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Design with Legacy Ecologies

“Conserving the Common Ground: Landscape Ethics and the Art of Observation� | Rick Darke, p. 9

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Conway School of Landscape Design Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning & Design

Conway School of Landscape Design Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning & Design

The mission of the Conway School of Landscape

Facts in Brief Founded in 1972 Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning & Design Ten months (September through June) of applied study in an integrated format. Core instruction relates directly to term-long projects.

Emphasis. Ecologically and socially

sustainable design of the land, integrated communication skills, individual educational goals, learning through real projects with real clients.

Size. 18–19 graduate students. Core Faculty. Seasoned professionals,

trained in landscape architecture, planning, architecture, permaculture, and regenerative design. Master teachers, adjuncts and over 50 guest speakers each year bring additional depth.

Degree Granted. Master of Arts

Design is to explore, develop, practice, and teach design of the land that is ecologically and socially sustainable. The intention is to: ■■ provide graduates with the basic knowledge and skills necessary to practice planning, design, and management of the land that respects nature as well as humanity ■■ develop ecological awareness, understanding, respect, and accommodation in our students and project clients ■■ produce projects that fit human use to natural conditions. The school’s mission guides decision-making at every level: who is hired, what projects are undertaken, how courses are structured, and what offices and sites are visited on field trips. While the program is thoroughly based on ecological knowledge and practices, Conway’s educational focus is on design of the land rather than environmental science.

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Winter 2010

School News.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 David Bird International Service Fellowship.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

in Landscape Design, authorized by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education.

Celebrations of Conway’s Fortieth Anniversary.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Accreditation. New England

Upcoming Publication.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.

Location. Scenic western Massachusetts near the academic, cultural, and natural resources of the Five Colleges and the Connecticut River Valley. One hour from Bradley International Airport, Hartford, Connecticut.

Campus. 34.5 acres of wooded hilltop located one-half mile east of Conway town center.

Facility. 5,600 square feet with four

wood stoves and passive solar design, spacious design studios with individual drafting stations, library, classroom, design/print area, and kitchen. The Conway School of Landscape Design, Inc., a Massachusetts nonprofit 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 schooladministered program.

Cover photograph: Rick Darke (used with permission), “Conserving the Common Ground: Landscape Ethics and the Art of Observation,” p. 9

Career Resources.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Where Are They Now: An Alum’s Story. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 by Gove DePuy ’02

Report from Recipient of 2008 Cudnohufsky/Walker Fellowship. . . 8 by Kathleen McCormick ’08

Observing, Inquiring, Reinventing: Highlights from Graduation 2009. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Exploring the Edges of Planning and Design: Research by Conway Students.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Answering Tough Questions: Students’ Projects 2008–2009.. . . . . »»Design Lessons: Designing with the Deaf.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . »»A Thousand-Resident Condo Complex in Western Massachusetts.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . »»Green Burial at Mount Auburn Cemetery. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . »»Making Walden Safe and Sustainable. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . »»Other Community Projects.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

19 21 22 24 26 28

News from Alums.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Annual Report. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Letter from Chair.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IBC

From the Director STAFF Faculty

Continuity and Change

Paul Cawood Hellmund Ken Byrne Humanities/Core Faculty

Kim Erslev Landscape Design & Graphics/Core Faculty

Jono Neiger Regenerative Design/ Core Faculty

Mollie Babize Planning Adjunct (Winter term)

Reid Bertone-Johnson Digital Design Adjunct

Bill Lattrell Ecology Adjunct

Marrin Robinson Drawing Adjunct


Nancy E. Braxton Director of Admissions

Kim Klein Director of Development & Alumni Services

David Nordstrom Associate Director

Past Directors

Walter Cudnohufsky Founder, Director (1972–1992)

Donald Walker Director (1992–2005)

Conway School of Landscape Design 332 S. Deerfield Road PO Box 179 Conway, MA 01341-0179 (413) 369-4044 www.csld.edu

con’text is published by the Conway School of Landscape Design, ©2010 by Conway School of Landscape Design, Inc. All rights reserved.

Nicholas T. Lasoff Editor

Terry Blanchard Graphic Design

Nancy E. Braxton Ken Byrne Katharine Gehron Paul Cawood Hellmund Kim Klein Nicholas T. Lasoff Priscilla Novitt David Nordstrom Contributing writers

A group of Conway alums (here for a class reunion) and I were walking through the school’s studios when one alumna spontaneously volunteered, “It smells the same! This smells the same as the old school.” I was puzzled for a moment. What exactly did she mean? How could this be? How could a new building with new drafting tables in a new locale have the same smell she had known as a student, thirty years earlier? Then I got it. She had sensed in a fundamental way that Conway was the same school she had experienced decades ago. Just before walking around the school, the grads had told me about their time at Conway, and I shared with them the nature of the teaching today. As we walked about, the alumna had smelled the familiar; her sense of Conway was still intact, even after more than three decades and as many directors. This is a source of great comfort and pride to Conway’s current teachers and staff: that upon learning about the school today graduates can still recognize important, positive aspects of their own educations. It smells the same here, despite the changes in locale and personnel. The staff and I have had long conversations with Conway’s first two directors— Walter Cudnohufsky and Donald Walker—about teaching methods and philosophy, and we have quizzed each alum we’ve met about her or his experience. Here are the things we’ve started to conclude are central to a Conway education, in the framework of working on real projects for real clients. We’ve taken to calling these the big four: ■■Take a whole-systems approach to design, considering every project in its context of space and time. ■■Apply a rigorous process to discover important design influences and to get beyond the designer’s personal preferences and let the land “speak.” ■■Communicate ideas thoroughly, through drawings and the spoken and written word, to reach people in ways they can understand. ■■Collaborate with clients, other professionals, and the public—especially the public that might otherwise be voiceless because disenfranchised—because design problems are too complex to design alone or solely from one’s own reservoir of ideas. Do these four “smell familiar” to you? Drop me a letter or an email and let me know. We think you will enjoy this issue of con’text. In his commencement address (see p. 9), Rick Darke encourages Conway’s graduates to be respectful and open when observing regional landscapes and legacy ecologies—to do so without dogma. You will also find that attitude reflected in our students’ writing and projects, featured on pages 16–28, as they suggest solutions to timely problems and questions of landscape design. We are particularly pleased with the expanding international opportunities that are coming to the school, including the 2010–2011 Bird Service Fellowship to Bali, Indonesia (see p. 3). We hope you will read and comment on the draft manuscript of the book being developed for our school’s fortieth anniversary. See page 4 to learn about it and how to download or order a copy of it. As always we would be very pleased to have you visit the school or contact any of us with questions or suggestions.


Paul Cawood Hellmund hellmund@csld.edu

David Brooks Andrews

Director & President

School News Faculty & Staff

Pamela White Sand

Reid Bertone-Johnson, an associate landscape architect at Dodson Associates in Ashfield, Massachusetts, and a member of the Landscape Studies faculty at Smith College, joined Conway’s adjunct faculty this fall teaching graphic communication and digital design. Reid’s research and professional interests include the landscape designs and planning of Warren H. Manning (1860–1938) and the integration of technological tools including GIS, AutoCAD, and 3D modeling into the design process. He works on projects ranging from regional viewshed analyses of historically sensitive areas and newly proposed wind farms to historic preservation of towns, village centers, and cultural landscapes. Reid was also a science teacher at Amherst (Mass.) Regional High School for five years, during which time he taught earth science, environmental science, and a wilderness survival course. He holds a BS in Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies from Tufts University, an Ed.M. in Teaching and Learning from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and an MLA from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Many thanks to Dr. Dana Tomlin of the University of Pennsylvania, world-renowned expert in geographic information systems, for teaching an introductory GIS workshop at Conway for the last three years and for serving as an invaluable online resource to students and faculty during a critical period.

Family and friends of David Bird

Don Walker, director of the school from 1992 to 2005, presented a posthumous degree for David Bird to family members, including David’s widow Jeanne Bird, his daughter Rachel Bird Anderson, and his son Marten Bird. David Bird’s uncommonly generous and inventive vision demonstrated to the Conway community a dedication to sustainable environmental design and the creation of vital communities in this country and internationally. The first two David Bird International Service Fellowships were also awarded at the graduation ceremony. See more, including an announcement of the 2010–2011 David Bird International Service Fellowship, on page 3. Others awarded honorary degrees in 2009 were Richard T. T. Forman, Professor of Landscape Ecology, Harvard University, and Will Raap, Founder, Gardener’s Supply and the Intervale Foundation (see con’text, spring 2009). Conway’s Alums and Critics Aid Accreditation Review

Campus Two Receive Honorary Degrees from Conway

During the 2009 graduation ceremony, the Board of Trustees of the Conway School of Landscape Design recognized two longtime friends of the school with honorary degrees in sustainable landscape planning and design. Following his graduation address, landscape designer and photographer Rick Darke received his honorary degree from vice chair of the board Rick Brown. Rick Darke’s engaging, lively, and incisive presentation of images and ideas, along with his broad vision for livable landscapes, inspire celebration and protection of cultural landscapes and local ecologies. See page 9 for Rick’s keynote address. Rick Darke and Rick Brown

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Pamela White Sand

Courtesy photo

Reid Bertone-Johnson Teaching Graphic Communication and Digital Design

Thanks to each alum who completed the fall 2009 questionnaire in support of our school’s accreditation. Every five years, the Conway School has a review of its accreditation; every other such review is a major review. Our major review comes up in 2014; this year we undertake a five-year review. Since 1989, the Conway School has received full accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) through NEASC’s Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The school achieves accreditation by demonstrating that it meets the commission’s standards. Prepared by Admissions Director Nancy Braxton in consultation with faculty and staff, the five-year self-study report is due to be reviewed and voted upon by Conway’s board of trustees prior to March 1, 2010. Among the tools the school is using to gather supporting information for the report are two surveys. The survey of alums, which all graduates received last fall, gives the school better data on graduates’ professional work and continuing education. Among other things, graduates mentioned: n “The whole planning, design, and conceptual process that we learned at Conway has been extremely beneficial to me throughout all aspects of my work life. Also, how to make presentations, write reports, conduct meetings, etc.”

School News

Bali to Be Site of Next David Bird International Service Fellowship

The first two David Bird International Service Fellowships were awarded at graduation in 2009 to Kyle Haley ’09 and Alicia Batista ’07.

n “The

best ten months I invested in my life from a professional and personal standpoint.” n “Conway provided me solid training in design communication, from the proposal phase, through stages of design development, through permitting hearings. In addition to good design education, I have always found this written and oral and graphical communication skill-set to be invaluable, hence a key differentiator for CSLD.” n “Life is a design process. What you learn at Conway is valuable no matter what happens next.” You may be interested to know that many Conway alums are networking through online social websites. Nearly seventy percent of the respondents use Facebook, thirty-two percent are on LinkedIn, and a few are using MySpace and Twitter. Twenty-five percent use none of these. We also surveyed past guest critics of students’ formal project presentations. These provided an additional evaluation of the unique Conway program. Among comments we received from past critics were: n “CSLD

student project work is highly professional, comparable or superior to the work of students from other graduate programs that I have evaluated. In particular, the high quality and professionalism of student presentations are noteworthy, and the quality of presentations has improved over time.”

Pamela White Sand

Bali, Indonesia, will be the destination for Conway’s 2010–2011 David Bird International Service Fellowship. Applications will be accepted until midnight, April 15, 2010 from anyone who received a Conway diploma in the years 2005 through 2010. The fellowship is being made possible with the coordination of Gove DePuy ’02, a resident of Bali. “We couldn’t imagine a better destination for this year’s Bird Fellow than Bali, and Gove DePuy has been exceptionally helpful in making this happen,” said Conway Director Paul Cawood Hellmund. “Specific project details are still being worked out, but there is the prospect of

helping with community-planning aspects of food production, micro-hydropower, biogas, or aspects of ecotourism.” The application process for this second fellowship year is streamlined; there will be changes once the program’s permanent details are worked out. The projects and foreign host for the fellowship have been predetermined again for this year. In the future, Conway hopes to allow applicants to propose their own projects in any developing country. The David Bird Fellow will receive a $5,000 stipend to help fund transportation, housing, food, and project support (this may include materials and in-country personnel). Some of the funds may be used for making payments on student loans or other expenses the fellow would be required to make while living in Bali. Please consult the Conway website for more details: www.csld.edu/whatsnew.htm If you would like to make a contribution to the David Bird International Service Fellowship, please contact Kim Klein, director of development, at (413) 369-4044, ext. 3, or klein@csld.edu.

n “The

program is just as demanding, exhausting and intense as ever, but seems to encourage personal and professional growth more effectively now. The international component greatly enhances the overall experience, and should be expanded if possible.” n “There has been consistent improvement in the past several years in incorporating into design a site’s natural history and ecological processes and an understanding of both spatial and temporal context.” Please watch for an update on this year’s accreditation process on the school website and in the next issue of con’text. Kim Klein, Ken Byrne, and Dave Nordstrom load trash barrels into the new postand-beam storage shed. A partition separates trash and recyclables from tool storage.

Making Conway More Attractive, Efficient, and Sustainable

Conway strives to practice what it teaches. Campus improvements this past year include: buying a rechargeable, cordless lawnmower for keeping students’ activity areas

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School News

Celebrations of Conway’s Fortieth Anniversary Are Coming! In 1972, Walter Cudnohufsky and a band of students gathered in Conway, Massachusetts, to launch the Conway School of Landscape Design. We plan to orchestrate a number of exciting speakers, events, and reunions leading up to a grand celebration on the weekend of graduation in June 2013. Watch for details! As part of the celebration, we will publish a history of the school. Unlike a traditional book, however, you, the readers, are asked to take an active role in shaping it. You can add your stories and even photographs. Comments on any aspect of the book are welcome, from what it should be titled to who might be interested in reading it. By visiting the school website, www.csld.edu/ whatsnew.htm, you can download a review draft of the manuscript for free or purchase an inexpensive printed copy to be mailed to you. Work has been underway on this project since 2006, when award-winning journalist Jane Roy Brown was first asked by Landscape Architecture magazine to write a story about Conway. For that article, Jane and photographer Bill Regan

shadowed the class of 2007 for the entire aca­ demic year. Dramatically expanding on that earlier work, Jane conducted extensive interviews with current and past faculty and students. She paints a vivid picture of a community of committed alumni, students, and faculty working diligently to make a difference in the world through design. The school has come a long way since its founding in 1972. You can email comments and photographs (high resolution) to historybook@csld.edu. You can also support the project financially by going to the school website (www.csld.edu/whatsnew.htm) and making an online donation or by mailing a check to the address below. Hardcopy text and photographs (with subjects and photographers identified) can be mailed to: Conway History, Conway School of Landscape Design, P.O. Box 179, Conway, MA 01431. If you have any questions, please contact Kim Klein, director of development, at (413) 369-4044, ext. 3, or klein@csld.edu.

mowed; painting the library, classroom, kitchen, bathroom, lobby, and studio A; furnishing the library with a sectional sofa donated by Pamela Hurtado ’08 and Alberto Ellena; replacing the aging and unreliable Ford minibus with a 2005 Chevrolet Express van; and outfitting the basement with worm bins to compost kitchen scraps, new shelves for periodicals, and a foosball table.

Bob Engstrom

“Conservation by Design: A Practical Strategy for Preserving Town-Wide Open Space Networks” was the title of an engaging talk given by Conway honorary degree recipient Randall Arendt on November 5, 2009, on behalf of the school in Leominster, Massachusetts. The event, which was co-sponsored with The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR), North County Land Trust, and Leominster Land Trust, was attended by a diverse audience, including the public and Conway alums, students, faculty, and staff. Randall has spent more than thirty years promoting a creative, environmentally responsible approach to land planning. Before the talk, TTOR’s Central Regional Director Dick O’Brien gave a tour of TTOR’s spectacular LEED gold-certified Doyle Conservation Center.

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Kim Klein

Randall Arendt Engages Audience Members of the class of 2010

Welcome, Class of 2010!

From as near as Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, and as far away as Portland, Oregon, the six men and thirteen women of the class of 2010 gathered in September to begin a grand adventure together. Two students have served as Peace Corps volunteers; three are parents; four have dogs; and five have advanced degrees (in fields including journalism, chemical engineering, business, and architectural history). They have a wide range of professional and personal experiences, including co-founding an ecological design nonprofit, researching songbirds in the Grand Canyon, consulting on issues of environmental regulatory compliance, working as a river guide, publishing poems and essays about nature and gardening, running a landscape design and horticultural service business, cheese-making,

School News

Career Resources Are you looking for a job? Are you hiring? Did you just hear about an interesting job that isn’t right for you, but might be great for another alum? Let us know! Share your questions, advice, and resources with an amazing network of people practicing sustainable landscape design and planning—Conway alums—through Conway Career Resources, a virtual home for all things job-related for alums. Since we launched the site in spring 2009, we’ve added over 250 posts (including job and internship listings), which are available at the site or by email. One recent subscriber let us know, “I am quite impressed with the quantity and quality of the listings you’re compiling:

so many different types of jobs and from all over the country.” We hope that as it continues to evolve, it will become an increasingly useful tool for alums to make con-

beekeeping, volunteering with AmeriCorps in the South Bronx, and gardening at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Many members of the class have a strong interest in food production and permaculture design, and in forming connections between communities and the land.

