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con'text Magazine of The Conway School


Faculty Paul Cawood Hellmund President, Director, and Professor, Design + Planning

Board of Trustees Virginia Sullivan ’86, Chair Learning by the Yard Conway, MA

Ken Byrne Professor, Humanities

Allen Rossiter, Vice Chair Lincoln, MA

Jonathon Ellison ’94 Distinguished Teaching Fellow, Design

Richard C. Andriole South Deerfield, MA

Kim Erslev Professor, Landscape Design + Graphics Jono Neiger ’03 Professor, Regenerative Design Bill Lattrell Ecology Adjunct Anne Madocks ’00 Distinguished Teaching Fellow, Planning Glenn Motzkin Ecology Adjunct Keith Zaltzberg Digital Design Instructor Master Teachers David Jacke ’84 Permaculture Darrel Morrison Design Keith Ross Conservation Joel Russell Conservation Law Erik Van Lennep ’83 Sustainability Administration Nina Antonetti Director of Advancement + Strategic Initiatives Adrian Dahlin Director of Admissions + Marketing David Nordstrom ’04 Administrative Director Priscilla Novitt ’07 Communications Manager Past Directors Walter Cudnohufsky Founder, Director (1972–1992) Donald Walker ’79 Director (1992–2005)

The Conway School of Landscape Design 322 S. Deerfield Road PO Box 179 Conway, MA 01341-0179 (413) 369-4044 www.csld.edu Nicholas T. Lasoff ’05 Editor Lilly Pereira, Murre Creative Design Nina Antonetti Mollie Babize ’84 Ken Byrne Adrian Dahlin Paul Cawood Hellmund Nicholas T. Lasoff Genevieve Lawlor ’11 Anne Madocks Priscilla Novitt David Nordstrom Contributing writers

Mitch Anthony Clarity Northampton, MA Rachel Bird Anderson Public Health Professional Minneapolis, MN Michael Cavanagh ’02 Cavanagh Landscape Design LLC Saunderstown, RI Kerri Culhane ’10 Two Bridges Neighborhood Council New York, NY Carol Franklin Andropogon Associates Philadelphia, PA Nicholas Lasoff ’05 Lasoff Landscape Design Bennington, VT Carla Oleska Elms College Chicopee, MA Bob Pura Greenfield Community College Greenfield, MA Dolores Root Center for Creative Solutions Brattleboro, VT Keith Ross LandVest Warwick, MA Timothy A. Umbach Northampton, MA Seth Wilkinson ’99 Wilkinson Ecological Design Orleans, MA Emeritus Trustees David Bird (d. 2007) Gordon H. Shaw ’89 Bruce Stedman ’78 Advisers John Hanning ’82 Montpelier, VT Richard Hubbard Shelburne Falls, MA David Lynch ’85 Watertown, MA Amy Klippenstein ’95 Hawley, MA Carrie Makover ’86 Fairfield, CT Darrel Morrison New York, NY Ruth Parnall Conway, MA Joel Russell Northampton, MA Steven Stang Simsbury, CT

© 2014. con'text is published by The Conway School of Landscape Design, Inc. All rights reserved.


Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design

ConwaySchool The mission of The Conway School is to explore, develop, practice, and teach design of the land that is ecologically and socially sustainable. 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.

con'text Magazine of The Conway School



04 Conway’s Role in Sustaining

an Ever-Urbanizing World

Insights from Conway’s director and board chair

09 Integrating Disciplines

Diverse backgrounds enrich Conway’s approach to education.

13 Mastering the Science of Design The new name of Conway’s degree underlines the program’s applied approach.


02 From the Director

Paul Cawood Hellmund talks about the power of service learning. Kim Erslev’s sketch of bird habitat in Brattleboro, Vermont. Read her thoughts on the role of architecture and landscape design in responding to climate change on page 9. ON THE COVER Photographer Greg Saulmon says, “Holyoke is a Massachusetts mill town struggling to find its way in a post-industrial economic landscape. [My blog] is an effort to see the city through a lens of conservation, community exploration, and an appreciation of natural beauty in unlikely places. The birds of this city are as varied and as fascinating as the people who live here.” Wild birds are adapting to urban settings. The consequences of that adaptation are as yet uncertain. Read about the fledgling red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) on the cover at birdsdowntown.com. PHOTO: GREG SAULMON

03 Perspectives

One recent grad lands the job of her dreams.

14 Portfolio

Student projects focus on farms, faith, the future, and more.

20 Perspectives

21 Conway Currents

News of and from the school

26 Commencement

Three speakers on optimism and the knowing and making of place

28 Field Notes News from alums

37 Annual Report

A summary of operations for the 2013 fiscal year

Clarissa Rowe ’74 helps transform Boston’s Spectacle Island.

Printed on Rolland Enviro 100 Satin, an uncoated 100% post-consumer recycled paper that is processed chlorine free, EcoLogo and FSC® Certified, and is manufactured using biogas energy. Printed by Hadley Printing, Holyoke, MA.

//2014// con'text 1


Ahead of the Curve Learning by Serving

Members of Conway’s forty-one—soon to

which you can read about on page 4.

be forty-two—classes are living evidence

This initiative is helping us keep ahead of

of the power of learning by doing. Not

the curve in serving communities facing

just any doing, but specifically, doing in

increasingly great challenges, such as

service to community.

climate change and food security. And

This is service learning, a method of teaching that has been rare in higher

“ . . . the Conway School’s commitment to community and service learning has moved far beyond its home base, but not its core values.”

education, but is becoming increasingly

that service is making for ideal learning opportunities. As I write, teams of students are just

appreciated in the United States.

finishing up projects in several small,

It couples instruction in a classroom

post-industrial cities and beginning

with community service. “This form of

a project to aid residents of typhoon-

learning emphasizes critical thinking and

devastated Tacloban, Philippines. Yes,

personal reflection while encouraging

the Conway School’s commitment to

a heightened sense of community, civic

community and service learning has

engagement, and personal responsibility,”

moved far beyond its home base, but

write education experts Janet Eyler and

not its core values.

Dwight E. Giles Jr. in Where’s the Learning in Service-Learning? (1999). The projects of Conway’s students—

In a particularly promising development, as part of the Sustainable Communities Initiative we are considering

and alums—described in this issue of

what a satellite teaching facility might

con’text are evidence of the power of

look like for Conway. Remote from our

service learning. Consider the project

home campus, such a temporary facility


Send a note to Paul at:

hellmund@ csld.edu

students Renee LaGue

could be created in communities with

and Kimberly Smith

pressing design, planning, and conserva-

completed for the

tion needs and would operate as long

flood-damaged town

as necessary.

center of Wilmington, Vermont (p. 15) or

Help us envision a Conway branch that builds on Conway’s many service-learning

read about the groundbreaking work

accomplishments and complements its

of Clarissa Rowe ’74 and her colleagues

home campus. Send us your thoughts.

in remaking Boston’s Spectacle Island (p. 20). Readers of con’text will remember

With warmest wishes,

that the name Conway 4.0 has been shorthand for the discussions underway over the last years to design a path forward for the Conway School in its second 40 years. Conway 4.0 has led us to a major new effort—or really a group of efforts—known as the Sustainable Communities Initiative,

2 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design



Reflections of a Recent Conway Graduate

Christina is thrilled that the little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) grew from six-inch plugs to six feet in the first season. In the background: constant infrastructure work nearby presents a challenge to a nascent prairie restoration.

The Job of My Dreams BY C HR I STI N A GIBSON ’12

The Atlanta BeltLine is perhaps the most profound urban planning and development facelift in the history of Atlanta, Georgia. It ties together a network of public parks, multi-use trails, public art, and transit by repurposing a 22-mile-long historic railroad corridor that encircles “in-town” Atlanta. Finished, the corridor will connect 45 hitherto disjointed neighborhoods. It will make alternative transportation accessible in a sprawling city of over six million people that relies heavily on automobiles. The BeltLine represents Atlanta’s acknowledgment that the largest metropolitan area in the southeast needs to act quickly to remain a relevant and viable metropolis in the post-peak-oil era. The scale of the project has required a massive public-private partnership of government agencies, non-profits, and private firms. One of them is Trees Atlanta, a non-profit citizens’ group that protects Atlanta’s urban forest through planting, conservation, and education. Trees Atlanta is creating the Atlanta BeltLine

Arboretum, which includes trees, shrubs, meadows, and prairies. Trees Atlanta installed over 600 trees along the first, 2.25-mile-long constructed segment of the trail in fall 2012. I was hired in late winter of 2013 as the first BeltLine installation intern to assist with the planting of ten acres of native grasses and wildflowers along the trail beneath those trees. My internship ended with a job offer to remain as prairie restoration coordinator. This past growing season, hundreds of volunteers planted over 109,000 plugs of prairie grasses and forbs. We are now ensuring that our newly planted urban Piedmont prairie settles into a landscape that was a linear brownfield with miles of edge habitat, new construction, ferocious weed pressure, and unpredictable southern drought-anddeluge cycles. A tall order. A humbling challenge. And an exponential learning curve that I am enjoying tremendously.

“. . . the largest metro area in the southeast needs to act quickly . . . ” The then distant prospect of working on the BeltLine inspired me to enroll at the Conway School in 2011; the sudden reality of a job offer on the BeltLine in early 2013 enabled me to work in my hometown on the project of my dreams, the project of my city’s dreams. I have found that doing land-based work on one’s stomping grounds means that taking good care of the land and the community that raised you is a no-brainer; “doing the right thing” comes naturally. Work feels less like a job and more like a responsibility. After all, they’re depending on us: migratory nesting birds; native pollinators; compacted and dead urban soils; ancient and stressed stormwater infrastructure; air quality; in-town neighborhoods and commuters. They’re all counting on us to get it right this time. ¨

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Urban Rising

C O N WAY ’ S D I R E C T O R A N D B O A R D C H A I R R E F L E C T O N C O N W AY ’ S M E T R O P O L I T A N V I S I O N A N D E D U C A T I O N A L R O L E Conway’s graduates have never been more needed to bring their design thinking to the critical issues of our time, including climate destabilization, species extinction, food insecurity, post-peak oil, and sprawl. The Conway School is making a difference, training the planners and designers needed to address the mounting environmental challenges confronting the planet. Forty years ago, Conway’s founder, Walter Cudnohufsky, developed our effective teaching model by zeroing in on how efficiently people learn when given the responsibility to solve real-world problems. Today’s challenges make for increasingly powerful and motivating learning experiences, and our graduates are putting that learning to work, offering their services and energy to a world in need. 4 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design

Conway students have been working on urban projects since the school’s inception. The sketch at left is part of the West Springfield Town Center Study, completed in spring 1977 by Robert Dashevsky, Barbara Delaney Sargent, and Therese Desmond Sills.

today’s environmental challenges are creating novel situations, unlike what has been seen before. There are no established solutions to turn to solve the challenges they bring. We can, however, depend on the reliable process of investigation, analysis, and design that is part of every graduate’s tool­‑kit to fashion new approaches and solutions. With an effective process, designers can readily find sustainable solutions in the face of unprecedented change and be better prepared for whatever lies ahead.

DESIGN AND EDUCATION THAT ADAPT TO CHANGE Education at Conway has always emphasized process over any specific content. That’s because the specifics will inevitably vary from project to project, and they must often be researched and learned at the time. In contrast, strategies for approaching and solving problems will have much in common across projects. So, for example, when Candace Currie ’97, Mount Auburn Cemetery’s director of planning and sustainability, asked our students to help the historic cemetery envision what green burial could look like at America’s first garden cemetery, we felt confident that we had a process to guide us, even though we had no direct experience with the issues of green burial. Climate destabilization and so many of


OFFERING THE CONWAY MODEL DURING AN UPHEAVAL IN HIGHER EDUCATION Today, higher education itself is facing unprecedented change. It is being challenged, questioned, experimented with, and sometimes condemned as costly or irrelevant. As larger educational institutions are struggling to survive and be relevant, Conway’s status as a small, nimble, and young institution is proving of great advantage. In their book, Transforming Higher Education: A Vision for Learning in the 21st Century, Michael Dolence and Donald Norris suggested that, “Mature organizations tend to be risk averse, inflexible, unadaptable, unwilling to change, even in the face of new market forces.” Clearly “new market forces” are at work in higher education today and Conway has something significant to offer. We have developed and tested a teaching and practice model that has been particularly nimble and useful over many years. The status quo in education was also being challenged in the 1970s. Walt founded Conway as a response to traditional design education, which he considered too compartmentalized, inflexible, and theoretical. He started a program that turned design education on its head by asking students to develop the skills to solve problems in the real world and communicate those solutions effectively. Forty-two years later,

//2014// con'text 5

Urban Rising

Wherever we go, teams of students discuss, analyze, and present what they are seeing. Above, left to right, Gallagher Hannan ’14, Emily Davis ’14, and Abigail Elwood ’14 make a presentation in Providence, Rhode Island, during the fall field trip.

Conway’s educational approach remains relevant, and others are venturing into a field that Conway has long cultivated. Take, for example, the Minerva Schools at KGI (minerva.kgi. edu), which will offer undergraduates a Conway-like experience with its first class in 2014. The founders intend to take an intentional approach to teaching “critical analysis, creative thinking, and effective communication” with a “focus on mastery, not memorization.” Classes, limited to 19 students, will go on to “graduate with a résumé, not just a transcript.” As more institutions look for meaningful ways to improve higher education, Conway, with its record of success, can be a model and mentor.

URBAN REDESIGN IMPERATIVES “For the first time in nine decades,” writes Charles Montgomery in his recent book, Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design, “census data in 2010–2011 showed that major American cities experienced more growth than their suburbs.” As illustrated throughout this issue of con’text, design of cities and their open spaces is of keen inter­‑ est to Conway’s graduates and students. Considering Conway’s rural campus, that might surprise some people. Yet, Conway’s students have been working on urban projects since the school’s inception. Thumbing through even the earliest of Conway’s project archives, we see that students worked on projects in urban locations, in rural locations, and everywhere in between. While more people are moving into cities, cities are not yet ready to support the kinds of sustainable lives people seek. Peter Owens ’83, Burlington, Vermont’s Director of Community and Economic Development Office believes that “ . . . rethinking urbanism is the key environmental challenge and opportunity of the coming generation, as we finally see the decline of an auto-centric world on the horizon.” To which we can add Conway honoree and former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, Enrique Peñalosa’s comment: “A city can be friendly to people or it can be friendly to cars, but it can’t be both.” There is much work to be done. Montgomery believes, “the trick is in finding ways to infuse nature, and nature complexity, into denser places.” Currently we have four student projects underway that do just this: helping envision “green” streets in Holyoke, Massachusetts, to help reduce the burden on its combined sewers and pollution of the Connecticut River; designing innovative landscapes for the Holyoke Innovation District; determining the potential for urban agriculture in Springfield,

A 2011 project by students Malena Maiz and Emily Lubahn developed a sustainable corridor plan for the main street of San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico.

6 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design


Several recent student projects are fundamentally about making cities more livable and sustainable. A student project by Seana Cullinan ’12 and Rachel Jackson ’12 focused on the active Westland Street corridor in Hartford, Connecticut.

