jack Ahern has served on Conway’s board of trustees since May 2000. Representing a mainstream school of landscape architecture, Jack has provided an invaluable perspective on the national issues and academic standing of the profession. Of the changes in the school since Paul Hellmund became director in 2005, Jack says “Paul’s leadership has been terrific. I’ve been impressed with the extent to which he has made the school international, through course offerings, projects, and guest speakers. He’s kept the best of what Walt started—the model of a small, intimate atelier environment—and combined it with a global outlook. That points to a bright future.” Art Collins ’79 joined the board of trustees in May 2000 and became chair of the board in 2005. During his eleven-year tenure, he was part of the search for the new campus, was instrumental in guiding the master plan for the school, and chaired the search committee that hired Paul Hellmund as the new director. Enrollment returned to a full eighteen to nineteen students, the operating income tripled, and the asset value of the school quadrupled, in part due to new strategic partnerships with New England Wild Flower Society, Scenic Hudson and others that drew in new donors, all of which helped the school achieve a stable endowment and investment resources. His ambition to fix and expand the current campus with improved sustainable building systems was stymied by the economy, but he says, “At least the plans are there and implementation can occur when the funding is available.” Nat Goodhue ’91 joined the Board of Trustees in 1997, six years after graduating from Conway, because, as he said, “Ten months was not enough!” His involvement with the academic program and campus planning included creating and maintaining a trail network on campus, and between the campus, the center of town, and Wildside Gardens. A former Peace Corps volunteer (Chile, 1964–1967), Nat is enthusiastic about Conway’s new international focus and the concentration on food security. Nat intends to stay in touch, perhaps brainstorming on ways to work with Wildside (see p. 5). “Just being around the students and faculty at Conway is so inspiring. I get energized. I don’t want to lose that.”
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Ajo Comes to Conway NEA Grant Underwrites Design Charrette with the International Sonoran Desert Alliance What could be better on a snowy mid-January day in Massachusetts than to imagine being in the Sonoran Desert? The two dozen participants who attended the Ajo Design Charrette at the Conway School January 13, 2012 were warmed with visions of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, stately palm trees, and bright desert skies as the International Sonoran Desert Alliance’s (ISDA) Maria Gmuca presented images of the historic Arizona town and its thirteen-acre public core. Six Conway alums, two prospective students and additional guests joined current students, faculty and staff in the day-long brainstorming session. In preparation for a community-based charrette to be held later in Ajo, the Conway session was charged with developing recommendations that would better link the historic plaza with the renovated Curley School. The challenges include an underused public plaza, overly wide boulevards designed along City Beautiful standards, a newer school complex separated from the town center by an old railroad, and a limited budget which will require incremental implementation in this economically depressed former mining town. Although the focus was place-based, participants were divided into groups based on user profiles: How can we encourage those driving through Ajo on the way to the beach in Mexico to stop and explore the plaza? How can we make neighbors feel comfortable coming into the Curley School complex, now that it has been converted into work and living quarters for artists? How would
The Conway School and its partner, the International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA) will receive an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), one of only 51 grants awarded nationwide. A portion of the $100,000 grant will support the Conway School in its work with ISDA and the Ajo community in creating a new master plan for the historic town center of Ajo, Arizona, a former mining town in the Sonoran Desert.
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Christina Puerto ‘12
A sketch produced by a student team during the charrette explores how teenagers might use the town plaza
we increase the participation of high school students in events at the historic town center? What would make residents choose to walk through town rather than simply drive to the post office? Though many of the proposed solutions were initially programmatic, the task was to imagine how physical changes to the streetscape, building facades, and open spaces could generate community identity, encourage creative activity, and provide stronger connections within the public core. Quickly assembled presentations suggested new gateways to the town, the plaza, and the Curley complex. Using photos of existing conditions, images from other places, diagrams and overlays, the participants proposed a full range of ideas: narrowing streets and introducing rotaries; adding street trees and native plantings; enlivening building facades with art and banners; expanding markets under colorful awnings and tents; creating shady gathering and sitting places; and turning vacant lots and alleyways into pocket parks. ISDA’s Tracy Taft and Sylvia Tatman-Burruss viewed the presentations via Skype, and Gary Bachman ’84 and Danny Tylutki listened in from Gary’s office in Tucson. According to Maria Gmuca, “The workshop was a fun, cram-packed, and productive day. Drawing upon the expertise of students, alums, and Conway community members some truly fresh ideas were generated to address the unique issues Ajo’s downtown faces today. ISDA will certainly be using the images and concepts to inspire public interest and engagement as the project develops!”
Our Town is the NEA’s latest investment in creative placemaking, through which partners from both public and private sectors come together to strategically shape the social, physical, and economic character of a neighborhood, town, city, or region around arts and cultural activities. The International Sonoran Desert Alliance was incorporated in 1993 as a tri-cultural organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the environment, culture, and economy of Sonoran Desert Communities.
School News Artist Michael Chiago describes his desert paintings to trip participants, left to right, Laura Rissolo ‘11, Lucie Martin ‘09, Gary Bachman ‘84, Smith College professor Nina Antonetti (behind Gary), acoustical architect Bob Mahoney, and Williams College professor Karen Merrill.
Peter Monro ’86
Alums, Students, and Faculty Explore Design in the Sonoran Desert Conway Service-Learning Trip 2011 A topic of special interest on the trip was local food production, in particular the historical agricultural practices of the Tohono O’odham, who have lived in this desert for generations. One fascinating stop was at the Desert Rain Café, where Chef Ivalee Pablo uses traditional Tohono O’odham foods in creative ways. Some of the beautifully presented dishes participants sampled were: cholla cactus salsa, hummus made from tepary beans and squash enchiladas. Drinks included agave lemonade and prickly pear smoothies. The dessert on the day of the visit was squash pie with saguaro cactus whipped cream. A participant said the food was incredible: “Not only was everything absolutely delicious, but each new dish came with a story. The food culture, once lost, is gaining momentum.” A highlight of the trip was presentation day, when the Conway group presented its design ideas to ISDA and the community. There was lively discussion and some concrete implementation steps were identified. One resident commented that the visitors were intensely tuned in to the host’s organization, culture, community and the land. For more details and photos of the trip, see Paul Hellmund’s blog at tinyurl.com/ajo2011trip.
Héloïse Chandless ‘11
The Conway School hosted its second servicelearning trip in spring 2011 when thirteen participants headed into the Sonoran Desert for a week working side-by-side with residents of Ajo, Arizona. Trip participants raved about the experience and some are planning to return again next year. “It was one of those pinnacle life experiences for me, introducing me to a new place, amazing people, and opening up new ways of thinking about place and nature,” said one participant. “It was a powerful reminder of what the Conway community means to me,” said another. Alum Gary Bachman ’84 first contacted the International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA) on behalf of the school. Gary, a resident of Tucson, works for Pima County, in which the town of Ajo is located. On the 2011 service-learning trip, participants split their time between seeing the sights of the desert and local communities and carrying out planning and design studies for ISDA. The studies included exploring design options for the town plaza, a new courtyard, and town-wide circulation.
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Embracing the Power of Design, Creativity, and Improvisation Graduation 2011 From Ginny Sullivan’s introduction of Majora Carter
the Army Corps of Engineers. I was impressed by her and immediately liked her articulate and powerful style. We formed a bond of friendship and mutual supportiveness that has continued to this day! As she continued to support the evolution and achievement of Sustainable South Bronx, the Bronx River has continued to become ecologically restored by meaningful increments, and what was once a degraded and neglected river surrounded by a disparaged and dispirited community has emblematically become an example of the powerful force of restorative and environmentally sound urban redevelopment and job creation. Without Majora helping others to believe in the vision and to work tirelessly to rally the resources to make it happen, people in the South Bronx and elsewhere could still languish in the belief that urban restoration is an impractical and even impossible goal. Majora is one of the exceptional leaders in the field of sustainable enterprise and community development.”
Majora Carter founded Sustainable South Bronx in 2001, when few were talking about “sustainability”—and even fewer in places like the South Bronx. By 2003, Majora coined the term “green the ghetto” as she pioneered one of the nation’s first urban green-collar job training and placement systems, and spearheaded legislation that fueled demand for those jobs. Majora’s 2006 TEDTalk was one of six presentations to launch that groundbreaking website. Since 2008, her consulting company has exported climate adaptation, urban micro-agribusiness, and leadership development strategies for business, government, foundations, universities, and economically under-performing communities. She’s probably the only person to receive an award from John Podesta’s Center For American Progress and a Liberty Medal for Lifetime Achievement from Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post. Fast Company Magazine named her as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business, The New York Times described her as “The Green Power Broker,” and the Ashoka Foundation’s Changemakers.org recently dubbed Majora Carter “The Prophet of Local.” Majora hosts the Peabody Award-winning public radio series The Promised Land, and serves on the boards of the US Green Building Council and The Wilderness Society. She has a long list of awards and honorary degrees, including a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship. Conway alumna Wendi Goldsmith ’90 recently said of Majora, “I had the opportunity to meet her first back in the 1990s when she was heading Sustainable South Bronx, and I was leading the Bronx River Restoration Plan for
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Trustee Ginny Sullivan introduced Majora Carter and presented her with an honorary degree.
Commencement Speech by Majora Carter
I am truly, truly honored to be here and pleased as punch about all of you guys, and where you are, and where you’re going, and what you’ve done. I wish I had more time to go through each and every one of your plans, because the work that I saw was astonishing. It marries the kind of things that it takes to create the kinds of communities that we all want to live in, be a part of, and build. Parents and friends—give these guys a hand, please! It is so beautiful and bizarre to be here, because honestly, I didn’t know about Conway before I was asked to be a speaker here. The more I learn about it—even to this day, literally hours ago—the more I’m impressed, because I actually stumbled upon this type of work completely by accident. I’m from a community called the South Bronx where we had landscape design, but it was really considered quite hostile. Very hostile. Our waterfront was proposed to be more of a place for waste facilities and power plants, and it was sort of ironic—we might get a park, but only if it came with the expansion of a
sewage treatment plant. Or they would build this cute little grassy mound with a picnic area, but only if it was within spitting distance of a power plant. So that’s not the kind of landscape design that I think you guys are interested in doing. I got into this work completely under duress. I was from this community called the South Bronx, and for many years we were the poster child for urban blight. Literally—when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s it was not uncommon to see my neighborhood writ large on the nightly news as possibly the most dangerous, most awful place in America. And this is where I was born and raised, so it was a little difficult to see those images. After years of financial disinvestment, where we used to have this walk-to-work community, where there was manufacturing going on (that moved out—was outsourced overseas), waste and power stations came in and took their place, and they were considered economic development. Of course it had an impact, in particular on the quality of life and the health of people who lived in communities like that. So I made a point of finding a way to leave and never return. And that was through education. I went away to college, to Wesleyan University— I was a pretty smart kid—and had no intention of ever going back home, but only did so because I started graduate school. I was getting a creative writing degree, an MFA, so that I could write the great American novel, turn it into the great American screenplay, then direct the great American movie and play a small, significant role. That was my plan. But I was so broke, and my program was difficult, and I had to move back in with Mommy and Daddy in the Bronx, which is not where I wanted to be. But I got to see my neighborhood in a completely different way. I got to realize that this poor community that I knew and hated in so many ways was actually not there simply because the
people who lived in it didn’t care and didn’t want better for themselves. In many cases, we didn’t even know there was better to have, or to even want. I realized that there were policies that were put in place simply because we happened to be a poor community that happened to be of a color that was also politically vulnerable. That’s why we got the kind of design that we did. I got really involved when I realized that the city and state were planning on building a huge waste facility on our waterfront. It was going to bring us another huge amount of waste that was going to be processed in our community, and that was going to add insult to injury. So I started this work—plain old advocating for sustainable solid waste management plans—because we saw the asthma rate, we saw kids literally being run over by trucks in our community. We saw this and we knew that we had to do something about it, and there was a way, through policy, to make it happen. But I also realized we had to take another tack. It seemed to me, after I got a little more information about it, that what could be interesting—and mostly, frankly, for a public relations campaign associated with it—was the development of parks and trees in our community as a symbolic alternative to what was going on. It was just utterly PR. I figured out ways this could happen, and we could spin this story about what was going on in our community—this would be this alternative that would literally help people see that things were different. But then—and this is where it gets really fun, at least for me—I started learning about the power of landscape development that I honestly had not heard of or known that it had anything to do with anything in this world. We did a tree census when we first started; we had 690 acres—we had one tree per acre in my neighborhood. So this is not a girl who thought that much about trees. I just didn’t
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have them in my neighborhood. I got my hands on a study that came out of the University of Illinois’ Laboratory for Landscape and Human Health. They did this incredible comparison, based in Chicago in one of the most notorious housing projects there, well known for its crime rates and all sorts of things associated with urban problems. They looked at two different areas: One was an area that was completely devoid of any kind of trees or greenery. The other was an area with the same kind of social and economic indicators, but with a little bit of landscaping in it. Street trees. We’re not talking anything dramatic at all. When they looked at people in those areas, they noticed several things. One, among the people that had access to the greenery, the adults’ stress levels were down. Two, there was less crime in that area, because people actually hung out outside, just because they wanted [We recognized] the sense of community. we could create Three, kids did better in school when they designs and plans that saw this stuff. And my . . . connected us to the absolute favorite? They showed that there was larger world a big increase in teenin a way that said, age girls’ self-esteem. yes, we do matter . . . And how were they able to qualify or quantify It was beautiful to that? Girls who acturealize that. ally saw trees and had access to them—their teenage pregnancy rates were lower. When girls know there’s a future for them, especially if they’re in difficult situations, they generally try not to get pregnant, because they realize that there’s more out there for them. And I thought, “Trees do that!? Really?” I just wanted a symbolic way to show the effect of waste facilities versus trees—that’s all I wanted—but then I realized these are some even more powerful things. I took all that, and realized that there were a whole bunch of things that we could be doing. So we did. We transformed dumps on our waterfront into parks. I wrote a congestion and mitigation air quality proposal for the Federal Highway Administration to raise $1.25 million to design the
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Sean Walsh ‘11 (left); Genevieve Lawlor ‘11 (right)
South Bronx Greenway, which is eleven miles of pedestrian and bicycle-friendly, stormwater management, economic development, and recreational greenway in the South Bronx that connects us all the way from Maine to Miami through the East Coast Greenway. This incredible resource is being built in my neighborhood as we speak. Fifty million dollars worth of investments coming to our neighborhood as a result of recognizing that we could create designs and plans that were appropriate for our community, and that connected us to the larger world in a way that said, yes, we do matter, and we want to be a part of something bigger. It was beautiful to realize that. The other thing I ultimately realized is that, in this battle, we were striving for something that I refer to as environmental equality. If you look right now at where you find the good things like parks and trees, and where you find the not so great things like waste facilities and power plants, you’ll discover that race and class are the indicators of where you’ll find the good stuff versus the bad stuff. We have negligent and irresponsible development, and it often comes at the expense of the world’s poor—not just my community, the South Bronx’s poor—but the world’s poor. In this country, it’s easy to see that. If we had placed all of our waste facilities and power plants and megaagribusiness as quickly and as easily in rich communities as we do in poor ones, we would have had a clean and green community a long, long time ago. But we didn’t. But when we’ve got good designers who recognize the power of their own work, and talk about it, then we could. And that’s where it starts. In terms of this clean, green energy economy that we’re seeking, there are plenty of people working on things like climate mitigation (and God bless them, really—I’m sure you’ve seen photos of guys on top of roofs in green hard hats putting up solar
criminal justice system—you go in once, 75% of the time you’re going to go right back in, in this country. Why do I call them the most expensive citizens? Because, as a group, they use a disproportionate number of social service dollars. We find they have a higher tendency to self-medicate, whether through legal or illegal drugs. Their kids don’t do as well in school. There are higher rates of domestic violence. They don’t necessarily take as much care of their health as they should. It’s just the way that it works. And they’re not getting better, even with these huge expenditures. There are also high rates of depression among these groups, which is a whole other type of social service cost that taxpayers fund. We know that working in horticulture, even seeing it, has this incredible therapeutic benefit to the people who do this type of work. And lord knows there’s enough of this work to do as we start thinking about green infrastructure to make our communities more resilient, whether through urban forestry management, or wetland restoration, or green roofing, or any of the things that enable our cities and our towns to become more resilient as we deal with the changing weather patterns we’re experiencing right now. It’s also a way for folks who are now considered tax burdens to become taxpayers. It’s a way to provide them with the dignity that they desperately want. It’s also a way to provide cost savings for our own taxes, and that is an important way for us to think about how we can create jobs in this economy, where we’re not just making busy work, but we’re creating work that needs to happen because we are all going to be the ultimate beneficiaries of it—all Americans.
panels), but it’s going to be decades before we get to the point where that’s a serious part of our economy, where we’re creating serious jobs in renewable energy, where people are trying to replace the dirty energy economy with more renewable, cleaner opportunities. We’ve got a long way to go before we get there, whereas climate adaptation, which is how we redesign and prepare our cities and all of our communities for the challenges they’re experiencing right now—stormwater management, storm surge buffers, urban heat island mitigation—is an immediate need that needs to be addressed because of all the sorts of crazy things we’re experiencing around the weather now. The second highest federal insurance cost outside of social security is flood insurance. That’s going to go up. People are paying for that, and they’re not going to be happy. We have to figure out how we’re going to deal with that right now. When you deal with it naturally, the kind of work that you do is actually green infrastructure, and it’s a cost-effective way of doing it. I’ve got this little confession that I have to make to you. I actually want a smaller government. Just like the Tea Party. No, I don’t need to see the President’s birth certificate, but I do want a smaller government. I want to see a smaller government by creating jobs in green infrastructure for our most expensive citizens. Who are some of our most expensive citizens? They’re the veterans who are coming back from our wars. We’re going to get another 30,000 coming back pretty soon; I wish it was more. They’re the people who are in generational poverty—parents whose kids are also going to be poor. They’re the folks who go in and out of our
Alums at graduation, left to right, Art Collins ‘79, Claudia Kokpkowski ‘88, Mollie Babize ‘84, Dave Nordstrom ‘04, Tom Sullivan ‘08, Peter Monro ‘86, Priscilla Novitt ‘07, Ginny Sullivan ‘86, Bruce Stedman ‘78, Nat Goodhue ‘91, and Del Orloske ’05.