Trustees Board Creates Committee on Trustees

As Conway becomes a more complex institution—with the hiring of a full-time director of development and alumni services, an associate director, responsible for finances, and the creation of an executive committee— the full board of trustees has felt the need to formalize the selection and training of trustees through the newly created committee on trustees. The new committee joins the board’s five other standing committees: academic, executive, development and outreach, finance, and campus planning. The committee on trustees was formed in the spring of 2009 to ensure a process for finding, recruiting, and enlisting new board members who fit the needs of the school, for ensuring that each committee is staffed by the appropriate members, and to plan and orchestrate social events to increase collegiality among members—in short,

nections, share questions and advice, and find interesting opportunities. Sign up for access to Conway Career Resources on the Alumni section of our website.

to help the board function more smoothly in the present and to ensure that in the future several new trustees are appointed each year. The committee on trustees, with the help of Kim Klein, has also published a new trustee handbook, which contains pertinent information for all current and new board members. Members of the committee on trustees are: Ginny Sullivan ’86 (chair), Al Rossiter, and Aaron Schlechter ’01. New Trustees Join Board, Six Reelected

The board of trustees is currently fourteen strong. Two new members were inducted at the October 2009 meeting. Rachel Bird Anderson has worked in international development and public health most of her professional career. Her particular areas of interest are refugee care, food security, and maternal and child health. While living in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa, she has worked for organizations such as the International Organization for Migration and Save the Children. Her professional and personal interest in Latin America will help guide the development of the David Bird International Fellowship, and her fundraising experience is welcomed as she joins the development and outreach committee. She currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband and their young son.

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School News

Upcoming Publication by Conway Alumna Sue Reed ’87 has recently finished writing EnergyWise Landscape Design. Scheduled to be published in March 2010 by New Society Publishers, it presents hundreds of practical ways to design and build landscapes so that they consume less energy. Unlike other energy-efficiency books, EnergyWise Landscape Design focuses on the many opportunities for saving energy in our landscapes, not just our homes, appliances, and vehicles. The book’s suggestions go beyond the benefits of shade and wind-protection, however, and cover topics such as: creating ecosystem gardens that are largely self-maintaining; reducing (or eliminating) lawn; fitting the landscape to the land; designing the car zone for greatest energy-savings; making the most of every landscape element; and situating new homes with energy in mind. The book includes information on generating energy at the small scale of a home landscape. Fully illustrated (in part by Kate Dana, ’07), written in non-technical language and an easy conversational style, Energy-Wise Landscape Design is a resource for both the general public and landscape professionals.

Jonathon Ellison ’94, Ayers Cliff, Province of Quebec, has been designing landscapes of many kinds for over twenty years. His training comes from the McGill School of Architecture and the Conway School of Landscape Design. His projects have been built in North America, England, Portugal, the Caribbean, and South Asia. Some of Jonathon’s work has included the challenges of community-based design, such as his planning work with the Cree First Nation in northern Quebec, and various reconstruction and restoration projects involving children and architecture students in post-Tsunami Sri Lanka. (See con’text, fall 2007 for an account of his experiences there.) He has consulted for the United Nations and several governments and agencies. As an alum, Jonathon is adamant that the school not only taught him about landscapes and ecology, but how to design, period. He feels privileged to share that knowledge and skill with the students he has taught and the clients he has worked with in many countries. We welcome Rachel and Jonathon. Six trustees were reelected at the October 2009 board meeting for a three-year term. Rick Brown has served the school in many capacities since 1998, including as administrative director (1998–2001). Joining the board in 2003 and elected vice-chair in October, Rick serves on

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Brad Johnson, past president of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, offers this advance praise: Sue Reed has done something wonderful in this ambitious first book—she has leaped over the mundane of the “how to” genre to infuse the reader with real awareness and understanding of natural process. While this book is directed at the small property owner, it sends clear messages about principles of tying energy conservation to planning and design that can apply equally to design of communities and regions. As such it should be required reading for anyone concerned with shaping small or large environments. From the book’s conclusion: It’s time for us to imagine a new kind of landscape, one in which beauty is not just a social convention or a glossy magazine image but also an expression of our values. Now in the twenty-first century, we can design, build and care for our landscapes so that in addition to looking good they will also work for our own good and the good of the larger world. Learn more about Sue’s book at www.energywiselandscape.com. It will be available at major booksellers or from the publisher at www.newsociety.com.

the executive and finance committees. Nat Goodhue ’91 specializes in trail design and has worked with Conway to establish a campus-wide trail system that will eventually connect the property to the town center of Conway. He serves on the campus planning committee. Nick Lasoff ’05 has given his time and expertise as the editor of con’text and serves as a member of the academic committee. Aaron Schlechter ’01 is an ecological consultant and has served on the board since 2006. He chairs the campus planning committee. Virginia Sullivan ’86 lends her background in design, development, and communications to the school by serving as the chair of both the development and outreach committee and the committee on trustees, and as a member of the executive committee. Susan Van Buren ’82 continues her work with the campus planning committee on plans to retrofit the building to achieve peak energy efficiency. We thank our returning trustees for their continued support and thoughtful guidance of the school. Thanks to Bill Richter ’77 and Robbin Peach ’78

Trustee and friend William (Bill) Richter ’77 left the board in 2009 after a long and productive relationship

School News

Using Conway Experience in Bali Where Are They Now: An Alum’s Story I loved my Conway experience and have found that it is even more applicable in a less controlled context than the mainstream landscape design world. The “use what you have to get where you want to go” mentality at Conway has led me through more than a few tough design challenges here in Indonesia. Before Conway, I had a BA in English literature Second from left, Gove DePuy on a field visit to a System of Rice Intensification project on Bali from Lewis and Clark College, a bit of handyman experience, a one-year stint as a primary school teacher with special-needs kids, and a total of about Ishwara Environmental Consulting grew out of a eighteen months of travel experience, including a perceived need for competent solutions to the seemsemester in Indonesia with the School for Internaingly innumerable challenges related to building in tional Training. I struggled to devise a way to put Southeast Asia. Development is continuing at an my most cherished experiences traveling to work ever increasing pace here, with or without contowards a more productive “career”—I finally came scious designers. Most developers are actually very up with landscape architect. The next struggle was concerned about environmental impact, but when how to develop that identity. I chose Conway over they look for answers they get a lot of cynicism and some of the larger universities I was accepted to, horror stories about what happens when you stray because it seemed to offer the opportunity to exoff the beaten path. plore “out of the box” solutions. I think the Conway In answer to this need, my partners and I have School’s model for learning to understand and deformed Ishwara as a sort of hub for linking internasign with natural landscapes can serve as a positive tional accreditation schemes (LEED, Green Globe, example for anyone working in design and planning etc.) to local knowledge and services. The interest as well as related fields. so far has been staggering. Since Conway, I have worked for a VermontI am incredibly happy and feel positive doing the based landscape architect doing residential work, work I do now and feel that Conway was a key step set up a seed bank through a grassroots NGO in in getting me here. Indonesia, designed several constructed-wetland “Where Are They Now” is a continuing series of portraits waste-treatment facilities around Southeast Asia, of Conway alums. We invite you to share your experigotten married, had a baby girl, and am now in ence at Conway and beyond. Go to the alumni area of business with a small environmental consulting our website, www.csld.edu/alumnipage.htm and fill in the firm based on Bali and working throughout questionnaire. Or you can send your story to the school through the post office. Southeast Asia.

with the school, beginning with his student days. Bill’s expertise as a landscape architect and planner is evident throughout the Campus Study Plan and in his work leading up to the purchase and renovation of the new property. His in-depth study and thoughtful whole-campus approach will be evident in the future look of the school and the grounds. The board voted unanimously to award Bill a commendation for his many years of service to the school. Bill was given a signed print from Conway Founder Walt Cudnohufsky as a token of appreciation. Robbin Peach ’78 served since 2008 as a member of the development and outreach committee. Robbin brought her background in organizational development,

Courtesy photo

by Gove DePuy ’02

fund creation and private-public partnerships to the school. We thank Bill and Robbin for their service to the school.

Annual Fund Goal $85,500

Give Now

www.csld.edu/donatenow.htm “Education of a lifetime. Personal and professional training that changed the course of my life for the better.” Abbie Duchon ’93

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School News

Report from the Recipient of the 2008 Cudnohufsky/Walker Fellowship Designing an Outdoor Play-Space Linking Distressed Urban Neighborhood Revitalization with Education by Kathleen McCormick ’08

Walk east on High Street through the sparkling Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to see what a five-year, $500 million investment can do for a struggling urban corridor. New, glass-walled buildings, serene restorative gardens, and spacious sidewalks create an appealing home for the region’s top medical institutions. Continue walking east on High Street, cross Michigan Avenue into the neighborhood known as the Fruit Belt, and hit the invisible wall where investment so abruptly stops. Weedy, littered, vacant lots, and boarded up buildings border streets named for fruit trees, planted by the neighborhood’s first German immigrant residents. Imagine children on their way to and from school in this neglected neighborhood. What message do they read in this foreboding, forsaken landscape? You don’t matter. The University at Buffalo Center for Urban Studies’ Community as Classroom program is trying to change that message. This place-based educational initiative links learning with neighborhood redevelopment and place-making activities. In this community classroom, children discover how their academic skills can be used to transform a neglected neighborhood. They learn that they can be powerful agents of change. They learn that they matter. Community as Classroom began in 2002 with a group of seventh and eighth graders. In 2008, the program expanded to include fifth graders, thanks to the Conway School’s Service Fellowship award. The fellowship enabled me to work with a team on designing an outdoor play-space for the neighborhood. Advisers to the Center for Urban Studies want the play-space to become a focal point for children’s activity in the neighborhood, a play area that stimulates active, imaginative play much more than the Fruit Belt’s two conventional playgrounds. These lifeless playgrounds with their stationary play structures on wood chip islands, surrounded by seas of mown grass, are rarely used, except by drug dealers.

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The following excerpt is taken from a longer piece by Kathleen McCormick ’08, available in full on our website at www.csld.edu/whatsnew.htm .

Above: Kathleen McCormick with the design team. Left: A detail from a student’s concept drawing includes a “gladiator wall,” a milk-shake bar, and a tree house.

Children in the Community as Classroom program are students in the Futures Academy, a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade public school in the heart of the Fruit Belt. Like the neighborhood, the student body is predominantly African American (89%) and poor (98% are eligible for free/reduced school lunches). Students recommended for the program are at risk for failing in school, not because they lack ability, but because their teachers sense they are not fully engaged in a traditional classroom setting. How does a neophyte landscape designer lead a design team of ten- and eleven-year-olds with many talents, but no design experience? Conway alum that I am, I knew we had to begin with a thorough site analysis. We spent the majority of our weekly seventy-five-minute sessions during the fall semester analyzing the trees, topology, and soil of the future play-space site. The team was dismayed to find a rocky urban fill with little evidence of the organisms that keep soil healthy. Seeing their concern was one of the most rewarding parts of the fall semester for me, because I interpreted it as a developing sense of environmental — continued on page 18

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Observing, Inquiring, Reinventing At graduation, Conway presented commencement speaker Rick Darke with an honorary degree (see page 2). From an Introduction by Ken Byrne, Core Faculty Rick Darke is a photographer who has photographed the same stretch of the White Clay Creek, near his home in Pennsylvania, for decades, observing it as it daily becomes something else. He is a teacher, a researcher, a horticulturalist— he was on staff at Longwood Gardens for twenty years, ending there as curator of plants. An expert on grasses, an author of award-winning, beautiful books: ■■The American Woodland Garden ■■In Harmony with Nature: Lessons from the Arts and Crafts Garden ■■The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes ■■An expanded edition of William Robinson’s The Wild Garden in present-day ecological context And he is a designer of landscapes, big and small, public and private—from the five-hundred-acre Montgomery Farm in Texas, to college campuses, to the Chicago and Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. He has helped the Delaware Department of Transportation conserve the beauty and diversity of that regional landscape by managing rights-of-way along the roads.

Pamela White Sand

Graduation 2009

Rick grew up in three distinct New Jersey landscapes: on the shore, with its sand roads and swimming creeks, in the hilly big woods in the north, and on the edge of the pine barrens, where he says it was a good place for a high school student to ride a motorcycle. He learned these landscapes palpably, before he understood them—how they functioned, how they were useful, and how they could be models for design. And if you asked him at age nineteen what he really wanted to do, he would have told you, as he told one of his professors: “I want to work on motorcycles, and be outside.” Which in a broad sense is what he is still doing. (He may take this too far though; he reports that he has not taken a shower indoors since February.) He has always been interested in machines and mechanical design, understanding systems by taking them apart, an interest not in conflict with his love of natural landscapes, but an aspect of the same impulse—to be in and understand the world, and work with it to make it better. This is of a piece with his interest in anthropology and cultural geography—understanding the cultural machinery and working to influence human interactions with the land. Which is also a profoundly ethical practice of how we should be in the world, and so another one of Rick’s job titles is landscape ethicist. He is also a long-standing friend of the Conway School. Please welcome him back.

Commencement Speech by Rick Darke

Conserving the Common Ground: Landscape Ethics and the Art of Observation

Rick Darke

Last night my wife Melinda and I went to Shelburne Falls and had dinner looking out over the Bridge of Flowers. That landscape’s very much alive right now. I know from the many Conway people I’ve met on the road over the years that this is a real community, and you Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls, June 26, 2009

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have, in these past ten months, become an integral part of this very special community. Today, I want to offer a few insights on conserving the common ground: landscape ethics and the art of observation. I can’t remember the last time I spoke using notes; I usually speak to images. Have you noticed the light changing behind me while I’ve been speaking? I can’t see it, so I have a few notes, and I’m going to read a few things and say a few things. The mission of this school has uncommon clarity, and you’re lucky for that. You should all know it. Can you all say it in unison, right now? [nervous laughter] “Make a difference by design” is the motto, and the mission is to “explore, develop, and teach the design of the land that is ecologically and socially sustainable.” Professor Jono Neiger and I We can have intimacy were joking about a recent mailing from and expansiveness another institution in the same landscape. that says, basically: “Sustainability— We have to, in fact. we’re so over that. But we think of these We’re on to regenas opposites . . . erative stuff.” We’re in an age of brandIn fact, every work ing that is moving we do ought to be so fast. Sustainability is very real but personal and shared. we do need to keep defining our terms. We need to communicate clearly as we are constantly redefining our communities, redefining ourselves. I want to read you a quote from someone who is known for writing a lot about the human landscape and very little about the landscapes that we’re usually dealing with. See if you can identify this person: “Creativity has much to do with experience, observation, and imagination, and if any one of those key elements is missing, it doesn’t work.” I know you all know this person. [Student: Buckminster Fuller?] That’s right, Bob Dylan. [Laughter.] I believe deeply in an observational ethic. It is the thing that has kept me centered. If you adopt it and live by it, it will keep you

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centered. I’ve been working independently now for almost twelve years, and I rarely do drawings. I communicate almost entirely with words and visuals. That’s my way of talking, and I’m happy with that. The eight-year-olds get it and they will be your clients tomorrow. On the topic of “sustainable,” I was asked, last year, to write something for the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association (PLNA) on sustainability and I said “I will if I don’t have to use the word in the title.” Again, it’s a reaction to branding, not the term. I’ve instead taken to using the term “livable landscapes,” livable meaning all kinds of things. Not just us, but things that are animals, and things that are plants, and things that we can’t even decide on which kingdom they belong to. Instead of “designer,” I’d rather be called a “landscape ethicist.” The PLNA article was a good exercise, because it forced me to put my ethics in writing: to record the values that I think I bring to my own work, whether it’s the garden that Melinda and I have made for ourselves, or landscapes I make with others, for others. So often we are saying, “it’s got to be either this or that”—local or global for example. My approach to sustainable, livable landscapes draws primarily from local things yet is cognizant of global realities. They’re not antithetical. Intimate and expansive. How many of you know Gaston Bachelard’s works? The Poetics of Space? We can have intimacy and expansiveness in the same landscape. We have to, in fact. But we think of these as opposites. Can one landscape be both personal and shared? It better be. In fact, every work we do ought to be personal and shared. Can it be both ecological and cultural? I know Ken Byrne would say “of course.” But we’ve been in this struggle for a while now, that it’s either ecological or it’s cultural. It is probably all cultural, and ecology is one subset, if anything. Every garden that I work on has to be spontaneous and it has to be reliable. These are not opposites. But we sometimes judge them to be. I want to know that when Melinda and I get home to the landscape we left yesterday morning, there will be certain things that I can count on it doing—things that will sustain me in certain ways. Yet, if it doesn’t

surprise me in some way, we’ve failed. Our landscapes have to be both spontaneous and reliable. We sometimes talk about the word sustainable as if it means heading toward stasis; however, the most sustainable things are the most dynamic things. Because sustainability is just about matching resources and consumption. So it’s always changing. The resources that were on this earth when any of us were born are of a different nature and a different quantity than they are now, and will be. So anything that says “got it, done it,” is not going to cut it. It’s all about process and that’s why, again, your mission and the way the school defines your path are really important. I believe it’s getting more difficult to stay connected with some of these ideas because we have this fantastic new medium. And I do love it. But the push and pull—you all know the models? Five years ago, the Web was a pull medium, but now, I don’t know. It still is for me. But you have to take an active role to make sure that it doesn’t turn into a push medium like TV. I haven’t owned a television since 1981, but I still knew who was president for the past eight years. You can stay connected; you have to make choices. Last year we went for a bicycling trip in Vermont and spent a couple of nights at a great place. They make their own cheese, so clearly, if you still believe in the Axis of Evil, this place is on the good side. At breakfast I asked if the eggs were grass-fed. I was teasing, and expected to hear, “There’s no such thing as a grass-fed egg.” Instead, the reply was, “Well, I don’t know, sir, but I’d be happy to ask.” Why would somebody say that? Because they know that “grass-fed” is a term that’s on the good side of the ledger. It’s like “organic,” it’s like “sustainable.” It’s like “natural.” Remember “natural”? So our server didn’t stop and think, “Wait a minute, there’s no such thing as grass-fed eggs. This guy is pulling my leg.” She didn’t even think about the term. We can’t allow that to happen in our work. We can’t allow that kind of creeping normalcy, since you are then not practicing the most important part of any science—inquiry. You have to be confident to inquire. Do it politely, do it with humor, but inquire. Don’t take things for granted. How many of you know John Stilgoe’s Outside