“In carrying out projects for the Sustainable Communities Initiative we have seen the special planning and design needs—and the great

potential—of nearby small, post-industrial cities.” Massachusetts; and helping prepare the way to deconstruct a three-and-a-half acre parking lot in Keene, New Hampshire, to create a riverside park. Each of these projects is fundamentally about making cities more livable and sustainable.

SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES INITIATIVE LAUNCHED Last year, to strengthen our effectiveness in urban areas and all across metropolitan regions, we launched the Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI). This initiative has an interesting model: (1) find well-prepared candidates for Conway graduate study, either from a targeted geographic region or with a strong interest in the important design issues of that region, (2) support these students with generous fellowships, (3) find demanding and timely projects during the year of the fellows’ study, (4) have the fellows and classmates design solutions for those projects, and (5) help graduating fellows find related professional work as designers and planners. We have tested and can confirm that this model works. See the sidebar on page 8 for the success story of our first SCI Fellow, Kimberly Smith, formerly a field biologist and now a planner with the Windham Regional Commission. Kim recently wrote us that not only was her experience as a student at Conway an “enriching experience,” but also how much she appreciated “the school’s generosity in providing networking opportunities and assistance through the fellowship.” She added, “The program was transformative by offering new ways of perceiving and responding to the world.” We are in the second year of SCI. Next year we will welcome two SCI Fellows and broaden our reach to include the most urbanized areas of the Pioneer Valley.

A SPECIAL ROLE FOR SMALL CITIES AND CONWAY IN SUSTAINING AN EVER-URBANIZING WORLD In carrying out projects for the Sustainable Communities Initiative we have seen the special planning and design needs— and the great potential—of nearby small, post-industrial cities found throughout the Northeast and upper Midwest. While major design schools such as at Harvard, Yale, and UPenn are carrying out studio projects in some of the world’s biggest cities like Mumbai and New York, we are looking closer to home. We believe that “small, gritty, and green” cities, so named by Catherine Tumber, the author of a book by that title, hold much promise in a low-carbon world. Tumber argues “that smaller industrial cities, long ignored and even maligned by urban theorists, could have Get to know a bright future,” if they prepare us for a Holyoke personally during a summer low-carbon world based on ending our workshop. dependence on fossil fuels, concentratSee page 22. ing population in cities, and inhibiting sprawl. Important to note is that they often have the advantage of nearby agricultural land with the potential for enhancing food security for that community. As a first step in this new direction, we have signed a memorandum of agreement with one of the first planned industrial cities in the United States, Holyoke, Massachusetts. Holyoke, home to the highest proportion of Puerto Ricans outside Puerto Rico, has struggled with economic stagnation and socioeconomic disparity for several decades. From a designer’s perspective, however, its remarkable “bones” are ripe with opportunity. Its impressive hydroelectric resources and balance of solar and nuclear power have enabled its local grid to


Paul Hellmund presents the Sustainable Communities Initiative at the Holyoke Innovation District annual meeting, January 2014.

//2014// con'text 7

Urban Rising

achieve near carbon-neutrality. It also benefits from increasingly progressive city leadership and an awakening grassroots community. As Holyoke seeks to redefine its economic and cultural future, it has welcomed Conway’s participation in developing models of urban sustainability and resilient community development.

THE NEXT PHASES OF THE SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES INITIATIVE AND PROGRESS AT CONWAY The Sustainable Communities Initiative is part of a larger strategic plan recently endorsed by the Conway School’s Board of Trustees. In part, the goals of the strategic plan are to expand Conway’s effectiveness, broaden its impact in the world, enhance its financial sustainability, and create highly supportive teaching facilities. Each of these goals relates to our new efforts in urban areas.



Conway’s First Sustainable Communities Initiative Fellow Conway’s Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) is a new program that focuses on some of the most important environmental design challenges of our times. It provides two fellowships to Conway students dedicated to a career in urban landscape planning and design with special concern for sustainability, human ecology, and community. Kimberly Smith ’13

Important steps now underway: • The number of SCI Fellows will be increased to two for the 2014–2015 academic year. Interviews for those fellowships are underway.

was Conway’s first SCI Fellow. The arc of her experience illustrates the fellowship well. Kim now works as a planner with the Windham Regional Commission in Brattleboro, Vermont.

• In June we will have the first graduating class to receive our new degree, Master of Science in Ecological Design, which will help graduates better represent their abilities (see p. 15). • Luanne Urfer ’91 and her firm, Sustainable Design Group, based in Palmer, Alaska, are the first of what we hope will be a number of firms and agencies to sign an agreement to take Conway graduates as apprentices (see p. 23). • We are exploring the option of developing a prototype satellite campus, a kind of “pop-up,” that could be installed in design and planning hotspots and allow students to live in and learn directly from communities. Our first prototype would be in one of the small, post-industrial cities of the Connecticut River Valley, not far from our main campus.

Kim Smith with a female bald eagle in California in her pre-Conway work as a field biologist

Before Conway Kim worked as a field biologist in

YOUR INPUT. We welcome your thoughts about

the U.S. and Mexico, including with a successful

the Sustainable Communities Initiative. Please contact us

program to restore bald eagles to the Channel

with comments, questions, project ideas, or the names of

Islands. Her three projects at Conway were in south-

prospective students.

ern Vermont: two in Brattleboro (see p. 17) and one

e Paul Hellmund at hellmund@csld.edu. f T he Conway School, 332 South Deerfield Road, Conway, MA 01341-0179

in flood-stricken Wilmington (see p. 15). Conway’s emphasis on sustain­ability and its whole systems approach strongly appealed to her desire to expand her perspective beyond individual species to whole habitats and ecosystems.


8 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design


DISCIPLINES A WHOLE SYSTEMS APPROACH TO DESIGN + EDUCATION Applicants are often surprised that Conway’s students come from diverse backgrounds and encompass a wide range of ages. Such diversity serves the students well. It makes for a rich learning community. Each student brings a unique perspective and set of skills and is equally challenged to expand their inquiry beyond the familiar. But all share a passionate commitment to sustainable design. Some students already have considerable life experience and previous graduate degrees in various fields. Others are more recently out of college, but are mature beyond their years. In recent years, Conway’s graduate degree has been especially attractive to those with a background in the natural sciences who want to be ecological designers. It has also attracted practicing designers—architects, planners, and engineers—who want to design with greater ecological awareness. Many members of Conway’s faculty come from these backgrounds in design and ecology and are seeking to integrate disciplines.

Kim Erslev

Professor, Landscape Design + Graphics, The Conway School Green Architect + Landscape Architect, Salmon Falls Ecological Design shelburne falls, massachusetts Recent projects range from a green

roof project to designs for a green cemetery, small passive solar houses, an Ayurvedic garden at Kripalu Center, and super-insulated barn renovations.

What brought you to Conway?

“Conway is unique in the rigor that it applies to sustainable thinking and design. There is no greenwash here, but a true commitment to grapple with difficult problems and to learn how to design with the uncertain future of global climate change. It is exciting to work among this dedicated group of students, teachers, and staff.” In brief: As a practicing architect and landscape architect Kim has more than twenty years of experience with sustainable landscape and architectural design. In her practice, she has observed that many architects would benefit from greater knowledge of ecology and landscape. She points out that the practical design experience students gain at Conway serves architects well: “Architects will have a much

//2014// con’text 9


DISCIPLINES more important role to play with this added expertise. Their buildings will have more resonance with the ecology of the land or their urban context. As global climate change intensifies, architects with landscape design expertise will actively be able to shape the role of buildings in the landscape to address resilience in more profound ways.”

Malena Maiz ’11

Sole practitioner northampton, massachusetts (via monterrey, mexico) Recent project: A brochure for residents of Holyoke, Massachusetts, connecting outdoor recreation, healthy eating, local agriculture, and natural resources. Completed with a team that included fellow Conway graduate Kate Cholakis. What brought you to Conway?

“I wanted to capture the importance of the land in relation to the built environment, in order to enhance my ecological perspective and make projects more sustainable.” In brief: Malena came to Conway with

a bachelor’s degree in architecture from a Mexican university and a master’s degree in sustainable architecture from the Polytechnic University of Catalunya, Spain. At Conway, Malena developed a site master plan for a girls’ school of rock Share your story. and roll, helped plan Help us tell the Conway story by a network of public sharing yours: parks in an economtinyurl.com/ myconwaystory ically challenged urban neighborhood, and developed a sustainability strategy for a major arterial street for her home city near Monterrey, Mexico. Working on these projects with Kim Erslev and others on Conway’s faculty enabled her to gain a new ecological perspective and empowered her as a proponent of urban sustainability.

Kent Freed ’91

Senior Associate, H+L Architecture lakewood, colorado Recent project: Garden of Hope at Children’s Hospital Colorado (see p. 30; read about the project at tinyurl.com/gardenofhopeCO). What brought you to Conway?

“After eight years working as a building architect, I went to graduate school for a degree in landscape design with the intention of bringing the practice of these two related disciplines closer together. Since earning my masters degree in 1991, I have worked in two predominantly architecture firms as a landscape architect seeking to increase true collaborative design.” In brief: Kent came to Conway with the hope of adding an emphasis on site planning and landscape to his career as an architect. Following his year at Conway, he has worked as a registered landscape architect and architect. “The natural environment is a complex, but

10 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design

integrated, whole. Built environments are no less complex, and to be healthy, need to be just as well balanced. The focus of my education and career has been to observe, understand, and design such holistic places.”

Wendi Goldsmith ’90

CEO + Founder, Bioengineering Group salem, massachusetts (with offices throughout the U.S.) Recent projects range from the

first three LEED-based facility designs carried out by the Army Corps, to green infrastructure to address Boston Harbor cleanup goals, to coastal restoration throughout New York and New Jersey. See page 29 for news of Wendi’s recent book.

What brought you to Conway?

“My former business colleagues taught me a lot, and I respected their work, but I also saw many ways that the



“As global climate change intensifies, architects with LANDSCAPE DESIGN EXPERTISE will actively be able to SHAPE THE ROLE of buildings in the landscape to address RESILIENCE in more profound ways.” — KI M E R SL E V

team simply did not understand how to collaborate to achieve the best results for the natural environment. In our discussions, I learned that was not part of typical training, nor was it a goal of most clients.” In brief: After earning her undergraduate

degree in geology, geophysics, and environmental studies, Wendi went on to do field work in an experimental forest and work in a small planning and design firm, where she saw how architects, engineers, scientists, and landscape architects interacted in their day-to-day work. In her work today, a strong interdisciplinary approach has become her hallmark.

River, including some of the most ecologically intact river segments in southern New England.

School to complement my hard science background with tools to create and communicate ideas for a better future.

How do you think Conway’s approach might be beneficial to scientists?

In brief: Emily received her undergraduate degree in environmental geochemical science, but was drawn to Conway to gain a richer understanding of the natural world. She was attracted to design and planning because “they embody creative problem-solving skills, whole systems design, and environmental applications,” skills that serve landscape designers, architects, and scientists well.

“Conway’s approach to education, design, and planning emphasizes creative, practical problem-solving for real-world challenges. Students with strong science backgrounds benefit from the Conway approach by being challenged to apply their knowledge and technical skills to sustainable planning and design projects. Scientists also gain valuable experience synthesizing information and presenting design proposals in ways that are compelling to a wide range of stakeholders.” In brief: As a plant ecologist Glenn

uses the New England landscape as a model system to help students understand relationships between physical site conditions, disturbance processes, and species composition, “relationships that are critical for design, planning, and restoration work in any region.” He points out that scientific understanding helps to clarify key conditions and processes, evaluate alternative design objectives, and identify approaches for achieving those objectives. “Science does not prescribe design solutions, but rather informs the design process.”

Emily Davis Current Student warren, vermont

Recent projects: Conway projects

Glenn Motzkin

included an innovation district plan for Holyoke, Massachusetts, exploring how residents can see their innovative ideas brought to life, and showing what innovation can look like in a real way.

Recent project: A project to develop recommendations for management of invasive species, rare species, and natural communities on the Westfield

“Although my background in science pro­ vided me with a baseline understanding of environmental systems, I did not feel like it was a comprehensive method for understanding and addressing our eco­logical problems. I came to the Conway

Ecology Adjunct, The Conway School Consultant shelburne falls, massachusetts

What brought you to Conway?

Judy Preston

Executive Director, Tidewater Institute old saybrook, connecticut Recent project: A survey of water chestnut (Trapa natans) in the brackish and freshwater tidal wetlands of the internationally significant estuary of the Connecticut River, along with removal plans and outreach efforts. Why Conway?

“The Conway program turns out graduates that are capable of taking on complex challenges—just the skills needed for global, environmental issues.” In brief: Judy has gotten to know many Conway students over the past several years both as a field trip leader and critic at students’ presentations. “What impresses me most [about Conway students] is their intense curiosity. No one gets to this program without having a great desire to know more, and often about many things. In the field, Conway’s students respond to a landscape with a scientist’s curiosity, an artist’s appreciation, and an ecologist’s concern.”

“Science does not prescribe design solutions, but rather informs the design process.” — GL E NN MOTZ K IN

//2014// con’text 11


DISCIPLINES The Ecology of Matching Buildings to Their Sites WRONG S IT E

Conway’s professor of landscape design and graphics, Kim Erslev, who is both an architect and

Future Flooding

a landscape architect, cares deeply about marrying buildings to their sites in ways that respect


site ecology and inspire the people who will

Find the full article online:

tinyurl.com/ NESEAerslev

FEMA Floodplain


use the buildings. In spring 2014, she created a series of drawings for Building Energy, the magazine of the Northeast Sustainable Energy

Future Flooding

Association. The drawings suggest better ways to fit buildings to their sites. Some of them are shown here.



Deep Aquifers

A better building site can be identified by: • locating structures outside flood-prone areas

Global climate change will increase sea levels and the frequency and intensity of storms. As a result, flood and groundwater levels will rise and make siting buildings all the more important.

• protecting the water quality of deep aquifers • planting stream edges to slow, clean, and infiltrate run-off and thereby protect surface-water quality • knowing where a site is in relationship to its watershed, allowing you to track the upstream effects of impervious development, forest clearing, and


upstream runoff



A better building site can be identified by: • Increasing public transportation and creating walkable, bikeable urban areas decreases the need for cars and parking areas and allows for more room


for green open spaces. • Porous parking lots can hold and infiltrate stormwater. • Green infrastructure—porous paving, green roofs, and planted areas—cools hot urban areas, increases biodiversity, cleans, stores, and infiltrates storm­ water, and creates more livable cities. Urban sites with large impervious development increase flooding, and ground-water levels rise. Polluted stormwater is dumped untreated from storm drains into local water bodies.