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You grads are in this extraordinary position to advocate for the responsible design in communities where we need to promote green infrastructure. It’s also good job security for you. I’d be talking about that if I were you. My hope for you is that you don’t allow any of the work that you’ve been doing to ever be called an amenity. Ever. Because that’s often what happens to our work. It’s like, “It’s an afterthought—the green stuff is really sweet.” You can monetize the value—social service costs, economic costs—to the work that you have all been trained so well to do, and you should not be afraid to talk about it. I’m asking of you—no, I’m begging you—no, I’m demanding of you that you remember this. I need your help. I really do. I know you’re going to do amazing things. I saw it—it’s sitting on that table inside. You didn’t spend ten months in this program to just let it go, and sit idly back and have someone call you an afterthought. Don’t ever let that happen. I think about the New York City Million Trees Initiative, which is part of their huge Plan NYC Sustainability Initiative, and it’s a laudable goal— let’s plant a million trees for all the stormwater management benefits and all that kind of stuff— and that’s great. But then, what did they do—they left it in the hands of volunteers, as opposed to training professionals to do it. We need to put our thinking caps on and flex our muscles in terms of the kind of expertise that we have, and embrace the power of what we do. Your work does create longterm efficiencies in the economy, in environmental quality, and in happiness. Thank you very much for everything you’ve been doing, and rock on. Director’s Comments at Graduation
Rehabilitating, Recovering, Restoring, Reconstructing, and Repurposing Landscape Design for Today Forty years ago a small band of women and men agreed to gather the following September to
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Courtesy: Laura Rissolo ‘11
Laura Rissolo ‘11, Melissa Carll ‘11, and Julie Welch ‘11, left, and Kate Tompkins ‘11, and Nancy Braxton, right, at brunch the day after graduation
launch a new school. They would take over a barn and sugarhouse in western Massachusetts, and turn them into an innovative laboratory for applied learning in landscape design and land-use planning. For years prior to this, their young, visionary leader, Walter Cudnohufsky, had been thinking deeply about the essentials of effective design education. He believed the established design schools were missing the boat. Specifically, he noted, they gave grades and in other ways encouraged unhealthy competition among students. They isolated theory from practice, gave students hypothetical projects, and installed a bureaucratic divide between faculty and students. All of these were obstacles to learning, in his eyes. Recently, someone who had observed the Conway School being established in 1972 told me he never thought the enterprise would survive. It seemed too rag-tag. Today if you go to the stairs in the Conway School you can see a photograph of those nine first students and their leader. Surrounding that photograph are thirty-eight others, one for each of the school’s years. What seemed rag-tag and less than promising to some, has thrived and now has nearly 600 graduates. Unlike that original class, today’s graduates come from around the country and other countries. This year, students have worked on projects around New England, and in Arizona, and also Italy and Mexico. Despite some changes, over the years Conway’s fundamental approach and values have stayed the same: real projects for real clients in an apprenticeship model, emphasis on whole systems and rigorous process, effective communication and community engagement. One specific central tenant of Conway teaching is that the students’ work is redone until it reaches an acceptable level. There are no D- projects, no C+ projects, or even any B+s. We are working on real projects for real, paying clients. They demand work of the highest quality.
Malena Maiz ‘11 with friends at graduation
I have to admit that sometimes late in the term, sometimes late at night, in reviewing a student project, the thought comes that it would be so much easier if we could just assign a grade and move on. Sometimes the effort seems just too great to revise again and again. But that thought passes quickly because the process of revision—and more important, the teacher-student interaction that happens during the revisions—is part of the genius of the Conway School approach. I have been thinking a lot about revision lately—about the willingness to correct, to clean up, to fix, to repair—related to the environment, not just in Conway students’ proposals, but also more generally. There are very promising signs that more and more people are putting their efforts into repairing damaged lands, waters, and communities, sometimes with considerable passion and success. We see this in the willingness: to redevelop contaminated brownfields instead of disturbing green fields; to repair seriously dysfunctional and inequitable food systems so that affordable and nutritious food is locally available; to reduce chemical and energy inputs in creating and sustaining landscapes; and more. This is rehabilitating, recovering, restoring, reconstructing, and repurposing. The importance of these activities calls into question too narrow a definition of sustainability. We don’t want to sustain aspects of landscapes and communities that are broken, such as neighborhoods that lack a sense of community; parks that serve only part of society; habitat that is fragmented and that isolates wildlife; and environmental injustice. We want to repair landscapes with these problems and move the landscapes toward greater health and self-regulation. We want to make them regenerative systems that renew and revitalize their own sources of energy and materials, that lead to healthier and happier lives for people and to ecosystems with greater integrity. Here on the cusp of its fortieth year, the Conway School and its graduate program in sustainable
landscape planning and design is devoting extra energy to implementing regenerative design with special emphasis on working with communities and organizations to develop greater food security; create cities that are more walkable and liveable; envision new uses for contaminated lands and waters; restore degraded and species-depaupered ecosystems; and, moving into the future, to be better stewards of all of these systems. Recently I was explaining these new areas of emphasis at Conway to someone when they asked “But, what about the creative aspects of design? How do they fit in? I mean, you are a design school.” I couldn’t help but smile. What greater creativity—finding a new solution that has value— and urgency can there be than solving these critical problems? Consider the creativity of which we have heard today in the lives of our honorees: Nancy Jack Todd and Majora Carter. Look at the creativity in the work of John Todd, another honoree with us today. How inspiring! Look at the work tellingly across vast scales of our graduates here today: Brownfields redevelopment by Arthur Collins ’79, healthy schoolyard design by Ginny Sullivan ’86, wetland restoration and landscape design by Del Orloske ’05, trails and parks by Nat Goodhue ’91, architecture and building siting by Jenn Luck ’00, environmental mediation in former Soviet-block countries by Bruce Stedman ’78, pollinator habitat and permaculture design by Tom Sullivan ’08, nature conservation by Claudia Kopkowski ’88, and urban design by Peter Monro ’86. Now consider the hundreds of other Conway alums similarly working across scales to regenerate and sustain, and doing it with amazing creativity. Also consider—and please see for yourselves—the work of this year’s graduates and the tremendous creativity they brought to thirty-two real projects, including topics such as: food security, brownfields redevelopment, permaculture gardens and farms, conservation and recreation, walkable streets, and alternatives to chemical and petroleum-dependent landscapes. Conway today has over 600 alums and their work and the recently completed projects of today’s graduates taken together offer the world considerable creativity and examples in solving pressing environmental problems.
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That small band of students from forty years ago and their vigorous leader set something significant in motion. The program has grown to be a collaborative, concentrated, experiential, ten-month program that takes a whole-systems perspective, and that offers up a one-of-a-kind academic experience that is firmly based in the real world. The results are impressive and inspiring and offer hope for repairing the earth and moving us toward a more profoundly sustainable future. Faculty Remarks at Graduation
Improvise Ken Byrne, Humanities Professor Throughout this year in our Friday morning discussions, we’ve been dancing around a delicate, sometimes embarrassing subject: Hope. I was accused more than once, and by the spring term almost weekly by at least one person, of choosing deliberately depressing readings, as if the goal had been to suppress, stifle, strangle any possible hope for hope before July. So I feel it is my opportunity and my obligation to take this one last chance to assert some space for hope. One of the topics we discussed was climate change denial, and why there has actually been an upsurge in the numbers of Americans who do not believe that climate change is happening, or that if it is happening, that it is caused by our actions. This increase in denial is happening as more and more evidence is presented that climate change is occurring. Which raises the question: What is wrong with us? One theorist we read, Janis Dickinson, looked at the problem from a psychological and philosophical angle. She presented evidence that climate change narratives provoke thoughts of death, which in turn trigger a response in many people that makes them behave in ways that make climate change worse. Not only do they consciously deny the problem, they also become more acquisitive, more eager to buy consumer goods, bigger and more gas-guzzling cars, as a kind of defense of their threatened self. The paradox here is that by telling the story and presenting the evidence, you create
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From left: Ahron Lerman ‘11, Erin Hepfner ‘11, and Giaco Lepore ‘11 at graduation
the opposite effect, and actually worsen the climate change problem. It is tempting to say: That’s just the way things are. Some things never change. But we understand “the way things are” through language and through narratives we hear and tell. To truly believe a story in which the world’s course is fundamentally fixed or that the world is the way it is and always will be, is to leave no room for hope. It is also a fundamentally unecological way of thinking about time and how systems so apparently stable gradually and sometimes suddenly change. Tom and Barbara Sargent, two Conway alums from the 1980s, recently visited and Tom spoke to us this spring. He is a developer, and he’s trying to work through an alternative to conventional development. Cost-benefit analyses, input-output tables, and formulas for calculating returns on investment fail to capture the unforecastable state of future evolutions. Indeed, conventional development practices have contributed to creating a world not predicted by its supporting theory—its particular narrative of how the world works. In other words, the rising tide did not raise all boats. Tom is thinking about a model of development that acknowledges community, unpredictability, uncertainty, ambiguity, not knowing for sure what’s going to happen. As we’ve seen with climate change denial, ideas can be received in very different ways than we hope—and so the new model of development Tom talked about could easily be associated with chaos, fear, confusion, anxiety, and lead to a kind of fortressing of the mind and body. How then do we break the emotional link between stories of radical change and fear? (I don’t mean: how do we get people to not fear climate change; I mean how do we get people to be comfortable with the kinds of changes that would have to happen to avert it.) How do we talk about past, present, future without triggering thoughts of death that only generate the opposite reactions to what we’re seeking? One thing we probably should not do is to
Student work on display at the graduation open house
believe that climate change denial is so foreign to us. George Orwell in “A Hanging” describes a condemned man who, walking to the gallows where he is to be hanged, steps around a puddle in the path. Orwell’s response was not to think the man foolish for this sidestep; the action in fact made the prisoner suddenly become a human being for him. What could be more human than, on the way to certain catastrophe, to be concerned about a puddle? At that moment, the whole colonial British Empire and his role in it became absurd and unbearable for Orwell. Soon, he was back in Britain, writing powerful stories, fiction and otherwise, defending the average person against the powerful. So it’s best not to feel too much superiority here. Instead we might look to those human realms where we associate unpredictability instead with delight, pleasure, joy, and beauty. For example, a jazz trio. The musicians play a standard, playing the familiar tune through once. Then they improvise, responding to how each musician is playing, the decisions each is making at the moment, playing within the chord progressions of the original, creating new patterns within patterns. Another example: a basketball or soccer game, the teams playing through patterns of passes, runs, shots, blocks, occasional flashes of surprising innovation and improvisation as they respond to teammates, opponents, weather, accidents. Or take the improv comedy troupe: following a few fundamental rules (like don’t say no to anyone else’s proposal), they take a few suggestions from the audience and spin out a story together on the spot. These are all intensely social communal activities, requiring teams of performers and an audience. And as Malcolm Gladwell points out, improvisation is not about an individual simply doing whatever they want at the moment. It involves rehearsal, to prepare and practice the patterns that structure the improv, and it requires not a selfcentered selfishness but generosity and attentiveness—to what has gone before, to the audience, and to what your other improvisers are doing, how
they are responding to the past, the present, and to you and what you are doing. And though these are serious intellectual and artistic activities, the emotions associated with the unpredictability of the outcomes is delight and sometimes even joy. So. The shark is swimming toward the man. The man is swimming toward the shark. The outcome, it seems, is inevitable. There are, however, grounds for hope. One. If there is room for surprise, then there is room for hope. Or, hope exists in the space created by surprise. It’s not the only thing that fits in that space, but it’s one of them. We want to make Two. If gradual [landscapes] regenerative succession and systems that renew and sudden disturbance make sense ecorevitalize their own sources logically, then they of energy and materials, apply to human affairs also. Bertolt that lead to healthier Brecht said, “Beand happier lives for people cause things are the way they are”—you and to ecosystems with hear that first part greater integrity. of the quote and you think “Oh no, another depressing story about how the world is.” But then he says—“things will not stay the way they are.” “Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.” Space for hope. Three. If we can figure out how to structure our narratives so they make people associate change— the change we want—with pleasure and delight, then we have the skills to build hope, our own as well as others. This is why telling a story well is a deeply political act. So, in summary: Accept there’s no script. We’re not acting in a story whose ending is already determined. Live life as an improvisation—collective, informed, smart, generous, joyful—to break the links between radical change and fear, and to invite others into a very different story.
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Student Projects: 2010–2011 Food and Farming Access to fresh, healthy food is an increasingly urgent issue in the minds of individuals and communities. This concern is voiced around several distinct issues: n Is our national food supply safe? Is it vulnerable to intentional contamination by terrorists, or accidental contamination through unsafe agricultural practices? n Is healthy food affordable? Particularly in inner cities or other “food deserts,” fresh produce is either prohibitively expensive or not available at all. Rising health issues, such as obesity and diabetes, result.
A. Proximity to Dedicated Open Space How near is the parcel to dedicated open space?
B. Proximity to Another Farm Is the parcel near another farm?
C. Proximity to DEP Natural Diversity Areas How far away are the DEP Natural Diversity Areas? D. Size How large is the farm parcel?
n Can we provide our own food in the absence of cheap oil? So much of our food is grown internationally and transported long distances—what will happen if the supply of or access to fossil fuel limits what we can import? Can those of us, especially in colder climates, grow our own food? Three projects undertaken by Conway students in the winter and spring terms of 2011 focused on food security.
Keep Bloomfield Farming A Farmland Preservation Plan Bloomfield, Connecticut | Spring 2011 Designers: Genevieve Lawlor, John C. Lepore, and Jan Wirth
How can a community with limited funds and diminishing farmland—and farmers— keep any land in production for the future?
In the past thirty years, Bloomfield has lost half of its remaining farmland to development. Population is declining and aging; small farms face regulatory obstacles and increasing costs of inputs; few farmers have transitional plans; municipal funds are limited. If Bloomfield is going to preserve any land at all, it needs a strategy to prioritize which parcels to target. In addition to analyzing the physical qualities of land town-wide (hydrology, soil quality, critical habitat, and current land use), the student team identified additional criteria against which to assess its value: is it currently farmed, and is there agricultural infrastructure in place? Is it adjacent to other farmland or dedicated open space? Does it contribute to historic or rural character? Is it threatened with development? The resulting town-wide maps and a ranking process provides the town with a method for identifying and prioritizing potential parcels for protection.
E. Currently farmed How recently has the farm parcel been used agriculturally? Illustrations of criteria enliven Bloomfield’s scorecard to rank farmland for protection.
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Students’ Projects: 2010–2011
A Sonoran Oasis
Community gardens behind the Curley School demonstrate Ajo’s commitment to local food.
Developing a Local Food System for Ajo Ajo, Arizona | Winter 2011 Designers: Ahron Lerman, Susannah Spock, and Sean Walsh
How can a town with desert soils, little water, and extreme temperatures—not to mention an industrial past that left the community impoverished and the soils contaminated—provide its own food in a time of climate change?
Although the Tohono O’Odham people have successfully farmed the Sonoran desert for generations using a traditional ak-chin method of harvesting rainwater, American diets and fast food have resulted in increased obesity as well as childhood and adult diabetes among all residents of this small desert community. An active regional food partnership is exploring ways to increase food security through producting local food, reducing dependence on transportation of food, and increasing a sense of community and heritage. The student project studied ways to intercept waste streams to create soil and conserve water, implement composting measures, and clean and reuse water for irrigation. They looked at land-use both within the
Mesquite trees create microclimates for endangered species as well as edible wild plants. Combining wild harvest with traditional farming in a polyculture could produce local food on an educational working farm.
town itself and in the larger region to identify potential growing areas, and they explored water-saving methods of growing such as aquaculture and biointensive farming. Conway and the International Sonoran Desert Alliance will continue to collaborate on issues of land planning and design over several years in a creative partnership.