Rick Darke

Graduation 2009

Lies Magic? It’s a great book, and when talking about an observational ethic, I often return to it. This is from chapter one, “Beginnings”: Get out now. Not just outside, but beyond the trap of the programmed electronic age so gently closing around so many people. . . . Go outside, move deliberately, then relax, slow down, look around. Do not jog. Do not run. Forget about blood pressure and arthritis, cardiovascular rejuvenation and weight reduction. Instead pay attention to everything that abuts the rural road, the city street, the suburban boulevard. Walk. Stroll. Saunter. Ride a bike, and coast along a lot. Explore. Where’s that word, “explore”? It’s in the Conway mission. How do you do it? I could certainly check on the world with the device in my pocket but I’m not answering emails on this trip. Technology speeds everything up, and that’s wonderful in some ways, but if life is only so long you’re going to have only so much time. I figure that if one thing is speeding up, I’d better find some way to slow some other stuff down. I think that’s what Stilgoe is talking about. If you’ve got a really good observational ethic, as you become more efficient, more connected in certain ways, you increasingly need to find ways to slow down. Because you will not see certain things, at certain speeds. You may know my book, The American Woodland Garden. I started working at Longwood Gardens in the 1970s when I was fresh out of school. It was an easy choice: Longwood Gardens or Lawn Doctor. Longwood was a great and wonderful twenty years and I learned a lot. When I began at Longwood, you couldn’t do what you can do there now—walk through endless meadows, get

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Graduation 2009

up in a tree house and look at a wood, or walk through a garden devoted to the Piedmont flora. These are all things that have happened in recent years, and couldn’t have happened the decade before they did. Longwood at that time wasn’t teaching me about what I wanted to do, which was to make a locally-inspired garden. So I thought, all right, I’ve studied design and botany and ecology, but I need to go back to the primary source. I picked seven local places and decided to take as many photographs as I could of these during the year. Multiple times a day, if possible. Six of those places were closest to my house along the White Clay; the seventh was the most distant, along the Red Clay Creek. At the end of the year I had no more than fifteen photographs of the six places closest to me, but I had more than five hundred photographs of the one most distant. Why? There’s a perfectly logical reason for it: The one most distant was the only one on my way to work. What this taught me is that no matter how beautiful or wondrous places that you travel to are, they’re not going to influence you as much and you can’t learn as much from There is a world them as that place that is out there, ripe right off your doorstep, right off the bathroom window. It for observation. gets back to the idea of common places. I love to travel, I know you love to travel, and there are a lot of great places in this world that can inform you and inspire you and intrigue you. But our biggest challenge is learning to work with the common ground. That is the biggest challenge. That common ground; it’s right there. The skill sets that we need to develop can seem hard to define. I’ve been guest lecturing for a “Plants and Human Culture” course at the University of Delaware for three years now, and we’ve been doing some interesting exercises. The course fulfills a science requirement for non-majors, so we get all sorts. For one of the classes we took the class out and said, “OK, here’s the charge: we’re going to walk from the campus into the White Clay Creek Preserve, and all you have to do is tell me when you see plants that you are pretty sure

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nobody planted.” It proved to be a great exercise in observation, and the way it stimulated discussion was wonderful. Another exercise started off with a photograph of patterns reflected on the surface of the creek. People are hooked by the image because it’s pretty, and it’s colorful. But it’s indecipherable, because there’s just a ripple on the water. The next shot is raised, showing a distant view of the old Pomeroy Railroad crossing of the White Clay Creek, now reduced to pillars that have had no train across them in nearly a century. My question to the group is: Which way is the water flowing? And: You can’t use a change in grade to base your answer because that’s too easy. I got the answer I was looking for from a marketing major. She said, “Well, there are trees growing on the far side of the pillars, and I think the current must be flowing in that direction because they probably never could’ve gotten a toe-hold in front of the pillars.” Here’s somebody not trained, but she’s just using common sense to observe, “OK, there’s habitat on the far side of the pillars to nurture a new tree and there is none in front.” This lesson in dynamics could be put into a management ethic or a design ethic. We need to learn how to observe, articulate, strategize, and implement. And there is a world out there, ripe for observation. William Robinson wrote a book called The Wild Garden in 1870. I’m working with Timber Press to put it back in print, this autumn, enveloping it in a new book that places Robinson in a modern ecological context. Robinson said the wild garden is about bringing wild things into the garden—and has nothing to do with the old idea of wilderness. More than a century later, we still confuse wildness and wilderness, and I believe that confusion often clouds our vision of what is truly ecological and what is truly sustainable. How many of you know William Cronon’s “The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature”? It’s a wonderful essay. In recent centuries, wilderness has evolved from a fierce and dangerously wild place to be conquered into a mythical realm where the last, best things survive. That’s what I was taught, but it’s really not a good idea if it always takes us away to places outside of our common realm. If we are designers—well,

what’s design about? So often, it’s about control. Conway’s website says design is too often about imposing form instead of reading form and subtly intervening in form. I think we need to be inviting a lot more wildness into our designs and that doesn’t mean restoring to wilderness; it means allowing for a flow to occur with our permission. That’s very rarely a part of the current design model, but should be. Henry David Thoreau—his take on the increasingly populated late eighteenth-century New England environment? Here’s a quote from his journal: “Is it not a maimed and imperfect nature that I am conversant with?” This guy is depressed. I read Thoreau and I like him. But what is he saying here? “It’s over. We’re here too late.” Not true. You can’t believe that. If you’re embarking on your careers now, you’ve got to have faith that this is one great world and you can make a difference, but it’s going to take new skills, new observations to do that. If—and I prefer Emerson—if I read from Emerson’s “The Poet,” written in 1844, think about Shelburne Falls: Readers of poetry see the factory-village and the railway, and fancy that the poetry of the landscape is broken up by these; for these works of art are not yet consecrated in their reading; but the poet sees them fall within the great Order not less than the beehive or the spider’s geometrical web. Nature adopts them very fast into her vital circles, and the gliding train of cars she loves like her own. Emerson, lo and behold, was a modernist. I don’t know who wrote this: “There’s no such thing as trash, only the failure of the imagination.” Back to quoting people you know and probably can’t name until I tell you: I stood unwound beneath the skies And clouds unbound by laws. The cryin’ rain like a trumpet sang And asked for no applause. [Refrain] The last leaves fell from the trees And clung to a new love’s breast. The branches bare like a banjo moan To the winds that listened best.

Rick Darke

Graduation 2009

White Clay Creek, Delaware, from a 1938 Chevrolet pickup

......................... [Refrain:] Lay down your weary tune, Lay down that song you strum, And rest yourself ’neath the strength of strings No voice can hope to hum. Dylan again. It’s probably his only song that’s entirely devoted to the observation of the landscape. But what’s he saying? “Lay down your weary tune.” Reinvent yourself. Look, constantly. Don’t get on a tack and say “This is the truth.” You may know what is ethical but your perception of truth will change as your knowledge base changes. Have the strength to continually modify and enhance your tune. I’m deeply devoted to sustainability, and I am also very excited about what I perceive as emergent ecologies. I’d bet a lot of you will spend a lot of your work with what you’d call emergent ecologies. Right now, we barely recognize the line—is this nature that we’re in right now? This is a cultural landscape, isn’t it? How about this wall—natural? Only if we are part of nature, yet most of the time it’s Man and Nature, isn’t it? The separation. We have to break that wall down. This is one continuum from here right on out to the Subarus in the parking lot. It’s all nature. And as we look at the regenerative power of plant and animal communities, we’ve got to build a management ethic that recognizes that, embraces that, and sees the beauty in that. Have any of you heard of the High Line in New York? It opened just weeks ago. Do you

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The High Line, New York City, June 2, 2009

Rick Darke

know how many people have walked it in less than three weeks? Over one hundred thousand. Friends of the High Line founders Robert Hammond and Joshua David re-envisioned a derelict Manhattan rail line that was an eyesore and a supposed safety hazard, and using Joel Sternfeld’s pictures of emergent ecologies forty feet in the air, convinced people to contribute nearly two hundred million dollars to the project. And what is it? It’s a new kind of place based upon a regenerative landscape up in the sky. I watched it for years, before anything was done to it. You could go up to the top of the Empire State Building and look at a green ribbon starting at Javits Convention Center and going down to Chelsea. Do you know who watered it? Know who fertilized it? Know who protected it from the PCB-laden ballast from electric railroads that were up there? Nobody. But it was a garden that could capture a public’s imagination to the point that it could raise that kind of money. It was a derelict railway. I’ve had the chance to travel to Germany a few times in the last number of years. How many of you know the Duisburg project, the Landschaftspark? You can climb legally to the top of Bessemer-like furnaces and look down on at what was a mill site and is now a garden. This fall, we’ll be back in Berlin, looking at rail yards that have for fifty years been regenerating into a landscape that is now a nature park, Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände, being studied by the Technical University of Berlin’s Institute of Ecology. I’m not a nativist, but I’m devoted to regional landscapes and what might be called legacy ecologies. One of the dilemmas presented by the Berlin nature park is that in some of the areas that are evolving to forests of mostly northern European native trees, the numbers of specialist insects are lower than in areas that have evolved to canopies of our native red oak and our midwestern Robinia pseudoacacia [black locust]. These are their weed trees. So what do you do about that? That’s why they’re studying such places. That’s the kind of work you can be doing. And that we need to be doing. We need to be

Rick Darke

Graduation 2009

Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände, Berlin, October 17, 2008

open. I tell myself that if I am truly observing and truly being truthful, I will look at this without any dogma. I will put down that song I’ve been singing and say “there’s another note and I can put it right there.” It’s just another stanza, or it’s a bridge. The luckiest amongst us continually reinvent ourselves. Yet we’ve got to find that way to keep some constant measure. I’m going to leave you with the thought that there’s nothing that will be more powerful for the rest of your lives than adopting an ethic of observation. Being true to yourselves, constantly looking, and finding ways to do so. It means walking slower, driving a slower car, getting on a bicycle, and just finding ways to have conversations in places you love or places you don’t even know. But I do know that you are all of a generation that’s going to be very important to these challenges that are just barely described. And I hope you will describe them, and you will make a difference by design. Thanks for inviting me.

Rick Darke

Graduation 2009

Graduation speakers from left: planning adjunct, Mollie Babize ‘84; humanities professor, Ken Byrne; and ecology adjunct, Bill Lattrell

From Faculty Comments at Graduation The complete texts of these talks are available at www.csld.edu.

Paul Cawood Hellmund, Director Responding to a global information glut and a growing need for questioning the status quo, Conway Director Paul Cawood Hellmund spoke at graduation on the topic “We Have Enough Answers, What We Need Are More Good Questions.” He said at the heart of a Conway education is “learning how to ask questions that help cut through the sea of information we swim in each day.” He reviewed for the audience some of the more significant questions the Class of 2009 explored during the school year, questions primarily related to the goal of sustainability in landscape planning and design. Many of these questions reflected the unique nature of the students’ projects, among which were design for a school for deaf school children, a gardening homeowner who uses a wheelchair, a conventional business park that wanted to go “green,” a village that wondered how much of its food its own residents could raise, clients who find attractive historically popular but resource-intensive landscape design, and a 1,000-member homeowners association that wanted to shift away from chemically dependent landscape maintenance. Of the graduating class, Paul said, “I have no doubt that this group of women and men will make a difference in the world. They are an exceptional bunch, and I can’t imagine a harder working lot. Beside which, they know the value of a good question in sorting the abundance of answers out there.”

Ken Byrne, Humanities Professor Conway’s humanities professor, Ken Byrne, spoke at graduation on “An Ecological Response

to Endings.” In his talk he suggested that “we should understand all identities and all endings . . . as provisionally and temporarily and artificially frozen moments in the succession, in the flow.” He encouraged the graduating students to “think about those things that were good about this year, because all that doesn’t end here today. And it should also be comforting when you think about all the things that were hard and painful about this year, because those things have already gone and become something else. Of course, you, I, we, and the school are different today from what we all were in September. The plan sets you produced will be passed on to the hands of those who come next year—you literally have added pages to the book. You have added to the vocabulary—words, images, ideas—of the school’s language, and you’ve altered the rules of the grammar of that language that existed before you and carries on (now spoken with a different accent) after you leave. Nothing ends; it’s all beginnings; and the school and its people you came to to transform you have been utterly transformed by you—and for that (and for your persistence, and openness, and kindness, and good spirits) we thank you.”

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www.csld.edu/donatenow.htm “Conway is an excellent foundation for a wide variety of professional directions. The sustainable nature and history of the program are central to a growing green marketplace.” David Evans ’76

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Students’ Writing

Exploring the Edges of Planning and Design Research by Conway Students During the school year Conway students research a wide range of topics related to landscape planning and design. Some of these topics are somewhat outside the traditional domain of landscape designers and may prove especially interesting to readers. Excerpts from three research papers are included here, considering sound in the landscape, mobile media, and human excreta. Full texts are published on the school’s website: www.csld.edu/whatsnew.htm.