12 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design


DESIGN After 40 years of landscape design education, the Conway School has decided to give its degree a new, forward-thinking name unlike any in the country. Beginning with the class of 2014, graduates will receive a Master of Science in Ecological Design instead of the former Master of Arts in Landscape Design. President Paul Hellmund and the board of trustees chose to make the change, because master of science expresses Conway’s fundamental practicality. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, which accredits Conway’s graduate program, says an MS “implies more applied orientation,” and a Conway education has always been applied through real projects. The term “ecological design” better communicates Conway’s existing character. The faculty has always stressed the importance of humanity’s relationship with the land, and over time the curriculum has evolved to place ecological thinking and an explicit commitment to sustainability at its core. Conway projects today address climate change mitigation and adaptation, environmental justice, urban sustainability, green infrastructure, the preservation of agricultural land, wildlife conservation, and many other pressing issues. The school’s alums have responded positively. They say the new degree name has more “authority,” and they encourage Conway’s leaders to “keep up the progress.” Landscapes—whether natural, built, cultural, or otherwise—are still integral to Conway’s program. The school’s analytical design and planning processes remain fundamentally spatial. Conway also retains its strong commitment to the liberal arts and humanities. Students learn to write clearly, present professionally, think critically, and work effectively across disciplines. By placing analysis before solutions, Conway presents ecological design as a science. The school’s process borrows much from the scientific method. As students develop designs, they fulfill a cycle of observation, hypothesis, and testing. They enter without predetermined solutions, listen and analyze, present preliminary design solutions, and return to the client for feedback. Then they repeat the cycle. Conway suggests that ecological design can be mastered by learning a process that can be applied to any problem. The curriculum focuses on teaching students how to learn, so they can continue to adapt as professional designers and planners. Like the foundations on which evolutionary biology or astronomy stand, made either firmer or more tenuous by each successive discovery, ecological design changes with the times. The assumptions, paradigms, and prescriptions that factor into design solutions constantly shift as new understanding becomes available. A final design resembles more the theory that emerges from a scientist’s laboratory than a perfect mathematical proof. At Conway, students and faculty work together to master the science of design with ecology at the core.

“The school is evolving for relevance with today’s challenges.” — F LOY D A T H OMP S ON ’ 74

“I strongly support the name change.” — L E S L IE JAKOB S ’0 0

“I love the modification to Ecological Design.” — K IM S MIT H ’1 3

//2014// con’text 13


Students’ Projects: 2012–2013

Ecology + Community Conway’s students help communities discover and understand the spatial forms and relationships that support resilient, integrated, healthy communities. Through their designs, students respond not only to the needs of people but also incorporate the fundamental functions of a site’s natural systems. The designers strive for a partnership between people and place, even as locales are being subjected to unprecedented changes.

Real projects for real clients form the core of Conway’s intensive ten-month curriculum. In the fall, each student is assigned an individual project for a residential or small municipal site. Teams in the winter tackle larger land planning projects at a regional or town-wide scale. The spring’s team projects focus on an intermediate and more detailed community scale. As often happens, common themes emerge which a number of projects explore. Find complete projects online at: tinyurl.com/2012-2013projects


The Farm School needed help determining the potential for a small permanent farming community around its facilities in western Massachusetts. The school’s property was divided into two separate lots by an undeveloped parcel between them. The school, which teaches principles of ecological stewardship and connectivity to nature to both youngsters and adults, asked Conway’s Willie Gregg, Sierra McCartney, and Becca Robbins to advance a plan for the undeveloped property, which has fertile soils, open vistas, and vestigial apple orchards. The Conway team was asked to site homes on the parcel in a way that protects the site’s natural resources, respects the surrounding natural environment, and minimizes the need for new infrastructure. The final design also takes into account the community’s desire to balance public and private space. The client said of the Conway team, “They were consistently astute and professional, as well as being warm.”

Clustered Development In the final plan for the Farm School, development is placed along the road following historical patterns and minimizing infrastructure. Clustering development helps to preserve open space, and allows for shared infrastructure, utilities, and resources.

14 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design






Wilmington experienced major floods in 1927, 1936, 1938, 1973, 1976, and 2011.


Wilmington Center was particularly hard hit by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. In less than 24 hours, portions of the state received over eight inches of rain, causing widespread flooding throughout southern Vermont. The north branch of the Deerfield River spilled over its banks resulting in record flooding, and inundated Wilmington’s village center. A village master plan proposed by Conway’s Renee LaGue and Kimberly Smith strives to integrate economic revitalization, community development, and ecological health. All are critical to the long-term sustainability of Wilmington. Through the lens of planning for climate change, the team: proposed infrastructure and landscape improvements that help create a more walkable, attractive, and diverse-use downtown for residents and visitors; recommended pedestrian amenities and pathways to help improve walkability; suggested the promotion of development outside the flood zone; and encouraged revitalization of existing green spaces.

The bridge over the Deerfield River was damaged by the 1938 flood and rebuilt. A restaurant is located to the left of the bridge.

In 1938, the same restaurant was partially protected from flood damage by two upstream buildings, which were damaged.


After the 2011 flood, the community raised $600,000 to elevate the restaurant to help mitigate future flood damage.





The Hildreth Hills Landscape Committee, a group of residents concerned with

Founded in 1954 on a former farm,

the current and future landscape of the Hildreth Hills townhouse community,

Woolman Hill’s early programs encom-

hired a student team to devise a master plan for the 214-acre site. The master

passed conferences on peace, summer

plan prepared by Judith Doll-Foley, Emily Durost, and Olivia Loughrey proposes

work camps, and an alternative school.

sustainable alternatives to the existing landscape design, materials, and manage-

Thirty years later, the Woolman Hill Quaker

ment, and addresses issues related to aging in place, as many residents are now

Retreat Center was established on the site

retired or approaching retirement age.

to host gatherings and serve as a place for quiet contemplation. Due to its long and varied land uses, the site had become confusing for visitors and staff to navigate. Anna Best and Beth Schermerhorn prepared a cohesive and sustainable landscape master plan reflecting the Quaker principles of simplicity, peace, integrity, community,

townhouses and garages

wooded slope


Many low-lying areas within and adjacent to the site contain wetlands that need to be protected from runoff containing fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, chemicals leached from asphalt, and other toxins.

and stewardship. They gave special attention to stewardship of the site’s ecological systems, while maintaining flexibility to accommodate future changes in use.

//2014// con'text 15


Faith, Arts + Environment In communities founded in tradition—whether ancient or modern—and given coherence by religion or art, landscapes have specific meaning. Several of Conway’s projects explored honoring the past through ecologically resilient site design. Another illustrated the deep cultural ecology within a town and how the natural and built environments support this creative economy.


Community building

Outdoor classroom

A' A Parking area

Nipmuc people today.

Forest garden

Agricultural area

To beaver pond 0



At one time the Nipmuc, who are known as the Freshwater People, roamed a territory of more than 2,000 square miles. Today in the heart of their ancestral lands there is an opportunity to create a unified community and education center for the various Nipmuc clans on a 42-acre parcel in West Brookfield, Massachusetts. In this master plan, Anna Fialkoff and Noah Zimmerman envision how this piece of land with a beaver pond, wetlands, and streams can tell the story of an ancient culture and connect that story to the landscape. The land becomes a place to educate the public and to practice traditions. “[Noah and Anna’s] calm and open-minded approach was delightful,” said the clients, “and we appreciated their own personal respect and appreciation for the land itself, which is a central foundation of Nipmuc heritage and culture.”

Overflow parking

Ceremonial grounds Sucker Brook Flood Control Area

Bordering vegetated wetland

Property boundary

A 16 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design

Development cluster

Residential neighbors



Property boundary




Maps are a tool for exploration of realms both physical and conceptual. Brattleboro: An Atlas of Cultural Assets, a narrative atlas prepared for the Town of Brattleboro and the Arts Council of Windham County, explores the life of an arts community by mapping the cultural assets of the town—the people, places, and organizations that support art and creativity. Moving beyond the two-dimensional geography of a standard atlas, these maps reveal the complexity of a rich, creative, and evolving cultural ecology, offering new ways of seeing and understanding the Brattleboro arts scene. Depicted at right, one of the maps in the atlas demonstrates an ephemeral expression that, for a brief two-week period, powerfully tapped the creative energy of the community. Through focus groups, interviews with individuals and arts organizations, and a large community forum, the Conway student team (Willie Gregg, Olivia Loughrey, and Kimberly Smith) identified four significant themes that informed their work: the arts community is shaped by the built and natural landscape; artists in Brattleboro collaborate to build community; the arts community needs and produces diversity; and the arts community is not static, it is an ecosystem—always evolving in response to local and global factors. The cultural atlas the students prepared “caused me to understand Brattleboro in new, deep, and revealing ways,” said one of the project’s clients. “They listened, they absorbed, they translated, they took initiative and they came up with something completely innovative—not what we said they should come up with—much more.” “The atlas they developed, and the methodology behind it, seem inspired,” said another client.



Writing in 1978, a member of the Jewish Community of Amherst (JCA) said, “Let me


emphasize that arrangements for the burial of the dead are traditionally seen as a community responsibility. Let us meet this responsibility with the same dedicated preparation that we give to birth, bar and bat mitzvah, and marriage.” With community support, he found land in Shutesbury, Massachusetts, that was soon approved for a cemetery. In 2012, inspired by a forested burial area in Amherst, the JCA Cemetery Committee asked Conway’s Jessica Orkin to help it explore extending burials into the white pine forest on the southeast portion of the 2.2-acre property. Jessica made recommendations to help create a resilient and sustainable cemetery landscape consistent with the ideals of the JCA community.

In 2010 a fire razed the West Cummington Congregational Church. The building, erected in 1839 and maintained for over 170 years, was gone, but the congregation realized what they loved most about the old church was its beautiful light, rich acoustics, and simple New England design. The congregation made a significant commitment to the

The Jewish Community of Amherst Cemetery guidelines offer many different kinds of burial to suit the requests of its members.

future by rebuilding in 2012 and utilizing 21st century energy conservation and improved drainage technology around the church. Rachel Edwards formulated a site plan to match the congregation’s commitment to a sustainable future. She proposed rain gardens to retain and filter water, a gently sloping path leading through a meadow planted with native grasses and perennials to a woodland retreat, and a widened swale to decrease the velocity of water flow

Proposed shroud and casket burial (in green) around trees

Current burial area with caskets in cement grave liners

during storms.

//2014// con'text 17


Productive Landscapes “Why don’t people love foresters and forestry as much as they do farmers and farming?” was the question posed to one Conway student team. Productive uses of land that support community resiliency include working fields and forests. Public education about the nature and challenges of sustaining these lands is critical to their future viability. Student teams envisioned the future for a rural region of Vermont and a farm in western Massachusetts. They sought methods for survival in the face of social, economic, and environmental trends. FOOD FROM THE URBAN CENTER LOW E LL, MASSACHUSETTS

Amy Nyman, Sierra McCartney, and Beth Schermerhorn evaluated the barriers Lowell’s residents face in obtaining food and they recommended actions that might be taken to further food security in that city. Their report went to the Lowell Food Security Coalition, a collaboration of 40 community organizations, formed to help residents become more selfreliant and food-secure. The Conway team proposed strengthening Lowell’s food system through community


resource centers, backyard gardens (some as large as whole blocks), rooftop gardens, public orchards, community fish farms, dealing with soil contamination, recycling waste, healthy corner stores, and changes to zoning.

Removing backyard fences in Lowell could open large expanses of land to be shared for gardening. Neighbors could share tools and materials as they grow and harvest food together, foods that are healthier and have more nutrients.





The evolving forest of the Windham region in southeastern Vermont and the

Open View Farm is a beautiful place for

people whose livelihoods depend upon them have been important elements of

residents and visitors to be with each other

the regional economy. But Windham’s working landscape faces major threats

in nature. Its many activities include retreats,

from development, climate change, rising production costs, and global imports.

workshops, and daily living. Kate Cairoli and

The report, prepared by Rachel Edwards, Anna Fialkoff, and Jessica Orkin for

Amy Wolfson worked with the clients to

the Windham Regional Commission, offers strategies to prepare for the future

generate a plan to balance public and private

and enhance the health and well-being of communities and woodlands.

space, manage the open areas, and create a welcoming feeling and accessible places.

This cross-section shows the relationship of the main house at Open View Farm to proposed gardens and tent platforms.


Tent Platforms

Edible Forest Garden

CSA Garden

18 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design

Main House




GIS + Conservation Conserving ecologically resilient landscapes as a priority must be balanced with the needs of a growing human population. The pattern language of land uses can be expressed across scales and translated into greenway corridors for wildlife habitat, pedestrian and bikeway linkages between village centers, viable farm to table networks, and places for community gatherings and recreation. Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping was an important tool in the development of two municipal open space and recreation plans. It revealed the patterns and relationships inherent in conservation planning.

1992 + 2004 Framework

Trail Priorities from 2004 OSRP


New Open Space Framework

BioMap 2

7-Year Action Plan


Prioritizing Criteria: Public Input Chapter Lands Special Sites 2004 Priority Properties

Unprotected Open Space in New Framework

Inventory Spreadsheet

Protected Land

As part of Concord’s Open Space and Recreation Plan, the town’s unique landscape features were displayed on the map to the left. A carefully formulated strategy (above) was crafted for combining existing and newly developed map data.

LEGEND ● Scenic Sites ■ Heritage Landscape Inventory Farms ■ National Register of Historic Places ■ Local Historic District ■ BioMap2 Core Habitat — Roads


Residents and visitors love Lenox for its rich ecosystems, recrea­tional assets, historical landscapes, cultural attractions, and scenic qualities. In two community forums and a community survey conducted by Renee LaGue, Becca Robbins, and Amy Wolfson, residents overwhelmingly responded that protecting natural resources, including water resources, forests, wildlife habitat, migration corridors, and clean air, was a top priority. Citizens were also concerned with

never be cut for fuel, a common possession forever, for instruction and recreation.” These words of Henry David

Kennedy Park

the strong conservation and preservation tendencies that

Lenox Village

have characterized town planning since the early 1960s. In the face of development pressures, the town and its tecting the integrity of the abundant nat­ural resources of the region. To this end, Kate Cairoli, Judith Doll-Foley, and

New Lenox

Lenox-Stockbridge Mountain Range

Thoreau, the great naturalist born in Concord in 1817, echo

citizens have consistently placed a high priority on pro-

Map 7A.1 Priority Land to Protect


Map 3A.1 Lenox Context

nic Riv

of five hundred or a thousand acres, where a stick should

important landscape conditions.


“Each town should have a park, or rather a primitive forest,

Recreation Plan, the team applied GIS to model viewsheds and other



protecting scenic areas. In developing the Lenox Open Space and



Stockbridge Bowl Laurel Lake

Post Farm

A October Mountain

Woods Pond



LEGEND ■ Priority Natural Areas to Protect ■ Permanently Protected Land ■ MA Wetlands Protection ■ Slopes Over 25%


Office of Geographic Information (MassGIS), Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Information Technology Division

Jon Kelly updated an innovative Open Space Frame­work introduced in 1992 by adapting it to today’s changing landscape and resource protection needs.

For Lenox, the Conway Team used GIS to communicate important existing conditions, such as context (left), and also to present the lands that were priorities to protect (right).