Homegrown in Tuscany A Food System Study for the Val di Merse, Tuscany Spannocchia, Tuscany, Italy | Winter 2011 Designers: Héloïse Chandless, Kate Cholakis and Erin Hepfner
Can a densely populated rural community incorporate the best of its historic method of local food production—a diverse, efficient, organic and closed loop system—without having to rely as it once did on indentured labor?
When the Mezzidria system was abolished in 1964, and the rural population began its migration to the cities, agriculture in the Val di Merse changed to commodity production; what was once a richly varied agricultural economy shifted to large-scale olive groves and vineyards. An eleven-hundred-acre medieval estate has been experimenting with organic farming and raising heritage livestock in an effort to support and instruct a local food movement.
Through case studies in New England and Italy, Conway’s team researched the components of successful local food systems and identified the obstacles faced by the growers and consumers of local food around Spannocchia. They selected strategies to address gaps in affordable land, producers, processors, markets, and distributors, and they recommended a course of action to be pursued by the fledgling collaborators.
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Students’ Projects: 2010–2011
Historic Design Retrofitting Our historic landscapes and buildings are character-defining elements for the communities in which they reside. They embody the values, dreams, and lifestyles of our predecessors. But uses have changed and compromised these properties over time. Can we reclaim some of their historic
integrity? How can we respect the heritage and character of these historic sites, while accommodating political, economic, environmental, and ownership changes and priorities? In each of the following projects, the evolution of transportation— particularly the car—has dramatically challenged the site.
Darrow School Center Campus Landscape Plan New Lebanon, New York | Spring 2011 Designers: Julie Welch and Elaine Williamson
How can an independent college preparatory school respond to contemporary uses and environmental issues while respecting its historic character?
The one-acre campus core is framed by the architecture of this former Shaker Village and dominated by thirty-six towering Norway spruce. Paths shaped by convenience compact the soil; cars intrude in the shady, overgrown, and underused central quad. In a plan that formalizes pathways, replaces many spruce with deciduous groves, relocates parking to the periphery, and establishes a formal Shaker herb garden at the heart, the eighty-year-old school achieves solar gain on adjacent buildings, intimate outdoor gathering places, a rain garden to infiltrate storm water, and a sunny, welcoming gateway that honors the Shaker heritage while announcing a commitment to sustainability.
The pedestrian-only core of Darrow’s redesigned campus reflects its Shaker heritage while incorporating principles of sustainability.
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health Master Landscape Plan Lenox, Massachusetts
Winter 2011 Spring 2011
Designers: Melissa Carll, Laura Rissolo, Julie Welch Designers: Erin Hepfner and Kate Thompkins
A former great estate in the Berkshires has undergone many changes over time. Signature features remain—long vistas, sloping lawn, sinuous drives—but create management and operational challenges for a center of healing. How can the site itself reflect the spiritual principles of this center, while increasing efficiency and reducing costs?
Costly maintenance, confusing circulation, water erosion, and an imposing former seminary building are at odds with Kripalu’s values of integration, balance, and living lightly on the land. In particular, the impact of six hundred cars and eight hundred people on a weekend challenges the mission of care and relaxation. The first of two sequential projects explored Kripalu’s underlying principles, and struggled to determine how yogic philosophy, landscape ecology, and future environmental challenges might guide stewardship of
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the land. The concept of resilience informs both yoga and sustainable site management. Specific site recommendations of the spring project limit intensive management to smaller social spaces; link the site’s unique and special features with carefully sited pathways; propose a stacked parking structure that steps down the slope to limit the footprint; and establish distinct meadow and woodland zones. Through these and other measures, the master plan protects the vista, organizes the site, and reduces management costs.
Students’ Projects: 2010–2011
Ajo Plaza Landscape Master Plan Ajo, Arizona | Spring 2011 Designers: Melissa Carll and Héloïse Chandless
Flexible food stands and outdoor gathering places complement Ajo’s historic arcade—history, commerce and ecology interweave in a sustainable plan.
Can renovation of a historic village plaza— designed and built during the flush years of this former copper mine town but at odds with the Sonoran desert ecosystem—spark the revitalization of an economically depressed community?
Designed during the City Beautiful movement, this historic site depends on aging date palms for shade and irrigation for grass. A state highway bisects the town, but traffic rarely stops since commercial space is largely empty. By making the plaza more pedestrian friendly—shady, colorful, and programmatically rich—community use and tourist commerce increase. Historic views and a central axis are maintained, while the key features of the plaza are reinforced with native desert plants to reduce irrigation and educate visitors about this ecosystem. Portable shade structures shelter food booths and seating; vegetated swales infiltrate storm water; and redirected traffic facilitates commerce. Photovoltaic panels generate energy while they shade parking.
Connecting the Pulaski Park Corridor Holyoke, Massachusetts | Winter 2011 Designers: Karen Dunn, Malena Maiz, Kate Tompkins
Can the revitalization of an urban park improve both ecological and sociological connections in this “Gateway City”?
Pulaski Park’s five linear acres sit atop the Connecticut River embankment, overlooking the dam that provides the power that made Holyoke an industrial giant of the nineteenth century. A design by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1907 featured up-river views of Mount Tom and a handsome balustrade and walkway along the embankment. Now the embankment is overgrown with invasive plants; the view is obscured; and the park is in shambles. Private development cuts the park off from nearby housing projects; storm water erodes the embankment; and combined-sewer overflows contaminate the river. While exploring ways to link this green-space to nearby parks and playgrounds, the student team also pursued issues of environmental justice and access to the park from the adjacent neighborhoods.
Tucked between urban development and the steep, overgrown embankment to the Connecticut River, historic Pulaski Park is a forgotten greenway.
Thematic alternatives for the park organized it around recreational facilities, food production and farmers markets, and visual and performing arts, incorporating programmatic ideas as much as design details. Incorporated throughout are recommendations for storm-water management, traffic calming, and pedestrian safety.
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Students’ Projects: 2010–2011
Competing Uses of Open Space How does a community value its open space? What is its most important function: unfragmented wildlife habitat, protection of groundwater, generation of power, public access for recreational uses? Are these ecological and
social functions always at odds or can they coexist? At three different scales, these questions framed the following projects, where conservation of open space generated conflicting priorities.
Yankee Rowe Land Feasibility Study Rowe, Massachusetts | Spring 2011 Designers: Zach Mermel, Sean Walsh, Jan Wirth
Can the site of a now-decommissioned nuclear power plant continue to provide a small rural community with power, or is the best use of this riverfront woodland property conservation? All that remains of the plant, opened in 1961, is a four-acre storage facility for spent fuel-rods and the transmission lines. Eighty surrounding acres remain off-limits to public access, but the balance of the property— steeply wooded, rugged terrain encompassing eighteen-hundred acres—now belongs to the town. Biomaps indicate high ecological value for the land as priority and core habitat and critical natural landscape; three conservation parcels abut this land. While historical uses included several farms, a cemetery and a sawmill, only one road traverses the site. Case studies of three former nuclear power plants explore options: one produces alternative (solar and gas) energy; another is being redeveloped for industrial use; a third is placed in conservation and recreation. Although a power-transmission line still bisects the site, and Rowe’s steep slopes provide good wind potential and some limited solar sites, access is difficult and would prove costly. A suitability scheme proposes zones for possible development of housing or energy production with two levels of conservation. Revenue projections from energy production, timber harvest, carbon credits and development supplement the study.
Potential uses for Yankee Rowe’s eighteen-hundred-acre woodlands depend on past use, elevation, steepness, exposure, access, conservation priorities, and adjacent properties.
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Students’ Projects: 2010–2011
Carolina Hill Conservation Plan Marshfield, Massachusetts | Spring 2011 Designers: Karen Dunn, John Lepore, Susannah Spock
Intensive recreational use of a 775-acre conservation property is threatening the sole-source aquifer it was intended to protect.
The woodlands—home to significant endangered species—suffer from oak dieback, deer browsing, invasive species and illegal campfires. All-terrain vehicles, unplanned trails, multiple access points, and a limited municipal budget make this property difficult to manage. At 265 feet, Carolina Hill is the highest point in town, and a prized scenic lookout. Alternatives explore environmental education, passive recreation, ecological stewardship, and the protection of the public water supply. By limiting access points, increasing education, creating seasonal trails with designated uses, and monitoring use over time, both habitat and aquifer can be protected. Management recommendations include immediate actions and a toolbox for long-term strategies.
Uses for each quadrant of Carolina Hill, as defined by road and power line, are determined by the character of the land. Conflicts between users and more fragile resources are therefore reduced.
Open Space and Recreation Plan Shirley, Massachusetts | Winter 2011 Designers: Emily Lubahn, Zach Mermel, Elaine Williamson
Does the draw of open space essentially condemn it to development? And how can residents who essentially take the open space for granted become active stewards of the land?
Scenic rivers, forested hillsides, verdant wetlands and meadows, a rolling landform, and a network of trails make Shirley a desirable suburban community, drawing an increasing number of residents that could double the population by 2030. Farms have succumbed to development or returned to woodlands; natural resources are increasingly fragmented; new development is encroaching on wetlands. Yet few in the community make conservation and recreation a priority.
This five-year update confirms the importance of protecting water resources throughout town, as well as the few remaining farms. Building a stronger constituency through community education could increase involvement. Effective management of existing conservation parcels will require clear plans and increased funding.
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Students’ Projects: 2010–2011
Urban Streetscapes As Majora Carter stated in her graduation address in 2011 (see p. 10), urban design happens even in impoverished neighborhoods like the Bronx—but often it happens without clear intent or anticipation of long-range impacts. Changes
over time can result in degraded neighborhoods, poor air quality, and a diminished sense of community empowerment. Urban revitalization often starts with a study of the street, and ways to make the pedestrian feel safer and more comfortable.
Avenida José Vasconcelos Walkability Plan
San Pedro, Nuevo León, México | Spring 2011 Designers: Emily Lubahn and Malena Maiz
Where eight lanes of traffic now crowd San Pedro’s main street, students envision multi-modal transportation, street trees, infiltrating swales, expanded sidewalks and sitting areas, and as a result, cleaner air.
How can a major commuter route, bisecting a historic downtown, be redesigned to protect pedestrian safety, manage stormwater, and create a more walkable city?
In the last forty years, the city of San Pedro has tripled in population. Rapid development has paved much of the city, which in turn has caused increased urban temperatures and major flooding during rainy seasons, as well as a loss of historic character. The central avenue is heavily traveled, expanding to eight lanes in places; pollution and smog affect public health. In the absence of crosswalks, bus shelters, shade trees, or other amenities, pedestrian needs are ignored. The student team divided the mile-long avenue into five distinct sections based on road width, development density, mix of uses, and spatial or historical character, then looked for ways to improve greenway connections, stormwater infiltration, and traffic calming. Specific recommendations to encourage public and multi-modal transit as well as pedestrian amenities were tailored to each zone. A phased implementation plan proposed immediate improvements such as wider sidewalks, trash and recycling bins, bike racks, signs, and crosswalks; followed by longer term steps to increase multimodal options, improve public transit, increase tree cover, create green walls and roofs to control flooding, and install efficient lighting. Using examples from Green Streets, the ultimate goal of the project is to begin a conversation about sustainable and resilient urban design.
Winter Street Revitalization Plan Adams, Massachusetts | Spring 2011 Designers: Genevieve Lawlor and Ahron Lerman
In a few generations, a vibrant riverside mill neighborhood has become a blighted and neglected streetscape along a channelized canal, and a hazardous traffic short cut.
A thirteen-foot-high concrete channel hides the river. The only green-space is the site of a former mill pinched between road and chain link fence atop the channel wall. Absent of trees or benches, it does not
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invite use. Children play in the street, which is in disrepair. Condemned buildings form the gateway to the neighborhood. How might this narrow, car-dominated space provide a safe, verdant, outdoor recreation
Students’ Projects: 2010–2011
and gathering space for its residents? With a focus on an enhanced central park and river-walk, new plants provide shade, focus and beauty. Rain gardens infiltrate stormwater, reducing occasional flooding. New fencing allows a riverside walkway, seating encourages community, and a change in pavement slows through-traffic. Rather than closing the street (a considered alternative), the emphasis is on making pedestrians more prominent and safer.
Plantings buffer the road, provide shade, line the proposed riverwalk, and create an inviting multi-purpose outdoor room for the Winter Street neighborhood.
Homeland Security Communities and non-profit organizations are not the only entities concerned with reducing management costs and planning for greater resilience in future decades. The nation’s military bases are looking at ways to use
extensive grounds for food production. In Chicopee, Massachusetts, the nation’s largest Air Reserve base is looking to reduce its maintenance costs.
Westover Air Reserve Base Landscape Plan and Maintenance Handbook Chicopee, Massachusetts | Spring 2011 Designers: Kate Cholakis and Laura Rissolo
How can the nation’s largest Air Reserve base, containing breeding habitat for endangered species, economically manage its sand-plain ecology while meeting strict anti-terrorism and flight-safety requirements?
Westover’s twenty-five hundred acres were built on the outwash plain of glacial Lake Hitchcock and include the largest contiguous sand plain grassland in the Connecticut River watershed. A full ten percent of the property (250 acres of the 320 acre focus area) is mown lawn, with high maintenance foundation plants requiring significant irrigation, energy, and chemical inputs. Military budget cuts require reducing management costs by introducing native plants while maintaining an aesthetic public face, reducing the Bird Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard, and meeting antiterrorism requirements. The resulting plan provides detailed planting plans for ten highly visible sites, and templates for an additional fifty-one locations with a recommended palette of heathland, native forb and grassland, shrubland and openwoodland species. The accompanying grounds maintenance handbook provides strategies for transitional implementation. An estimated annual savings of more than $200,000 will cover initial installation costs in five years.
Templates for secondary and tertiary zones, using a limited palette of native plants, simplify installation and management while creating a coherent design for the base.
Although reducing maintenance costs was the highest priority, sound environmental practices complement homeland security requirements to produce an efficient landscape.