An Unseen Component BY JONATHAN COOPER


ew places assault the senses like a casino. Built to dazzle, disorient, and overwhelm, the lights flash maniacally, the machines sing gleefully, and the din never stops. Sharp angles, jangling sounds, and textured chips send the message that it’s a good idea to indulge in games of chance. Compare that setting to a bank’s. The exterior and interior of a bank could hardly send a more dissimilar message—banks look, sound, and feel entirely different. Colors and voices are muted, design is reassuring, and risk is neither celebrated nor acknowledged (until you get to the small print). Lastly, consider an outdoor public place, such as a plaza or park. It is easy to imagine what we expect to see, but rarely can we imagine what we expect to hear. Without a positive or negative sonic point of attention, like a fountain or a jackhammer, little comes to mind, no matter how enjoyable or unbearable the experience we have in mind. But very few of the sounds we hear can be considered a sonic point of attention, so those can’t be the only things contributing to the quality of our experience of a place. In asking some simple questions about the nature of sonic elements and their place in a public open space, we can get closer to understanding the nature and necessity of those elements in a designed landscape. Designing for sound is considered a largely acoustic venture, concerned with the amplification and manipulation of a sonic origin (usually a stage with actors, politicians, musicians, or other performers), the even distribution of the desired sound/ music throughout an enclosed space, or the reduction and neutralization of unwanted noise. Vitruvius discusses the former aspect of sound design in

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the fifth book of The Ten Books of Architecture: “Particular pains must be taken that the site [is] one through which the voice can range with the greatest clearness.” This perspective does not address the issue of sound as a design element; rather, it is a design goal (by no means a simple one). In order to design with sound, and not merely for it, it is necessary to establish the positive contributions sound makes to our enjoyment of place. In his 1953 essay, “Notes on City Satisfactions,” Kevin Lynch discusses “the psychological and sensual effects of the physical form of the city” and loosely identifies the positive “satisfactions” a city can bestow as Orientation, Warmth, Stimulus, Sensual Delight, and Interest. Lynch considers sound a contributor to both Orientation and Sensual Delight. In the former, it is “the sense of ‘city’ from bells, the urban hum, etc.,” while in the case of the latter, sounds have pleasant connotations: “the natural ‘rhythmical’ ones (waves, leaves in the wind); those indicative of not too intense human activity (voices, feet); and those musical in nature (bells, singing).” As for the satisfaction of Sensual Delight, sound is admitted in three forms: natural, human (but not musical), and musical. In the latter we can expect a great deal more cultural signifiers: blues spilling out of the jook joints on Beale Street, or calls to prayer issuing from the minarets of Istanbul. These are deliberate elements that will stand on their own. But the sounds of natural forces and human activity—of raindrop, birdcall, engine, footstep, laugh, and diesel engine—these incidental sounds can be courted, and given a place to stand out or contribute quietly. The sounds of human activity are powerful, and a parallel can be drawn to Lynch’s claim that “the

Students’ Writing

sight of people and their activity is a fundamental impression.” It doesn’t seem unreasonable to extend that fundamental impression to the sounds of people and their activity. Our auditory attraction to the sounds of people helps to confirm the value of our own presence and to affirm our understanding of what goes on, where it goes on, and how it goes on. As people, we are as much a part of this

aleatoric “pattern” as anyone: our shoes scrape the pavement, we hum a few bars, shift our weight in a chair, and fold back the newspaper page. No one is in need of a new cacophony, or grand statement where there wasn’t one before. Rather, the goal as a designer is to find sounds that may or may not exist in the place, and bring them forward to inculcate that wonderful human act of noticing.



useums were the first major institutions to turn towards mobile audio tours in an effort to meet the demands of visitors in a cost-effective and user-friendly way. In addition to audio segments, a second component of mobile media is the ability to employ global positioning systems’ (GPS) data, images, or video into tours resulting in a truly dynamic experience completely adaptable to the user. GPS maps can be used to navigate a site or find specific exhibits or services. Videos and images can provide additional information not on display. Canada’s Banff National Park is leading the way in mobile media wilderness exploration. Their pilot study, Tracklines, is a cell-phone-based GPS project which provides interactive mapping for park visitors, conveys up-to-date information on wildlife sightings, data on flora (what is in bloom, etc.), and allows people to record their findings on a centralized database, thus expanding the eyes and ears of the park service. Hikers use “GPS smart phones to navigate a mountainous landscape seeded by locus with stories.” This type of interpretive hike is referred to as a “walkumentary,” a combination of wilderness walking and trail guide information, with both old patterns of storytelling and new innovations of mobile media delivery. Harkening back to the lost art of oral storytelling, this new mechanism for collecting and communicating oral traditions has the ability to make narratives of place relevant and topical. There has been a proliferation of grassroots guerrilla tours. The Internet has allowed anyone with a recording device to produce and upload a homemade tour of their own. Some of these unsanctioned narratives called “sound seeing” have garnered mass popularity through the virtual bulletin board

of the Internet. Many users are attracted to the rawness of these streams and freedom of expression they represent. This growing trend allows the public to respond to and shape culture and blur the line between author and audience. Yellow Arrow is a multi-city urban mass media project wherein people record stories about places by leaving recordings on a centralized recording device via mobile phones. In this way, Yellow Arrow weaves curated tours of specific cities into the landscape and provides the ability to browse thousands of single points of interest submitted by people. Visual cues (a yellow arrow) signal to others the presence of narrative. People then call the central number and hear people telling their narratives of place. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of a project such as this is the ability for numerous streams of narrative to overlap and interrelate. For example, someone may upload a comment about or reaction to something of concern in their neighborhood, such as a new building development. Other people who are privy to the narrative can then weigh in on the topic and in this way a dialogue may ensue that might not otherwise take place. Ultimately, this form of communication may galvanize the interests of people within a neighborhood or across towns or states and create a coalition of concerned citizens combining their shared views towards a common goal. In summary, this type of media-based narrative allows for a diversity of voices to share in a common experience and create a distinct voice made up of the individual strands that share in the narrative. And in this way, a diverse tapestry of user-derived narratives can overlap and create a meta-narrative greater than the sum of its parts.

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Students’ Writing

The Value of Human Excreta BY KYLE HALEY


e are walking around unaware of the resource we dispose of multiple times a day. We don’t realize that the waste that comes from our bodies in the form of urine and feces has immense potential benefits for agriculture. The re-use of human excreta has the potential to reduce the production and use of chemical fertilizers, preserve the quality of surface and subsurface water, reduce the contraction of disease, and improve quality of life, especially for those in Third World countries. Within domestic wastewater are three vital nutrients for plant growth: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Most of these nutrients are found in urine. Each person per year excretes 2.5 to 4.4 kg of nitrogen, 0.7 to 1.0 kg of phosphorous, and 0.9 to 1.0 kg of potassium (Kirchmann and Pettersson 1995). Human feces also contain these nutrients but in much smaller amounts. The production of fertilizer for conventional agriculture is expensive and energy intensive. The nitrogen is generated from the air and requires ample amounts of energy. Mining and refining phosphate and potassium generates huge amounts of hazardous waste that, like raw sewage, has a detrimental effect on aquatic ecosystems (Gulyas 2002). Because of the nutrient richness of urine,

Designing an Outdoor Play-Space

continued from page 8

stewardship. The project became as much about helping the team realize they could make a difference in their environment as about designing a play-space. I began to see my role more as consultant than team leader. With this new perspective, rather than me simply talking about how soil can be improved, we used the Internet to explore ways to improve soil and then strategized about what action to take. The team decided to start an indoor worm farm so they would have worms to repopulate the soil in the spring. They designed and built a worm box and then met with cafeteria staff to make arrangements for collecting food scraps to feed their worms. Team members took turns collecting the food scraps and feeding the worms until the end of the school year when the worms were set free. Several members of the play-space design team are working on the sixth grade public art project in this year’s Community as Classroom program.

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Gulyas claims that approximately fifty percent of crops can be fertilized with human excreta globally. If fifty percent of global food crops could be fertilized with human excreta, the dependency on chemical and industrial fertilizers would decrease, as would the effects of these fertilizers on the land. Brown [fecal] water contains most of the organic solids in domestic wastewater and, if separated from the system, can be sanitized and used as a soil conditioner (Jenkins 1994). Because feces are the number one source of pathogens in all streams of domestic wastewater, the killing of pathogens in brown water is necessary before it can be used on agricultural land. This can be achieved with treatment techniques such as dehydration, utilizing solar energy, or composting (Jenkins 1994). Nutrient recovery of yellow and brown water is possible with separation control starting at the household. Examples of systems that make separation manageable are diversion composting/dehydration toilets, sorting or no-mix toilets, and vacuum toilets. These systems require maintenance but are relatively simple and safe (Gulyas 2002). These systems are likely to play a much larger role in developing nations where wastewater is typically discharged in the raw form and fresh water is less available.

Sandy Sheppard, director of the program, notes striking differences between the past design team’s members and students new to the program: “Playspace kids are the students who assume leadership roles, teaching roles. They have more refined critical thinking, drawing, and planning skills to share with the group.” Participating in the Community as Classroom is clearly helping children develop a sense of responsibility for both self and neighborhood. Children who envision and help implement neighborhood improvements become invested in seeing those improvements maintained. Once invested, they become powerful agents for future change. As David Sobel, an expert in place-making with children, wrote, “If we allow children to shape their own small worlds in childhood, then they will grow up knowing and feeling that they can participate in shaping the big world tomorrow.” I am grateful to the Conway School for enabling me to have a small part in helping children shape their world.

Students’ Projects: 2008–2009

Questions of Design

Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan | winter 2009

Fiona Dunbar, Alex Hoffmeier, Suzanne Rhodes

Each term, students grapple with a variety of design questions across a variety of scales. In 2008–2009, some of the questions were: how to produce food locally, how to provide for green burial in an urban setting, how to make unsustainable sites more sustainable, how to design for the hearing impaired, and how to make a significant cultural site more sustainable and legible. The following pages give some sense of the variety of answers and the significant research that informed those answers.


How Can Agriculture be Integrated with Other Land Uses? Is Local Food Production Always Appropriate?

FALL PROJECTS. Conway students begin their year working with area clients on their residential or residential-scale properties. Projects may involve siting a new house or developing a landscape plan, reducing erosion, reorienting driveways, or making a property more habitable for wildlife. Through careful observation, students come to understand the relationships among natural systems. Although the focus is on a small area, the fall project is never simple. Students learn design principles through application of a problem-solving process. This involves eliciting and interpreting client needs, developing a proposal for design services, analyzing and assessing site conditions, researching legal constraints, conceptualizing design solutions, and developing specific plans and recommendations. WINTER PROJECTS. In the winter term, projects increase in scope and complexity and are undertaken by teams of students for public and nonprofit clients. Students identify and map natural resources and immerse themselves in local government issues, state regulations, and regional contexts. The long-range plans that result conserve fragile ecosystems and place human activities where the land can sustain them. SPRING PROJECTS. Conway student teams spend the third term working with community and nonprofit clients to develop site-specific design plans for parks, town centers, and riverways. Students base recommendations on ecological conditions and on assessed community needs. Final designs illustrate foot and bike paths, planting choices, and other relevant details.

Over the last few years a near-universal request from fall-term residential clients has been for vegetable gardens. Some also request help designing areas in their yards for chickens or other farm animals. There have also been larger winter and spring projects where agriculture has been the focus, such as plans for converting a former dairy into an organic farm and expanding an urban farm largely for Holyoke dwellers originally from Puerto Rico. Here is some recent thinking about the role of agriculture in the landscape from the class of 2009. RACHEL BECHHOEFER


griculture is an important way that we sustain ourselves and it is a major force by which we shape and use land to suit our needs. There are many models of agriculture, and thousands of years of history in which we humans have shaped the land to support ourselves, but in a time when there are huge food shortages, when we rely on foods grown thousands of miles from our homes, and in which even farmers struggle to survive, there are serious problems with our food systems. We have seen a century’s worth of industrializing agriculture, consolidating land and crops into large acreages, increasingly mechanized production, and the transportation of food across oceans. This industrialization of our food systems has relied too heavily on energy from non-renewable sources and has all but removed human input in these systems, making them costly, complicated and unsustainable. Despite being meant to sustain, our agriculture is far from sustainable.

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Students’ Projects: 2008–2009 Fiona Dunbar




t is very easy (and simplistic) to buy into the “green,” locally grown,” and “organic” label and feel sanctimonious about my choices while ignoring the fact that to have a choice is a privilege. A couple of weeks ago I had an experience precipitated by the reality of shopping and cooking for one on a very limited budget [myself as a student]. I first went to a “scratch and dent” store to get some bargains and then on to the supermarket to pick up what I couldn’t get at the first store. I walked past produce and the bakery very aware of what I couldn’t afford to buy. I was hungry and didn’t want to make anything from beans or rice or anything that would take a long time. I remembered a time last year when I had run to the grocery close to my job, picked up some things for dinner, all healthy and organic, and noticed with some smugness how my groceries were different than the overweight woman in line in front of me buying processed food. Economically, I know how hard it is to make the right choice.

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he Nuestras Raices Finca Gateway Master Plan focuses on a four-acre site, located on prime farmland along the Connecticut River in Holyoke, Massachusetts, owned and operated by Nuestras Raices. The Gateway is a productive farm, a business incubator, and a venue for cultural and community festivals, celebrating the Caribbean Hispanic populations of Western Massachusetts. Nuestras Raices has a vision of turning this four-acre parcel into a popular agritourism destination. FIONA DUNBAR, ALEX HOFFMEIER, AND SUZANNE RHODES FROM THEIR WINTER 2009 PROJECT


he Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan offers strategies for localizing the food system by providing a viable vision for meeting food needs locally. It presents pertinent baseline data on nutrition and crop-growing requirements; analyzes village development and social patterns; evaluates natural conditions that affect foodproducing potential; offers case studies and existing models of localized food production; and creates conceptual designs for food production in Shelburne Falls.

Students’ Projects: 2008–2009

Design Lessons: Designing with the Deaf Longmeadow, Massachusetts Designers: Fiona Dunbar, Cyndy Fine, and Ashley Pelletier

Spring 2009

In 2009, the Willie Ross School for the Deaf

Image adapted from: Deaf Diverse Design Guide, www.dangermondarchitects.com/blog

(WRSD) purchased a ¾-acre property of undeveloped “urban wild” adjacent to its two-acre campus in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, hoping to increase opportunities for outdoor learning and recreation. Conway students Fiona Dunbar, Cyndy Fine, and Ashley Pelletier worked with the students and staff of WRSD on a design to integrate the new parcel with the existing campus and give students a nearby connection to the rich natural world. They also learned some important principles for designing for this particular community. On the two-acre eastern side of the campus are the school buildings, parking lots, low-maintenance shrubs and plants, raised vegetable beds, several trees, and a large expanse of lawn. A four-foot-high chainlink fence encloses the school, separating students from traffic. The new western parcel is a mixed-hardwood woodland with a sparse understory, relatively steep slopes, numerous invasive plants, and scattered spring ephemerals; the northwestern-most corner is an open, grassy knoll. The area seems wild and untamed, but is littered with trash. Currently, only the eastern side of campus is used by the school community, and there is no direct access to the western side.

When deaf students gather informally or for class, it is vital that participants can see one another in order to communicate.

Students at WRSD use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate. Because ASL is an entirely visual language, the listener must always look at the speaker to follow a conversation and students must be able to see their teacher to follow a lesson. The chart (bottom left) shows how gathering spaces should be arranged in order to ensure that all participants in a conversation can clearly see the person speaking. The primary means of achieving this goal is to create spaces which allow people in a group to form circles or arcs. Whenever possible, bright or direct lighting and glare from the sun should be avoided as it poses a visual challenge when people are signing. Bright, busy background material can also distract from the person signing. Thus, gathering spaces should be arranged so that the sun is behind the group and background material should be relatively plain in color and texture. Pathways should be wide (ideally, at least six feet) and clear of obstructions to accommodate two or more people speaking in sign language as they walk, and even providing space enough for a third person, uninvolved in the conversation, to walk alongside the other two, acting as the group’s eyes. Sharp turns at corners inside or outside buildings should be softened whenever possible, widening and rounding the pathways for foot traffic, or adding windows for transparency. Because deaf people walking around corners cannot hear others coming, collisions could occur where sight lines are highly limited.

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Students’ Projects: 2008–2009

The final design joins the established, developed eastern campus with the urban wild of the western campus through both physical and visual connections such as new doorways, trellised entries, wooden fencing and well-defined, legible walkways. Property and building edges are softened with colorful, fragrant vegetation; native trees, shrubs, perennials and ground covers provide low maintenance beauty, food and habitat for people and wildlife. Other sustainable practices incorporated in the design are erosion control, stormwater management, and the repurposing of elements such as tree trunks, stumps and mulch. Pathways and vegetation create a physical link between two previously divided and distinct parcels of land. An outdoor classroom, expanded play spaces, a basketball court, rich vegetation, seating areas, and improved access encourage greater use of the


outdoor campus for education and recreation. The design takes into consideration the special needs of the students by providing wide pathways, semi-circular gathering spaces, and clear sight lines. Play areas and social spaces are distributed throughout the campus to appeal to all students, who range in age from three to twenty-two. The entrance experience is improved by using vegetation, clear and universally accessible pathways, signs, and a trellis as visual cues for easy way-finding and a pleasant, welcoming arrival. Sight lines across the campus are clear, and accessible pathways and additional fencing help assure student safety. Recommended plants—such as summersweet (Clethra alnifolia), common elderberry (Sambucus racemosa), possumhaw (Viburnum nudum), swamp azalea (Rhododendron viscosum), and purple milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens)—promote students’ imaginative play and curiosity about the natural world.

How Can Extensive Resource-Consuming Landscapes Be Reconfigured to Make Them More Sustainable?

LEGEND Woodland Park Meadow Community Commons

As acknowledged by Rick Darke in his commencement address (see p. 9), sustainability seems all the rage these days, but how do you implement the concept in actual landscapes? Over the last few years several teams of Conway students have been asked to help re-envision sizeable landscapes that were created with what are now considered outmoded and outsized attitudes toward resource use and chemical applications. The students have proposed improving the ecological footprints of these projects, including a business park and two major condominium complexes with many acres of mowed and sprayed turf grass, generally low biological diversity, and a conventional solution for stormwater.

Courtyard Ga rden Street Gathering Place

A Thousand-Resident Condo Complex in Western Massachusetts Pedestrian Walk

Design Focus Area

Chicopee, Massachusetts Designers: Kate Benisek and Randy Marks

Spring 2009

The landscape of Doverbrook Estates Condominiums in Chicopee, Massachusetts, is dominated by lawn and trees. Residents are proud of the open,

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park-like look of much of their surroundings, yet there is an ill-defined sense that all is not right with current landscape management practices and that changes need to occur. Residents expressed concern about the cost of overall care, chemicals used on the lawn, loss of trees and tree replacement, and the amount of water needed for upkeep. Some residents

Students’ Projects: 2008–2009

also felt that “organic” methods would be too expensive. Currently, chemical applications to the lawn, including application of fertilizer, pesticide, herbicide, and annual aeration cost $45,000 annually. The total cost for all landscape maintenance for 2009 was projected to be $336,500.