//2014// con'text 19


Clarissa Rowe ’74 and Boston’s Spectacle Island

From Toxic Landfill to Verdant Natural Park BY KATHLE E N HOGAN KNISELY ’76

Spectacle Island affords dramatic views of downtown Boston. PHOTO: RICHARD HEATH

Spectacle Island, a dumping ground since the 1850s, was a festering heap of toxins and pollutants leaching into Boston Harbor. At least until a project designed by Clarissa Rowe ’74 transformed it into the beautiful 105-acre naturalistic urban oasis and recreation area it is today. It might not have happened without Boston’s “Big Dig.” The engineers at Parsons Brinkerhoff needed to get rid of great quantities of excavated soil. They planned to use the soil to cap the landfill on Spectacle Island and then landscape it with a thin layer of loam covered by turf. The excavated material would eliminate an eyesore in the middle of the Boston Harbor Islands Natural Recreation Area and halt the leaching of toxins into Boston Harbor. Due to her successful island project in Kuwait City for Sasaki, Clarissa Rowe and her firm Brown, Richardson and Rowe were asked to design the grading and planting required to contain the excavated materials. Clarissa quickly recognized that the proposed Clarissa Rowe solution couldn’t work. High winds and saltwater spray would erode the turf. Substantial trees and shrubs were essential to stabilize the soils, but with only six inches of loam their roots would penetrate the cap and compromise it. Clarissa argued for up to five feet of topsoil over the cap to support growth of tough woody plants.

20 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design

A manufactured soil was needed to resist erosion on the hilly slopes. Stonewall terracing and a seawall would offer further stabilization and capture fresh water for plantings and wildlife. The client initially balked at the expense. Clarissa found advocates from public and community organizations who valued the recreational and environmental opportunities that Spectacle Island offered. Her firm’s concept of a naturalistic public park and wildlife habitat as part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area prevailed. The logistics of construction were challenging. Everything had to be transported by barge: over three million cubic yards of Big Dig soil; the 2,400 trees and 26,000 shrubs; heavy construction equipment; and massive volumes of water for the planting. A reborn Spectacle Island opened for visitors in 2006. Just a 15-minute ferry ride from downtown Boston, it is a verdant naturalistic retreat teeming with wildlife, offering spectacular 360-degree views of Boston and the other Harbor Islands. Visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, hiking, and the restorative connection with nature. The chairwoman of the Spectacle Island Park Advisory Committee, Sheila Lynch, summed it up in an interview with the Boston Globe: “It’s gone from a leaching, oozing landfill to having a marina, a visitors’ center. It’s finally at the level of a park.” ¨

“The logistics of construction were challenging. Everything had to be transported by barge.”

Conway Currents News of and from the School

Ecological designers have a responsibility to help reduce the impacts of natural disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, Philippines. PHOTO: TYPHOON HAIYAN—TACLOBAN, PHILIPPINES BY NOVE FOTO DE FIRENZE


No “Business as Usual” in the Face of Climate Change

Today more than ever, Conway projects take climate change into account. For example, during spring term 2013 a student team helped residents of Wilmington, Vermont, grapple with a future for their town center, which had been ravaged by Tropical Storm Irene (see p. 15). Citing climate projections that suggest more intense and more frequent storms like Irene, the team helped Wilmington’s residents consider moving their downtown away from the Deerfield River instead of putting things back the way they had been. Ottmar Edenhofer of the Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), recently said: “There is a clear message from science: To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual.” The release of the IPCC’s fifth assessment (April 2014) spawned

headlines such as, “Global Warming: 15 Years to Change Things”; for the first time the IPCC has put a timeline on making changes to head off some aspects of global warming. Conway seeks more projects with clients who are anxious to leave behind wasteful “business as usual” practices. Such practices can be resource consuming (think oil-dependent lifestyles) and miss opportunities to find new uses for “wastes” (such as stormwater and organic byproducts). One current student project has climate destabilization directly in its sights. Just a few hours after Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in Tacloban, Philippines, on November 8, 2013, the Conway School community began envisioning ways ecological designers could help after such disasters strike; measures that might reduce future impacts were also considered. Five months later, a student team is working with the Philippines-based nonprofit organization Kusog Tacloban on environmental and sustainability standards

for the rebuilding of Tacloban, a city of 220,000 residents that was directly hit by Haiyan. Watch the Conway website (csld.edu) for updates. Conway is always looking for projects that deal with important planning and design issues. Contact Administrative Director David Nordstrom (nordstrom @csld.edu) with any project leads, especially if the projects might allow Conway students to explore pressing issues related to climate change.

Current students Trevor Buckley and Marie Macchiarolo are working to develop environmental and sustainability standards for the rebuilding of Tacloban, Philippines.

//2014// con'text 21



Schools + Schoolyards in Kuala Lumpur Elizabeth Cooper ’10 spent six weeks in southeast Asia as the 2012–2013 David Bird Fellow. She worked with the Environmental Education Alliance of South East Asia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to develop a set of basic guidelines for implementing school “green­ scape” projects. Elizabeth reports, “The over­ all experience helped me . . . promote the intentional design and planning of outdoor teach­ ing, learning, and play spaces as assets that support general

¦ Bird Fellowship:

tinyurl.com/ davidbird fellowship

health and welfare and enhance edu­ cational principles and curriculum. I am grateful to the Conway

School and the family of David Bird for an amazing opportunity.” Beginning in 2014–2015, the

The Urban Book

The Conway School is excited to announce a five-day workshop (August 3–7, 2014) led by Ken Botnick ’79, renowned printer, publisher, and proprietor of emdash design in St. Louis, where he is also professor and director of the Nancy Spirtas Kranzberg Studio for the Illustrated Book at Washington University. The primary goal of this workshop is to assess how we construct our personal images of the cities we inhabit. A book can be said to be like a city in that it is the structure people have historically used to gather information into a single useable place. It is also the place Learn more about we, as creative the workshop: beings, have csld.edu/events/ urban-book collected the narratives of our lives. The unique tradition of artists’ books allows the maker of the book to serve simultaneous roles of author, designer, craftsperson, and publisher in order to arrive at a work of imaginative and personal vision. In this way we can think of the process of making the book as one through which we discover our subject. In this workshop participants will use the book as the lens through which to examine the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts. One of the first planned industrial communities in the United


States, Holyoke is nestled between the Connecticut River and the Mount Tom Range. Although it has struggled to find its post-industrial footing, it is now poised to become the first carbon-neutral city in Massachusetts, in part as a result of its still active manmade canals. Mayor Morse now calls it “Maker City,” a play on its former glory as “Paper City.” Participants will undertake research into the contemporary forces that have shaped (and continue to shape) this city, while investigating several alternative book forms that best contain and shape the content. They will use multiple graphic strategies including drawing, photography, mapping, and collage, formatted in the sequential experience of pages, on the way to an understanding of the book as a multifaceted system of inquiry and organization. For more information or to apply, please contact Elaine Williamson ’11 at williamson11@csld.edu.


Conway Pilots Graduate Apprenticeship Program

The Conway School signed its first memorandum of understanding with Luanne Urfer’s ’91 Sustainable Design Group (SDG) in Palmer, Alaska in January. The memorandum laid out the terms of an agreement whereby

fellowship will be open to any­ one who has received a diploma from Conway. Several project destinations will be offered, but applicants will be able to propose other locations. The David Bird International Service Fellowship provides opportunities for Conway graduates to undertake projects in support of NGOs and agencies abroad. Abrah Dresdale ’10 returned in winter 2014 from Sadhana Forest in Tamil Nadu, south­ ern India, where she helped to increase food production and gardening knowledge by design­ ing edible pathways. Watch for Abrah’s report in an upcoming issue of con’text. Saint Louis, Missouri, inspired this urban book by Ken Botnick.

22 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design


JOHN TODD TO BE 2014 COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER John Todd, a world-renowned pioneer in the field of ecological design, will deliver the keynote address at Conway’s 42nd graduation ceremony in June. This will be the first year that Conway graduates are awarded the new Master of Science in Ecological Design (see p. 13). An internationally recognized biologist and inventor, John has Michael Yoken ’10 and Kate Snyder ’10 at a New York City gathering.

published over two hundred articles and coauthored several books. He is the inventor of the

SDG will provide job descriptions for six-month apprenticeships, and Conway will reply with a pool of potential hires from that year’s graduating class and possibly other recent graduating classes. Ever since its founding in 1972, Conway has been concerned with the practical application of theory and skills. This approach provides graduates with a portfolio of real-world projects to show potential employers and clients. The success of this approach can be seen in the variety of career paths and positions that graduates have taken in the fields of ecological restoration, conservation planning, and regenerative design. Building on the success of its educational program, the school has undertaken the development of an apprenticeship program for recent graduates. The program aims to place applicants in positions that will continue their practical education and expand their résumés while getting paid. Graduates will apply for a paid apprenticeship with a company that aligns with Conway’s mission, embraces the educational component of the program, and gives the apprentice real responsibility. The Conway School is looking for additional partners to expand the apprenticeship program. If your firm is interested in furthering the practical education of qualified Conway graduates, please contact Director of Admissions and Marketing Adrian Dahlin at adrian@csld.edu or (413) 369-4044, ext. 5.


Eco Machine, an ecological engine for the treatment of wastes, pro­

Gatherings in New York and Palo Alto

This past October, Conway alums and friends gathered on both coasts to connect, learn about each other’s work in diverse fields, and spread the word about Conway’s unique program. On the West Coast, Susan Rosenberg’s ’95 work provided a perfect opportunity for alums to gather for a day of tree planting and camaraderie. Susan is a founding board member of Canopy, a California nonprofit organization that protects and grows the urban forest in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and neighboring communities. Conway alums and friends joined Canopy volunteers to help plant 160 trees at a charter school in East Palo Alto, and then headed to Susan’s home for a casual dinner. On the East Coast, friends and alums met in New York City for a behind-the-scenes tour of the temporary Pier 42 Pop-Up Park, created by local community groups, residents, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Want to support as part of a larger a gathering in your part of the community country? Contact: engagement Nina Antonetti (413) 369-4044, ext. 3 strategy around antonetti@csld.edu waterfront planning on the Lower East Side. Kerri Culhane ’10, associate director of Two Bridges Neighborhood Council organized the event with the help of


duction of food, generation of fuels, and restoration of damaged aquatic environments. The founder of John Todd Ecological Design, Ocean Arks International, and the New Alchemy Institute, he received an honorary degree from Conway in 2008.

Michael Yoken ’10 and Julie Welch ’11. Director Paul Hellmund was at both gatherings to tell the Conway story to prospective applicants and others.


Two Alums Serve as Distinguished Teaching Fellows Two Conway alums joined Conway’s faculty this year to work with students on their studio projects. Jonathon Ellison ’94 served as the distinguished design teaching fellow during the fall term, traveling from rural Québec, where he runs a design and planning firm. Jonathon’s design and consulting work has taken him from Canada and the eastern United States to Europe, South Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa. He has designed urban food gardens, private estates, school master plans, a Hindu temple site plan, and a Cree First Nation village master plan. He is currently at work on a master plan for a series of mosques and a conference

//2014// con'text 23


[ co nway ’ s fo rt y-s eco n d c l ass : 2014 ] The class of 2014 near the mouth of the Connecticut River on their fall orientation trip: standing, left to right: Teo Senni, Christian Johnson, Michele Carlson, Brandon Tennis, Abigail Elwood, Gallagher Hannan, Willa Caughey, Allison Ruschp, Jeff Dawson, Ken Byrne (faculty); kneeling, Rodrigo Posada, Emily Davis, Nelle Ward, Emily Berg, Trevor Buckley, Marie Macchiarolo, Liz Kelly

center in Tivaouane, Senegal, considered one of the holiest sites in West Africa. Anne Capra Madocks ’00 joined Conway’s faculty for the winter term as the distinguished planning teaching fellow. Anne has 13 years of experience as an environmental and land use planner. She has focused on land use management and environmental protection with an emphasis on water quality restoration and protection, most recently as a principal planner for the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission in Springfield, Massachusetts. Her projects included municipal drinking water protection planning, stormwater assessment and management through green infrastructure and low impact development practices, E. coli bacteria monitoring and source tracking, open space conservation and stewardship, and brownfields assessment and cleanup oversight.

Join Us in Welcoming Two New Staff Members

Two new professionals have joined the Conway School staff: Dr. Nina Antonetti, director of advancement and strategic initiatives, and Adrian

Dahlin, director of admissions and marketing. “With the addition of these two new staff positions, and the talent and drive Nina and Adrian bring to their roles,” says Director Paul Hellmund, “we’ll pursue new opportunities related to ecological design, and connect with a larger community of partners and supporters.” Nina Antonetti is not new to the Conway community; she has previously served as visiting historian at the school, and as a visiting critic for student project presentations. An architectural and landscape historian, Nina is a founding member of the Landscape Studies Program and the Sustainable Food Studies concentration at Smith College, a fellow at the Center for Creative Solutions at Marlboro College, and an international lecturer and scholar whose research has taken her throughout North America and Europe. Nina sits on the Placemaking Leadership Council, a board of interdisciplinary and innovative professionals working to promote placemaking as an international movement. Adrian Dahlin joined the staff this fall as director of admissions and marketing,

24 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design

a new position. “I love Conway’s mission and its experiential teaching model,” he says. In 2011, Adrian founded Rising Green, a business designed to help students and young professionals establish careers in the sustainability sector. The following year, he started a digital marketing consultancy, where he wrote marketing plans and social media strategies for a variety of clients. He lives in Holyoke, where he serves on the conservation commission. Adrian looks forward to getting to know the extended Conway community as he recruits the class of 2015, develops Conway’s brand image, and helps the organization grow.

Nina Antonetti and Adrian Dahlin


Thank You, Mollie Babize

Three years ago, Mollie Babize ’84 returned to Conway for an interim assignment as associate director for admissions. Although she had agreed to stay just through June 2012, she remained in the position through summer 2013, accomplishing much along the way. In addition to her admissions duties, Mollie helped Conway celebrate its 40th year in style by organizing a celebratory weekend; shepherded con’text through a redesign process; and helped to tell Conway’s story by writing about the school in her weekly newspaper column and including Conway projects and stories in workshop presentations at conferences. Many thanks to Mollie for her contributions and best wishes to her in her new endeavors!

Designing for Success As con’text goes to press, the school is looking forward to an April gathering of ecologists and designers who will debate and discuss timely restoration topics at a conference co-sponsored by the New England Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER-NE) and the Conway School. Aaron Schlechter ’01, a former Conway Michael Cavanagh ’02 and Dr. Richard Andriole

trustee and a member of the SER-NE board, suggested the two organizations work

Other Staff News

Dave Nordstrom ’04 has taken on the role of administrative director, coordinating staff in addition to managing the school’s finances and operations, and selecting community projects. Priscilla Novitt ’07, who had been managing the annual fund and other aspects of development, has shifted her focus to the job of communications manager, where she takes responsibility for the school’s website and con’text.