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Following the trail of Bali’s ancient waters Report from the 2010 David Bird International Fellow By Aran Wiener ’09 I’m standing thigh-deep in a mountainous river flowing through a dense tropical jungle in rural northern Bali when it hits me: the answer is in the water. This single unnamed river flows from a two hundred-foothigh waterfall above the village of Sudaji, and has irrigated its rice fields for centuries. All around me the landscape bears witness to the synergy between water, agriculture, and civilization. This complex network of components, known as subak, has created an unparalleled sustainable solution to one of civilization’s basic needs: irrigation and communal land management. Ironically, this same system may be responsible for poisoning the breadbasket of Bali. Forty-two hours after leaving New York City, I arrived on the island of Bali with one piece of luggage and plans for a ten-day study of Balinese language studies, culture, and religion as I began to map out the rest of my service project. The only thread I had to follow towards creating a valuable service experience was based on a meeting six months earlier with fellow Conway graduate Gove Depuy’02. Gove, an American expatriate living in Bali, is immersed in sustainable land management, reforestation projects, and alternative technology systems. [See more about Gove in con’text, winter 2010.] During my first meeting with Gove, we coordinated a trip to the village of Sudaji on the northern slope of the island where I was to meet with one of the village’s prodigal sons who had recently returned from years working in the tourism industry to transform his homeland. We set off for a two-day visit to what would become my client, my project, and a place I would grow to love. The thought of Bali conjures many idyllic images, sounds, tastes, and emotions. Most of these pale in comparison to the reality of this enchanted place. What one typically does not visualize is the volume
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Sudaji water map
and omnipresence of garbage. Household waste litters streets, chokes streams, fouls beaches, and sadly, is as much a part of the Balinese landscape as rice paddies and temples. Like the west, Balinese commerce is literally wrapped in plastic. Where once foodstuff, textiles, building materials, and clothing derived solely from biodegradable sources were the materials of choice, plastic now dominates. Without modern mechanisms of waste management, the end of the line for these materials is usually right outside the store where the plastic water bottles are purchased, or out the window of a moving car, or behind the kitchen. While it offers no excuse, a common explanation from the Balinese is that until recently, waste could be dropped on the ground and expected to decompose. While the durability of the waste is now drastically different, the habit has remained. This is the backstory to the emergence of a gifted charismatic leader of the new green movement of Bali. Within the first hour of meeting K. S. Zanzan, sipping red-rice tea inside his bamboo hut within the walled family compound in Sudaji, I was awed by the personal drive of one of Bali’s emerging green ambassadors. After a few hours talking, I accepted his request to help realize his mission for the village. Zanzan has built the first steps in establishing the village of Sudaji as an eco-tourism destination. Boasting an impressive combination of natural beauty, small-scale traditional farming, unique arts and culture, and one of the tallest waterfalls on the island, this village could be the poster child for a new face
Report from 2010 David Bird Fellow Aran with Sudaji village chief
of tourism. Aside from the small complex of lavish yet simple bamboo huts within his family compound, Zanzan has coordinated roughly fifty short-term guesthouses in villagers’ homes under the auspices of GreenSpiritBali (GSB). While there are many long-term projects such as infrastructure changes, environmental impact assessments, parking, maps, and guides needed for GSB to succeed, its first initiative is to address the visual blight and burgeoning environmental disaster of the plastic problem. I was now facing a three-week service project that boiled down to waste management. We agreed that a base map would be an essential tool for how to analyze the plastic waste problem. Hosted by Zanzan’s family and assisted by two local guides, I immersed myself in observation and data collection for the first two weeks. All of the village’s irrigation canals originate from two large concrete upriver dams. Each dam provides water to a mainline concrete trench that services eversmaller trenches like the arteries and capillaries of the body. Subak is a triumvirate of hydrological infrastructure, social organization, and spiritual observances that best symbolize Bali’s traditional land stewardship policy. This one-thousand-year-old system is comprised of intricate irrigation canals, farmer collectives, and an influential socio-religious network of temples, village leaders, and water shrines. This matrix of technology, politics, and religion fostered the highly efficient sustainable practice of traditional Balinese agriculture. Technology aside, the deeper strength of subak is based on its social and spiritual influence over land management. Traditional farming was entirely dependent on cooperation between farmers across vast distances. Upstream farmers wielded control over water resources, yet were bound to share water responsibly with downstream communities. Traditional farming was a highly coordinated effort, organized by subak council members and priests, to synchronize planting and harvesting cycles to thwart pest-born crop damage. By regionally synchronizing planting and harvesting regimes this traditional farming method’s success lies on overwhelming the appetite of pests through sheer numbers of plants. Additionally, a fallow period where no food is available for pests, assures decreased survival rates. This proven system was superseded by the Indonesian government during the “Green Revolution” of the 1960s. Farmers were mandated to grow hybridized
rice and favor individual output over communally coordinated agriculture. Over several decades, high levels of chemical fertilizers and pesticides wreaked havoc on agricultural production, and the once highly esteemed and powerful subak culture lost much of its authority over sustainable farming and regional land management. I employed a rudimentary field analysis to calculate water volumes across four variables: the river, primary irrigation canals, secondary trenches, and earthenlined ditches. It revealed that while subak is a superbly efficient and economical mechanism for irrigation, it is also responsible for transporting plastic waste into the rice paddies, where it poses the greatest risk to human health. Refuse along roads and beside buildings is carried by wind or water to the lowest point in the landscape, which in Bali is always a waterway. Fast-moving channels carry the waste and deposit it in the slowest moving waters in the cultivated fields and orchards, and the plastic refuse chokes the fertile soils along irrigation spillways. In an unsettling irony, the technology that supported Balinese agricultural success now slowly poisons its soils with petrochemical toxicity. I returned to the village for a final presentation two days before leaving the island. This impromptu meeting exceeded my wildest expectations. I was seated in a place of honor in a ceremonial circular bamboo pavilion awaiting scores of school children, parents, neighbors, village officials, subak members, and the village chief. Part of the excitement of the Bird Fellowship is the intensity of the work. After travel, preparatory work, and fieldwork, I only had about one week to prepare a product. I had to temper my frustration at not being able to offer more solid designs with the assuring comments from Gove and Zanzan that my presence in the village, as a westerner, would generate interest and help galvanize village pride and public support for change. Approximately fifty people gathered to hear each official provide lengthy statements about the village, the plastic problem, and the status of Sudaji. A large part of my presentation was intended to share my enthusiasm for the village while simultaneously outlining the challenges it faces. It is one thing to present a project in the safe confines of the Conway School’s classroom; presenting in an open-air bamboo hut with an untested projector in a foreign language is a completely different ball of wax. Dressed in traditional Balinese sarong and destar head garment, I opened the presentation with
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Report from 2010 David Bird Fellow Sudaji children at Aran’s presentation
introductory remarks in my best, broken Bahasa Indonesian and then let Zanzan translate my narrative. I walked the group through the various base maps and explained what I observed in the village and what I had learned about the plastic refuse problem. While apparent to me, it did not seem obvious to others where and how plastic was collecting in the fields, nor how this could be better controlled. All along, I had high hopes that subak, which has formerly held great influence over villages, could once again facilitate community service by mounting support for control measures to achieve cleaner water and agricultural fields. It was not my place, as an outsider to preach to the villagers, so I left the sermonizing to Zanzan who gave an impassioned speech to the children after I was finished. My hope is that reform can take place by connecting the dots between waste streams, public health, and the traditional authority of subak. This phase of the project is about awareness of the problem and the need to provide alternatives to the accepted habit of littering. After the presentation, I sat drinking tea with Zanzan, Gove, and the public officials. We
discussed many solutions ranging from incentivizing creative reuse of plastic, to providing reusable shopping bags, landfill options, and lastly, high temperature incineration. Until Bali can develop its own processing plant for recyclables, clean, high-temperature incineration may be the best option. I pointed out that Sudaji has a population of the Pande class, traditional metal workers skilled at engineering forges. Perhaps Sudaji can find a solution for this growing global dilemma by turning back to the traditional role of subak and harnessing the ingenuity and community strength of its own population. I would like to thank the David Bird family, the fellowship committee, and the Conway School for this opportunity to serve. Additionally, this work could not have been possible without the guidance and connections of Gove Depuy. Finally, my sincerest thanks go out to Zanzan and the people of Bali I met along my travels and work. This experience extends well beyond professional development and has truly touched me. Terimah kasih! To read Aran’s complete report go to www.csld.edu.
Jesse Froehlich ’08 Travels to Bali as 2011-2012 Bird Fellow
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non-profit sector in northern California in the long term—most likely in the field of land stewardship, sustainable agriculture, and local food systems. Sean Walsh ’11 was selected as an alternate While in Ubud, Bali, by the international Jesse toured villages and rice fields by selection panel. mountain bike We are pleased to announce that the fourth annual Bird International Service Fellowship will be awarded at Conway’s 2012 graduation on June 30, 2012. For the first time, Bird fellowship applicants will be able to select from a list of prescreened projects in Bali, Malaysia, and Panama, dealing variously with food systems, community development, and sustainable site design. If you would like to make a contribution to the David Bird International Service Fellowship, please contact Priscilla Novitt, development coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (413) 369-4044 x5.
Courtesy Jesse Froehlich ’08
The 2011–2012 David Bird Fellowship was awarded to Jesse Froehlich ’08 at the 2011 graduation ceremony. Jesse spent six weeks in Bali this fall, where she produced an ecological development guide for a proposed tropical ecology adventure center in West Bali National Park. (Watch for a full report in the next issue of con’text.) Jesse spent the previous year as an AmeriCorps service volunteer, working with Conservation Corps North Bay (CCNB). She worked with two northern California organic, community farms, where, she explains, “My position involved a beautiful combination of actual farm work; design work (my partner and I designed and built a 1500-gallon rainwater catchment system purely from recycled and donated parts!); educational program design and execution; and management of volunteer labor forces. CCNB and AmeriCorps have allowed me to experience and value community service as I never have before, and to find a new career niche in the non-profit sector.” Jesse now works at LandPaths, a Sonoma County-based environmental non-profit. She plans to continue working in the environmental
News from Alums
sHelp Us Celebrate
Four Decades of Innovation at the Conway School An all-class reunion and anniversary celebration Friday, September 28–Sunday, September 30, 2012
Attention Class Agents (current or prospective!)
Many of the firms and individuals men tioned in the News from Alums have websites. We regret that space and typo graphical issues do not allow us to include them in the News. Links to further news about alums are also included on the Conway website and are referenced in this section of con’text. 1973
Class Agent: Edward Fuller (email@example.com) 1974
Class Agent: Clarissa Rowe (firstname.lastname@example.org) n Floyd Thompson has retired as national sustainable recreation/tourism planning leader for USDA Forest Service. He currently owns small consulting business, Sustainable Landscapes, Cultures and Places LLC. He reports from Warrenton, VA, “Enjoying travel and small ministry work with local seniors and men’s bible group. Looking forward to a sustainable garden building effort this next year and touring local wineries. Life is good.” 1975
Class Agent: Betsy Corner (email@example.com) 1976
Class Agent: Kathleen Knisely (firstname.lastname@example.org)
David Evans ‘76
Plans are underway, and we are looking for input. What special workshop, field trip, or lecture would your class like to sponsor? We are looking for ideas and volunteers. Contact Mollie Babize, associate director, at email@example.com or (413) 369-4044 x5.
Recent work by David Evans ‘76 includes assessment of site opportunities and constraints for a pedestrian footbridge in Cupertino, CA (above), and a waterfront development project in Rio Vista, CA (left).
David Evans ‘76
The 40th reunion provides a great opportunity to reconnect with your classmates and the entire Conway community. Class agents will be invaluable as liaisons, event planners, workshop facilitators, photojournalists, and more! We need your ideas for topics, resources, presenters, activities, toasts, and above all, participation. This is a time to reestablish professional connections, invigorate the alum network, and expand Conway’s outreach. If you are reluctant to take on this role solo, do what recent classes have done and team up with a classmate. Contact Priscilla Novitt, development coordinator, at novitt@ csld.edu.
David Evans shared images from two of the projects his firm has worked on recently. One, a sketch from a waterfront development project, is part of a project they have been involved with for 10 years: “SFE has provided urban design and planning services to the City of Rio Vista, during a period when new development projects will increase the population of the city from approximately 7,000 to 24,000 over the next twenty years. Among SFE’s contributions to city is our on-going development plan review and re-design for some of the key proposed neighborhoods within the city.” Another recent project was a pedestrian footbridge in Cupertino, CA. “The Mary Avenue Pedestrian Footbridge project addresses the conversion of a designated street and bridge corridor ROW over I-280, into a pedestrian trail, botanic garden and pedestrian bridge system.” The site opportunities and constraints sketch David shared was prepared as a part of the proposal process. See also class of ’86 for more about David. n
n Kathleen Hogan Knisely recently enjoyed a vacation on the west coast, “where,” she reports, “I visited with classmate Laurence Kornfield for the first time in many years. Headed up to Tofino on Vancouver Island where I managed to fracture my elbow mountain biking—I am an ol’ fool. At home essentially retired, but working on flooding problems on the Minuteman Bikeway extension adjacent to our property with the City of Somerville [MA] and probably the MBTA at some point.”
Kathleen Hogan Knisely recently moved to Davis Square on Boston’s Red Line
If you missed the deadline to get your news into this issue of con’text, you can still let your friends and classmates know what you have been up to in the next issue. Send your notes and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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News from Alums
Image from a project Elizabeth French Fribush’s firm did at UVA, involving daylighting existing piped storm drainage to create a stream
Class Agent: David Paine (email@example.com) n Don Richard writes that he is retired as of the end of September. 1978
Class Agent: Susanna Adams (firstname.lastname@example.org) 1979
Class Agent: Lila Fendrick (email@example.com) n See page 7 for news about Art Collins. 1980
Class Agent: Byrne Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org) 1981
Class Agent: Elizabeth French Fribush (Elizabeth.email@example.com) n Elizabeth French Fribush, a senior landscape architect with Patton Harris Rust & Associates in Chantilly, VA, reports, “We’ve definitely seen a slowdown in the DC Metropolitan area for the past couple of years. Since there has been much less mixed-use, office, and residential development, my firm has been doing more federal work, such as with the Navy (Naval Academy, Navy Yard redevelopment). We are working on several Metrorail stations and some transit-related mixed-use projects. We also have been doing some recreational facilities parks.” 1982
Class Agents: Suzanne Barclay (firstname.lastname@example.org), Susan Van Buren (email@example.com) n John Hanning, based in Montpelier, VT, is working on two self-initiated enterprises: Archimedes Aerospace LLC, which provides low-level aerial photography and mapping, which he describes as “picture your ironing board flying sideways.” He has been talking with the Audubon Society about using the technology to identify bird nests
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without disturbing the ground. The other enterprise is Renewable Energy Resources, Inc., based in Bennington, VT, which makes a pelletized fuel out of switch grass with a mobile processing unit. 1983
No Class Agent—how about you? n Priscilla Davies Brennan worked on “some good projects in Landscape Renovation this summer.” She also has two children in college; she says, “I sent my daughter to Gettysburg College as a Legacy child (I am an alum ’79) as well as my son Will, a junior at Moravian College.” n Bruce Carnahan recently installed an Amelanchier laevis in Phyllis Croce’s side garden; “The skies,” Phyllis says, “opened up just as we turned to load his equipment back into his truck.” n Erik Van Lennep spent time in Amsterdam in the spring, “talking with various people about setting up a new training program for Change Makers, using eco-restoration as a primary vehicle for learning design and entrepreneurial skills.” 1984
No Class Agent—your name here! n See class of 2010 for news of Gary Bachman, class of 1986 for news of Shari Bashin-Sullivan, and class of 2011 for news of Dave Jacke.
No Class Agent—we need you! n Donna Eldridge and husband Bob Cleaver (a landscape architect who attended Rutgers) are partners at Cleaver Design Associates in Lafayette, CA. “We’ve been in business 15 years this October,” she writes. “We work extensively with Shari Bashin-Sullivan ’84 and her husband Richard’s company, Enchanting Planting and try to keep in touch with and partner with Dave Evans ’76. Our daughters, Maddie and Eliza are 15 and 13. Maddie is a sophomore in HS and Eliza is in seventh grade
No Class Agent—how about you? n Nancy Knox writes, “I continue to work as a parent outreach coordinator at Burlington (VT) High School. I reach out to parents with information about school activities and events. I also work with teachers and staff to connect to low-income and ELL parents to help them get connected to the school so they can support their student’s success. Our district is in a
refugee resettlement community, so our population of ELL students grows every year, with more challenges to bring students and families up to speed with our American educational system. I am also still active with our local tree stewardship group Branch Out Burlington - we recently got some great press for our efforts to raise awareness about the 9/11 memorial trees we planted at each of our schools back in September 2002. BOB continues to be a leader in Vermont tree stewardship groups and we are now partnering with student groups from UVM on three projects - our annual ‘tree walk,’ connecting with school groups, and a first ever landscape inventory process happening in Burlington. I have one son who is a freshman at University of Rochester and another who is a high school sophomore...to use the cliché—‘my how time flies!’” n Stephen Seiler, a field project specialist with the Natural Area Reserve System, Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife, is “saving the most endangered species and habitats throughout the Pacific Rim.” He reports, “a few landscape architects here are beginning to use native Hawaiian plants in their designs. Most others still use exotics that are often invasive.”
Priscilla Davies Brennan with her family
Sue Reed presents at the New Directions in the American Landscape conference.
at the East Bay Waldorf School. Hope everyone is keeping busy and staying out of the way of natural calamities!” n Peter Monro went to a desert for the first time in the spring with the Conway School’s Ajo, AZ, service project (see page 9). His first stay in Italy—living in Florence, learning the language and Tuscan cooking, visiting friends (“una esperienza meravigliosa!”)—filled the first two weeks in October. He hopes to return in the spring, blogging from Lucca parts of his book-length manuscript, The Nature of Paths: Design Considerations for Walkways and Pedestrian Friendly Environments. Peter served as a critic for the students’ fall 2011 formal project presentations, and volunteered several days at the end of the term reviewing project plan sets. 1987
No Class Agent—discover the perks! n Sue Reed’s book, Energy-Wise Land scape Design, has won a Gold Award for Better Living from Independent Publishers Online, and a Book of the Year Silver Award from Foreword National Reviews. 1988
No Class Agent—be the one (or two)! n Claudia Kopkowski writes, “Pursuing our passion for natural history and/ or cultural travel to remote places around the planet, my husband, Steve Jenkins, and I recently returned from three weeks in Zambia in southern Africa. The focus of our trip was exploring the abundant wildlife and diverse habitats of two enormous wilderness areas, South Luangwa National Park and Kafue National Park, by vehicle, by walking safari, and on night drives. Watching the behavior and interactions of families of elephants happily consumed many hours, however it was the privilege of observing conservation biologists in action that remains the
most memorable highlight. By being in the right place at the right time, we were invited to accompany the field researcher for the Kafue Lion Project while his team changed the malfunctioning radio collar of a young lioness on the Busanga Plains. We learned that lions are in trouble across their range in Africa, having been wiped out of 80% of their historic range, and that Zambia offers the potential stronghold for this species given its vast open lands and low-density human population. Launched in July 2010, the Kafue Lion Project is investigating the conservation status of lions to design a plan for the long-term sustainable management of lions in the greater Kafue National Park system, an area twice the size of Belgium. Given the sheer scale of the park area and the lack of road access, radio collars are essential tools for generating baseline data and enabling intensive monitoring of a number of key prides and male coalitions. Our close encounter in the field with the darted female caused quite an adrenalin rush since three other members of the Busanga pride were fully alert and nearby. Sitting beside and touching this wild lioness, I was in awe of her beauty, her powerfulness and her vulnerability, as well. It definitely ranks very high on the list of our most amazing and humbling life experiences.” n Will Waldron, in Amherst, MA, writes, “I continue to work as a Senior Realty Specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (almost 20 years now) acquiring lands for the National Wildlife Refuge System in the 13-state Northeast Region. For the most past, I work with our conservation partners (The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy and states) to conserve blocks of land in multi-year, multiple-funded projects at Cape May and the Delaware Bayshore in NJ and along the RI coast. My son, Ian, a junior at Wesleyan University greatly enjoyed learning from Conway instructors Dave Jacke and Jono Neiger in a Sustainable Landscape Design seminar he took last spring. He now participates in Wesleyan’s Wild Westco (Working for Intelligent Landscape Design) to introduce sustainable designs for the campus.”