Regarding the use of gas-powered lawn-care equipment the Conway team found that: ■■One hour of mowing is the equivalent of driving 350 miles in terms of volatile organic compounds. ■■One gas mower releases eighty-seven pounds of the greenhouse gas CO2 , and fifty-four pounds of other pollutants into the air every year. ■■Over seventeen million gallons of gas are spilled each year refueling lawn and garden equipment— more oil than was spilled by the Exxon Valdez. Following a detailed analysis of the complex, templates for replacing lawn areas with meadows, woodland parks, woodlands, and courtyard gardens were developed. Many of these templates offer alternatives with the promise of less maintenance and greater biological diversity.

Meadow Template Large areas of lawn could be converted to meadows of grasses and forbs, through removing and replacing turfgrass—a potentially very costly approach—or by allowing plant succession to kick in by ending mowing (and carefully managing what grows). Mown paths would be maintained through the meadows for residents to stroll in the open space.

Woodland Park Template The woodland park template was proposed for broad lawn areas at Doverbrook that currently have a dominant mature tree canopy. In this design template, a mown path winds among tall trees and smaller ornamental trees and shrubs and the surrounding areas are planted in diverse ground covers which require no mowing.

Courtyard Garden Template The smaller lawns behind some of Doverbrook’s two-story townhomes have a sheltered feeling that can be enhanced to create outdoor rooms, or courtyard gardens. These courtyards are surrounded by understory vegetation, providing an enclosed outdoor space that extends beyond the patio.

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Students’ Projects: 2008–2009


How Can a Landscape Design Project Help Shift Cultural Norms?

“People who choose a natural burial for themselves or their loved ones may find comfort in the knowledge that every life is part of larger, ongoing processes, and that every body eventually returns to the earth and becomes a part of greater biological cycles.” Rachel Bechhoefer and Katharine Gehron

Through their projects, Conway students frequently work to redraw the boundary between the conventional and the unconventional, building on cultural traditions and ecological knowledge to promote appropriate, sustainable practices that shift common understandings of what is beautiful and the norm. This reflects landscape theorist Joan Nassauer’s view that if a novel landscape design that improves ecological quality is to be widely accepted and maintained, it must translate ecological patterns into familiar cultural language. But what can be done to promote ecological understandings of change when the cultural tendency is to protect particularly significant and meaningful landscapes from changing? Rachel Bechhoefer and Katharine Gehron, in an urban natural burial guide and site suitability study for Mount Auburn Cemetery, propose new practices and designs that build on cultural traditions and aspirations, teach ecological processes, restore and regenerate the urban fabric, honor the dead, and create places for remembrance in beautiful landscapes that embrace long-term and cyclical change.

Green Burial at Mount Auburn Cemetery Cambridge, Massachusetts | Designers: Rachel Bechhoefer, Katharine Gehron

Spring 2009 Context Mount Auburn Cemetery, located in adjacent parts of Cambridge and Watertown, Massachusetts, is one of the nation’s first major urban burial grounds to explore natural burial, a sustainable form of burial that can help meet the social challenges of a growing population and satisfy a growing desire for a simpler way of life—and death—that are more integrated with the natural world. ■■According

to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. population, now at 300 million, is expected to grow to 400 million in the next thirty years. More than three-quarters of Americans live in

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urban or suburban areas. Cemeteries are running out of space, and new burial grounds are needed in major population centers. ■■ A 2004 American Association of Retired Persons online poll asked, “What type of burial do you find most appealing?” Eight percent of respondents chose traditional burial, eighteen percent chose cremation, and seventy percent chose natural burial.

Students’ Projects: 2008–2009

Why is natural burial needed in an urban setting? In a conventional burial (average cost to consumer: $10,000), the body is embalmed to delay decomposition. It is placed in a casket and lowered into a sixfoot-deep grave that is a 1.5-ton concrete vault. This practice entails certain environmental costs: ■■Embalming

uses formaldehyde, a carcinogen that presents a health hazard to embalmers. ■■Millions of gallons of formaldehyde are buried annually. Little research has been conducted on the effects of formaldehyde on groundwater quality. ■■Traditional caskets are often made from tropical hardwoods, which come from distant and threatened forests, or from metals, which do not readily decompose in the soil. ■■Caskets are often coated with substances containing noxious chemicals. As a result, major casket manufacturers regularly show up on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) biennial list of each state’s top fifty hazardous-waste generators. Cremation (average cost to consumer: $1,800) is a less resource intensive choice than conventional burial, requiring less land and fewer chemicals and materials. Crematories are regulated by the EPA, which requires that most air pollutants be filtered out before they are released into the environment. Even so, cremation requires large amounts of energy and has several drawbacks: ■■It

involves fossil-fuel combustion, which uses up nonrenewable natural resources and releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. ■■It releases some pollutants, despite improvements in pollutant-filtration technology. These pollutants include sulfur dioxide, which contributes to acid rain; a small amount of fine particulate matter; and trace amounts of mercury, released from silver-amalgam dental fillings. Natural burial (average cost to consumer: $1,000– $4,000) is a chemical-free and environmentally friendly form of burial, practiced for most of human history, that places bodies directly into the ground without embalming preservatives, in biodegradable containers. It is completely legal in almost every state in the United States, and is perfectly safe as long as the burial ground is sited according to laws and regulations. It has an explicit conservation focus:


burials make nutrients available to plants. often includes no grave markers or only natural markers such as flush stones or plants that mark grave sites. ■■It typically uses native vegetation in place of turf lawns. ■■It

Results The guide explores four thematic green burial designs that honor the dead and the natural world to which our bodies return. In each of the four designs, burial practices correspond with planned phases of growth and development, changing as plant communities change over time. Plant communities are encouraged to undergo succession so that these areas transform from field or meadow into forest. The stages of growth and development also function as a method for restoring a barren urban site into an ecologically vibrant landscape, through the building of soil fertility over time and through the cultivation of diverse plant communities.

Stage 1: Establishment ■■Build

topsoil to support future planting suitable burial conditions


Stage 2: Transition ■■Increase ■■Manage

vegetative cover as an active burial ground

Stage 3: Mature Growth ■■Develop

a mix of vegetative communities to manage as an active burial ground ■■Consider the possibility of practicing reburial ■■Continue

The guide recommends methods for reducing compaction, importing and creating topsoil, reducing runoff, and improving this impoverished habitat, characteristic of abandoned urban sites. The guide also provides recommendations on how to improve microclimate on sites such as this, which may have little shade or wind protection, and discusses the need to create clear pedestrian and vehicular circulation, as well as views that provide safety and pleasure, on sites that currently lack landscape legibility. The conceptual designs for Mount Auburn explore an alternative understanding of death. The burial grounds reveal the natural processes of life and foster an awareness of the human place in the physical world. Drawing inspiration from plant communities, successional patterns of change, and principles of environmental stewardship, they remind us that all life is transitory and interconnected.

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Students’ Projects: 2008–2009


How can a culturally significant natural site be made accessible to the public while protecting sensitive environments?

This year, the Conway School had the honor of working on two projects for the Walden Pond State Reservtion. Jonathan Cooper, Kyle Haley, and Randy Marks researched and wrote a draft Walden Pond State Reservation Stewardship Plan for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) in the winter term. Jenna Webster and Aran Wiener created an Interpretive Facilities Master Plan for the DCR in the spring term. Both projects address the question of how to make a significant cultural site accessible and legible to a large number of visitors while encouraging stewardship in a small space with sensitive environmental conditions.

Stewardship zones

Draft Walden Pond State Reservation Stewardship Plan Concord, Massachusetts Designers: Jonathan Cooper, Kyle Haley, and Randy Marks

Winter 2009

The overriding issue facing Walden Pond State Reservation is how to maintain a dynamic balance between recreation and preservation of the natural environment. Preserving cultural resources while making them available to the public must also be

Qualitative inventory of the Southern Mosaic Trails

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balanced. The interplay of these dynamics affects the quality of the visitor’s experience, as does the quality of interpretive structures, the aesthetic qualities of the constructed environment, and the ease and safety with which visitors can access the features of the reservation. In drafting the stewardship plan, Conway students reviewed previous studies and their recommendations and implementation; interviewed Department of Conservation and Recreation staff and members of the Walden Pond Advisory Board; researched historical archives; communicated with outside experts; and conducted field observations of existing conditions. The plan proposes stewardship management zones based on the intensity of visitor use and on environmental conditions. The distinct conditions in each of these zones guide park staff in setting management priorities across the reservation. Specific recommendations are made for each zone, ranging from improving pedestrian crossings to creating a preserve and control area. General recommendations across zones range from continuing erosion-mitigation programs, improving trails by reconstruction where necessary, improving wayfinding on trails by installing signs and markers, installing new or enhancing existing interpretive structures, and protecting wetland habitat.

Students’ Projects: 2008–2009 The “flow” scheme responds to the site’s strong axial relationship to the pond. The design congregates visitor services and staff functions in one central area, provides a safe pedestrian road crossing with universal access to the pond’s edge, and directs a consistent, organized circulation flow from parking toward the interpretive facility and the pond.

Walden Pond Interpretive Facilities Master Plan Concord, Massachusetts | Jenna Webster and Aran Wiener

Spring 2009

The Massachusetts Department of Conserva-

tion and Recreation (DCR), steward of the Walden Pond State Reservation for over thirty years, is committed to the preservation of Thoreau’s Walden and the stewardship of open space recreation. To this end, the DCR sought the Conway School’s help to enhance the interpretive services for the over half a million people who visit the reservation each year. The key aims of the Interpretive Facilities Master Plan are to: Site an Interpretive Facility and Develop a Corresponding Landscape Plan, in which a sensitivelydesigned structure is integrated into its surroundings, communicating the powerful past and present significance of Walden Pond and its environs. The 3,200-square-foot building should orient visitors to the site, house interpretive displays, and provide access to various forms of recreational and interpretive programs within the Reservation. Provide for Clear Access and Circulation from the

Parking Lot to the Edge of Walden Pond. Coherent wayfinding and safe, amenable circulation systems should accommodate all visitors, including providing accessible trails along the pond’s edge. Access to the pond and main beach is through a descending 280-foot-long spiral ramp (at 5%) and staircase leading to a sunken garden and then an underpass under Route 126 that eventually opens to a dramatic overlook of the pond. An on-contour universal access trail connects to the bathhouse and the main beach. Added vegetation and the removal of interpretive elements near the existing at-grade road crossing deemphasizes this dangerous route to the pond. The interpretive facility houses a large gallery, exhibition and gathering space, restrooms, and the bookstore. Staff offices and storage space from the former headquarters building are reconstituted in a new 1,500-square-foot headquarters facility to the south of the interpretive facility.

The interpretative facility’s surroundings recall a cool glade reminiscent of the woods that Thoreau called home during his two-year stay at Walden Pond.

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Other Community Projects 2008–2009 WINTER PROJECTS Bob Marshall Great Wilderness Area Conceptual Plan, Adirondack State Park, N.Y. Katharine Gehron, Erik Johnson, Sarah Mitchell

Residents of the communities of the Adirondack Park have sought a prosperous future even as jobs have been lost. This plan shows that the economic revitalization of the gateway communities can arise out of the ecological protection of the landscape and suggests ways in which these two objectives can support each other. The plan maps current conditions in the landscape and analyzes these maps to determine the optimal areas for various uses. Centennial Business Park, Peabody, Mass. Michael Blacketer, Ashley Pelletier, Jenna Webster

Much of Centennial Business Park is impervious. If it is to attract new businesses, properly functioning stormwater systems that are environmentally and economically sustainable are essential. Runoff in developed environments like Centennial is typically laden with contaminants. The project team proposed, among other things, using them natural features as organizing elements to enhance site identity and functionality. A Plan for Pope Park’s Lower Mead and the South Branch of the Park River, Hartford, Conn. Kate Benisek, Brian Markey, Aran Wiener

With the vision put forth in this plan, the Lower Mead area will be a destination, connected to the greater park and the greater neighborhood, and a place that reunites people to their river. By removing physical barriers and providing a reason to visit the area, it can become a popular gathering place and a landmark within the park and the community. By promoting natural functions, it will become, and help sustain, a healthy environment.

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Van Vleck Farm Sanctuary Master Plan, Woodbury, Conn. Rachel Bechhoefer, Lucie Martin, Sara Preston

This master plan seeks to ensure that the 200-acre sanctuary maintains its connection to its roots as a working farm. The sanctuary is a mix of agricultural fields, forest, meadow, and wetlands laced with trails. The plan recommends ways for improving visitors’ experience, modeling the highest standards in ecological and sustainable land management and building, and mitigating the impacts of development. SPRING PROJECTS Bower Springs Conservation Area Management Plan, Bolton, Mass. Jonathan Cooper, Erik Johnson

Bower Springs bears the marks of conflicting uses, unplanned uses, and inappropriate uses. This plan presents near-term steps for more effective management, as well as three alternatives for long-term management. Guidance is given for immediate improvement in managing invasive species, planting native plants, carrying out prescribed burns, and mowing. The long-term view illustrates the potential of the area to be an ecological model. Bullitt Reservation Use Feasibility Plan, The Trustees of Reservations, Ashfield, Mass. Michael Blacketer, Suzanne Rhodes

This nineteenth century New England farmstead was once the site of the town poor farm and later the home of an influential American diplomat. Connecting to almost 3,000 contiguous acres of protected land, the reservation represents an integral link in a conservation network. This study identifies points of interest, designates trail corridors, identifies potential parking and access areas, and explores suitable activities. Nuestras Raices Farm Gateway Master Plan, Holyoke, Mass. Kyle Haley, Alex Hoffmeier

The Gateway is a productive farm, a business incubator, and a venue for cultural and community festivals,

celebrating the Caribbean Hispanic populations of Western Massachusetts. The vision for this area is to create a vibrant, welcoming destination for the community to experience Caribbean Hispanic culture and support urban agriculture. The plan seeks to make circulation more efficient and develops innovative stormwater management techniques. Quinsigamond Community College Landscape Design Plan, Worcester, Mass. Lucie Martin, Sarah Mitchell

Following a highly damaging winter ice storm, an infestation of the Asian longhorned beetle, and the construction of a new loop road, this campus is unusually exposed to wind, sun, and traffic. This plan suggests designs that can help create spaces to improve sustainable land use and resilience against uncertain future landscape changes on campus. It proposes durable, environmentally appropriate materials. Stephen’s Field Park Conceptual Design Plan, Plymouth, Mass. Brian Markey, Sara Preston

Stephens Field is an active neighborhood park. With the vision developed in this plan, the park could function as a model for sustainable coastal parks and the restoration of heavily impacted areas. The pre­ferred plan shows how the park can contribute to a healthy coastal ecology, while maintaining active recreation and neighborhood, enhancing opportunities for passive recreation, and providing areas for quiet reflection.

Annual Fund Goal $85,500

Give Now

www.csld.edu/donatenow.htm “Conway represents a seachange in my personal and professional life. With Conway’s experience and commitment to excellence, students can make meaningful contributions to the profession and to their relationships.” Timothy Taylor ’83

News from Alums If you missed the deadline to get your news into this issue of con’text, you can still let your friends and classmates know what you have been up to in the next issue. Mail your news to Kim Klein at the school or submit it via the web at www.csld.edu/alumnipage.htm. Look on the left side for a link to the survey. A n I nvitation to Become a Class Agent If you would like to help foster the future of the school and relations among alums, we invite you to become a class agent. As a class agent, you are one of Conway’s most important communicators and representatives. You are the liaison between classmates and the school, as well as a representative of the school to the outside community. As a class agent you also assist in the development of class fundraising strategies such as class challenges and work closely with other class agents and the development office to help meet annual fund goals of the school. Your volunteer experience as a class agent will be interesting and rewarding. We appreciate how valuable your efforts are, and we want to show you how simple it can be to make a difference for Conway. If you are interested in representing your class, please contact Kim Klein, director of development and alumni services at klein@csld.edu or (413) 369-4044, ext. 3 for a full description of the role of class agent.

Many of the firms and individuals men­ tioned in the News from Alums have websites. We regret that space and typo­ g­raphical issues do not allow us to include them in the News, but links to firms where Conway alums are prominently featured can be found at csld.edu. If your site is not listed there, we encourage you to contact the webmaster for inclusion. Links to further news about alums are also included on the Conway website and are referenced in this section of con’text. 1973

Class Agent: Edward Fuller (eafassoc@aol.com) 1974

Class Agent: Clarissa Rowe (clarissa.rowe@comcast.net) Clarissa Rowe writes from Arlington, MA, that she has recently moved to a smaller house within walking distance of all kinds of wonderful amenities. Her daughter, Jessica, 27, “becomes a very highly paid lawyer in New York City in two weeks, and my son, Nicholas, 23, has been working two jobs, seven days a week. His concentration at Skidmore College, sculpture, did not prepare him for the ‘Great Recession’ when he graduated. My firm is weathering the economy well with a new project, working for the Commonwealth’s Energy and Environmental Affairs Office, which is trying to find new parks in the state’s poorest cities. It is a worthwhile venture, and I really enjoy the work. Ran into Jim McGrath ’98 during my site visit to the city of Pittsfield.”