Board Updates Strategic Plan

In addition to three annual meetings, board members last year participated in four special, day-long intensive planning sessions. Board members, faculty, staff, and invited guests met to discuss a range of possibilities for securing the future of the school, strengthening its influence, and creating a sustainable structure. The group revised Conway’s strategic plan and set a path for the school for the next five years. Throughout this process, the school benefited from the diverse expertise of its board members in communications, fundraising, education, strategic planning, organizational branding, financial management, and administration, as well as their strong commitment to Conway’s future as a leader in the application of experiential learning to design education. Read more about the results on page 4.

New Trustees Join Board

Dr. Richard Andriole and Michael Cavanagh ’02 were elected to Conway’s board of trustees in October. Richard Andriole brings financial acumen and a deep knowledge of non-profit boards, all wrapped in great humility and kindness. For more than a dozen years before (semi)retiring, Rick was the business manager of the Eaglebrook School in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Prior to that, he was senior vice president and chief operating officer at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts. He holds a doctorate in pharmacy and a master of business administration, both from Temple University. Michael Cavanagh ’02 participated in last year’s strategic planning process, and brings a passion for the school and decades of experience in the field of ecological landscape design. He has served as a critic at formal presentations for many years and is especially interested in connecting recent graduates with alums who can offer jobs and apprenticeships. Learn more on page 22. As owner and operator of a design and build firm in Rhode Island, Michael has focused on sustainable land use for residential, commercial, and municipal clients in the state. His projects have included planning and installation work for a Waldorf school, an oceanfront resort, and a municipal park. Michael also has professional certification in green roof design and construction.

together to host “Designing for Success: Ecological Restoration in Times of Change” to be held at Hampshire College. Featured speakers at the conference are Conway honorary degree recipient Keith Bowers and Christopher Neill. Conway alums, including Robin MacEwan ’04, will lead field trips and

make presentations. Conway’s Board Chair Ginny Sullivan ’86, Director Paul Hellmund, and Keith Bowers have planned a one-day design charrette to consider site restoration and environmental education at the Hampshire College campus site where the Hitchcock Center for the Environment plans to build a new facility. Michael J. Toohill, a co-founder of SER-NE and one of the orga­ nizers of “Designing for Success” said, “since this is our first chap­ ter conference we sought out a strong partner as a co-sponsor and are excited to be putting on this conference with the Conway School.”

//2014// con'text 25

Graduation Class of 2013

Knowing and Making Places, Changing Places, and Being More Than an Optimist T HRE E SP E AK E R S ADDR E SS T H E GRADUAT ING CLASS BY N I C HO LAS T. LASOFF ’05

Class of 2013 at High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary with Master Teacher Darrel Morrison: standing, left to right, Amy Wolfson, Amy Nyman, Kate Cairoli, Emily Durost, Jon Kelly, Beth Schermerhorn, Olivia Loughrey, Kimberly Smith, Renee LaGue, Anna Fialkoff, Noah Zimmerman, Anna Best, Darrel Morrison; sitting, Judith Doll-Foley, Becca Robbins, Jessica Orkin, Willie Gregg, Sierra McCartney, Rachel Edwards

If you want some fresh perspectives on design, go to the Conway School’s graduation. The audience at the school’s 41st graduation heard three distinct but interrelated points of view concerning design. Darron Collins, College of the Atlantic’s (COA) youthful president, gave the commencement address. The college, located in Bar Harbor, Maine, has just one major: human ecology. A graduate of COA, Darron went on to receive a PhD from Tulane University in ethnobotany before working at the World Wildlife Fund. He has also researched the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and has worked on leopard conservation on the Russia-North Korean border. On the same day that the class of 2013’s eighteen students received their degrees from each other in a long-standing Conway tradition, Chair of the Conway Board of Trustees Ginny Sullivan ’84 presented Darron with an honorary degree for “applying his conservation ethic to the education of the next generation of human ecologists.” Darron fit right in to the Conway ethos by challenging accepted wisdom. Given his background, he may have even shocked some with his statement, “Deep down, I do not believe in saving places. . . . In my eyes, we’ve got to replace the idea of ‘saving places’ in favor of ‘making places’ because we can only truly come to know places by participating actively in their evolution. And through such participation we will do a much better job cultivating the ecological integrity of places.” Darron also spoke

26 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design

of his “intense distrust and dislike of planning, particularly at large scales,” because it occurs “at the expense of doing conservation on the ground.” The making of places, however, begins with the knowing of places through “patient, focused observation.” And powerful tools for knowing are writing and drawing. “[W]riting is not just about communication and description, but, with time, can be a tool for coming to know. As with drawing, you generate new knowledge by writing and the combined deliberative use of writing and drawing gets you so much closer to knowing place.” Finally, Darron emphasized, “how use inspires knowledge—use it or lose it; or, better said, use it and know


Below: Director Paul Cawood Hellmund and Board Chair Ginny Sullivan ’86 with Darron Collins. Candid photos from graduation by Mike Nyman.

it.” He recounted his experience as a “participant observer,” learning how to farm corn among the Q’eqchi’ Maya in Guatemala. Learning to farm by actually farming was not simply the “process of using something to know Read complete something, [it] was the remarks: process of becoming a csld.edu/ graduation child again.” He suggested that good design is about being in the weeds rather than flying at 30,000 feet. “Being in the weeds is about spending more time observing and drawing and writing about what’s in front of you; . . . it’s about making and building things rather than tearing them down; it’s about planning less and doing more; being in the weeds is about doing participant observation, learning by using and reinventing yourself, allowing yourself to be a child over and over again. Being in the weeds is about having fun with reality.” Ken Byrne, professor of humanities, took a different approach to observation and design. He drew a comparison

between two activities: designing and travelling. “[G]ood design, like the best kind of travel, is a kind of conversation between the universal and the particular where the terms themselves keep changing places.” It concludes for the client with a plan set. “And a plan set or a planning document can have a similar effect, taking folks on a kind of journey—where the familiar is strange and the strange familiar, and where the supposed boundaries between the universal and the particular start to blur.” Ken encouraged the graduates to “Continue to question the universals that are put before you—are they really particulars dressed as universals? And to question the particulars. . . . You, as an ecological designer, help the residents of their place become like travellers to it. You make the strange familiar and the familiar strange. You should not underestimate the value of these services. And this conver­sation about the meaning of the universal principle and the particular circumstance can only drive us

forward, perpetually, without final destination.” Paul Hellmund, director and president, talked about planning and design, the future, and moving beyond optimism. “I used to say that to be a planner or a designer is to be an optimist.” But he eventually found himself dissatisfied with that formulation and found a better answer in the words of David Orr: “When looking to the future, Orr suggests we move past pessimism, not just to mere optimism, but beyond that to hope, which he describes as ‘a verb with its sleeves rolled up.’ He writes, ‘I know of no good reason for anyone to be optimistic about the human future, but I know many reasons to be hopeful.’” Paul concluded, “There is abundant evidence in support of being pessimistic about the future. Optimism is a better option. But grounded hope is the best way forward, hope with its sleeves rolled up.” He stated, “[T]here are grounds for being hopeful about a better tomorrow and here sit 18 very good reasons for that hope.”

//2014// con'text 27

Field Notes News from Alums

Become a Class Agent! Conway class agents help classmates stay connected with each other and involved with Conway. Contact Nina Antonetti at antonetti@csld.edu to learn more.

Many of the firms and individuals mentioned in Field Notes have websites. We regret that space and typographical issues do not allow us to include them here. The views expressed by the respondents in Field Notes are not necessarily those of the Conway School.


CLASS AGENT > Edward Fuller

(eafassoc@aol.com) Ð Mark

Bethel is president of Arcadia Properties,

Inc., an urban redevelopment company that has operated in Colorado since 1991. The firm received a Mayor’s Design Award in 2013 for a 19-home project in Denver.


CLASS AGENT > Clarissa Rowe


Ð See page 20 for news of Clarissa Rowe.


CLASS AGENT > Betsy Corner

(corner75@csld.edu) Ð Peter

Klejna is a MSW candidate at Smith

College School for Social Work in Northampton, MA. He is inspired by poetry and photography and will soon lead a discussion group on the late Irish poet, Seamus Heaney. Peter says, “Conway has influenced my life for 39 years and will for a long while.”


CLASS AGENT > Kathleen Knisely


Ð Kathleen Hogan Knisely reports that

“retirement has me busy with volunteer activities that dovetail nicely with my lifelong interest in dynamic and livable urban environments.” She recently participated in a three-day charrette for Davis Square in Somerville, MA and is helping to explore re-use options for a YMCA in Cambridge, MA.

Art Collins ’79 (Collins Enterprises, Stamford, CT) talks about his $78 million project in Yonkers, NY: “Because our [real estate] work is urban, we are accustomed to working with contaminated sites. Because of the presence of contaminants on the Yonkers site, the project was eligible for tax credits for 18% of project costs.”


CLASS AGENT > David Paine (david_

paine@verizon.net) Ð Bruce

Stedman is in Seattle, WA, where he

is executive director of the Orca Relief Citizens’ Alliance and development director for the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.


CLASS AGENT > Susanna Adams


Ð Ken Botnick has returned to teaching at

Washington University in St. Louis, MO, “after a full year sabbatical, which was one of the most rewarding and productive years I’ve ever had. I produced a huge amount of new work in my studio, had a solo show here in St. Louis, led a tour group to India for two weeks in January, and traveled to Istanbul and Barcelona. A highlight was spending February in Paris, where I led a workshop for architecture students in making books about the city. In November, I travel to Shanghai for an international exhibition on book design where my books will be on display and I will present a talk about my work.” See page 22 for news of a workshop Ken will teach at Conway in August.

28 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design


CLASS AGENT > Lila Fendrick (team@

fendrickdesign.com) Ð Renny

Merritt and family sold their home in the

Boston suburbs and bought a parcel of land in Leverett, MA. Renny reports, “It’s been a great reunion to connect with Walt after many years. He is now working with us on the design of the lot. It’s great to be back in the Pioneer Valley since I have two alma maters here—Conway and Amherst College.” Ð Lynn Crafts Crump enjoys her work as a landscape architect and

Tom Sargent ’79, founding partner at Equity Com­munity Builders, stands in front of one of the 30 buildings at Cavallo Point Lodge, a historical rehabilitation of Fort Baker, located on the San Francisco Bay in the Golden Gate National Park. The lodge has received many historic and environmental awards, most recently the Global Vision Award for Sustainability by Travel & Leisure. Tom was developer and remains president of the ownership group.


environmental programs planner for the Virginia Scenic Rivers Program. She and Lila Fendrick met up at last year’s ASLA annual meeting. Ð Lila Fendrick continues to run a six-person landscape architecture office in Chevy Chase, MD. The office is busy working on gardens for urban-infill and rehab projects on Capitol Hill. Lila writes, “The work is fun and challenging as the designs get built quickly (as soon as the drawings are completed!)” Lila is particularly excited about her work on a private teaching garden in Cambridge, MA. It’s “constantly enjoyed by the entire family and their friends which, for me, is the highest mark of success.” Ð Jeannine Keith Furrer has designed residential gardens in Massachusetts for the past 30 years. She writes, “When work slowed during the recession I found I enjoyed working less, gardening more, and traveling with my husband.” Now, her practice has revived to an extent she enjoys. This year she updated gardens in several long-established designs and joined her husband in learning to sail their ninefoot catamaran.


CLASS AGENT > Byrne Kelly

(kelly80@csld.edu)Ð Byrne

Kelly recently began work on a master

plan for a retirement community on Admirathoria, a historic property overlooking the Potomac River.


CLASS AGENT > Elizabeth French

Fribush (Elizabeth.fribush@

phra.com)Ð Robyn Jones spent many

years as a Waldorf teacher and now works with Sound Circle Center in Seattle, WA where she teaches adults interested in Waldorf education. Since 2010 she has made annual trips to China where she spends most of the summer working with adults in a Waldorf teacher preparation course. Robyn also has a private practice as a craniosacral and massage therapist. She notes, “I am grateful that my time at Conway set the tone for open-mindedness, curiosity, and clear communication in all my work.”


CLASS AGENTS > Suzanne Barclay


Susan Van Buren (vanburen82@csld.edu)

Ð John Hanning is a part-time lecturer at University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and the CEO of Archimedes Aerospace. Last year, John and fellow

[85] [86]

NO CLASS AGENT > Be the one

(or two)! NO CLASS AGENT > Discover the

John Hanning ’82 is using hexacopters to capture high definition, low altitude images with embedded GPS coordinates.

Archimedes team members went to NASA Dryden to test the design, equipment and procedures needed to demonstrate that small unmanned aerial camera platforms could act as a bridge between extreme-low-altitude, high-definition aerial photography and large-area satellite imagery with multi-angle view sensors.


perks Ð Carrie Makover says, “Sometimes I look around my property and say to myself, ‘What was I thinking?’ as my cottage garden threatens to take over my property.” Carrie is webmaster for the Town of Westport, CT where she spent eleven years as a planner. Ð JeanPierre Marcoux writes: “My beautiful and talented son Alexis is very soon to be 40 years old, the same age I was when I went to Conway in 1985. I am now 68 and still do some landscape design. But mostly, I do landscape loving and immersion, walking and trekking in nature. What did I learn at Conway? To observe and discover the underlying beauty and structure of it

NO CLASS AGENT > Your name here!

Ð Jeffrey Richards works for the Bureau of Parks and Recreation in Westmoreland County, PA. He focuses on capital improvements for ten county parks and on-going advancement for five rail-trail initiatives. Jeffrey notes that, “Nurturing public-private partnerships is a big part of my daily activities. The Pittsburgh area continues to climb out of its multi-decade recession. Much of what’s going on here seeks to ‘get back to the good old industrial days,’ while other initiatives put us on a more sustainable path. I’m energized by the latter, along with the dedication of many volunteers.”


Field Trips in Bioengineering BOOK REVIEW

Bioengineering Case Studies by Wendi Goldsmith ’90 and her co-authors (Springer, 2014) is like having instant access to 35 fascinating field trips guided by eminent experts. Not meant as a how-to manual on bioengineering, the book instead looks at a wide range of techniques

NO CLASS AGENT > How about you?

that have been employed for soil

Ð Gary Bachman is thinking

bioengineering, bio-stabilization,

about retirement after wrapping up a years-long grant project. He is working with a local architect and builder to construct a small adobe studio on his property and writes, “I am thinking about taking art classes, anything and everything. More hiking in the hills, the Grand Canyon! I will be busy, I promise.”Ð Heather McCargo is excited to announce the launching of the Maine Native Seed Project (MNSP), a non-profit with a mission to protect and restore Maine’s native plants, improve biodiversity, promote agroforestry, create pollinator corridors, and increase wildlife habitat. Look for a seed list to be posted on MNSP’s website by fall 2014. Heather writes, “MNSP will be looking for an intern for the summer and a few more people for our board. Let me know if you are interested!”

biotechnical erosion control, ecological engineering, and green construction. The threedozen projects from across the United States give a broad introduction to methods of using vegetation to protect exposed soils, slopes, and stream banks. Benefits and lessons learned are given for each project, which also includes photographs from before, during, and after construction. “Choosing bioengineering over its common alternatives fundamentally contributes to ecosystem productivity, balance, and resilience.” the authors note.