No Class Agent—how about you? 1990
Class Agent: Lauren Snyder Lautner (firstname.lastname@example.org) 1991
Class Agent: Annette Schultz (email@example.com) 1992
No Class Agent—how about you? n “As a real estate appraiser in New London, CT,” writes Ben Baldwin, “I am often appraising land being preserved as open space. I’m a member of the Stonington Conservation Commission and a director of the Stonington Land Trust.” n Melissa Robin is currently working on a strategic master plan for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS). “The land and building holdings of EOHHS encompass 7,000 acres and 11,000,000 gross square feet,” she reports. “Two related projects are master plans for the Worcester State Hospital Campus and Shattuck Hospital in Jamaica Plains. On the home front, daughters Molly and Hana are now 12 and 14. Each daughter has attributes of mom: Molly wants to be a developer and Hana a designer.” Melissa and Mike spend as much time as they can sailing from hometown Hingham (MA) harbor. 1993
Class Agent: Amy Craig (firstname.lastname@example.org) 1994
Class Agent: Jonathon Ellison (email@example.com) n Esther Danielson is, “as usual trying something new—carving. I still weave when I can, but sensitivities to wool in particular and also any linty stuff prevents me from doing much. If I can get
News from Alums
Claudia Kopkowski in Zambia
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News from Alums
out from under too much volunteering, I hope to get into shibori [Japanese term for several methods of dyeing cloth] in a big way. Next year. We are permanent residents of Canada now, though not citizens. With two kids still in Alaska and two in Connecticut, we still spend significant time in the good ol’ USA. We have a north-facing, mostly uninsulated summerhouse with big windows overlooking the ocean, and a small, tight, well-insulated, south-facing winter bungalow. The bungalow has a green roof, which is doing okay—it’s planted mostly in native plants, which are slow to spread. Just after installing all the plants last summer, we experienced three weeks without a drop of rain. This year we’ve had nothing but rain and drizzle, but at least the roof is watered!” n Melissa Mourkas is “back in the public sector. I’m an environmental planner at the California Energy Commission where I write technical analyses of the environmental impacts of new electric power plants. My specialties are visual resources and cultural resources. Certainly, a career in the energy sector has a bright future and that is heartening in these rough times. I joined the Board of the California Historic Governor’s Mansion Foundation. We are part of the effort to close the funding gap and keep the Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park open. I continue as vice-chair of the Sacramento Preservation Commission.” Melissa also creates a small number of landscape designs per year through her company, Landscape Legacy. 1995
Class Agent: Art Collings (firstname.lastname@example.org) n In September, Jim Cowen guided the class of 2012 through the wetlands complex he designed in Torrington, CT. n Christopher Rice is principal designer for Designs for Native Landscapes.
Inspired by the complexity and random beauty found in environmentally sound landscapes native to a region, Christopher has worked developing landscapes for non-profits and residential clients while living in midcoast ME with his partner, Tomlin Coggeshall, since 1995. Christopher is also a founding member of the Frances Perkins Center, which honors Tomlin’s grandmother, U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945, and the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet. 1996
Class Agent: Julia Plumb (email@example.com) 1997
Class Agent: Susan Crimmins (firstname.lastname@example.org) n Candace Currie is currently the director of planning and sustainability at Mount Auburn Cemetery, where, she reports, “I had the privilege of working with Kate Gehron and Rachel Bechhoefer ’09. Their spring Conway project was on urban, natural burial grounds and we find it to be a valuable resource as we continue to educate the Mount Auburn community.” 1998
Class Agent: Matthew Arnsberger (email@example.com) n Susan Leopold finished her PhD in environmental studies at Antioch University New England this past spring, where, she writes, “my research was on the loss of ethnobotanical knowledge in the Bull Run Mountains of VA. I have additionally taken on a new job as the executive director of United Plant Savers (UpS), a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of at-risk native medicinal plants. UpS has the most special sanctuary in Rutland, OH, an oasis of native plants, the only dedicated plant preserve of its kind…come and visit.” n James McGrath continues his work in the Pittsfield, MA, Office of Community Development, overseeing short- and long-range park planning and lake management. He is managing the city’s new community energy efficiency project—Powering Pittsfield—which has him venturing into the world of therms, kilowatt hours, and R-values.
Jim Cowen with the class of 2012
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Class Agent: Cindy Tavernise (firstname.lastname@example.org) n Cindy Tavernise writes, “Hours in the painting studio seem to be eclipsing my work as a landscape designer. I tend to be very detail-oriented as
perhaps best indicated on my website (www.lucindatavernise.com). In the past year, however, I did produce two minor design concepts: one for a lakefront property in Tolland, MA (which has been built this summer), and the other on a sloped row-house property in Peekskill, NY (which remains conceptual at this point due to lack of funds). The lake-front challenge was to create a better entry into the cottage, and to make the gently-sloped walk from the back of the cottage (which was entirely mown grass) to the water more acceptable by the local Conservation Commission. The commission members were very pleased with the concept. The Peekskill challenge, on the other hand, required making the mown grass back yard, which slopes at a 12% grade down to the house from the back property line, useable by the owners who wanted a play area, patio, and space to grow vegetables. That property is only 50-feet wide. Getting excavation equipment into the space is another challenge. Peter Monro, where are you?!” See also class of ’86 for more on Peter Monro. 2000
No Class Agent—your name here! n Joan Casey attended the 2011 ASLA conference in San Diego, CA. She works as landscape architect at Deborah Schwab Landscape Architecture in Maryland, and also is an independent contractor. n Leslie Dutton Jakobs writes that she “became a MI Certified Natural Shoreline Professional (shoreline restoration), and shortly thereafter moved to a state with lots of riverbanks and few shorelines—TN. I now work with the City of Chattanooga’s Office of Sustainability to implement urban landscape improvement initiatives as outlined in its climate action plan. Currently working on mostly green infrastructure projects, and Andropogon is one of the consulting firms leading the way for us. It is a thrill to work with such a high-caliber team.” n Treesa Rogerson reports, “I am pursuing stand-up comedy with a passion. At the moment I am living and working in the homelands of Asheville, NC, where now that I am finally home, I don’t want my dad to come out and hear what I am saying. I talk about the way exotic plants are total punks and creep over the tracks to the good side and mess up the neighborhood. I talk about how we choose mates like we choose plants.”
News from Alums
In Memoriam Helen Anzuoni ‘88 Helen Anzuoni ’88 died in August of last year. Classmates remember Helen as “a vibrant, honest, caring person,” whom “everyone wanted on their team.” Following her time at Conway, Helen worked as a town planner in Rochester, New Hampshire, and as a landscape designer for the City of Boston Parks Department and Pat Loheed Design. She also spent time in Hyannis, Massachusetts as Cape Cod as a district manager for Plymouth and Brockton Street Railway Company. Helen later moved to Lake Tahoe, California, where she became a licensed landscape architect and opened her own business and also put her love of skiing to work as a ski instructor. In 2010, following her diagnosis of brain cancer, Helen moved back to her parents’ home in Plymouth, Massachusetts; her father says, “She always put forty-eight hours into twenty-four.” Helen is survived by her parents, George and Barbara Anzuoni, her boyfriend, Corey Hofheinz of Tahoe, and many loving family and friends.
Anna James ’99 died in March of 2011. Her spirit and optimism shined through in her entire life...and still lingers within those she touched. As a good steward of the land, she was a talented forester and fighter for the wellbeing of all creatures in the environment. Anna helped me in so many ways: as the perfect roommate during the tough school year at Conway, as a compassionate companion, and as a teacher. I learned more about trees and forest lore from Anna than from any other source. Her knowledge of native flora was impressive. I appreciated her ever-present sense of humor and her patience. I admired her practical advice and persistence in solving problems. She was relentless and thorough in her research, and she was a good friend. Sunny Anna, we all miss you.
Class Agents: Chuck Schnell (email@example.com), Robin Simmen (firstname.lastname@example.org) n Karen Lamson continues to work as a conservation technician/planner for the Soil and Water Conservation District in Wasco County, OR. “New projects during the past two years,” she reports, “include hosting a workshop series about urban homesteading, and organizing a workshop for homeowners about caring for stream-side property. This summer I developed several conservation plans focused on protecting pollinator habitat for our agricultural customers, which gave me the opportunity to use and expand on my native plant knowledge. I continue to love living and working in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge.” n Aaron Schlechter reports, “On January 25th, we welcomed our
second child, Abigail Chaya, a 7 lb, 10 oz, 19.75” bundle of joy. She seems to be the happiest and most giggly baby and is a great sleeper! At the end of July, I crossed the Long Island Sound again as a pod co-leader for Kayak for a Cause XI. The conditions were very rough this year with 12-knot winds, waves and unfavorable currents. I had to tow one of our exhausted paddlers for the last two miles. It was a significant achievement for me and I raised $1,900 for four charities. In 2011, we commissioned a 6.45 KW photovoltaic array on our home and have generated 4.3 MWH of clean electricity as of the
William Joyce’s ’03 project (under construction) on a 600-acre organic vineyard
No Class Agent—how about you? n Barbara Keene Briggs continues to work at Tree Specialists, Inc. in Holliston, MA, where “developing landscape management plans for municipalities, corporate office parks, and homeowners’ associations has been my primary professional focus this year. Personally I’m enjoying my time with Rolf and our two beautiful Portuguese water dogs Jasper and Fern. Hope all my classmates are doing well!” 2003
Class Agents: Lauren Wheeler (email@example.com) n Madeleine Charney is “…back to my regular schedule at the UMass Amherst Library after a productive semester-long sabbatical, focusing on ‘Academic Librarians and Sustainability in the Curriculum.’ I’m presenting my findings at a national conference, Association for the Advancement of
William Joyce ’03
Anna James ‘99 by Cindy Tavernise ’99
end of August! On August 1, I left the environmental consulting world and am now working as environmental project manager for Cruz Contractors LLC. My two present projects are installing water lines, sanitary, and storm sewers in the Willets Point neighborhood of Queens, NY and includes a tide gate to discharge stormwater into Flushing Bay. This work is being done in advance of a larger environmental clean up and community redevelopment around Citi Field (home of the NY Mets). Cruz is a national leader in Microtunneling and just celebrated 60 years in business as a heavy contractor with extensive experience doing environmental as well as conventional infrastructure construction.” n See also Notes from Former Faculty and Staff for news of Chuck Schnell.
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Knowing the importance of landscape design as a foundation for the site planning process I was able to connect IMA with Conway in the form of a donated residential design for them. Thanks to Malena for a fabulous design.” 2004
No Class Agent—be the one (or two)! n See Notes from Former Faculty and Staff for news of Kirsten Baringer.
Jesse Froehlich with a 1500-gallon rainwater catchment system she designed and built as part of her AmeriCorps work
Sustainability in Higher Education. I’m on the Steering Committee of PVGrows, a network that supports and enhances food systems in the Pioneer Valley. I’m also chairperson of the PVGrows Higher Education Working Group. On the home front, we are amazed and blessed by our garden and fruit trees and take great delight in our son Eli nibbling away at the abundance.” n William Joyce has “switched things up a bit. I’ve gracefully left Isabelle Greene’s office and have moved to San Diego to open my own firm, William Joyce Design. So far so good, and things are starting to pick up. I’m currently working on a 600-acre organic vineyard in Santa Ynez, as well as designing a therapeutic garden for families who need long-term housing next to the hospital where their sick family members are. Both very different, but very interesting projects. San Diego is treating my wife and two dogs well too!” n Andrea Morris reports, “Focusing on site specific, ecologically sound design, Living Earth Landscapes is successfully supporting our clients to enhance their connection with the landscape around them. Partnering for the last five years with Julia Aiello, a U Mass graduate in natural resources studies, we joyfully create and enhance landscapes that not only provide beauty and food for humans and wildlife, but increase our clients’ knowledge of sustainable landscapes, native plants and ecosystems, biodiversity, and the role that humans play influencing that. Julia and I revel every day that we get to do something we love while effecting a positive influence on the world around us. My older daughter, Dina, graduated with honors from Amherst Regional High School last June and is a first year student at Barnard College of Columbia University in NYC, studying the biological sciences and loving it. My younger daughter, Ilana, is a junior honors student at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School in South Hadley, MA. She focuses on voice and is also playing the piano. This past year a song she co-wrote with June Millington (founder of the the Institute for Musical Arts [IMA] in Goshen, MA) was released on June and Jean Millington’s new album, ‘Play Like A Girl’ and features Ilana on vocals. Last fall, IMA was the recipient of a magnificent Conway student design created by Malena Maiz ’11. The IMA has been in need of a master plan type design for many years, but as a nonprofit they did not have the means to have it done.
Class Agents: Linda Leduc (firstname.lastname@example.org), Sandy Ross (email@example.com) n Del Orloske writes that he recently completed a year-long course of study at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He says, “I’m planning to merge both health and sustainable land design under one umbrella company. I continue to work with other landscape architects, engineers, and wetland scientists, doing wetland mitigation and restoration planting plans as well as traditional perennial gardens and landscape designs. Food security for people and wildlife are critical components to our long term survival.” n Aleksandr (Sasha) Pilyavskiy reports, “A lot has happened since last year. Professionally, I have made a major change; I am back working with the first company I worked for three years ago. As things had slowed way down at Foliaire (my former employer), I began thinking about better fit for my services as well as new avenues for business. It became clear to me that the company I worked for in the past—Creative Environments Landscape Company Inc.—would be a great fit. The knowledge and skills I acquired working for Foliaire will help me lead Creative Environments. As the sole designer and project manager I plan to continue with suburban landscaping and design practices (the main staple for CELC) as well as expanding the company’s range to include rooftop gardening and urban landscaping and design. In my personal life there is big news too. My longtime girlfriend Ashley and I have gotten engaged! We plan on getting married sometime in September of 2013. We live together along with our dog Rico in Waltham, MA.” n Ben Falk will by the keynote speaker at the Ecological Landscaping Association’s annual meeting in March in Springfield, MA. See also class of 2011 for more about Ben.