Floyd A. Thompson, III, in Warrenton, VA, writes that as a chief engineer with the United States Forest Service, he received a national award in January 2009 for innovative work with alternative transportation planning. n


Class Agent: Betsy Corner (corner75@csld.edu) Peter M. Dailey is living in Sarasota, FL, and writes, “Turning 60 this year— yuck. I have wife of 27 years, Lisa; a son, Austin, 21, a senior at the University of Florida, majoring in finance and going to law school; and a daughter Caroline, 15, a phenomenal tennis player and great student. Still president of Dailey Design Group, Inc., a land-use consulting firm. There is not much going on right now, so we are moving into energy-free affordable-housing projects.” n Peter B. Klejna, living in Williamsburg, MA, reports, “I am a consultant serving as the Hampshire County coordinator for the Western Mass. Individuals Requiring Individual Assistance Preparedness Project. This is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security-funded, disaster-preparedness effort to assist vulnerable populations.” 1976

Class Agent: Kathleen Knisely (kathleen.knisely@gmail.com) See also class of ’86 for more about Dave Evans. n David R. Holden is living in Baltimore, MD, where he is currently the senior supervising planner with Parsons Brinckerhoff’s PlaceMaking Group. The company, he writes,

“focuses on smart growth, land-use/ transportation coordination, transitoriented design, and comprehensive planning at local and regional scales.” n Kathleen Hogan Knisely can be reached on Facebook. 1977

Class Agent: David Paine (david_paine@verizon.net) 1978

Class Agent: Susanna Adams (susanna.adams@earthlink.net) Susanna Adams, living in Portland, ME, writes, “I am retired, spending much of my time on musical activities. I volunteer among the refugee and immigrant communities in Portland, tutoring English, primarily. My son Nate is married and living in Austin, TX. No grandchildren yet.” n Ken Botnick reports, “My daughter Claire works for the Manhattan DA’s office, in the fraud bureau, and is very busy prosecuting the bad guys. My daughter Molly recently began her freshman year at Kenyon College. Karen works as doula, assisting women with their labor and deliveries. Kamini: Selections from the Gitagovinda, a book I designed, printed, and published, published in 2007, was selected by the AIGA for its 50 Books annual, which selects the 50 best book designs published during the previous year. I am the director of the Village India Program for Washington University.” 1979

Class Agent: Lila Fendrick (team@fendrickdesign.com) Arthur Collins, in Darien, CT, reports that his wife, Donna, a painter, has been receiving notice as a featured artist in Darien. In addition, he just completed a $100 million redevelopment project reclaiming a brownfield site in Yonkers, NY, but, he notes, “capital-market turmoil has severely affected real estate and self-employed professionals.” n Tom Sargent writes, “Both kids graduated from college this year: Caitlin from Middlebury with a major in geography (followed by an internship at National Geographic in DC) and Jake from Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, where he is now intending to live and start a business, the nature of which we are not quite sure yet. Barbara and I are founding board members of two foundations in San Francisco: New Field Foundation, which works with grassroots women’s organizations, primarily in West African post-conflict countries, and the Kalliopeia Foun­da­tion, which funds organizations and concepts that contribute to the evolution of communities and

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In Memoriam A Gentle Designer Malcolm Wells, 1926–2009

Recorder photo/Peter MacDonald

News from Alums Malcolm Wells addresses the class of 2004 at commencement.

He was an early advocate of eco-friendly and beautiful designs that tread lightly on the land—or in his case under the land. He was well known for his design of the earth shelter—a structure that “actually heals the scars of its own construction. It conserves rainwater—and fuel—and it provides a habitat for creatures other than the human one.” He described the first time he built one of those structures to the class of 2004: “I was out there laying brick before the month was up. It was great, and I could feel the green world waiting to join in and complete the job. Within a year or two you could hardly see the building. That was just the way I wanted it: sun-filled rooms overlooking a natural landscape. Underground architecture has never let me down.” For more about Malcolm’s life, work, and his self-written obituary, see malcolmwells.com.

Remembering Barbara Barros ’73 April 26, 1950–February 3, 2009

CSLD archives

Malcolm Wells, architect and environmental pioneer, was not only a commencement speaker (see con’text, fall, 2004) and contributor to con’text (see spring, 2009), but also his work fascinated many of Conway’s students throughout the years. Unschooled as an architect, Malcolm began his career after World War Two as a draftsman for RCA and later apprenticed in an architect’s office and became licensed in 1953. But by 1964, “after ten years spent spreading corporate asphalt on America in the name of architecture, I woke up one day to the fact that the earth’s surface was made for living plants, not industrial plants. I’ve been an underground architect ever since.”

Third and fourth from left, Barbara Barros and Carolyn Ellis with the class of ‘73 and, far right, Walt Cudnohufsky

Conway School of Landscape Design Class of 1973 Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Masters in Landscape Architecture in Urban Design 1981

by Carolyn Ellis ’73

Barbara and I met in September 1972, two women in the first Conway class of eleven. Barbara was well-read, ardent about feminism and urban design, and creative. Her son Ben, then three years old, was often with her, and I admired her attentive approach to parenting. Barbara worked as a city planner for the City of Pittsfield and for the Boston Redevelopment Authority before moving into computer software design. After stints as a researcher in the MIT Department of Architecture and Planning and at the Mitsubishi Electronic Research Lab, she founded the web software company Strata Various. She developed patented software for “hyper-mapping,” in my words, a layered mapping system for analysis, demonstration,

cultures that honor the unity at the heart of life’s rich diversity. We still live in an old nunnery in San Anselmo, Marin County, CA, and try to get up in the surrounding hills as much as possible. A year ago my firm, Equity Community Builders opened the Cavallo Point Lodge, located on a former army base right at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge, in what is now a national park. Over the last eight years, I have been the developer/project manager for this project, which included the rehabilitation of 17 historic buildings and construction of 13 new ones, as well as cultural and

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and design. She was certainly ahead of her time. Among her varied accomplishments, Barbara wrote the Discover-it-yourself Guide to Boston’s Freedom Trail (1987), sold at the Boston Common Visitors Center for many years, and won first prize in a competition for the redesign of Boston’s City Hall Plaza. Barbara lived for many years in Boston’s Back Bay, a neighborhood she loved, and we shared many holidays and “field trips.” Ben Barros is a law professor and lives with his wife, also an attorney, and two young sons in Pennsylvania.

native landscape restoration for over 25 acres of land. Over the last year, I have had to manage the survival of an enterprise with 250 employees through the worst recession since the 1930s. We have won many awards for historic preservation and environmental sustainability and hope to achieve LEED gold status. Of all the projects I’ve worked, this is certainly the one that brought all of my interests together and challenged me to apply everything I have learned in the past. Even with all of that, it was a true learning experience on all levels, and for that, despite all of the sweat

and stress, I am extremely thankful.” See the various organizations’ websites for more details. 1980

Class Agent: Byrne Kelly (kelly80@csld.edu) 1981

Class Agent: Elizabeth French Fribush (elizabeth.fribush@phra.com) Michael J. Gibbons writes from Raleigh, NC, “I missed the original Woodstock, so my kids took me to Bonnaroo—not the same but very close. I started my own firm, Michael Gibbons

News from Alums

and Friends Landscape Architecture.” n Louis Pomerantz, in Chelsea, VT, says, “I have four kids now—19, 21, 23, 24— three living together in HI as woofers. The youngest child is still at home with us. I’ll have been married 24 years next Tuesday. Bonnie is back in school for marriage and family therapy at Antioch New England. We have a large home on 11 acres, with a studio and gardens on the edge of the town forest and other large protected parcels. We look east over a beaver pond to the White Mountains. It’s quiet, beautiful, and without distraction. We take long walks, eat from the garden, work, meditate, and pray. I love my life, I love my wife. We take in renters and other woofers. Since 1990 (after the birth of our fourth child), I have been working on my own, doing a wide variety of projects, including a lot of stonework. I’ve done less planting over the years but always enjoy it when it comes around. Since 2000 (we moved to Vermont in 1995), I have been doing about four shows a year, selling water fountains (two in Northampton—Paradise City Arts Festival). These have been successful and allowed me to work at home more often than when I was contracting. With installation I get into new gardens through my show connections and sales.” 1982

Class Agents: Suzanne Barclay (smbarclay@optonline.net), Susan Van Buren (vanburen82@csld.edu) David Myers, living in Moreno Valley, CA, reports, “I retired in 2007 after 24 years of teaching English as a Second Language at the University of California, Riverside. My wife, Sandy, and I travel frequently (six times this year) via air or highway to visit family in several parts of the country (VA, MO, OR).” n Peter Van Buren writes that he and his wife, Susan Van Buren, celebrated the third birthday of their business on November 1. He adds, “We were named 2008 contractor of the year by the Maryland Home Performance with Energy Star programs. And I was named 2009 green entrepreneur of the year by the Baltimore Business Journal. Susan and I continue to derive great satisfaction from our new company and direction.” n Elizabeth Vizza says, “I have just accepted a position as director of the Friends of the Public Garden, the nonprofit that partners with the City of Boston to restore and protect the Public Garden, Boston Common, and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. I look forward to working with the

organization’s amazing president and wonderful board members.” Liz was a critic for formal presentations at Conway in March 2009. 1983

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Peter M. Owens writes, “I am enjoying life in Hanover, NH. Had a great summer trip to Seattle/San Juan Islands and a great winter trip to CA, seeing old friends and family. Lots of skiing and skating in winter, gardening and bike riding and sailing in summer. James, 12, enters seventh grade, and Amanda, 10, enters fifth grade. Biggest news is our new golden retriever puppy, Stella. With my wife, Carolyn Radisch, and partner, Robert White, I started ORW, LLC, Landscape Architects and Planners, in White River Junction, VT, in fall 2008. [See his website for more details.] I published a book, Beyond Density: Measuring Neighborhood Form, in spring 2008. In the process of writing several academic articles for publication on the relationship between the built environment and adolescent health (obesity).” n Timothy Taylor shares, “I am pleased to report that I have been the design manager for Al Raha Beach Development, Abu Dhabi’s single largest project, consisting of eleven kilometers of public-realm streetscape, pedestrian promenades at canal and seawall interfaces, and six new interchanges in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. I return to the UAE this October to start a new landscape architectural design company.” See his website for more details. n Erik van Lennep reports, “Currently no projects, no work, no money, no food. Ireland’s economy is down the drain. Looking for work internationally. Also very active in organizing international design projects, ‘deep design’ strategies for training policy makers, leaders, and others. Staying busy and hungry. Check out my LinkedIn Web site.” 1984

Class Agent: Kathleen Kerivan (Kathleen_Kerivan@antiochne.edu) Mollie Babize reports, “Mary and I continue to work on rehabbing our 1790 cape on Bear River Road in Ashfield, MA—complete with PV panels (reported in the last issue of con’text), a threestory barn, and occasional visitors such as bear, fox, and Amy Klippenstein’s ’95 cows. We are almost ready to move our furniture in, which has been in storage for a year! Walt and I have been collaborating, with former CISA director Annie Cheatham, on a study

of agriculture and agricultural lands in Ipswich.” n Gary Bachman is the president of the National Association for County, Community and Economic Development; on the board of directors of the City of Tucson Industrial Development Authority; and a member of the AZ Native Plant Society. He has submitted collaborative applications for $22 million—with Pima County, the City of Tucson, and five nonprofits—to HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. About two hundred homes will be built and rehabbed and will meet Pima County green standards. n Kate Kerivan says, “I own a berry farm in Ashfield, MA, have been selling at the farmers’ market for two years, and have just begun to produce farm products from the CDC community kitchen in Greenfield for wholesaling to cooperatives and specialty-food stores. Just completed a ten-month position as a community outreach coordinator for Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust and now work as a volunteer with a grassroots organization I started while at Mount Grace, focusing on community farming and access to town-owned agricultural lands for the community.” 1985

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? See also class of ’86 for information about Shari Bashin-Sullivan. n Judy Zimicki Gianforte, in Cazenovia, NY, writes, “My husband, two children, and I farm 250 acres of organic grains in central New York. In addition, I run an outdoor program for a Syracuse Montessori School and work half-time as the director of a local land trust that protects 1500 acres of property and manages 14 miles of trails.” 1986

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Donna Eldridge reports, “After 17 years together, Bob Cleaver and I married on April Fool’s Day 2008 in Las Vegas, with our two daughters and my mother in attendance! Maddy Cleaver is 13.5 and a confirmed teenager. Our younger, Eliza, is 11 and has transferred to the East Bay Waldorf School—a better fit for her learning style—and we are thrilled with the program. Business at Cleaver Design Associates is slow, but we are holding our own. Still seeing Shari Bashin-Sullivan ’85 and Dave Evans ’76 and collaborating on projects when possible.”

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News from Alums

Call Home! Call your school home, that is. Call the phone number below and speak for up to three minutes about the work you do and your message will be shared with Conway students, who are always eager to hear about life after Conway. (Your message will only be used privately.) Thanks to the Conway alums who have already called. Questions? Contact Paul Cawood Hellmund: hellmund @csld.edu. Call (413) 853-3034 (a Google Voice answering machine) and say your name and where you live and then tell your story! 1987

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Sue Reed, in Shelburne Falls, MA, says, “I’ve recently completed two writing projects: a book entitled Energy-Wise Landscape Design, to be published in March 2010 by New Society Publishers, and an article on the subject of sustainable landscape design, to be included in The Business of Sustainability (volume 2 of The Encyclopedia of Sustainability), to be published by the Berkshire Publishing Group in 2010 (available online and in print).” See page 6 for more about Sue’s book. 1988

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Michael Goldfinger writes, “I’ve been married 15 years and live in Lexington, MA. I have two children, girls, ages 13 and 10. My wife, Jennifer Goldfinger, is a children’s book author and illustrator. I am a general radiologist at Norwood Hospital. I miss the Nerf ball.” n Ginny Raub reports from Exeter, NH, “I am partially retired but still work in math and science with elementary school students. As a member of the conservation commission, I am heading the group securing a site for a community garden.” n Ann Turner Whitman, living in Bolton, VT, says, “I’m currently the green-goods supervisor in the garden center at the Gardener’s Supply Company flagship store in Burlington, VT. I manage the tree, shrub, and perennials nursery, the tropical plant conservatory, and other seasonal live goods.

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I continue to write and teach about all things related to gardening. Writing and presentation skills learned at Conway helped make it possible!” 1989

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Ali (Hope) Crolius writes, “I continue to live in Amherst, MA. My son Ezra is 17.5 and in his senior year of high school. Can’t believe my job as a mother is nearing this end of the spectrum! After two years of working with the landscape arm of Annie’s Garden Center in Amherst, I find I have my own list of clients that I maintain and consult with and for. I call my business Artemis Garden Consultants: In the Service of Beauty, I hire adolescents interested in horticulture and train them to help me. I call it the Weed Corps.” n Cynthia Knauf is in Burlington, VT. She writes, “Some of my projects have been and are slated to be featured in many publications. In 2006, a Japanese-style residential project was featured in chapter 2 of Sarah Susanka and Julie Moir Messervy’s book Outside the Not So Big House. In 2009, my Nantucket residential project was featured in the Cape and Islands edition of New England Home, and a Stowe French-country residential project was featured in Design New England. Photography of a contemporary residential project is scheduled this fall for Architectural Digest. Becoming licensed is very important to me. Since VT is the only state without licensure for landscape architects, I pursued approval by the CT Board to sit for the CT exam. I received approval in spring 2009 and will be taking my first exam this September. I have become very interested in green design and have collaborated with local architects on many LEED-certified projects in VT, including a new field house for the Putney School, a renovation of the Seventh Generation headquarters in Burlington, and a new high-end residence in the Mad River Valley. I wish to more strongly direct my business toward green design and eventually become LEED certified. Finally, this past July I moved my office from Montpelier to the big city of Burlington to gain more exposure with VT architects.” n Laura Stack, living in Prairie Village, KS, says, “I am currently the new programs chairman for the Hort NetWORK, which offers opportunities for information, education, and cooperation among its members who serve the green industry. I coordinated a 2009 Arbor Day event in Kansas City. A year or two ago, I received a gold award for

best outdoor living-space remodel and a silver award for best exterior remodel from Kansas City Homes and Gardens. I frequently have clients who are featured in this local magazine and have made the front cover a few times with my projects and/or the clients’ remodeling projects.” n Pamela Underhill, in Alexandria, VA, reports, “I’ve been spending more time on sculpture and painting. I’m still plugging along with designing. Over the years I’ve been able to keep a very full design-and-installation docket without advertising. With the change in the economy, I’m beginning to consider applying for work with larger firms, as it’s been a very slow summer. I chose not to step up and advertise so that I could use my summer to work on construction projects around my home and some small landscape projects, and develop my art studio. I’ve been working on many small design projects with landscape contracting companies. Fast and fun. As my kids get older, I have a bit more free time to work, which is making me reorganize my ideas and approaches to the business. My newest exciting project is the design and installation of a rain garden.” 1990