//2014// con’text 29

/ F I E L D N OT ES /

Carrie Makover ’86 in her cottage garden

all. To express metaphorically what the land inspires, within and without me. Vive la République du Québec libre!” Ð Michael Thornton teaches English at the Denver School of the Arts in Colorado. Last August he attended the Steinbeck Institute on a fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Although Michael had taught and studied Steinbeck’s novels before, his time at the Institute enabled him to examine the author’s ideas of “man’s place in the environment, his genius loci.”


NO CLASS AGENT > How about you?

Ð Tim Brooks writes from Oregon, “Wildfires cancelled our August whitewater rafting trip down the Rogue, so we are heading out next week for riparian research on this wild and scenic river. When not doing research, I have been working on some fish enhancement projects and a master plan for a 23-acre riverfront site adjacent to Willamette Falls. The design team will look at transforming an abandoned paper mill site to create public access, cultural and historical interpretation, habitat restoration, and economic redevelopment.”


NO CLASS AGENT > Your name here!

Ð Claudia Kopkowski lives in

Mexico about five months a year, where she is “passionately involved with a newly organized group, Amigos de la Costa de Todos Santos AC, to preserve the ecological integrity of the coastal zone so critical to wildlife, including nesting sea turtles. Any help with this challenge would be greatly appreciated!” Ð Ginny Raub has spent the last six years as a member of the Conservation Commission in Exeter, NH. In that time, work has included developing a forest management plan, maintaining and upgrading trails, and designing and installing rain gardens for a flood-prone

neighborhood. Ginny has also been working to re-establish the Exeter River into the town’s landscape. She writes, “I have even gone back to our student report prepared for the Nashua River Watershed Association in Leominster, MA for a review of what can and should be done.” Ð Will Waldron reports, “I have just retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Realty, where I have worked for the past 20 years. During my career, I collaborated with colleagues, conservation partners and land owners to conserve over 5,000 acres at 14 National Wildlife Refuges for the benefit of wildlife and the American people.”

Energy Commission, where she has been analyzing the impacts of electrical generation projects on historic builtenvironment resources: buildings, weirs, ditches, farms, desert hamlets, trails, and oases. Melissa reports, “I don’t enjoy the politics, but I do enjoy my work. And I’m still camping in my Volkswagen camper.” Ð Katherine Anderson writes, “We are still in Seattle, WA, where I organize two garden clubs at my son’s elementary school. The school district is planning to build a new ‘cafetorium’ on site, which will focus on the native plant and wildlife garden I redesigned and helped build a few years ago.”


CLASS AGENT > Art Collings (otter@

mac.com) Ð See page 23 for news of Susan Rosenberg.

[96] [97]

CLASS AGENT > Julia Plumb


CLASS AGENT > Susan Crimmins


A rural landscape designed by Cynthia Knauf’s ’89 firm was featured in New England Home magazine.


NO CLASS AGENT > Be the one (or

two)! Ð Cynthia Knauf is licensed as a landscape architect in Vermont, where she has a three-person firm in downtown Burlington. “Our focus continues to be collaborative projects with architects on large residential projects,” she says. “One of our rural landscapes was recently featured in New England Home magazine. Another landscape was a part of the Burlington House Preservation 2013 Award for the historical renovation of a home in a beautiful downtown neighborhood.”

[90] [91] [92] [93] [94]


Christine (Wisenbaker) McGrath and her

husband Jim ’98 still live in Pittsfield, MA with their two boys and enjoy the pace of life that the Berkshire Hills have to offer. Recently licensed in Massachusetts for elementary education, Christine is on the search for a permanent teaching position. Jim continues to work for the City of Pittsfield as the Park and Open Space Program manager.

CLASS AGENT > Lauren Snyder

Lautner (llautner@msn.com)

CLASS AGENT > Annette Schultz

(schultz91@csld.edu) NO CLASS AGENT > Your name here!

Be the one (or two)! CLASS AGENT > Amy Craig

(amy.craig1@comcast.net) CLASS AGENT > Jonathon

Ellison (ellison94@csld.edu)

Ð Melissa Mourkas is marking her

four-year anniversary at the California

30 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design

Kent Freed ’91 recently designed (with colleague Jessica Anderson) the Garden of Hope at Colorado Children’s Hospital. Read about the project at tinyurl.com/gardenofhopeCO. Ð Emily Lubahn ’11 and Cynthia Tanyan ’95 explore Susan Rosenberg’s ’95 unique zipper fence in Palo Alto, CA.

/ F I EL D N OT ES /


NO CLASS AGENT > Be the one (or

two)! Ð Treesa Rogerson will be doing the AIDS LifeCycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles in June. She is also singing with a gospel ensemble and planning her 40th birthday bash to include a weekend on the ocean or in the mountains.

Sustainable Suburban Design Competitions



Levine recently started a new job as a

suburban property in Keene,

gardening division manager for Treefrog Landscapes in Northampton, MA. He plans to be back in the Pioneer Valley full time by 2015.

New Hampshire, involved


Homestead Design (focused

istered and engaged in the landscape architecture licensing process in the state of Rhode Island. See page 25 for more on Michael. Ð Alex Ganiaris and his wife Paula are expecting their second child in May (“another girl!”). Their first daughter Georgia is four years old now and “excited to have a sister. I’ve been busy with my landscape construction business, and involved with a group of local designers eager to hire me for their installations. Projects are usually smaller (urban) residential gardens, and we do everything, from dry-stack wall to drip-irrigation.” Ð Laurie Tenenbaum says, “By the time you read this I will have celebrated the birth of my fourth grandchild, my daughter Megan and Dillon Sussman’s ’08 second child. Right now I’m hangin’ out with two-year-old Orion who sings, plays the guitar, and fixes most anything. There are now two generations and about to be six home births in the family! Most exciting with work has been my ongoing education in flooding and drought. Over the years I’ve become aware of the widespread residential flooding in Chicago proper and in the suburbs. I have begun writing grants for clients to fund stormwater mitigation projects and direct water back into our aquifers. The grant writing for Illinois EPA funding is completely a Conway project, learning everything you can about the neighborhood, village, and region. Did you know that there is a 12-square-mile area of central California that’s sinking about one foot a year because they’ve pumped their aquifers dry watering crops? Design becomes more and more about climate change, extremes, and surprising changes

Sustainable Home Renovation

CLASS AGENTS > Chuck Schnell

Jim McGrath ’98, Open Space and Natural Resource Program Manager for the City of Pittsfield, MA, discusses his city’s Mill St. Dam, where contaminated sediments (PCBs, heavy metals, and VOCs) could cost $2.5 million to clean up. The dam is ranked one of the top five to be removed in Mass.

[98] [99]

CLASS AGENT > Matthew Arnsberger


CLASS AGENT > Cindy Tavernise

(tavernise99@csld.edu) Ð

Ð Anya Darrow is temporarily living in

Berkeley, CA pursuing a start-up opportunity. Ð Benedict Hren is in his last year as special projects coordinator at ACS Doha International School in Doha, Qatar. He writes, “In August, Diane and I will both be returning to the head office of ACS International Schools outside London. Diane will be working as the education specialist within the company’s business team, and I have accepted a position as the head of the school’s Centre for Inspiring Minds. This opportunity allows me to further develop my interest in cultivating professional learning communities and supporting teacher-driven action research. As always, we look forward to welcoming friends to our new London home.” Ð Gwen Nagy-Benson lives in Weybridge, VT and reports, “My life is very full these days with three active daughters and a part-time job with a renewable energy cooperative. I recently became a member of the Weybridge select board (great small town stuff!), serve on our town energy committee, and edit our town newsletter. I also do a few small landscape design projects here and there for friends and neighbors.” Ð Cindy Tavernise writes, “I am happy to report that all is going well on my front. With commissions coming in for paintings, life is good. Those beloved memories from Conway continue to sustain, inform, and inspire me to paint. Also, I’ve been invited in late spring to draw up a rough planting plan for a private school being built in Yorktown, NY. I’ll be helping to identify and move existing native plants from the old campus to the new one in May.”

(schnell01@csld.edu), Robin

Simmen (simmen01@csld.edu)Ð Jay

In 2013, two design competitions based on a one-acre

many members of the Conway community. The competitions were: (1) Suburban Backyard

CLASS AGENT > Michael Cavanagh

on backyard food produc-


tion and capturing and using

Ð Michael Cavanagh is currently reg-

renewable resources), and (2) Design (focused on net zero energy). The competitions were open to designers throughout New England. A culminating open house drew the public to see the competition entries and participate in sustainable living workshops. Congratulations to Renee LaGue ’13 for her winning entry in the homestead design competition! Lily Jacobson ’10 helped property owner Catherine Skove organize the competitions; master teacher Dave Jacke ’84 and Conway faculty Kim Erslev and Jono Neiger ’03 served as judges, along with architect Bruce Coldham; and Anna Best ’13 attended the open house. Look for an article about the competitions by Sean Gaffney ’04 in Green Energy Times.

Renee LaGue ’10 presents her winning design.

//2014// con’text 31

/ F I E L D N OT ES /

Yestermorrow Discount for Conway Alums Conway graduates are now eligible to receive a 25% discount on workshops offered by the Yestermorrow Design/Build School. To learn more, visit csld.edu/ yestermorrow.

in the weather. What can we do to prepare for a future of uncertain weather? What a challenge!”

Claudia Kopkowski ’88 is working to preserve the La Poza lagoon and coastline in Baja California Sur.

Photo rendering of Flotsam Weirs, an ecological art installation by Todd Lynch ’05


CLASS AGENT > Lauren Wheeler

together with her two little siblings, while Becca wages peace at a think tank in DC.”


design.comÐ Madeleine Charney has

recently authored a chapter in the book Focus on Educating for Sustainability: Toolkit for Academic Libraries. Addition­ ally, the April 2014 issue of the journal Collaborative Librarianship features her article “Academic Librarians and Sustainability Education: Building Alliances to Support a Paradigm Shift.”


Matthew Bourne ’04 designed this set of “infiltration steps” leading down to Crescent Lake in Raymond, ME. Ð Lupin Hipp’s ’04 son Gabriel enjoys the snow. Ð Crystal Hitchings ’04 with husband Jay


CLASS AGENTS > Linda Leduc


Sandy Ross (rosslandscapedesign@

NO CLASS AGENT > How about you?

Your name here! Ð Matthew

Bourne continues to take on a broad

spectrum of clients through his Mainebased business Bourne Landscape, LLC. Ð Sean Gaffney is transitioning out of design and starting a personal coaching business called Mind Garden. He lives in a mini-community in Haydenville, MA with his wife and three children. Ð Lupin Hipp enjoys her work as a freelance designer, consultant, and sustainable gardening teacher. She says, “I am loving the varied work and interactions I have with people all over Portland, OR. My son is four now and loves to work in the garden with us.” Ð Crystal Hitchings writes from Maine, “My path from Conway began with a career in landscape design and morphed into municipal land use planning and permitting across Maine, Oregon, Montana, and Alaska. I returned to my childhood home a year ago to coordinate a regional collaboration around a scenic byway and economic development through tourism— but it’s actually become about community empowerment and cultural pride, and I am so excited to be here now!”

gmail.com)Ð Nick Lasoff has been

devoting more time to freelance editorial pursuits. He is currently working on projects for major publishers of learning materials for students of German and law. Ð Todd Lynch was happy to lend his critical eye to last year’s fall presentations at Conway. He was recently awarded a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for an ecological art installation that explores the hydrology of the Mill River in Williamsburg, MA. Ð Kristin Nelson moved to Whitefish, MT three years ago, where “people are creative and determined to design solutions to short growing seasons and ever-present water issues.” In that time Kristin has completed a permaculture design course, designed gardens for Algae AquaCulture Technology, and enjoyed meeting and learning with people committed to sustainability. Ð Lincoln Smith’s business in Bowie, MD, Forested, is in its third year and growing well. He has a ten-acre research forest garden and a steady flow of people attending workshops and needing design assistance. He shares that “Sohaila—born on my Conway graduation day—helps me with the ducks,

32 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design


CLASS AGENT > Ian Hodgdon (ian.

hodgdon@yahoo.com), Brian

Trippe (trippe06@csld.edu)Ð Danielle

Allen recently purchased a 28-acre farm

on the Connecticut River in Fairlee, VT. She writes, “The farm is beautifully situated on terraced land high above the river. We hire five to seven seasonal employees to help us grow over 150 varieties of organic vegetables for sale in local markets. My degree at Conway has proven invaluable as we lay out our master plans for the property and help envision the future of our rural community. Stop by for a visit if you find yourself in the Upper Valley!” Ð Adam Bossi just moved to Maryland and started a new job with the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). He writes, “I’m now one of only a few natural resource planners working in the DNR’s Land Acquisition and Planning Unit, where we plan for and purchase land, easements, etc. to expand existing state forests, parks, and greenways. I’m still getting settled and learning a lot, but it’s a very cool place to be!” Ð Jennifer McElligott Chenoweth writes, “After being laid off from my job with the National Park Service, I spent many months wondering what was next. Then it finally came to me! I started my own sustainable landscape design business, specializing in native plants, edible landscapes, forest gardens, and restoration. I launched the business two months ago and already have three clients! I can’t

/ F I EL D N OT ES /

farm, which he does at retreats, classes, and especially at FarmtoYoga events.


CLASS AGENTS > Doug Guey-Lee

(gueylee08@csld.edu), Amy

Livingston Larsen (livingston08@csld. edu), Theresa Sprague (sprague08@ csld.edu)Ð Jesse Froehlich is excited

Dave Nordstrom ’04 and Ian Hodgdon ’06 install handmade bulletin boards in Studio A.

believe that I’m finally doing work that I love! I’m ever so thankful to the Conway School for training me in the skills that I needed and the National Park Service for setting me free.” Ð Clare Rock has spent the past two-and-a-half years as the zoning administrator for the town of Waterbury, VT. Last year, Clare became a certified floodplain manager and she will soon start a new job as the town planner for Richmond, VT.


CLASS AGENTS > Alicia Batista

(batista07@csld.edu), Priscilla

Novitt (novitt@csld.edu)Ð Kate Dana

is now officially a Rhode Island statecertified horticulturalist. For the past six years Kate has been a contract associate with Place Studio Landscape Design and L+A Landscape Architecture. L+A won two RI-ASLA 2013 awards for “The Gardens of The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum” and “Landfill Garden,” a project that diverted 90 tons of construction debris from landfill and transformed it into landscape materials. Ð Sean Roulan lives in the Berkshires and has been busy starting a farm and food forest nursery. He designs and implements edible and ecological landscapes in Massachusetts, New York, and Philadelphia. His greatest passion is teaching people to garden and

about the launch of her BlueBarrel DIY RainKit, a user-friendly, mail-order kit that allows homeowners to build their own rainwater catchment systems out of recycled barrels. Assisted by Olivia Loughrey ’13, Jesse created illustrated instructional materials so that homeowners can easily install a streamlined rainwater catchment system.Ð Adrian Laine writes from Seattle, WA, that she is “getting married in August and working for two companies—one designs zoos and the other does high-end residential. I’m trying to find time to pursue all my random hobbies and not take life too seriously.”Ð Amy Livingston Larsen reports: “Reed and I are doing well here in the Española Valley, NM. Our youngest daughter, Milena, is now seven months old and wanting, in the most fervently earnest way, to crawl and

keep up with her big sister Lidah. It’s our hope to come out to Massachusetts this summer.” Ð Seth Pearsoll is director of marketing with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.