Class Agents: Ian Hodgdon (firstname.lastname@example.org), Brian Trippe (email@example.com) n Adam Bossi recently started a new job as the director of environmental affairs for the Town of Billerica, MA, and says, “I love my new office with its giant windows and old drafting table!” n Jennifer McElligott Chenoweth is at Olympic National Park, west of Seattle, WA, where, “As the park’s wilderness planning specialist I will be leading the development of a comprehensive wilderness management plan. I will be coordinating an interdisciplinary team of park staff to develop a plan that will serve as a guide for how the park manages wilderness for the next 10 to15 years. At Olympic, 95% of the park is in designated wilderness.” 2007
Class Agents: Alicia Batista (firstname.lastname@example.org), Priscilla Novitt (email@example.com) n Andrew Ward and Victoria Schroth married in September 2011. The couple lives in Bristol, CT. 2008
Class Agents: Doug Guey-Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org), Amy Livings ton (email@example.com), Theresa Sprague (firstname.lastname@example.org) n Jesse Froelich “had a big year! I moved back to my native northern California to complete an AmeriCorps service year with Conservation Corps North Bay, and it was truly awesome.” Immediately following her AmeriCorps service year, Jesse spent six weeks in Bali as the David Bird International Service Fellow, and says, “When I get back to Santa Rosa after the fellowship, I’ll be starting a job with LandPaths, a Sonoma County based environmental non-profit that I got to work with throughout my AmeriCorps term. My work with LandPaths will be a good combination of land stewardship,
Class Agents: Kate Benisek (email@example.com), Ashley Pelletier (firstname.lastname@example.org) n Since February, Rachel Bechhoefer has been managing The Retreat at Angel Fire in northern NM. She writes, “Surrounded by Ponderosa pine and quaking aspen, Neil and I have been caring for 12 beautiful acres, with ten cabins for rent. At the base of Wheeler Peak in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Angel Fire is part of the Enchanted Circle, 25 miles east of Taos and the Rio Grande Gorge, and 85 miles northeast of Santa Fe. We are adjacent to the Carson National Forest, with trailhead access, as well as five minutes from the ski lift. It’s a great place to explore—and unlike anywhere in the world—with sagebrush, adobe, and rugged canyons, alongside high mountain forests with crisp, cool air, and deer, elk, and bear sightings regularly. I’ve been using my Conway skills too, planning a native seed planting for this fall, improving the drainage, and sharing my love for the mountains
Rachel Bechhoefer in northern New Mexico
Left: Alex and Sarah Hoffmeier in Colorado; right: Alex using a high line to transport material for a trail project at Gile Mountain, Norwich, VT
and meadows with our guests. I’d like to extend an open invitation to the Conway community to come stay with us, so if you live in the area, or are just visiting, make sure your route takes you through Angel Fire!” n Jonathan Cooper started a master’s of regional planning at the UMass Amherst in September. He says, “It’s good to be back in western MA, and the drives Katharine Gehron and I have taken up to Shelburne Falls, Ashfield, and Conway have reminded us of the things we were sorry to leave behind after finishing our studies at the Conway School. I’ve enjoyed my studies thus far, but I do miss the educational model at Conway, learning for one’s own sake and for the sake of others. I am especially indebted to the Conway School for the extent to which I am prepared for this stage of my education, and my desirability as an applicant (I have been awarded a research assistantship with Dr. John Mullin, FAICP, dean of the graduate school at UMass Amherst) is a direct result of the depth of the Conway education.” n Fiona Dunbar reports, “After a year of working as a residential gardener, I just accepted a position as a gardener at The Presidio, a national park in San Francisco. On the side, I’ve been establishing my own little business, TapRoot Landscape Design, doing residential garden design, installation, and maintenance around the Bay Area.” n Cyndy Fine attended Sarah Mitchell Hoffmeier and Alex Hoffmeier’s wedding in Stowe in June (see Sarah’s note below!), and reports that it “was absolutely perfect (moments after a wild hail storm!) and a great reunion for 15 or so of us from the class of ’09.” n Kyle Haley is “living in the great northwest in the small mountain town of North Bend, WA. We purchased a 1940s log cabin on five acres where our family is expanding with dogs, cat, chickens, bees, and soon—goats. I’m working in the residential design/build field primarily focusing on hardscapes such as stone
patios, walkways, fences, and the like, as well as native vegetation restoration in the private sector. Aside from work and home renovations, we are rafting the local rivers, hiking the valleys, and waiting for the rain.” n Sarah Mitchell Hoffmeier reports, “I’m excited to announce that Alex Hoffmeier and I got married on June 18, 2011 in Stowe, VT. We were very happy to share the day with many members of our Conway class and missed those who couldn’t attend. I’m continuing my work with Vermont State Parks while my landscape design and installation company, Rising Arbor Designs, gains momentum. I plan on being full time with my business next spring. Alex continues to pursue his passion in designing and building recreational trails with Timber & Stone, LLC throughout the northeast.” Two of the projects Alex has been working on recently are building a trail at Gile Mountain in Norwich, VT for the Upper Valley Trails Alliance, and renovating a trail in Stowe, VT for the Stowe Land Trust. He explains, “This site was heavily impacted by the flooding we had in April and as a result, we have had to install about seven new culverts where there were none before. Like many trail projects, this one is all about managing water coming from uphill.” n Suzanne Rhodes received her Permaculture Design certificate in August from Midwest Permaculture, and is living in AZ. n Jenna Webster and husband Tim Harte welcomed Hazel Josephine on September 4, 2011. n See also class of ’97 for more on Kate Gehron and Rachel Bechhoefer.
volunteer management, environmental education, and site development.” See also page 28 for more about Jesse’s fellowship in Bali. n Amy Livingston Larsen, husband Reed and daughter Lidah moved to Espanola, NM in June and “endured the smoke from wildfires that erupted from the drought conditions. I’d like to continue making compost and compost tea and see how both work in this arid environment.” n Theresa Sprague left her full-time position at Wilkinson Ecological Design, where she remains as design consultant, to concentrate on her firm Blue Flax Design. She helped organize the Ecological Landscape Association annual conference in March 2012, where she will present a workshop on thinking beyond wetlands regulations when designing mitigation and buffer plantings, and how to best develop and present plans to conservation commissions for review and permitting.
News from Alums
Hazel Josephine Harte
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News from Alums
Class Agents: Gareth Crosby (email@example.com), Kristin Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org) n Kathy Connolly writes, “This year I designed and participated in the installation of a major landscape renovation at a 1.3-acre residence in Westport, CT. I was invited to create designs for the client’s neglected yard area and, as the project progressed, to design updates for the rest of the property as well. As the growing season of 2011 arrives at completion, it is gratifying to see how this site has been served by renovation of its traditional stonewalls and extensive deer-resistant native plantings. While this project dominated the summer, I have worked with a variety of clients in consultations on native plantings, deer resistance, storm water management, and organic lawn care. I have also given more than 10 presentations in the past six months on various aspects of landscape design and land care for the local community college, the UConn Master Gardener Program, and several libraries. As winter approaches, I am learning Dynascape landscape design software and learning new tricks with Photoshop. The process has been slow and at times discouraging, but when the work is available, it is more compelling than any other work I know. That is, except for writing—and that is in progress as well.” n Miles Connors is in Belmont, MA, where, he says, “Things are going very well with Parterre Garden. I am fully managing the perennial and vegetable gardens at the private estate. I have been harvesting a great deal of food for the chef to prepare for extended family while teaching our gardeners to grow food and the importance of doing so. Miles is also exploring ways to incorporate Sustainable Sites Initiatives through Parterre Environmental. I was in the Greg Lombardi Design, Inc. studio yesterday hearing trace ripping, smelling Prismacolor, and seeing SketchUp on the monitor, and immediately began to miss the creative mind-hand-paper process. Got plenty of mind-hand-plant process right now, seeking more design and planning in my future.” n Gareth Crosby is in Athens, GA, “still working for Hungry Gnome Gardenscapes. Our mission is to empower people to grow their own food. We do everything from consultation to design/installation to maintenance. While I help design new projects, and meet with existing clients,
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I also run the maintenance aspect of the business. It is a young business and has had growing pains, but I have been charged with the task to create a maintenance plan that will span the entire year. Maintenance for us means maintaining and planting vegetable gardens and perennial food plants so there is a lot to put on the calendar, especially when the growing season is so long down here. The work is great and the clients are awesome.” n Abrah Dresdale is teaching a new course at Greenfield Community College (GCC)—Introduction to Food Systems, designed to introduce students to the current state of the global food system and its implications for people, the environment, and our future. Abrah helped launch a new two-year liberal arts degree at GCC with an option in Farm and Food Systems. In addition, she will be co-teaching Introduction to Permaculture Design as a part of the online Sustainability Studies program at the University Without Walls, housed at UMASS-Amherst. n Lily Jacobson recently started an AmeriCorps-funded position with the Willowell Foundation in Vergennes, VT. “Willowell,” she explains, “does ecological and sustainability education, personal growth work, and community-building work with kids, the public, and particularly at-risk teenagers. I’m very excited about the organization and the position. I’ll be teaching, fundraising, working on the site design for the organization’s new facilities, and supporting the programs in other ways. I’m thrilled to be returning to New England, and it will be great being able to attend events at Conway!” n Tom Jandernoa reports, “Life is good in Brattleboro, VT. I’m working for Stevens & Associates, PC, and I’m excited to see a design I helped produce break ground soon. The design is a patient courtyard for the Brattleboro Retreat, a mental health and addiction care facility. The courtyard is composed of an enclosed green space, outdoor seating/eating area, and various outdoor social spaces for one on one, or group activities. Positive design solutions include increasing pedestrian circulation on the campus, decreasing the amount of impervious surface by approximately 7,000 square feet, and an abundance of native plantings and healing gardens. I feel very fortunate to have found a position at Stevens & Associates and grow my skills as a landscape designer, to be able to walk to work, and to live in the same community where Katherine, my
partner, is serving as the Farm-toSchool Coordinator.” n Elena Rivera is back in Austin, TX, after a four-month stint working with Gary Bachman ’84 at Pima County Community and Economic Development in Tucson, AZ. She says, “It’s good to be back, but there’s so much I miss about Ashfield/ Conway.” Elena is working to start up her own business, volunteering with urban farming and housing nonprofits, and getting training and certification in rainwater harvesting. n Jamie Scott recently completed a residential project exchanging turf for a native Valley oak savannah design. Over the summer, he spent a week in Yosemite Valley and celebrated his mother’s wedding. n Kate Snyder reports from Shelburne Falls, MA, “I’ve been working on my design firm verdantK, which is in its beginning stages. I’m working with my second residential client and have a consultation Monday, plus I’ve been enjoying my work at the Greenfield Business Association, where I’m starting a few sustainability initiatives with a board that’s pretty progressive. Building strong local economies is work that I really like. I’ve also been writing and consulting with GCC on the garden work from my Conway spring project and volunteering with other parents (including Conway core faculty member Kim Erslev) to make a school garden at Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School. Sprouting in the cracks is how I think of it! I’ve recorded a commentary on sustainable land use for [local NPR affiliate station] WFCR, and will record six times a year. Fun!” n Kristin Thomas, regional planner with the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency reports, “I’ve been working on a grant called ‘Safe Routes to School,’ which looks to improve children’s access to neighborhood schools through the implementation of new paths, sidewalks, improved safety, and other measures. It’s been a good opportunity for working in the community. I also used the storm water calculations we learned when reviewing a recent zoning referral. I compared the potential runoff rates of a commercially developed site, a municipal golf course, and a forested landscape. This fall, I’m also partnering with the UConn Community Research and Design Collaborative (a subset of the LA department) and various LA professors, transportation engineering professors, and students to work on a downtown revitalization plan for a nearby community.” Kristin has also
News from Alums
Ironbound Island Seaweed Adventure
Sean Walsh and Zach Mermel “decompressed” from their Conway year by wild-harvesting seaweeds as interns with Ironbound Island Seaweed of Winter Harbor, Maine.
The adventure to harvest elusive algae involved struggling into wetsuits well before dawn, navigating to remote rocky shoals, plunging into the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and scrambling up slick rocks. The pulses of the tide, the morning fog cover, and the day’s weather dictated activities for the day. Without a GPS, we relied on a compass, navigational charts, and our host’s experience to guide us through unpredictable banks of dense fog to abundant harvests. Zach Mermel and I shared the intertidal zone with harbor seals, grey seals, puffins, and bald eagles. Tourists on whalewatching expeditions stared through binoculars at us; we circled our fingers, raised them to our faces, and stared back. Working with the landscape and people of that place gave an authenticity to the experience that can’t be matched by passive vacationing. The three species of seaweed we harvested thrive in the subtidal zone and are only accessible during the lowest tides of the year. Alaria esculenta, known by its culinary name wakame, is the most challenging seaweed to harvest—and our primary goal. Alaria’s structural flexibility, supportive midrib, and dexterous holdfast allow it to move fluidly and withstand punishing surf. Alaria is a perennial, but harvesting occurs in the annual zone where the rocks will be scraped bare by winter ice. Harvesting is easiest when wave action temporarily arranges the dense colony in a semi-uniform direction. Care is taken to leave the holdfasts and reproductive sporophyllus. Large fingered Laminaria digitata, kombu, is often found in deeper turbulent waters while Laminaria longicruris, Atlantic kelp, grows best in tidal channels forming dense forests. After the harvest the viscid algae is strung up to dry in the hot July sun, and depending on the species and weather, the harvest may move into a kiln room to finish the drying properly. Drying seaweed smells pleasantly of minerals and salts that precipitate out and coat those working with it.
Zach Mermel ‘11
by Sean Walsh ’11
The elusive Alaria esculenta (wakame)
been working on several design projects for her own small business, Taking Root Design. n Michael Yoken is working as a project coordinator for Million Trees NYC, an urban forestry initiative through the NYC Mayor’s office. “My principal area of work,” he reports, “will be to design and coordinate tree-planting projects along state and then hopefully city highways in NYC. There is currently not much money in the budgets of state or city
Dry scrap seaweed is delivered to neighbors with goats and horses as a feed and nutrient supplement and wet scraps help build excellent compost. We engaged in other aspects of the business: packing and shipping the product, and operational and maintenance chores that might remind a Conway graduate of his time at Conway. When the workload lulled we hiked Schoodic Mountain and visited Asticou Terraces, Thuya Gardens, and a local permaculture homestead. Our internship waned with the tides as the moon waxed. This adventure was a great way to reconnect with our bodies through hard work, wash our minds in cold water and sunrise, and reenter normal society after an incredible, eventful, and consciousness-altering year at the Conway School.
departments of transportation to design or implement measures that they currently see as ‘extra,’ such as earthworks along roads for better on-site stormwater capture and infiltration. However, if we will potentially plant thousands of trees in these places, hopefully we will be able to partner with organizations or foundations who have the funds to underwrite stormwater-infiltration measures at the time of tree-planting.
I’m learning a lot. Our Conway education taught me how to tackle any design challenge and manage any type of project. It also taught me how to work with people who have styles and methods that are very different from my own, how to get any information, research, or professional opinion I need in any situation, and how to present ideas in a clear and straightforward manner that speaks to my specific audience.”
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News from Alums
Susannah Spock and Héloïse Chandless on their first day in Morocco
Class Agents: Emily Lubahn (email@example.com), Julie Welch (firstname.lastname@example.org) n Héloïse Chandless and Susannah Spock hit the road together following graduation; Héloïse shared the following news of their travels: “Starting in Morocco, we visited Marrakech, Essaouira on the coast, Fes, one of Morocco’s imperial cities in the center of the country, Tangiers and the Straights of Gibraltar and finally the Ourika Valley and the Atlas Mountains. There we were asked to provide a design for a small demonstration garden attached to an artisanal distillery producing organic essential oils from herbs grown locally for their healing properties, used in traditional Berber medicine. The garden will be installed in the spring of 2012. Since then, we’ve seen London, Paris, Boston, Conway, New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago, La Crosse (WI), Mitchell (SD), the Badlands (SD), the Black Hills (SD), Caspar (WY), and we’re reporting in from Jackson Hole (WY), before heading up to Yellowstone this afternoon. Hopefully, we won’t fall into a steaming hole of sulphur and will be able to send in a final report from Seattle, our journey’s end.” [Ed. note: the pair did make it safely to Seattle, WA!] n Kate Cholakis also traveled following graduation, spending a month in Poland: “It has a diversity of compelling landscapes, from busy cities to conservation lands that have been preserved for centuries. Poland’s troubled history is reflected everywhere in the landscape—memorials that mark the locations of horrific crimes are tucked away in the most unexpected places (such as in the middle of the Bialowieza old-growth forest). But woven in with the troubled past is a really powerful optimism. The Poles are still in the process of reconstructing their cities, culture, and economy. So far I think they have done an amazing
job, but they could definitely use some help. Lodz, a post-industrial city in the center of Poland, is currently searching for a vision for future development.” n In September Erin Hepfner joined a committee in Brunswick, ME that is working to establish public grounds with a mission of providing an enjoyable exploration of sustainable concepts and practices. “Our vision,” she explains, “is to provide a landscape that showcases environmentally and socially conscious garden and infrastructural designs and practices that excites and inspires visitors. For me, it is the perfect integration of my former profession as a public garden horticulturist, my desire to share the beauty and science of the natural world with others, and the education I received from the Conway School. The design process, critical thinking and effective communication are concepts I learned at Conway that are fundamental to my contribution of the development of this public garden.” n Giaco Lepore has been busy since graduation, “catching up to the things ‘on-hold’ during the Conway adventure and digging into a maze of design opportunities. In August, the Pioneer Valley Regional School committee approved a proposal for a resilient land management plan for their 84-acre campus. So far, faculty and community members seem pretty excited about a long overdue direction for oncoming social-ecological changes in the next decade. Additionally, my hometown of Bernardston has asked for a management plan for their 100-acre Charity Farms woodlot. Ultimately, the town wishes to use the site for hiking and scenic views overlooking the beautiful
Emily Lubahn with a sculpture she helped install
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mountains to the west. Both plans are community service, but should help springboard my newly formed little business into some interesting consulting jobs. Other routes for work have included applications to teach at three different colleges, a site plan for a 900-acre lot, along with website, business card and brochure development/design. I make efforts to be in the woods or out in the field at least three times per week studying, observing and collecting samples for identification along with note taking and sketches. Truly, my Conway school experience has opened my eyes to lots of great opportunities to explore and pursue.” n Emily Lubahn shared news of an installation she completed with the Japanese artist Tesunori Kawana for the NY Botanic Garden Fall Flowers of Japan show. “All the wood was acquired from the grounds post- [Hurricane] Irene. The garden is such a huge place you forget you are still in the city—50 acres of forest with old growth trees still remaining.” n Kate Tompkins recently began work with a small firm that inspects, maintains, and repairs a variety of stormwater management projects at retail sites on the east coast. “Restoration & Recovery,” she reports, “is a small firm that hopes to expand significantly in the next five years, including broadening their client base to include non-retail sites. My role as business development manger is brand new and I’m hoping to learn a lot about stormwater management and regulations.” n Julie Welch obtained her permaculture design certificate from the Whole Systems Design research farm in Moretown, VT [founded by Ben Falk ’05]. She says, “The 10-day certificate program was an ideal way to process and practice the whole systems thinking we learned at Conway.” Julie also worked with Dave Jacke ’84 and Keith Zaltzberg [Conway’s digital design instructor] on their Wellesley College demonstration garden, sheet mulching, digging trenches, and planting fruit thickets and nut groves on the sloped hillside at the Wellesley College Botanic Garden this September. “Dave and Keith provided an excellent, hands-on learning opportunity for students at
News from Alums
Portfolio-Building in Erie Erie, Pennsylvania—some call it Dreary Erie, but the four classmates who joined me for the first two weeks of August defined it as glorious! Ahron Lerman, Laura Rissolo, Erin Hepfner, and Sean Walsh participated in evaluating a three-acre residence in Erie and a seventysix-acre former farm and early succession forest in Ashtabula, Ohio as a portfolio-building exercise. And it was a good excuse to work together again. The Erie residence is on Lake Erie; our task was to convert one-and-a-half acres of lawn to meadow, increase the edibles, and evaluate the plants in each zone around the house. Mowing had ceased in the one-anda-half acres, and we planted woodies conducive to the varying soil types including summersweet (Clethna alnifolia), elderberry (Sambucus nigra), and serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.). The area where the meadow meets the road was a priority, so that neighbors could understand the development of the project. A corner garden of daisies (Bellis perennis), butterfly flower (Asclepias syriaca), northern sea oat (Chasmanthium latifolium), cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), and summersweet were planted to reflect the diversity of what the meadow will become. Blueberries, raspberries and resiliant peaches were planted around the garden, and this weekend I will be sheet mulching. In Ashtabula, we did more research than implementation. We discovered an old orchard in the forest
Courtesy Emily Lubahn
by Emily Lubahn ’11
Ahron Lerman, Emily Lubahn, and Laura Rissolo take a break from analysis in Erie, Pennsylvania
of over fifty trees. Prior management of the land has led to limited understory and lots of poison ivy. Here, we will continue to evaluate the land, with long-term goals of forest conservation, edible forest gardening, and setting up education and residency programs. Both projects are ongoing and open for further visitations, evaluations, and educational opportunities. As a class our hopes are to continue working together on personal, professional, and design competition projects through the years.