Class Agent: Lauren Snyder Lautner (llautner@msn.com) Patricia Finley writes, “Being in my 80s makes quite a difference in the way I live and work. I paint rather than carve now (attempting to bring dream images closer). I try to stay mobile with tai chi classes, and I play with my friends and my two Labs. I’ve moved from Conway to Amherst, MA, and the property I bought has a small pond, which has become something of an obsession. I work to make it more ‘natural.’ Three frogs and a snake have discovered it, so it must be okay. The initial three goldfish from Dave’s Soda and Pet City have branched out with two sets of babies, partly white and even black, now 13 altogether. Who knows what will develop? I guess that can be called my ‘accomplishment.’” n Edward Landau reports, “My home garden was chosen as one of eight for this year’s garden tour by the Worcester County Horticultural Society. We had 356 visitors.” He writes of the garden: “I started what I wanted to be a four-season foliage garden on my two acres of land. It’s mostly shady, but my luck was to find innumerable indigenous groundcovers in the woods. In 1997, when we moved to this home, I brought in rocks with ‘character’ and planted a few carefully selected specimen trees. On the only

sunny area on the property, I planted a quarter-meadow of northeast wildflowers, which has become the home of many colorful ground-living birds and butterflies. Each year I slowly added plants and shrubs to accomplish a colorful garden using foliage and bark so that the garden appears to be blooming from spring to fall. I left plenty of evergreens and colorful bark to enjoy in the winter. I have a garden which I continuously remake, and I derive constant joy and peace working in it year-round.” 1991

Class Agent: Annette Schultz (schultz91@csld.edu) Kent Freed, living in Lakewood, CO, says, “Tasha and I became grandparents in August 2008. Our daughter Sarah, who was six when we were at Conway, gave birth to a son, Malcolm Faone Mounlade. Her husband is a native Comorian (from an island, Mohéli, off the east coast of Africa), whom she met there on a post-graduate fellowship on coastal ecology. Colorado reinstated licensure for landscape architects in 2008 (decades after it was allowed to lapse), and I was able to qualify under the prior-experience provision.” n Nat Goodhue is enjoying “running and skiing across the landscape with friends and family, including a threeyear-old grandson” and participating on the campus-planning committee of the CSLD Board of Trustees. n Betsy Hopkins is living in South Hamilton, MA, with her husband, Steve Mushkin, and two sons, Henry, 12, and Leo, 8. She is working as a land-use consultant. 1992

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? John Saveson has been living in Rocky Hill Cohousing, a cohousing community in Florence, MA, since 2008. He is working as a home-energy auditor in the state’s MassSave program. 1993

Class Agent: Amy Craig (amy.craig1@comcast.net) Michael Hylton writes from Makawao, HI, “I spent eight months in Seattle applying to and evaluating the University of Washington’s MLA program, working for the Nature Conservancy, and climbing mountains with the Mountaineers. I recently decided to return to Maui and start a design/build company. I grow veggies in Maui’s only community garden and am the garden’s education coordinator. I also went through the Master Gardener program and am on their speaker’s bureau and the Master

Conway Alumna Wendi Goldsmith ’90 Honored for Business Growth Bioengineering Group, a womanowned science and engineering consulting and design firm, was honored as the Fastest Growing Company of 2009 at the sixth annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business. The Massachusettsbased company was recognized for doubling its staff size and sales in 2008. Bioengineering Group founder and CEO, Wendi Goldsmith ’90, accepted the award during award ceremonies held in November 2009 in New York City. “Our entire Bioengineering Group team is honored to win this Stevie Award, and fortunate to have grown during most of our eighteen years in business,” said Wendi. “I believe our current

Gardener Program Advisory Board, as well as the newly formed Makawao Town Planning Association. I recently joined the Maui Association of Landscape Professionals. Business is booming! I named the business Tresala, an abstract combination of ‘tree’ and ‘salad.’ Tresala’s mission is designing purposeful landscapes integrating edible and native plants on a pedestrian scale.” 1994

Class Agent: Jonathon Ellison (ellison94@csld.edu) Esther L. Danielson says, “Bill and I are now permanent residents of Canada, living on Cape Breton Island, NS, where we are constructing a very small, very tight winter house to supplement our original summer house. We continue to spend considerable time with children and grands—in AK and CT. Two years ago I designed a ‘settlers’ garden’ for the North Highlands Community Museum, in Cape North, Cape Breton. The garden consists of a variety of small gardens containing plants the original settlers left behind in the Old World, as well as plants they found and grew here. The latter includes flowers, vegetables, fruits, grains, and herbs for cooking, dyeing, and medicine. A hay barrack, originally for hay storage, serves as a gazebo. Bird-habitat features and a small pool, cisterns for roof-water

Wendi Goldsmith addresses the graduates at commencement in 2007.

Courtesy: Greenfield Recorder

News from Alums

outstanding growth stems from our conviction and success in sustainable design which is in high demand from our clients. We see interest in sustainability continuing to expand in the future, and hope that trend brings continued opportunity not only to our firm, but to all who embrace it.” Wendi’s commencement address to the class of 2007 can be found in con’text, fall 2007. More information about the award can be found at www.bioengineering.com/ news.html.

collection, and a children’s garden round out the plan. The entire garden was installed by two organic farmers with student help, without the use of machinery.” n Jonathon Ellison is living in Ayer’s Cliff, PQ. He writes, “Very happy, but now shorter than my sons! Partner Ann consulting in Afghanistan and beyond, and she has a new book of poetry being published. Still enjoying French Quebec, still living by the laws of humor, and am convinced I will return in the next life either on the stage or photographing war zones. Would trade places for someone’s youth at the drop of a hat, ’cause it would have been a mighty party. Very busy and enjoying my work. Still trying to find interesting openings in the closed world of international development, where community input can drive projects. Am frustrated, working with so many building architects who still don’t understanding implications of site and who still don’t connect the dots between true needs and responsible design. We’ve reached the moment where buildings and landscapes can be beautiful only if they are ecologically intelligent, and the rest should be turned down. Still get the most pleasure working with children, and still work by the ethic to never protect a client from a good idea.” For more news of Jonathon, see page 6.

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Pamela White Sand

News from Alums

Alums from a number of years attended graduation in June 2009.

Melissa Mourkas still travels around in a VW Westfalia camper, “enjoying Mother Nature’s bounty.” In fall 2009, she completed a report on cultural landscapes for Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park, in Sacramento, CA. n


Class Agent: Art Collings (otter@mac.com) James Cowen was elected president of the CT Association of Wetland Scientists in February 2009. n Kristin Fletcher writes from Gainesville, FL, “All my kids are fledged and flown: Nathaniel is editing film in L.A., Adrian is married to a lovely Englishman and currently lives an hour south of London, and Catlin is taking a degree in library science. She and her husband live in Madison. I’m still teaching Spanish and still enjoy it. My yard has no lawn, just lots of birds and butterflies.” n See also class of ’84 for information about Amy Klippenstein n Cynthia Tanyan (Hayes), in Fremont, CA, writes, “A residential green roof I designed and installed with my husband’s company, Villa Landscape, was seen in People (September 2008, ‘Up on the Roof’). I have been giving presentations to local garden clubs and mothers’ clubs on green roofs and children’s gardens. Studying for and plan to take the green-roof-professional certification exam in October 2009.” 1996

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Amy Ackroyd reports from Olympia, WA, “I’m slowly getting back into landscape design as my last child reaches school age. Most of my energy is still focused on family and our huge garden, which produces most of our vegetables and all of our eggs.” n Marcia Fischer is living in Seattle, WA. She says, “My kids are now five and almost three, and they have been my ‘project’ of choice for the past five years. I have been working part-time at Natural Systems Design in Seattle, doing habitat-restoration project design and planning.” n Jean Tufts, in Middleburg, VA, writes, “My husband, Craig, passed away on June 21, 2009, after a yearlong battle with brain cancer. I became certified as a professional wetland scientist this year through Society

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of Wetland Scientists and am studying to become a certified taxonomist in benthics at the family level.” 1997

Class Agent: Susan Crimmins (sbcrimm@crocker.com) Sue Crimmins reports, “Still living in Florence, MA! Been taking graphicdesign and computer classes at Holyoke Community College to receive formal education in computer-graphic design and printing production. Get in touch with me in a year for all your graphicdesign production needs for magazines, flyers, posters, and pamphlets!” n Candace Currie lives in Watertown, MA. She writes, “As director of planning and sustainability at Mount Auburn Cemetery, I’m honored to work with William Rawn Associates, Inc., Architects, on new horticulture and cemetery services centers, for which we’ll be going for LEED certification. Also, I’m having great fun publishing a monthly internal newsletter for cem­e­tery staff on sustainability issues. From April through November, the staff almost doubles with Spanish-speaking seasonal workers. Translating the newsletter into Spanish has been key to it being wellreceived. It’s called E-ternally Green | E-ternamente Verde.” See also page 24 for information about a student project for Mount Auburn Cemetery. n See also class of ’98 for information about Christine McGrath. 1998

Class Agent: Matthew Arnsberger (arnsberger@mindspring.com) Marya Fowler lives with her husband Marty Muehlegger and stepson Maxwell in Austin, TX. She enjoys hiking with her dog Rio on the many greenbelts that run through and around the city. Marya and Marty helped restore a lovely nature trail in their neighborhood after it was excessively cleared and the streambed was altered in an uninformed attempt at fire prevention. Marya now serves on both the parks and fire prevention committees of her neighborhood. Marya has been working with the National Wildlife Federation for the last ten years. She started as a technical advisor to the schoolyard habitat team and helped install and design schoolyard habitats for San Antonio’s school district. She then became education manager for the

south-central office, where she helped introduce and grow NWF’s Habitat program in the cities of Houston, Austin, and Dallas. Marya currently works as a regional representative for the NWF, where she helps increase the grassroots capacity of NWF’s affiliate organizations in TX, LA, and MO. n Brian Higgins reports, “I’ve launched a nonprofit called Sustainable Greensboro, focusing on three core areas: sustainable businesses, education and outreach, and civic ecology. I continue to take on occasional freelance design work as Greenpath Studio, but my focus is on the nonprofit. The nonprofit has generated a tremendous amount of press, and awareness of it is very high only seven months after its launch. Through this effort, I have been asked to sit on the Downtown Greenway Technical Team as the only non-engineer and non-administrator on the team, which is responsible for designing, managing, and building a 4.6-mile greenway encircling downtown Greensboro.” n Wendy Ingram has moved to Providence, RI. n Susan Leopold writes, “We are currently building a straw-bale house, a first for our county. I have worked on the photography and research for An Oak Spring Herbaria, a new publication from the library where I work. This is a book about rare herbals in the collection.” n James (Jim) McGrath continues to work for the City of Pittsfield, MA, as the park, open-space, and natural-resource program manager, a position that also finds him wearing the hat of harbormaster. He spent a great deal of his summer working to set up a zebra mussel prevention program at the city’s two lakes. (Zebra mussels were found at Laurel Lake in Lee, MA, in early July, the first occurrence of this highly invasive mussel in MA.) He recently became certified as a park and recreation professional. Christine McGrath ’97 is finding time to obtain a teaching certificate while still working with residential clients on landscape design needs. n Wynne Wirth writes from South Portland, ME, “This year has been about moving our family from farm homesteading in rural Maine to small-city gardening. City-lot challenges have been compacted, acidic soil (with lead issues) dominated by a plethora of invasives and, of course, lawn and grubs. Our garden journey began with a huge pile of wood chips and a design plan. Annual and perennial food crops found their home in raised beds with lots of compost. Six cute little chicks will be helping complete the cycle next spring.”

by Cindy Tavernise ’99

What a fantastic time members of the class of ’99 had with Anya and Louise in Austin. We arrived on Thursday to a sumptuous dinner at their home outside of the city, in a countryside of limestone hills. Their spacious and welcoming bungalow is set in a yard where gardens are a challenge; prickly pear cacti and live oak rule among expanses of grasses, an occasional cedar, and piles of rocks. The next day, we toured the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Darrel Morrison’s project a number of years back. Despite torrential showers, we trooped through the grounds with a delightful docent. The dramatic “show” of flowers somewhat dampened by a preceding winter drought, was still, a lovely scene with speckles of bluebonnets, Indian paint brush, and coreopsis. After lunch, some of us took in the Museum of the History of Texas in Austin and toured the University of Texas campus. After a fine Texan breakfast on Anya and Louise’s porch the next morning, we took a hike through a 1200-acre former ranch, being groomed for restoration of native grasses and trees. Many native species of flora and fauna flourish there, among them little blue stem, big blue stem, Indian grass, buffalo grass, holly, mesquite, scrub, post, and live oak, and perennial wildflowers of all sorts. We even tasted some leaves that made our tongues go numb. Footing was treacherous in parts because of the litter of limestone fragments beneath the grass and beside spiny cacti. There was plentiful evidence of wild pigs, coyotes, and deer. We even spotted some cougar dens, a pair of Mexican gold eagles, vultures, red-tailed hawks, and scissor-tailed swallows. That last evening, we drove into the city of Austin to watch the exodus of hundreds of thousands of bats from underneath one of the city’s bridges at dusk. You could hear an audible awe from the gathered crowds below and on top of the bridge as the bats took to wing. As if a giant bubble blower sat under the bridge and blew outward. You could hear, feel, and smell the bats as they rushed out and up the waterway in massive black clouds.


Class Agent: Cindy Tavernise (tavernise99@csld.edu) Paul Esswein and his wife Kathleen moved to Carson City, NV, in 2006. Both are in good health and continue to enjoy an active lifestyle. They write, “We walk from our house on the west side of the city to arts events, a small historic district, and a variety of restaurants, small shops, museums, and the ubiquitous casinos. C Hill, five minutes west of our house, offers a strenuous 1/2-hour climb and access to the Carson Range of the Sierra Nevada. Living

Members of the Class of ’99 met up in Austin in April: Cindy Tavernise, Paul Esswein, Gioia Kuss, Judy Thompson, Anya Darrow, Seth Wilkinson, and Louise Harrington brave the rain at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Thank you, thank you, Anya and Louise, and all of you who made it to Austin! Next reunion will be in Carson City in the Sierra Nevada heaven where Paul and Kathleen live. We saw the photos. Join us in a few years, y’all! Can’t wait! More photos of the festivities can be seen at tinyurl.com/Conway1999. If you would like help organizing a reunion of your class, contact Kim Klein, director of development and alumni services at klein@csld.edu, or (413) 369-4044, ext. 3.

A Letter from Anna James ’99 Anna James was unable to attend the reunion, but she writes, “During the past year, I realized that being sick (and trying to get better) requires enormous amounts of time and energy and you don’t contact all those people you normally would. Life seems to go ‘on hold’ to a degree when you are ill. It’s almost like you are given a ‘Time Out’ to sit in the corner for thumbing your nose at life, and you want to get out of the corner early for good behavior so you can resume recess.” Writing extensively about a trip to Maine, she concludes, “Our experiences on this trip were fun, exciting, educational, and used all of the senses and even something I can’t quite name which I’d categorize as touching on the spiritual. Overall, I’d say this was the second-best trip I ever had. The only one better was the second honeymoon Robert and I had five years ago on Kauai. These are some of the memories and feelings that make life so wonderful.”

Anna James ’99 kayaking on the Penobscot River in Maine

at an elevation of 4600 feet, we’re in a high desert environment with 300-plus days of sun, regular wind, and less than 11 inches of precipitation annually. We have convenient access to Lake Tahoe for excellent hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country and down-hill skiing.” Paul works for Lyon County, east of Carson City. Kathleen works for the Nevada Justice Association. They both volunteer for the annual Carson City Jazz Festival which gives them free admission to great music and the chance to mingle with locals and visitors from far and wide. n Gwendolyn Nagy-Benson

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Class of ’99 Reunites in Texas

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News from Alums

and her family are moving to Middlebury, VT. n Heidi Putnam reports, “Matt and I moved this summer about one mile away from our old house— we’re in a neighborhood with a bunch of kids—so Pearce and Miller Kate are thrilled to have constant playmates. My landscape design business is the work that is keeping me so busy—I actually have combined the landscape design work with a love of renovation, so now do renovation consulting as well. It’s crazy that in these economic times, I’m busier than I’ve ever been with work, but I think more and more people are

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News from Alums

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Heidi Putnam’s ‘99 children

staying put and therefore, putting a little bit of money into their properties in the form of landscaping. My landscape work is quite different from the projects at CSLD, living in ‘town’ makes for a different design outcome than the countrysides of New England. I do incorporate native plants and encourage people to use rain barrels as often as possible. With the drought we had this summer, people are starting to take notice of the environment! At the end of the day, people want their yards to be pretty in the spring and summer and easy in the fall and winter. . . . that’s what I do, for better or worse.” n Cindy Tavernise, in Granville, MA, has had two recent art shows: a one-person show of paintings in June 2008 at the Westfield Athenaeum, in Westfield, MA, and another one-person show at the Sandisfield Cultural Center in August and September 2008, in Sandisfield, MA. She is currently working on a landscape design of a commercial stone yard for an architectural stone distributor in Granville, MA. In family news, she writes, “My husband, Silvio, and I became grandparents. Judah Mars Tavernise was born at home, in Peekskill, NY, on August 16, 2009, to our son Niko Tavernise and Shara Shisaeboran. Niko is a digital-film editor and worked on set for the movie The Wrestler. He works in New York City. Our daughter Sabrina continues her career with the New York Times as bureau chief in Istanbul. Since early spring 2009, she has been reporting from Pakistan.” n Seth Wilkinson reports, “I had my third and final back surgery last September after a 30-foot fall. Other than containing more titanium than the Bionic Man, I am on the mend, and life is good. Wilkinson Ecological Design said good-bye to Brian McGowan ’07, as he departed in March of this year to take a senior position with the Wave Hill Public Garden, in the Bronx, NY. We were thrilled to welcome Theresa Sprague ’08 to the position of senior restoration designer. While we didn’t think it was possible, Theresa is proving to be an even more energetic, highly skilled, and brilliant ecological restoration designer than we expected. WED continues to grow at an exponential rate, even through the economic recession.”