CLASS AGENTS > Kate Benisek


Ashley Pelletier (pelletier09@csld.edu)

Ð Kate Benisek and Ashley Pelletier were part of the Cornell team that won the 2014 Ed Bacon Student Urban Design Competition with their project IndePENNdense 2076. Their winning submission looked to bring people back to Philadelphia’s city center by covering the Vine Street Expressway with a green

Kate Gehron ’09 and Jonathan Cooper ’09 were married on December 23, 2013.

An Unprecedented Guide BOOK REVIEW

BY JENNA WEBSTER ’09 Travis Beck’s Principles of Ecological Landscape Design (Island Press, 2013) constitutes an unprecedented guide to ecological planting design. It distills an impressive range of scientific research on plant communities, plant-animal interactions, soil ecology, disturbance, succession, and landscape ecology. To anyone who has waded through published scientific studies in the hopes of fine-tuning the underlying ecology of their designs, Beck’s straightforward translations provide a much-needed accessible overview. Discussion of practical applications and case studies of designed landscapes further enhance the book’s usability. This groundbreaking work could offer a stronger aesthetic component. The black and white photographs and technical feel of the book may limit broader appeal and perpetuate the notion that ecologically informed design is done for environmental and moral reasons alone. But the undeniable depth and breadth of Beck’s volume mean that it will be an important resource at my desk for years to come.

Sean Roulan ’07 designed this educational landscape for the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT, to complement their forward-thinking wood-chip gasification plant. The landscape showcases ecological succession, and contains over 20 types of native forest trees.

Trevor Buckley’s ’14 sketch notes from the first chapter of Principles of Ecological Landscape Design

//2014// con’text 33

/ F I E L D N OT ES /


After returning to California, Jamie Scott ’10 shared this about his work in Liberia: “ . . . Even in Monrovia, the world’s wettest capital city, there’s enormous need for potable water and sanitation services. To that end, I wrote an environmental management and mitigation plan for USAID, which builds wells and latrines. It might have


Photos from the project are available: jfscott


been more meaningful to explore remediation or innovative solutions,

but we had to ensure essential policies were in place. . . . Up-country in Bongul, we visited several schools and surveyed the recently built institutional latrines and pumps. Unfortunately, all of them had some user-conflict or contamination challenge. . . . But in spite of recent political conflicts and tough current conditions, the people are astonishingly resilient. At these schools, and later on in a rural village’s Open Defecation Free Zone achievement-ceremony, children happily ran circles around us and ushered us about.”

corridor that serves as a major transit hub. The two will be graduating from Cornell’s MLA program this coming May.Ð Jonathan Cooper and Kate Gehron write, “We took a trip to Boston City Hall with our families in December to upgrade our status to ‘married.’ It was a wonderful day, and we’re both very happy.”Ð Fiona Dunbar has made her landscape design and garden care business official, registering as Dirt Girl Gardens. A serious back injury put some things on hold but allowed “. . . [me] the time and energy to focus on restructuring my business so my work more closely aligns with my passions.” Fiona is developing a business model that will include edible gardens, gardening classes for kids, and consulting. Ð Sara Preston reported last fall, “[I am] wrapping up a very busy field season with my business Preston Earth. I am enjoying the process of design, build, and maintain and am learning a tremendous amount on all fronts. It has also been great to see past projects filling in and giving clients a great deal of pleasure and in some cases food. Right now I am looking forward to more time for design work, art, yoga, and a big trip to India and Thailand.”


CLASS AGENTS > Gareth Crosby


Kristin Thomas (thomas10@csld.edu) Ð

Kathy Connolly received a Special Merit Award from the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District for her work on a demonstration buffer project. Executive Director Jane Brawerman praised Kathy’s contribution of “countless hours planning and designing the buffer, selecting and ordering plants, and supervising the site preparation and planting by community volunteers. Kathy turned what project partners imagined would be a functional vegetated buffer into a fabulous work of landscape art.”Ð Elizabeth Cooper reports, “As part of my project work in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as a Bird Fellow I collaborated with International School Kuala Lumpur teacher Lisa Nazim to draw up a concept plan for a children’s playground garden. Lisa has just sent me photos of her working with school kids to install and plant the garden! So nice to see this happening.” See page 22 for more about Elizabeth’s experience in Malaysia.Ð Mary Praus writes, “Working as a land use planner for the regional planning agency in Franklin County, MA, I’ve been immersed in a food system

34 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design

A teacher and students at work installing a school garden designed by 2012–2013 Bird Fellow Elizabeth Cooper ’10

project to determine what farmers need to produce more food to feed the region. I’ve been collaborating with CISA, Land for Good, Franklin Land Trust, and many other organizations to connect farmers to services and information that help their farms to be more sustainable and profitable. My work regularly puts me in touch with other Conway grads working in food-system-related careers. The creativity, energy and skills I tapped into at Conway help spur me on to develop more and more projects that address food system and agricultural needs in our region.”Ð Jamie Scott is developing a new website (EcologicalArts) to celebrate and exhibit art of all mediums that is inspired by nature, and to bridge the environmental sciences and the arts. He welcomes input, artistic submissions, and graphic design assistance!Ð Kate Snyder writes that her work with the New England Farmers Union “. . . continues to evolve. Last fall I got to travel to DC to meet with New England’s congressional delegation, and I headed to Florida this winter to attend a conference on women in agriculture. I’ve been working on developing a network in Massachusetts for women farmers and on promoting the co-operative business model in agriculture.”

Mary Praus ’10 recently won a substantial grant from the Henry P. Kendall Foundation to look at gaps in the regional food system. Mary is seen here in her front yard vegetable garden, on ⅛-acre in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

/ F I EL D N OT ES /


CLASS AGENTS > Emily Lubahn

(lubahn11@csld.edu), Julie

Welch (welch11@csld.edu)Ð Genevieve

Lawlor continues to develop her family’s downtown homestead in Greenfield, MA, while taking occasional freelance design/ art gigs. She hopes to get a sunroom built this year (designed by Malena Maiz) and is particularly excited to spend time with her toddler in the gardens after such a long winter. Ð John Lepore recently completed a far-reaching stewardship plan for the Pioneer Valley Regional School, where he taught for many years. John writes, “The final project was the effort of over 1,500 hours donated to a belief that stewardship education is paramount to a healthy future for our children.” The school has unanimously endorsed the project and is now seeking grants to hire a sustainability coordinator. John is developing a YouTube video that explains the project’s goals and actions. Ð Ahron Lerman works as an assistant forester with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation in Worcester. During the off-season, he enjoyed a road trip that took him to North Carolina, Washington DC, coastal Georgia, Florida, and finally New Orleans, where he led an alternative spring break trip for the Jewish Farm School. Ð Zach Mermel serves as the Sustainability Coordinator at Hawai’i Community College in Hilo, where he develops new curricula focused on conservation and regeneration. Current projects include the creation of a Hawai’i Organic Land Care Program. Ð After settling in for 18

Ahron Lerman, Kate Tomkins (holding son Eli), and Karen Dunn (all ’11) catch up in Wrightsville Beach, NC.

Shana Hostetter ’12 and Seana Cullinan ’12 work together as Larkspur Design.

A rendering Kate Cholakis ’11 created for Connect Historic Boston, a project that Nitsch Engineering is working on that seeks to improve pedestrian and bicycle connections between National Park Service sites. A bicycle lane is shown in the rendering.

happy months with her daughter Simone, Laura Rissolo is back to work expanding her Connecticut-based landscape design business, Land People Habitat LLC. She is also working on marketing materials for riparian habitat gardens as part of a budding partnership with a local garden maintenance and installation company.


CLASS AGENTS > Jamie Pottern

(pottern12@csld.edu), Christina

Gibson (gibson12@csld.edu) Ð Seana

Cullinan writes: “Shana Hostetter and I

enjoyed a successful first season of operating our Maine-based design/build firm, Larkspur Design. We had the privilege of working on several interesting residential and commercial projects, including a small park in downtown Yarmouth and a homestead in North Yarmouth. We enjoyed combining our passion for beauty and sustainability, and it felt good to apply all of the knowledge and skills we gained at Conway. We are looking forward to another great season in the greater Portland area.” Ð Christina Gibson has completed her first full year working with Trees Atlanta, where she serves as a coordinator for the Prairie Restoration and NeighborWoods projects. Christina also recently teamed up with Shades of Green, Inc., Georgia’s first and only permaculture design firm, where she works on a number of projects. See page 3 for more from Christina. Ð Christina Puerto reports, “I’ve been working towards my PhD in Built Ecologies within the Architectural Science department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The overall area of inquiry of my dissertation is biodiversity in the urban built environment, specifically the crucial role that architectural design plays in this. I am working on researching and proposing methodologies for the design and integration of living building systems. Although the work is

related mainly to buildings and built structures, as opposed to the traditional idea of landscapes, I view this work as a direct extension of the work I was a part of at Conway, because the inhabited spaces inside of buildings are in a way the urban landscape.”


CLASS AGENTS > Kate Cairoli

(cairoli13@csld.edu), Amy

Wilson (wilson13@csld.edu)Ð Anna Best

is working independently in Richmond, VA to create fruitful, self-sustaining habitats. She hopes to find design and planning work at a small firm. Ð Emily Durost has been super busy and is having a great time working at the Peace Ridge Animal Sanctuary in Maine. She writes, “It’s been amazing to see how Conway has helped me with the sort of work I do here: seeing patterns of use, maximizing the efficiency of spaces, and even problem-solving for various design issues like drainage and accessibility. Winter has been ridiculously cold but warming my hands on a cuddly turkey is surprisingly enjoyable.” Ð Kate Cairoli is “. . . living in Houston and finding new things to love about the city every day, learning a whole different set of plants, and working at a landscape architecture firm.” She invites anyone to come visit Texas! Ð Rachel Edwards recently completed an internship as a communications writer for Environmental Design and Research in western New York. She is now helping to design a year-round building and farm-to-table program for the Brighton farmers market, assisting with an urban trail feasibility study, and working on a green infrastructure streetscape plan. Ð Anna Fialkoff is a horticulturist at Garden in the Woods in Framingham, MA, which has just completed its master plan. Anna is excited to implement the first phases of the plan and get into the details of horticulture design. Ð Willie Gregg is working in a tax office and practicing his Spanish in Minneapolis, MN. He writes, “In my free time I have been working with a few organizations planning for the spring. My parents are

//2014// con’text 35

/ F I E L D N OT ES /

in Brattleboro, VT. She is currently assisting with a village revitalization/community development grant and a regional plan update. Kim is looking forward to taking on brownfield assessment and cleanup projects this summer. Ð Amy Wolfson writes, “I am loving working for fellow Conway alum Theresa Sprague ’08 at BlueFlax Design. We are working on ecological restoration projects on beautiful Cape Cod.” Ð Noah Zimmerman is part of Two Crows Ecological Design, a land design and management business in Sonoma County, CA. So far, projects have covered irrigation design, erosion control, and native meadow plantings. Following graduation, Sierra McCartney ’13 and her boyfriend Brett rode their tandem bicycle from Conway, MA to Whitefish, MT. They averaged 100 miles a day.

part of a transition town group and they asked me to lead a garden-planning workshop. Things are well; just trying to get into the swing of things here in the arctic.” Ð Jon Kelly is looking forward to getting settled in Austin, TX where he has some design work lined up. Ð Renee LaGue is living in DC and has an Americorps fellowship with the National Park Service. She is still keeping an eye out for a design job. Ð Sierra McCartney works for White Cloud Design, a landscape design firm in Whitefish, MT, that covers residential design, land-use planning, and community projects. Sierra is also working on a housing development project that will ideally provide low-income housing in a pedestrian-friendly, community-centered neighborhood. Ð Amy Nyman has been busy volunteering with Broad Meadow Brook Sanctuary in Worcester, MA; bookkeeping at a gourmet foods business; attending conferences; and establishing her own business. Amy was a presenter at the Massachusetts Sustainable Communities and Campuses conferences in April. Ð Jessica Orkin is the field operations coordinator for Finger Lakes ReUse in Ithaca, NY. In her free time, Jessica is preparing for a sprint triathlon and taking Natural Leaders Initiative training. Ð Beth Schermerhorn creates professional development trainings for extension agents, farmers, and community organizations in Virginia. She is also the project coordinator for Harrisonburg EATs, a food system assessment and planning project. Ð Kim Smith is enjoying the diversity of her work with the Windham Regional Commission

Notes from former faculty and staff:

Ð Jean Akers works as a private consultant with Conservation Technix, assisting communities in the Pacific Northwest with open-space planning, urban-forestry management, master planning, and public park design. Jean reports that her “. . . biggest news concerns my future status as a grandparent with one baby due in late June and another in mid-September!” Ð Nancy Braxton reports, “I continue to work happily as the director of the Chesterfield Council on Aging, where we attempt to bring a felicitous array of fitness, educational, and musical programs to 322 seniors, as well as develop a broader community focus by partnering with the local elementary school, daycare center, and Goshen COA. I brought in the Conway School to prepare a terrific suitability study (Rachel Edwards ’13 and Amy Nyman ’13) for 100+/- acres of town center land, which has enabled us to site the housing units and consider design options outlined by the team. In May, I’ll be heading to Colorado for an exhibition I arranged as the coordinator

Conway alums and friends gathered in California last fall, front, left to right, Bill Halleck ’86, Emily Lubahn ’11, Susan Rosenberg ’95; back, Tom Smith, Francisco Villa, Cynthia Tanyan ’95, Jesse Froehlich ’08, Paul Hellmund.

36 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design

Former Professor of Landscape Design and Graphics Jean Akers at the end of the West Highland Way, a long distance walk in Scotland that she hiked last September Ð Former director Walt Cudnohufsky with his wife Susan Ð Former director Don Walker ’79 and Sue Reed ’87 lead a “pipeline dragon” parade across the Amherst, MA, town common, cheering “Leave the tar sands in the soil! We don’t want your dirty oil!!”

of a local Buddhist art project. Meantime, with six grandchildren ages 6–16, I try to keep au courant! I miss my Conway family and send best wishes to all.”Ð Walt Cudnohufsky remains active with Walter Cudnohufsky Associates Inc. Three Conway alums, Chuck Schnell ’01, Kirsten Baringer ’04, and Mollie Babize ’84 work in the firm. He reports, “We are fortunate to have a number of larger residential, institutional master planning, and streetscape projects to keep us occupied.” In keeping with his often recommended adage—find multiple ways to practice and express your personal creativity and do not rely solely on landscape design—Walt began watercolor painting in his 50s, singing in his 60s and doing activism and other writing in his 70s. Daughter-inlaw Rachel Gibson and he will do a May workshop at Rowe Camp and Conference Center on music and art for grandparents and grandchildren. Getting GMOs labeled in our food supply and stopping the devastating spread of industrial wind have been two of his focuses for writing and activism along with personally reflective nature writing. “Grandchildren, canoeing, dancing, gardening, and life fill up the remaining corners of a most rewarding and fortunate life,” he adds. “Communication from Conway graduates is always welcomed.”~

Annual Report Fiscal year 2013

A New Growing Season


Thanks to your loyal support and gener-

alums are our

ous gifts, Conway is blooming. I’ve been

greatest support,


wonderfully energized by the enormous

both in numbers

response to the Sustainable Communities

and sizes of gifts.