Ahron Lerman ’11
Laura Rissolo ’11 puts Conway on the map at the Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown, NY en route to Erie, PA
the school and the surrounding community.” Throughout the summer, Julie “worked in three permaculture gardens in a New York City public park with a seasoned permaculture practitioner who taught me how to navigate the challenges of urban gardening in public spaces. I am now drawing base maps of all the permaculture gardens in the park and developing plant lists and site analysis documents for the archives of the organization responsible for
planting and maintaining the gardens. I am currently collaborating with a colleague who works at the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainability to organize a permaculture symposium and panel discussion in New York City and am volunteering two days per week at the Buckminster Fuller Institute in Williamsburg Brooklyn.” Julie and Emily Lubahn participated in a “fun biofilter/ greywater processing project in the Occupy Wall Street basecamp kitchen. Emily and I created the signs that explain how the system works,” Julie reports. n Jan Wirth writes, “Shortly after graduation I headed to Storm King Art Center and a few days in the Hudson River Valley. Storm King is a must visit for everyone who has yet to
go there. I got back to mid-coast Maine in early July—a perfect time for re-entry into the world outside Conway. I’ve continued my volunteer work as a master gardener at Blueberry Cove Camp in Tenants Harbor and I’m delighted to say that the gardens (full of old tires and rusty wire a few short years ago) are now producing a significant portion of the fruits and veggies for the camp. I returned in mid-September from ten days on Indian Island in New Brunswick, Canada where I have a funky old house, which was built in 1818 and has only had running water and indoor plumbing for the last two years. Losing our power, after having electricity on the island for over sixty years, has proved an interesting, and exciting, challenge for the five summer residents (including me). We are converting to propane generators, battery banks and solar panels as we enter the new ‘off the grid’ era of the island. Plans are for a flock of sheep to ‘mow’
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News from Alums
Front row, left to right, Peter Monro’86, Susanna Adams ’78, Annie Cox ’10, Ryan (Annie’s husband), back row, Jill (Peter’s wife), David Buchanan ’00, Joy Prescott ’03, Paul Hellmund
Portland, Maine Alums Gather to Meet Conway Director Peter Monro ’86 organized a lunch gathering for Conway alums in the Portand, Maine, area on April 23, 2011, to meet with Conway Director Paul Cawood Hellmund.
next summer. I have also had visions of a Conway permaculture workshop as an ongoing project.” Jan and Melissa Carll attended the Northeast Forest Guild conference in VT in September, and Jan also attended conferences in Boston and Washington, DC, both relating to ecosystems services and carbon credits. n See also class of ’03 for more on Malena Maiz.
Walt Cudnohufsky with grandchildren Phoebe and Levi
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“What a pleasure to spend time with this fascinating group and to hear what they are up to,” remarked Paul.
Notes from Former Faculty and Staff Walter Cudnohufsky reports that he and Susan “have many blessings to count starting with good health. We have five wonderful grandchildren; two of whom (Phoebe and Levi) live in nearby Greenfield and are very much part of our lives. Susan continues her Dr. Hauschka skin care treatments from our home studio. She works out, walks, visits family and cooks beautifully. I am very involved with professional practice with Chuck Schnell ’01and Kirsten Baringer ’04 doing most of the heavy lifting. I sing with two choruses (one a bedside hospice choir) and participate in additional annual singing workshops. A second two weeks singing in Macedonia this summer was a genuine treat. I also teach and lecture locally on design, and teach watercolor very actively with stunning success even for beginners. My artwork is exhibited regionally and is sometimes in national shows. Susan
and I have become activists to get GMO food labeling. We also wish to derail industrial wind installations, a total swindle in the simplest terms. We have sadly discovered it is not green and does not work as advertised. We do however need site-specific wind when the energy can be stored, but not the huge and health and environmentally impactful industrial wind. I am doing a lot of writing on this subject. Contact and personal updates from Conway alums is always welcome and appreciated. You are encouraged to give a heads up when in the area, and there is almost always a concert or exhibition happening. As a reminder especially to Conway alums in my era, one of the recommendations that I made was to have more than one creative release. Music and art are that for me along with a good deal of writing. Hope to hear from you.”
2011 Annual Report
The Conway School
Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning & Design Fiscal Year 2011: July 1, 2010–June 30, 2011
Real World. Real Results. There has never been a greater need to protect our planet’s natural and cultural resources. In response, the Conway School in fiscal year 2011 combined its historical dedication to ecological design with innovative curriculum and demanding real-world student projects. The school continued to strengthen instruction through its core faculty, master teachers, and extensive array of weekly visitors, who are experts in many fields. Using its trademark apprenticeship model of real projects for real clients, Conway found challenging ways to involve students and alums in sustainable planning and design issues serving communities in New England and far beyond.
Ecological Design Ecological design embraces both conservation and regenerative design and requires great creativity and concern for stewardship. Thus, Conway visualizes its mission and work in these ways:
The Conway School prepares graduate students to be planners and designers of significant aspects of nature, farmland, and historical resources. This conservation focus leads to students and graduates becoming engaged in projects designed to: ■■ conserve land ■■ promote biodiversity ■■ protect water quality ■■ preserve wetlands ■■ re-localize food systems Regenerative Design Focus
Conway students and graduates are repairing damaged lands, waters, and communities, and finding ways to sustain them. This regenerative design focus leads to students and graduates becoming engaged in projects designed to: ■■ restore and manage habitat ■■ foster walkable cities ■■ redevelop brownfields ■■ promote low impact development ■■ improve energy efficiency
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ANNUAL REPORT 2011
t Projects in New England Arizona Chile Mexico Panama Tuscany
As landscapes everywhere are undergoing dramatic transformations, Conway has become increasingly international in scope. This extends to the Conway student body, students’ and alums’ projects, and fellowship placements. The last three years have seen Conway’s reach span the globe:
< Fellows Placed in Bali Panama
w Speakers about Ghana Kenya Panama Niger
V F F F
tF FF F FFF
F Students from
Alaska California Connecticut Hawaii Maine Massachusetts New Jersey New York North Carolina Vermont Virginia Washington Mexico Morocco
V Alums at Work in
Bali Bangladesh Canada Haiti Ireland United Arab Emirates
Serving Students—Serving Alums— Serving Communities Accomplishments in fiscal year 2011
Serving Students The Class of 2011 The Conway School experienced its fourth year in a row of full enrollment in fiscal year 2011. Eighteen graduate students arrived at Conway in September 2010, eager to put their personal values into positive action for the natural world during the school year and afterward. They represented a wide range of age, experience, interests, and degrees—in ecological agriculture, anthropology, historic preservation, architecture, and business. The closest came from twenty minutes away; the furthest traveled here from Morocco. Curriculum During the 2010–2011 school year, Conway continued its unique and proven approach, offering an integrated curriculum where classes complement design practice. Instruction occurred in a small, intimate, and supportive environment. There was an unambiguous emphasis on ecological and social responsibility, oral and written communication skills, and project management. A rigorous process of site analysis and whole-systems thinking informed students’ work on real projects for real clients. Classes were taught by faculty with current or recent professional experience outside the classroom. The school continued its strong focus on instruction in ecology, with Elizabeth Farnsworth as conservation
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biology adjunct and Glenn Motzkin as master teacher in ecology, supplementing the contributions of long-time ecology adjunct Bill Lattrell. New digital design tools were taught and used extensively to meet the demands of today’s world, where graduates need those skills to apply for jobs in almost any design field. Since its inception in 1972, Conway has invited professionals to speak with students about topics spanning many fields. During the 2010–2011 school year, this group of several dozen master teachers and guest speakers covered such topics as: conservation law; landscape design history; permaculture; soils; septic and water systems infrastructure; traditional and sustainable design in Bali, Indonesia; brownfields; climate change and conservation; re-development design strategies for commercial strips; green infrastructure; urbanism, sustainability and resilience; watershed management practices; trail design and construction; environmental justice; the transition to
Laura Rissolo ’11
Randall Arendt, landscape planner and author
agrarian landscapes; innovative conservation planning; rebuilding healthy food systems; and environmental planning and urban design. These guests also supplemented core instruction in natural sciences, technical skills, legal regulations, graphic and verbal expression, and professional ethics. Student Projects A founding principle and a proven, powerful educational model of the Conway School is to put students to work for real clients on real projects. Clients pay for the work, providing a source of income to the school; faculty guides the work, using an apprenticeship approach; and students are motivated by clients’ expectations to produce professional results. Students at the Conway School focused their fall-term studies on residential projects designed to provide for human needs while increasing biodiversity and ecosystem health. The winter term’s regional planning projects included a farmland preservation plan for a land trust, a plan to revitalize an urban park, and a local-food production study for a region of Tuscany. The class of 2011 spent the spring term creating designs for projects ranging from a sustainable landscape plan incorporating native plantings on a U.S. air reserve base to a landscape master plan for a major national yoga retreat center. Resources The school has put increased emphasis on technology in recent years to assist applicants, students, staff, alums, and the board of trustees. This emphasis includes:
new computer hardware for students to integrate manual and digital design approaches ■■ digital survey equipment and complementary computer software for processing survey data for student projects ■■ extensive internet and intranet environments for communication, document-sharing, specificallypurposed websites, project management, and teleconferencing ■■ availability of Conway Academic Program Catalog online Graduation In June 2011, after ten intense months of study and action, all eighteen students of the class of 2011 were granted the degree of Master of Arts in Landscape Design. The class selected Majora Carter, an ecoentrepreneur, as its commencement speaker. The school presented her with an honorary degree for her work in creating riverfront parks, building green roofs, working to remove poorly planned highways in favor of positive economic development, and successfully implementing the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training program. An honorary degree was also presented to Nancy Jack Todd, who is Vice President of Ocean Arks International and editor of its journal, Annals of Earth. She was cofounder with John Todd of the New Alchemy Institute and is the author and co-author of many works, including Bio-shelters, Ocean Arks and City Farming: Ecology as the Basis of Design. ■■
Serving Alums Connecting Alums The Conway approach has always been applied to a small student body; each class contains no more than nineteen students. Founded in 1972, this brings the current number of alums to 598. While the number is small, the impact is large. Graduates keep the school informed about their work and accomplishments around the world, return as master teachers and speakers, serve as critics at end-of-term formal presentations, mentor recent alums, share books they have written, give financial support, and serve on the board of trustees and as advisers. The school launched a careers website in February 2009, available only to Conway alums. Since that time,
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ANNUAL REPORT 2011
“If one judges an institution by the commitment, enthusiasm, and competence of its graduates, Conway must rank among the very best to be found anywhere, in the field of landscape design.”
ANNUAL REPORT 2011 Melissa Carll ’11 and Heloise Chandless ’11
over seven hundred posts of jobs, internships, fellowships, workshops, and grants have been posted. Conway has 123 members in its LinkedIn group, an online networking and resource group for alums, students, board members, staff, and faculty who are interested in building professional networks. On Facebook, 176 people have marked that they “like” the Conway School. David Bird International Fellowship This was the second year of Conway’s David Bird International Service Fellowship, created in honor of a long-time board member and supporter of the school. Each year, an alum is chosen to complete an ecological design project as an international fellow of the Conway School. In fiscal year 2011, Aran Wiener ’09 traveled to Bali for an initial orientation from another Conway alum who works in sustainability planning there. Aran then engaged in an intense six-week project, collaborating on sustainable design assistance to a small village. At Conway’s 2011 commencement ceremony, the third David Bird International Service Fellowship was awarded to Jesse Froehlich ’08. She will serve in Bali, Indonesia, as well. Service Learning Trips for Alums In 2011, Conway sponsored a service-learning trip, bringing alums to Ajo, Arizona, as part of the school’s new partnership with the International Sonoran Desert Alliance. Alums were actively seeking future projects for students on issues such as food security, site design, open space planning, urban design, and economic revitalization.
Serving Communities Community-Based Projects Each year, Conway students apply an extensive array of knowledge and skills to projects that help to protect the landscape and natural resources in our communities. Some communities that benefited this year include: ■■ Western Massachusetts—Students completed two different brownfields redevelopment projects. One was a proposal for design alternatives for an abandoned riverside factory to become a useful part of the community. Another was a
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Alums Karen Chaffee ‘07, Madeleine Charney ‘03, Dave Jacke ‘84 and Abrah Dresdale ’10 were presenters at a May event.
land reuse plan for the decommissioned Yankee Rowe Nuclear Power Plant. ■■ Ajo, Arizona—Two teams of students headed for the desert this year. The first created a visionary food-localization plan that would make use of indigenous traditions and permaculture techniques to grow nutritious food in what is now a literal and figurative food desert. The second designed a landscape master plan for the historic Ajo Plaza and surrounding area. ■■ San Pedro, Mexico—Conway applied its distinctive approach to design a phased plan to improve the walkability of a major commercial zone in a densely populated historic city. The student team presented key principles and strategies to manage traffic, stormwater, trees and other plantings, and pedestrian safety and health. Community Connections Conway has always sought to bring its message to the broader community. This year, the Conway School and Greenfield Community College co-sponsored three public lectures in a series called “Things are Looking Up Down on the Farm.” The series featured women farmers, and included presentations on farm economy and healthy food systems, farmers and food cooperatives’ contributions to healthy food systems, and keeping farmland available for farming. In May, Conway alums and friends joined together for a special day of events celebrating the inauguration of neighboring Wildside Gardens as a learning laboratory for the Conway School. Alums Karen Chaffee ’07, Madeleine Charney ’03, Dave Jacke ’84 and Abrah Dresdale ’10 shared individual experiences and perspectives on regenerating damaged landscapes and systems. Publications Conway sent the Winter 2011 issue of con’text magazine to over twenty-two hundred friends and contacts, representing a seventy percent increase in circulation compared to three years ago. Conway Currents, a monthly eNewsletter, is sent to 1,650 friends of the school, up from 1,200 last year.
Conway is fortunate to have gained the active involvement of so many of its alums and friends in teaching, mentoring, client referrals, job placement, board service, and financial support.
What You Can Do— Conway Needs Your Help
The Conway School is thriving. After almost four decades, its innovative approach to teaching continues to inspire its students while its reach is growing exponentially. In fiscal year 2011, the school enjoyed full enrollment, financial health, an engaged board of trustees, and growing respect within the field of ecological planning and design. Faculty Conway’s configuration of four core faculty and four adjunct instructors represents an exceptional teacher-student ratio, allowing for an extraordinary level of individual guidance and support for students. Excellence in instruction is upheld through the faculty’s advanced degrees, practical professional experience, expertise in specific areas, and shared commitment to presenting an interrelated whole-systems approach. Accreditation During the 2009–2010 academic year, the Conway School underwent its scheduled interim five-year accreditation review, which was approved with a note of commendation by Conway’s accrediting authority, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Board of Trustees Conway’s seventeen trustees have shown a deep commitment to the school, including one hundred percent participation in annual giving. Recent additions bring more diverse trustee backgrounds to the board, and new trustees are coming from greater distances than in previous years: Baltimore, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Quebec. Strategic Plan The Conway Board of Trustees has approved the 2009– 2014 Strategic Plan, “Sustaining a Community of LifeLong Learners.” The staff and board worked together in fiscal year 2011 to fine-tune and continue implementation of this plan.
Laura Rissolo ’11
Applicants The most successful way for us to reach prospective applicants is by word of mouth. Who do you know who might be interested in an extraordinary education in ecological design? Student Projects The school is always looking for residential, governmental, non-profit, and land trust clients interested in a sustainable landscape planning or design project. Do you know anyone you can refer? Make a Gift Individuals wishing to help advance the mission of the school with a gift should contact Priscilla Novitt at 413-369-4044 ext. 5 or email@example.com. Conway’s 501(c)(3) non-profit status makes all gifts tax-deductible. Planned Giving Conway is pleased to assist you in arranging a gift of stock, an IRA charitable rollover, a bequest, or other form of planned gift.
You can make a gift using a credit card by going to: www.csld.edu
“The Conway School has consistently demonstrated itself as ‘the little engine that could.’ I find every dollar I contribute is used more efficiently than anywhere else I support.” Richard Snyder, Parent of Conway Graduate
Conway gratefully acknowledges the support of:
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ANNUAL REPORT 2011
The school publishes its print materials and selected student materials on Issuu, an online publishing format (see http://issuu. com/conwaydesign). A history of Conway’s first forty years is now available for online purchase.
ANNUAL REPORT 2011
Summary of Operations FY 2011 The financial health of the school remained strong overall as fiscal year 2011 ended with a $46,537 increase in net assets bringing total net assets to $1,395,164. Although tuition revenue was down by $13,120, non-tuition related revenue more than made up for the decrease. Unrestricted contributions, project revenue, and investment income increased over FY10 by $8,061, $8,034, and $9,605 respectively. Operating expenses were up a modest 2% over FY10. The school continues to practice a conservative investment strategy with a portfolio made up of money markets, certificates of deposit, corporate bonds, and mutual funds. We would like to thank all who continue to keep the Conway School financially sustainable through their generous contributions.
STATEMENT OF ACTIVITIES FOR THE YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 2011 (from audited financial statements accepted by the Board of Trustees on October 21, 2011 with comparative figures for 2010)
FY 2011 UNRESTRICTED PUBLIC SUPPORT AND REVENUE Contributions 69,848 In-kind contributions 6,740 Tuition and fees 551,350 Project reimbursement 89,850 Workshop fees (net) 2,755 Investment income 22,032 Miscellaneous income 813
FY 2010 58,934 9,593 564,470 81,816 – 12,427 503
Total Unrestricted Support and Revenue Net Assets Released from Restrictions
TOTAL UNRESTRICTED SUPPORT AND REVENUE AND NET ASSETS RELEASED FROM RESTRICTIONS
EXPENSES School activities Administration Fund-raising Other expenses
454,317 184,475 78,059 0
437,670 145,839 73,666 45,016
INCREASE/(DECREASE) IN UNRESTRICTED NET ASSETS
TEMPORARILY RESTRICTED NET ASSETS Contributions 20,000 Investment income/Interest earned -scholarship/loan fund – Net assets released from restrictions (23,147)
6,300 – (8,000)
INCREASE/(DECREASE) IN TEMPORARILY RESTRICTED NET ASSETS
NET ASSETS AT BEGINNING OF YEAR
NET ASSETS AT END OF YEAR
INCREASE/(DECREASE) IN NET ASSETS
STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION AS OF JUNE 30, 2011 (from audited financial statements accepted by the Board of Trustees on October 21, 2011 with comparative figures for 2010) ASSETS Cash and cash equivalents (a) Accounts receivable Prepaid expenses Property and equipment, net Investments (a) Other assets
233,010 43,663 6,321 661,577 421,368 23,437
459,513 36,252 4,211 692,272 126,568 23,768
Current liabilities Mortgage note payable, long term portion Net assets
59,956 140,356 1,194,852
48,950 145,319 1,148,315
LIABILITIES & NET ASSETS
TOTAL LIABILITIES & NET ASSETS
(a) Subsequent to June 30, 2010, the School purchased $325,000 of bonds with funds that were temporarily in a money market account at June 30, 2010 during the transition to a new investment broker near year end. This resulted in these funds in the money market account being presented as cash and cash equivalents on the Statement of Financial Position at June 30, 2010, and then becoming investments subsequent to this date when the bonds were purchased.
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Donations support Conway’s work in conservation and regenerative design. The school looks to donors for gifts that support: Annual Fund—Annual giving from alums and friends represents ten percent of Conway’s budget. David Bird International Service Fellowship—This annual fellowship puts a Conway graduate to work on a significant ecological design project outside of the U.S. Student Projects—Funding allows students to take on significant ecological design projects for non-profit clients who are otherwise unable to pay. The Conway School gratefully acknowledges the support of the following donors whose generous contributions in fiscal year 2011 provided vital support for our work. We have taken great care to be accurate. If we have inadvertently omitted or inaccurately stated any information, please let us know. Donors to the FY 2011 Annual Fund Kevin Adams Susanna Adams Jack Ahern Jennifer Allcock George Anzuoni Matthew Arnsberger Mollie Babize & Mary Quigley John S. Barclay Lynn & David Barclay Hatha Gable Bartlett Charles Sumner Bird Charitable Foundation Kenneth Botnick Nancy E. Braxton Barbara Keene Briggs Tim Brooks Larissa Brown Richard K. Brown & Anita Loose Brown David Buchanan Joshua Clague David Coleman Arthur Collings Arthur Collins Joan Collins Kathleen & Paul Connolly Jill Ker Conway Emma Cooke Clémence Corriveau Annie Cox & Ryan Moore David Cox Walter Cudnohufsky Candice Currie Colleen Currie & Richard Rubin Ruth Cutler D. Alex Damman Anya Darrow Robert Dashevsky
Donna Eldridge Marlene Eldridge Jon & Barbara Elkow Jonathon Ellison Dorothy Ernst Paul Esswein Don Eunson Elizabeth Farnsworth Lila Fendrick Mary A. Fowler Jennifer Fraulo Strassfeld Kent Freed Clyde & Peggy Froehlich Jesse Froehlich Fundación Mar Adentro Wendi Goldsmith Nat Goodhue Greenfield Savings Bank Randy Griffith Benjamin Groves Georgia Haddenhorst William Halleck Mr. and Mrs. James S. Hardigg Carl Heide Paul & Joan Cawood Hellmund David Holden Faith Ingulsrud Byrne Kelly Annice Kenan Kathleen Kerivan Cynthia Knauf Kathleen Knisely Nancy Knox Gary Koller Claudia Kopkowski Edward Landau Elsie Landstrom Barbara B. & Nicholas T. Lasoff William Lattrell Lauren Snyder Lautner Charles Leopold
Jacqueline Leopold Ilene & Alan Lerman Jude Lichtenstein C. Todd Lynch & Janet Bertucci David Lynch Barbara Mackey Carrie Makover Kathleen McCormick Robert Merriam Renny Merritt & Janet Taft The Reverend Canon Robert Miner & Mrs. Miner Peter Monro William & Melody Montgomery Andrea Morgante Darrel Morrison James Mourkas Mary Mourkas Melissa Mourkas David Nordstrom John O’Keefe Wendy Page Darlene Peters Roger Plourde Julia Plumb Walter E. Reynolds William & Sally Richter Melissa Robin & Michael Caplan Gary Robinson Teresa Rogerson Dolores Root David Rosenmiller Allen Rossiter Selina Rossiter & Alexander H. P. Colhoun Elizabeth Rousek Ayers Joel Russell Pamela & David Sand D. Thomson & Barbara Sargent Sheafe Satterthwaite Aaron Schlechter George Schreiber Katherine Schreiber Annette Schultz Barbara Scott Gordon Shaw Josiah Simpson Angela Sisson Robert Small Andrew & Nancy Smith Peter Smith Richard J. Snyder Bruce Stedman Virginia Sullivan Cindy Tavernise Betsy Taylor Richard Thomas Judith Thompson Lydia & Rob Thomson William Barry Thomson Karen Tiede Mrs. M.E. Van Buren
Susan & Peter Van Buren Elizabeth Vizza Donald L. Walker & Ruth Parnall Ian Warner Eric Weber Jenna Webster Hap Wertheimer Bob & Judy Wilkinson Seth Wilkinson Mary Garrett Wilson Thomas Wirth World Eye Bookshop Gifts-in-Kind Jack Ahern Lynn Barclay Walter Cudnohufsky Associates Ian Hodgdon Nicholas T. Lasoff Carrie Makover Randy Marks Priscilla and Adam Novitt D. Thomson Sargent C. Dana Tomlin Restricted Gifts Rachel Bird Anderson Charles Sumner Bird Charitable Foundation Richard & Anita Loose Brown New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Dorothea Piranian Robert Pura Elena Rivera Allen Rossiter Aaron Schlechter Virginia Sullivan Seth Wilkinson Matching Gifts IBM Corporation CA, Inc. The Legacy Circle The Legacy Circle recognizes alums and friends who have made bequests or life income gifts to the Conway School. Their commitment, generosity and leadership ensure the future of the school for years to come. We thank them publicly and encourage other members of our community to follow their lead: Jennifer Allcock ’89 Richard K. Brown, Trustee Susan Crimmins ’97 William Gundermann Paul Cawood Hellmund Joan Cawood Hellmund Anna James ’99 Carrie Makover ’86 William Montgomery ’91 Anonymous
The Conway School, Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning & Design 332 South Deerfield Road, PO Box 179, Conway, MA 01341413-369-9044 www.csld.edu
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ANNUAL REPORT 2011
Thank You to Our Donors
ANNUAL REPORT 2011
From the Chair
“You can’t believe it, can you? Forty years!” So said my teacher, Don Walker, as I was struggling to complete a presentation drawing in the library of the old barn on my own fortieth birthday, as a Conway student in 1986. Many cultures use “forty years” as a term to represent a very long period of time. It is the time it takes for a new generation to arise. Thus, reaching the forty-year mark is a very special time for the Conway School, a time to reflect, to take stock, and to celebrate our coming of age. In this fortieth year, we say farewell to several trustees who have served us wisely and well over the last decade. Together they represent thirty-six years of service to the school. First, we thank Art Collins for his leadership and enormous generosity, shepherding us through the transition from the old barn to the expanded hilltop campus. We shall miss his sunny presence and appreciate his continued advisory role. We also thank retiring trustees Nat Goodhue, whose expertise in trails and work on the land continues to enhance our experience of the campus, and Jack Ahern, who continues to partner with us through his work in landscape architecture at UMass, Amherst. Though these generous souls can in no way be replaced, we are excited and pleased to welcome five new trustees who bring a range of valuable experience from business to academia, from Boston to Northampton, and myriad gifts of connection to the wider community as we enter the challenge of the next forty years. Joey Brode, financial business manager, Nitin Patel, MIT professor and entrepreneur, Tim Umbach, accountant and financial advisor, Dolores Root, anthropologist and educational consultant, and Carla Oleska, head of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusettts: we welcome you all and look forward to our work together. This small innovative school that we all felt so lucky to have discovered and benefited from, not knowing how long it might be here, was, in the early years, like a wonderful seminar in college, offered once but talked about for years. Graduates routinely said it was “the most amazing intellectual experience…,” “it changed my life,” “it taught me how to think.” In those days we treasured it as the singular experience it was, with added value because it was something of a secret. Being a Conway grad was to be a member of a very exclusive group, and we all knew each other. Now the school has survived a generation, has graduates working all over the world, and has earned an enduring reputation among its graduates, the ecological and design communities, and the wider scientific and academic world. We are, in hard times, stretching to offer students real world and international opportunities that make a difference. Under Paul Hellmund’s visionary leadership, we are strategizing to emphasize our entrepreneurial roots and grow with the times. You see some of this change in the new look of the website and the new word-mark. Forty years is a long time, whether we are looking back and celebrating our accomplishments, or looking ahead to the future. We are standing on the threshold of enormous promise. We anticipate participating in this important year with celebration, accomplishment, and hope. Watch for updates on coming events and prepare to mark your calendar to return to Conway in September (see inside back cover) to meet old friends and commune with new. Al Rossiter, our new Vice-Chair, and I look forward to welcoming your support and sharing conversations about the future and the past. With Warm Wishes,
BOARD OF TRUSTEES Virginia Sullivan ’86, Chair Learning by the Yard Conway, MA
Allen Rossiter, Vice Chair Educator (retired) Lincoln, MA
John S. Barclay Wildlife Conservation Center UConn, Storrs, CT
Rachel Bird Anderson Public Health Professional Minneapolis, MN
Joey Brode Joey Brode Consulting Boston, MA
Richard K. Brown The Mandell School New York, NY
Carol Franklin Andropogon Associates Philadelphia, PA
Nicholas Lasoff ’05 Lasoff Landscape Design Bennington, VT
Carla Oleska Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts Easthampton, MA
Nitin Patel Cytel Statistical Software & Services, Cambridge, MA
Bob Pura Greenfield Community College, Greenfield, MA
Dolores Root Root & Associates Shelburne Falls, MA
Aaron Schlechter ’01 Cruz Contractors Holmdel, NJ
Tim Umbach Financial Officer (retired) Northampton, MA
Susan Van Buren ’82 TerraLogos Energy Group Baltimore, MD
Seth Wilkinson ’99 Wilkinson Ecological Design Orleans, MA
EMERITUS TRUSTEES David Bird (d. 2007) Gordon H. Shaw ’89 Bruce Stedman ’78
Walter Cudnohufsky Founder; Director, 1972–1992
Donald L. Walker, Jr. Director, 1992–2005
ADVISERS John Hanning ’82 Montpelier, VT
Richard Hubbard Shelburne Falls, MA
David Lynch ’85 Watertown, MA
Amy Klippenstein ’91 Ashfield, MA
Carrie Makover ’86 Fairfield, CT
Darrel Morrison New York, NY
Ruth Parnall Conway, MA
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Virginia Sullivan ’86 Chair, Board of Trustees
Steven Stang Simsbury, CT
Conway Turns Forty: Save the Date!
Great plans are underway for Conway’s Fortieth Anniversary Celebration! Be a part of the plan! Friday, September 28 Bill McKibben kicks off the weekend with a keynote address; open to the public and honoring Conway’s remarkable four decades
Saturday, September 29 Workshops, field trips, lectures and design charrettes suggested and organized by alums and friends of the school, such as: Visits to Side Hill Farm, Amy Klippenstein’s ’95 successful organic yogurt operation, and Red Gate Farm, a nearby familyoriented farm-based education center Watercolor workshop with Walt Cudnohufsky Hands-on invasive plant removal with Cynthia Boettner ‘86 Lectures on permaculture gardens at Wildside, propagating native plants at NaSaMi Farm, designing a memorial garden…the possibilities are endless! Time for informal gathering for classmates, families, or whatever you want to organize! Add your thoughts here! Gala (but casual) dinner and dancing
Sunday, September 30 Breakfast at the school; reconnect with Conway’s directors and faculty The Town of Conway’s Festival of the Hills: food, crafts, activities, raffles, more food, skillet toss contest, music, raptors, wood chopping contest, and more! When Conway turned thirty, an all-class reunion drew a broad spectrum of Conway’s alums and their families to share stories, reconnect with classmates, and toast the past and current directors, faculty and staff who have kept this vision alive. Come back to Conway this September. Bring your classmates, organize a fun event for Saturday afternoon, and help us celebrate the remarkable history and the cutting-edge future of this unique graduate program in sustainable landscape planning and design. Please contact Mollie Babize ’84 at firstname.lastname@example.org to suggest a workshop or activity. Because September is a popular time to visit the Pioneer Valley, we have booked a block of rooms at the Red Roof Inn on Route 5/10 in South Deerfield. To make a reservation, call 1-800-733-7663 or 413-665-7161 prior to August 28th, and refer to the block code: B289CONWAY. Any rooms not booked by August 28th will be released from the block. Additional lodging options can be found on our website.
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~ making a difference by design ~
Class of 2011 at graduation, front row, left to right, Malena Maiz, Laura Rissolo, Kate Cholakis, Genevieve Lawlor, Julie Welch, Karen Dunn, Jan Wirth, Elaine Williamson; middle row, Susannah Spock, Héloïse Chandless, Kate Tompkins, Emily Lubahn, Erin Hepfner, Giaco Lepore; back row, Sean Walsh, Ahron Lerman, Zach Mermel