Initiative and my first annual fund autumn

At left, the leaves

appeal. So many gifts; so many stories.

represent the

It began last summer with a challenge

enormous shift

gift that was quickly matched to fund my

in giving that has

position as director of advancement and

already occurred

strategic initiatives. That seed germinated

since the 2013 fiscal year. In one year,

quickly. Shortly thereafter, an alum gave

from 2013 to 2014, restricted giving has

a gift of $90,000 with a promise of more

grown almost six-fold. Let’s continue

to come. Another offered to give $12,500

to break records and grow the annual

if a particular classmate matched it, and

fund and the Sustainable Communities

the classmate did. A trustee offered to

Initiative in 2015.



In fiscal year 2013, Conway’s annual fund goal ($70,000) was nearly twice the size of overall restricted giving.



Thanks to generous donors, by the third quarter of fiscal year 2014, restricted gifts had already grown to nearly two and a half times the size of the annual fund goal.

host an event in suburban Boston to

We thank you for your support and

introduce neighbors and colleagues to

are so excited about Conway’s bright and

the Conway School. A loyal supporter has

exciting future. Our small school is having

designated the school as the beneficiary

a big impact on the planet. The preced-

of his IRA. Equally remarkable, a recent

ing articles in this issue of con’text reveal

alum participated in an online giving

alums and students alike are providing

appeal, called Valley Gives Day, even

ingenious solutions to some of the world’s

though she has gone on to a second

most pressing problems.

and costlier graduate program. The

Keep Conway blooming!

ingenuity, camaraderie, stewardship, and loyalty alums and friends practice out in

Most appreciatively,

their fields have returned to Conway in

800k 100k

this generous bounty harvested within just a few short months. This generosity underscores what I already knew about Conway: it thrives on the support of a


loyal and dedicated community. The annual report documents the enormous growth that is already happen-

In 2015, help us significantly grow the annual fund and the Sustainable Communities Initiative simultaneously.

ing. With several months remaining in the 2014 fiscal year, the types of supporters, the size of gifts, the kinds of gifts, and the patterns of giving have broken records.


The two pie charts on page 39 show that

“Generosity is the flower of justice.” —NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE

//2014// con'text 37

/ A N N UA L R EP O RT /

We are pleased to recognize donors who made gifts totaling $104,594 in support of the school by way of gifts to the Annual Fund, Student Grants Fund, fortieth anniversary celebration, David Bird International Service Fellowship, and Sustainable Communities Initiative. Your support is critical to our continued success, and your generosity ensures that we can continue to prepare graduates to make important contributions to landscape planning and design, across scales and around the world. The 2013 Annual Report includes gifts made to the Conway School from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. We make every attempt to ensure its accuracy and ask you to bring any errors or omissions to our attention. Contact Nina Antonetti, Director of Advancement + Strategic Initiatives, at (413) 369-4044 ext. 3 or antonetti@csld.edu.

DONORS TO THE 2012–2013 ANNUAL FUND Betsy Abert ’87 Kevin Wayne Adams ’08 Anonymous Anonymous Anonymous Mitch Anthony George S. Anzuoni, in memory of Helen C. Anzuoni ’88 Matthew Arnsberger ’98 Henry Warren Art Elizabeth Rousek Ayers ’01 Jeanne Azarovitz ’96 Mary Quigley & Mollie Babize ’84 Gary Bachman ’84 John S. Barclay Hatha Gable Bartlett ’99 Rachel Bechhoefer ’09 Rachel Bird Anderson Charles Sumner Bird Charitable Foundation Terry Blanchard Ken Botnick ’79 J. M. Bouwkamp Terrence Boyle Nancy Braxton Joey Brode Tim Brooks ’87 Larissa Brown ’94 Richard K. Brown & Anita Loose Brown David Buchanan ’00 Ralph A. Caputo Melissa K. Carll ’11 Michael Cavanagh ’02 Madeleine Charney ’03 Josh & Tracey Clague ’04 Arthur Collings ’95 Arthur Collins II ’79 Kathleen Connolly ’10 & Paul Connolly, in honor of Ken Byrne Jill Ker Conway Carla Manene Cooke ’92, in honor of Class of 2013 Emma Cooke ’06 Glenn Cooper ’78 Clémence Corriveau ’02 James Cowen ’95 David Cox ’76 Miyaca Dawn Coyote Phyllis Croce ’83 Walter Cudnohufsky

Kerri Culhane ’10 Candace Currie ’97 Janet Curtis ’00 Katherine Dana ’07 Robert Dashevsky ’79 Judith Doll-Foley ’13 Abbie Duchon ’93 Freda Eisenberg ’94 Donna Eldridge ’86 & Bob Cleaver Marlene J. Eldridge Jon & Barbara Elkow Jonathon Ellison ’94 Paul G. Esswein ’99 D. H. Eunson Jr. ’93 Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund Cynthia Fine ’09 Patricia Finley ’90 June E. Fitzgerald Marya Fowler & the Mary A. & Thomas F. Grasselli Endowment Foundation Jesse Froehlich ’08 Kathleen Godley, in honor of Kate Cairoli ’13 Nathaniel M. Goodhue ’91 Sharyl Green ’80 Asheley Griffith & Marcia Curtis William Halleck ’86 John Hamilton ’82 James S. Hardigg Nancy Hazard Carl Heide ’00 Paul & Joan Cawood Hellmund Brian Higgins ’98 Lupin Hill Hipp ’04 David Holden ’76 Pamela Hurtado ’08 Erik Johnson ’09 Annice Kenan ’97 & Jesse Smith Betty P. Kenan Cynthia Knauf ’89 David & Kathleen Hogan Knisely ’76 Claudia Kopkowski ’88 Gioia Kuss ’99 Karen Lamson ’01 Edward Landau ’90 Barbara B. & Nicholas T. Lasoff ’05 Bill Lattrell Linda Leduc ’05

Jay Levine ’01 Jay Lichtenstein ’87 David Lynch ’85 Barbara Mackey ’88 Carrie Makover ’86 Christopher & Cordelia Manis, in honor of Katrina Manis ’12 Michele & Mike Marotta Ann Georgia McCaffray ’78 Tom McCarthy Tim McClaran ’84 Kathleen McCormick ’08 Zach Mermel ’11 H. Rennyson Merritt ’80 & Janet Taft The Reverend Canon & Mrs. Robert J. Miner Peter Monro ’86 William Montgomery ’91 & Melody Montgomery Andrea Morgante ’76 Darrel G. Morrison Glenn Motzkin James C. Mourkas Melissa Mourkas ’94 Adam & Priscilla Novitt ’07 John O'Keefe Carla Oleska Sheila Finn Page ’96 Tehmi & Nitin Patel Darlene & Mark Peters Martha D. Petersen ’94 Robert Plourde ’97 Barbara Popolow ’97 Janet Powers ’90 Robert Pura Sue Reed ’87 Walter E. Reynolds Alan D. Rice Christopher I. Rice ’95 William Richter ’77 & Sally Richter Laura Rissolo ’11 & Jason Rissolo River Valley Market Gary Robinson ’76 & Amy Whitney Dolores Root Keith Ross & Louise Dowd Allen & Selina Rossiter Clarissa Rowe ’74 Joel Russell Pamela & David Sand

38 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design

Barbara Delaney Sargent ’79 & Tom Sargent ’79 Sheafe Satterthwaite Aaron Schlechter ’01 Charles M. Schnell ’01 Kathleen A. Schreiber ’80 Barbara Scott Gordon H. Shaw ’89 Angela Sisson ’04 Robert Small ’93 Dorothy Smith Richard Snyder, Esq. Bruce Stedman ’78 Frances L. & E. Stevenson, Jr. Mrs. Richard D. Sullivan Tom Sullivan ’08 Virginia Sullivan ’86 Robert E. Swain Cindy Tavernise ’99 Richard W. Thomas ’73 Michael Thornton ’86 Kate Tompkins ’11 Tim & Linda Umbach Mrs. M.E. Van Buren Peter Van Buren ’82 & Susan Van Buren ’82 Donald L. Walker, Jr. ’79 & Ruth Parnall George Watkins ’77 Jenna Webster ’09 Peg Weiss ’79 & Frederick Weiss Judith & Robert Wilkinson Seth Wilkinson ’99 Wynne Wirth ’98 David & Betsy Zahniser Laurence W. Zuelke Gifts-in-Kind Cynthia Boettner ’86 Harry Dodson Robert Floyd Greenfield Savings Bank Ian Hodgdon ’06 Nicholas Lasoff ’05 John C. Lepore ’11 Michele & Mike Marotta Jonathan Tauer Janna Thompson ’06 Seth Wilkinson ’99 Elaine R. Williamson ’11 Judith Wilson ’03



DONORS TO THE FY13 ANNUAL FUND % of donors by type

Student Grants Fund Susanna Adams ’78 James Allison ’04 Anonymous Charles & Lisa Arnold ’01 Mary Quigley & Mollie Babize ’84 Nancy Braxton Joey Brode Ken Byrne Melissa Carll ’11 Jennifer & Joshua Chenoweth ’06 Jonathan Cooper ’09 and Kate Gehron ’09 Anya Darrow ’99 Nat Goodhue ’91 Nancy Hazard Pamela Hurtado ’08 John E. Jackson Genevieve Lawlor ’11 Ahron Lerman ’11 Heather McCargo ’84 Zach Mermel ’11 The Reverend Canon & Mrs. Robert J. Miner J. Peter Monro ’86 David Nordstrom ’04 Tehmi & Nitin Patel Janet Powers ’90 Laura Rissolo ’11 & Jason Rissolo Susan Rosenberg ’95 Robert Small ’93 Dorothy Smith Catherine Snyder ’10 Cindy Tavernise ’99 Sean Walsh ’11 Julie Welch ’11 Seth Wilkinson ’99 Michael Yoken ’10 David & Betsy Zahniser Sustainable Communities Initiative Rachel Bird Anderson Katherine Gillespie Priscilla Gay Gillespie Emily Hartz Monica Haviland Paul & Joan Cawood Hellmund Joshua Hilsdon Tom Jandernoa ’10 Jed Leslie Ann Ottaviano Kenneth Peterson Seth Procter Martha Ramsey

Eric Rosewall Kimberly Smith ’13 Laura Stamas Alan & Debbie Steckler Robert Stevens Town of Wilmington Greg Worden David Bird International Service Fellowship Charles Sumner Bird Charitable Foundation Dorothea Piranian 40th Anniversary Anonymous Michele LoGrande Bongiorno ’96 Harry Dodson Julius Fabos Marcia Fischer ’96 June E. Fitzgerald Andrew Franch ’96 Franklin Community Co-op/ GreenFields & McCusker’s Markets Alex Hoffmeier ’09 & Sarah Hoffmeier ’09 Steve Jones Peoples Bank Julia Plumb ’96 River Valley Market Cindy Tavernise ’99 Seth Wilkinson ’99 Matching Gifts Nordson Corporation Matching Gifts Program 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. Anonymous Jennifer Allcock ’89 Richard K. Brown Susan Crimmins ’97 William Gundermann Paul & Joan Cawood Hellmund Carrie Makover ’86

Friends 29%

Trustees 8%

Alums 63%

Alums are our greatest resource.

GIFTS TO THE FY13 ANNUAL FUND % of total given by donor type

Friends 20%

Trustees 24% Alums 56%

Loyal supporters are as important to Conway as leadership-level donors.


All alums

17% of alums donated to the FY13 annual fund.

Support the Conway School The Conway approach has never been more relevant and needed than it is today. Learn more at csld.edu/give.

GO GREEN! Join the circle of alums who participate.

//2014// con’text 39

/ A N N UA L R EP O RT /

STATEMENT OF ACTIVITIES FOR THE YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 2013 (with comparative totals for June 30, 2012)

Summary of Operations The school ended the fiscal year

FY 2013

FY 2012


Temp. Restricted



Cash and cash equivalents





Accounts receivable








Property and equipment, net








$16,000 was accomplished without

Other assets




increasing tuition and while providing

Total Assets







Mortgage note payable, long term portion




Total Liabilities







with an increase in net assets for the eighth time in the last ten years. The fiscal year 2013 increase of

Prepaid expenses


$25,000 in need-based grants and a Sustainable Communities Initiative fellowship. Revenue was up across the board with a nearly 20% increase in total contributions from $95,000 in FY2012 to $112,000, an 11% increase

LIABILITIES Current liabilities

in project reimbursements from $74,000 to $82,000, and an increase in investment revenue of 12%. The


school continues to practice a con-

Unrestricted Board designated

servative investment strategy with a





portfolio made up of money markets,

Total unrestricted net assets




certificates of deposit, corporate bonds, and mutual funds (including socially screened). Donations received from alums and friends of

Temporarily restricted




Total Net Assets












Total Liabilities + Net Assets

the school and proceeds from ticket sales covered the cost of the fortieth anniversary reunion event held in September of 2012. We would like to thank all who continue to keep the Conway School

REVENUES, GAINS, AND OTHER SUPPORTS Contributions In-kind contributions Tuition and fees








financially sustainable through their

Project reimbursement




generous contributions.

Alumni reunion event




Investment income







Miscellaneous income Net assets released from restrictions Total Revenues, Gains, and other Support

15,780 772,599

(15,780) 19,872



Program Services: School activities




Supporting Activities: Administration Fundraising

210,111 85,197

210,111 85,197

172,641 63,867

Total Expenses









Loss on disposal of equipment Total Expenses + Losses Changes in Net Assets






Net Assets at beginning of year





Net Assets at end of year





40 The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design

“The Conway School means a lot to me. Its graduates are experts at understanding human desires and finding the way to express them in ecologically sound design.” —DR. JILL KER CONWAY

In July 2013, President Barack Obama called Jill “a trailblazing academic” when she was awarded the National Humanities Medal at the White House. One month earlier, the author and retired president of Smith College received the Companion of the Order of Australia. Jill is a steadfast supporter and promoter of the Conway School and its mission. She is not only a regular donor to the school’s annual

fund, but she also provides loyal mentoring and friendship. The events she has hosted on the school’s behalf in Conway and Boston have raised the school’s profile and increased its network of friends.



//2014// con'text 41


Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design

ConwaySchool 332 South Deerfield Road, PO Box 179 Conway, MA 01341 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

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Profile for The Conway School

Con'text Magazine Spring 2014  

Magazine of The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design

Con'text Magazine Spring 2014  

Magazine of The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning + Design