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No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Anne Capra spent the summer of 2009 rebuilding a two-hundred-yearold American-chestnut post-and-beam barn on her property in Hatfield, MA. The building was dismantled by a VT company specializing in the restoration of historic structures and was rebuilt using many of the original timbers. Any unsalvageable wood was recycled. n Joan Casey, in Annapolis, MD, reports, “My family and I are well. The two older kids, Caitlin and Dylan, are off on their own and doing well. Flynn is a senior in high school and looking at colleges in the West. I miss New England and hope to come up for a visit before too long. I am working as a landscape designer for two different women-owned landscape architecture firms in Annapolis. Between the two firms, I am involved in a variety of projects, involving gardens, city planning, forest conservation, management of buffers for the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries, stormwater management, and city and county landscape and site plans for permit. The variety keeps it interesting, and Conway’s broad preparation helped make it possible.” n Jennifer Nawada Evans says, “I launched my own landscape design and build firm in Boston. The firm is called Nawada Landscape Design, Inc. We specialize in residential properties in and around Boston. I married Justin Evans in 2003 and now have two boys, named Owen (almost 3) and Lucas (15 months), and I still have GUS!” n Janet Powers, living in Bedford, MA, says, “Rather than designing landscapes these days, I am busy designing a life: home-schooling two active and joyful girls, 11 and 14; converting our 1860s home into an energy-efficient, low-impact abode; cultivating a permaculture-style garden; and volunteering on local boards. Cheers to all.” n Teresa (“Treesa”) Rogerson writes, “I got lucky this year. I researched tax-auction land and fell in love with a little piece at the edge of the city limits of Santa Cruz, CA. Ocean view, surrounded by wilderness and a preserve. That means canyons, wildlife, no houses, all at the edge of town. I bid on it and won! All for a song, literally: it cost almost nothing. The land is not buildable yet. I am working on access (landlocked), chain of deeds, and soon permits for a dirt road and a well. It is a true project, right up my alley, but not up every alley. The surrounding preserve is currently roamed by cattle from ranches nearby. I am designing an amphitheater, dug into

the hillside facing the ocean that frames the back side of the interior, which is a very big open space for small musical concerts and yoga. The front is a greenhouse for passive solar gain and growing food and probably a slightly outdoorfeeling shower. The plan is for the whole greenhouse to open up so that the structure is open to the air—lanai living at its best! Apart from that score, I will be installing a drought-tolerant nativeplant demonstration garden at no cost in trade for having a really nice powdercoated sign for my business—one that that curves and retains the soil with a succulent garden atop it!—placed along a busy road. All this means: Hello, Santa Cruz, guess I will be sticking around here awhile.” See Treesa’s website for more details. n Judy Sherburne writes, “The 2009 year started pretty lean; then, in a ten-day period in early March, it exploded beyond my expectations and past years. I maintain a design-and-construction role with private and corporate clients. Sealaska Corporation was awarded a proclamation from the City of Juneau for landscape and design work I’ve done for them. I have stepped up installation of designs, and it is very rewarding to work alongside subcontractors and keep field knowledge fresh in my designer’s eye. Still teaching landscape design for a construction-tech school at the University of Alaska Southeast. My cousin worked with me for six weeks in the summer of 2009, installing landscape designs. He is a fifth-year architecture student at Penn State.” 2001

Class Agents: Chuck Schnell (schnell01@csld.edu), Robin Simmen (simmen01@csld.edu) Elizabeth Rousek Ayers reports, “My husband, Matt, and I moved to a small farm, 13 acres, last January. Now we are not only raising three girls but also broilers, ducks, laying hens, and geese. Garden is big but often neglected. Landscape is coming slowly. I work one day a week at my old estate gardening job and do some design/installation/maintenance when I can. I also just meet with people and help them understand their landscapes.” n Karen Lamson says, “I have lived in the Columbia River Gorge, OR, for the past several years, with a view overlooking the river, and oak-pine woodlands behind me on the slopes above my cottage. As conservation planner/technician for the Wasco County Soil and Water Conservation District, I develop conservation plans for private landowners, primarily riparian-buffer plans to reestablish native vegetation

News from Alums


No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Michael Cavanagh writes, “Our children, Julian, Maia, Lily, are now 4, 12, and 13. So we have a teenager! Sheri continues to expand her work in healing arts—yoga, Thai massage—working occasionally in L.A. as well as at many RI studios and centers. I am working toward exhibiting paintings and drawings again. Neither 2008 nor 2009 has been an inspiring year in business. RI is really struggling. But I find inspiration in many other sources and outlets. Even more than ever, what the world needs are conscious designers and planners operating with clear and independent training and thinking! I am looking to branch even further into green building

and land practices. Participated successfully again in the winter design exhibits at the RI Flower and Garden Show.” n Michele Devaney, in Park City, UT, writes, “I am now working as a resource conservation and development coordinator for the Natural Resources Conservation Service.” n Alex Ganiaris is happy to report that he married Paula Dreyer in 2007. He says, “We bought our first home in Oakland, CA, and are expecting our first child in February 2010. I recently tore up preexisting lawn in front of the house and planted low-water-need natives. Spent three weeks in Greece in summer 2009 at a family home on the islands. Recent challenges include working with CalTrans and a private corporation to develop unused exit-ramp land into a public walkway/garden. I continue to hone best-use irrigation skills and techniques to reduce water usage. I am keeping up with design/build work and a steady garden-maintenance business.” n Alma Hecht reports from San Francisco, CA, that she was featured in Julie Moir Messervy’s book Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love. She gave two well-received talks at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show and she had articles on Second Nature Design printed in the in the L.A. Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. She has been writing the seasonal column for her community newsletter, The Glen Park News, on the flora/ fauna of the canyon and has developed a corresponding ECO-NOTES section to “let folks know how they can grow our canyon’s natives at home.” She has been working with neighbors to “plan pocket gardens on sidewalks and lessen concrete stormwater runoff.” She writes that she is having fun, with “loads of travel this summer,” including to L.A., for an installation of a design she developed over a year-and-a-halflong period; to Seattle, to check an installation from a year ago; and to various other destinations for leisure travel. She’s enjoying “hiking and swimming with Sabu (Wonderdog) and friends.” n Whitney Rapp is moving to King Salmon, AK, to work for Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alagnak Wild River, and Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve in southwest AK as a planner, lead GIS/GPS contact, and research permitter. 2003

Class Agent: Lauren Wheeler (lauren@naturalresourcesdesign.com) Madeleine Charney was selected as the chair of the Legislative and Government

Selina Rossiter’s ’02 daughter Eloise

Relations Committee of the United States Agricultural Information Network, and she is the book- and Internet-review editor of The Journal of Agricultural and Food In­ formation. She is celebrating the fourth anniversary of Farm to Fork: The Pioneer Valley’s Local Food and Agriculture Show on local radio with a live stream on the web. n William Carson Joyce reports from Santa Barbara, CA, “I’m happily married with two . . . DOGS. (You thought I was going to say ‘kids’!) We walk the beach almost every day, hike the foothills, swim in the ocean, and travel up and down the California coast, and I’ve been getting into stone carving lately. The house my wife and I owned burned down in the Santa Barbara Tea Fire, but we are getting back on our feet and are still smiling six months later, thanks to the generous support of all our friends and family. Enjoying the Cali lifestyle thoroughly! I was recently licensed as a landscape architect in two states and am currently working with Isabelle Greene and Associates, Inc., with a very recent offer to potentially become a partner. Have had some really special projects the last few years—one job was published in a little snip-it article in Metropolitan Homes magazine. I’m enjoying working for Isabelle (one of the great LAs of our time, I think) but am considering going off on my own someday. But maybe with a partner, because I like my vacation time and family time too.” n Angela Kearney reports, “I participated in a three-week builder training course with EcoNest, Inc., where we built a handcrafted ‘hummingbird’ home using natural building techniques including timber framing, clay/straw walls, earth plastering, and natural, nontoxic finishes throughout. I’m looking forward to adding green-building services to my business.” Photos of Angela’s work can be seen at her website. n Joy Prescott writes, “We welcomed our second son, Griffin Merrill, in July 2008, and continue to live in a cohousing community in ME, where my husband has his environmentally focused cabinetry and woodworking business. I continue to work at Stantec, a large engineering, architecture, and environmental consulting company. It’s a big company, but I work in a small office with a great group of people. Most of my work is focused on project management and planning for environmental surveys at

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along stream corridors. I also spearheaded a project for which we were awarded a grant to restore native grassland vegetation on several hundred acres for one of our rancher clients. Additionally, I co-present the district’s conservationlandscaping workshop series.” See their website for more details. n Jay Levine reports, “I am starting a company called the Hudson Valley Backyard Farm Company, which works with individuals; families; organizations such as religious institutions, schools, and food pantries; businesses, including restaurants and office parks; and housing developments for condominiums and apartment complexes to develop and maintain backyard gardens. It also provides instruction in preserving the harvest from the gardens.” See his website for more details. n Aaron Schlechter received the 2009 outstanding-project award from the New York City Department of Design and Construction for his North Railroad Street BlueBelt, in Sweet Brook Watershed on Staten Island, NY. He is beginning Seguine Avenue BlueBelt in Lemon Creek Watershed (and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Lemon Creek Preserve) on Staten Island, NY. n Jason C. Williams writes from Shelton, CT, “Winter Lily Williams was born on January 20, 2009, and has been a joy for the family. I am currently pursuing an internship with a farm specializing in draft-horse operations. I am a licensed landscape architect in the state of CT. I currently have five large-scale projects under construction.” n Francie Fleck Yeager writes, “My greatest news is that my younger daughter, Jodi, presented me with my first grandchild—a boy—on August 26, 2008. He, Orion, is the joy of my life: a happy, smart fellow.”

emphasis on landscaping with edible plants and growing as much food as possible. We had a bumper crop of apples out of the orchard this year. Oh yeah, and slugs everywhere. I had an extremely busy summer installing landscapes, along with designing a few. I still teach quite a bit at Yestermorrow Design/Build School. Skip and I actually went to HI (first time) this spring to teach a timber-framing class.”

Andrew Robertson’s ’03 daughter Rowan Ruby Robertson

proposed windenergy projects.” n Andrew Dean Robertson writes, “My wife, Jennifer, and I had a baby on June 11, 2009. Her name is Rowan Ruby Robertson. We are currently living outside of Boston in Newton, MA. As of this fall, I have opened my own design firm, Dean Design Landscape Planning and Design. We specialize in ecological design and stormwater management.” n Lauren Wheeler writes, “My partner and I finally registered as domestic partners in Washington, DC. Just waiting for samesex marriage to become legal. Won silver and bronze medals in martial arts at the World OutGames in Copenhagen. I teach two courses in George Washington University’s new master’s program in sustainable landscapes.” Lauren was voted best instructor in this program, and she has also been featured on local news programs about rain gardens. n Amanda Wischmeyer celebrated the birth of her daughter Mackay in July 2006 and the birth of her son in October 2008. She was elected president of the West Central Ohio Land Conservancy in January 2008.

Gabriel Paul Hipp smiles in the tub.

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Class Agents: Linda Leduc (plantlady0@charter.net), Sandy Ross (rosslandscapedesign@gmail.com) Shawn Callaghan reports, “Jaime and I just moved back to CT and are living on Lake Hayward in East Haddam. It’s great to be back in the country again after years of city living in Boston. Jaime just finished her master’s degree in elementary education from Brandeis and is ready to guide the lives of little ones.” Shawn adds that EarthView Design, too, “has been uprooted and moved to CT.” He notes, “It will be fun to start designing/building larger, more rural spaces, as opposed to the tight, urban sites of the last four years. I’m looking forward to more wildlife projects as well.” n Eric Korn is happy to report that he got engaged on August 5, 2009. His wedding will be at Abington Art Center on October 16, 2010. Currently, he is working at Chris Orser Landscaping, Inc., in Perkasie, PA, designing and managing projects for high-end clients. n Nicholas Lasoff, in VT, reports that the Town of Bennington Planning Commission, on which he sits, was awarded “Citizen Board of the Year” at the Vermont Planners Association’s fall conference. The nomination papers stated, in part, “There is no question that the quality of life for residents and the economic prospects of Bennington are much improved because of their efforts . . . Because they have been bold and assertive, the Planning Commission has received some criticism, but they have remained resolute, and the results of their hard work can be seen in Bennington’s attractive and prosperous downtown, its comfortable residential neighborhoods, and in the singular beauty of its rural landscapes.” n (Aleksandr) Sasha Pilyavskiy lives in Waltham, MA. He writes, “My girlfriend and I have recently adopted a dog from Puerto Rico. He is an adorable little Sato—we named him Rico.” n Lincoln Smith reports, “Life in Bowie, MD, is great. The pawpaws are ripe. Shaunti Alexa was born in July 2009. Her big sister, Sohaila, is over the moon. MamaBecca is enjoying a few months off from


Class Agents: Ian Hodgdon (ian.hodgdon@yahoo.com), Brian Trippe (trippe06@csld.edu) Christopher Lee Graves is working as a dosimetrist, planning radiation treatments for people with cancer. He says, “I find it interesting that this work shares many concepts and techniques that we learned at Conway: Zones around sensitive organs and areas requiring treatment need buffers. This relates to, for example, wetland setbacks. Considering the biological consequences of different treatment options is similar to the environmental consequences of different treatments of our environments of focus. Lines delineating percentage of radiation dose look a lot like topo lines—ha.” n Jennifer McElligott Chenoweth writes from Port Angeles, WA, “We are about to celebrate my daughter Rowan’s first birthday! We had a busy year building a new house and have been living in it since January. We weren’t able to build a straw-bale, as originally planned, so we made sure to incorporate earth walls. We have one adobe wall and two light-straw-clay walls. We also covered the drywall with an earthen

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No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Bethany Atkins, in Woolwich, ME, reports, “In May, my husband, Tim, and I welcomed a baby girl, Lily Evans Forrester, 6 pounds, 5 ounces. On the very same day that Lily was born, we moved into our new house, an 1824 Cape located along the Kennebec River. We have spent the summer getting to know our little girl and getting settled in our new home (and getting ready for winter!). It has been busy!” n Joshua Clague and his wife, Tracey, are expecting their second child in December. n Lupin Hill Hipp writes, “My husband, Rich Hipp, and I welcomed our son, Gabriel Paul Hipp, into the world on August 20, 2009—we’re in love.” n Lizabeth Moniz says, “I have been putting a lot of effort into my own landscape this year, wishing that I owned heavy equipment to make things go faster. Not only am I planting native plants, but Lupin Hill Hipp’s ’04 son I’m really putting

work at the DC think tank CSIS. Work around the Chesapeake Bay continues to be engaging and rewarding. How to balance the need for the huge view with the need to revegetate our critical buffers?” n Christopher Stevenson writes from Pasadena, CA, “I’m expanding my own landscape in 29 Palms, CA, to include all native plants and droughttolerant species, all on drip irrigation. I assisted in the publication of The Flora of the Santa Ana River—and Environs, with my botany mentor, Oscar Clarke. I’m working on a master landscape design for my home, on five acres in the Colorado Desert. My home is an experimental station for native landscapes and habitat gardening, which can apply to public work. I’m currently working for the State of California’s Department of Transportation/Cal-Trans as a biologist in the environmental-planning division. I’m conducting impact studies and NEPA/ CEQA compliance reviews, as well as restoration projects for sensitive roadside habitats.”


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News from Alums

Brian Trippe ’06 with wife, Robin, and son, Brady Tyler Trippe

plaster that we made from scratch. It was dirt cheap, and they are lovely and make the house feel so cozy. I’m still working as an environmental planner for Olympic National Park. Working on an environmental assessment to convert an old road to a trail. I’m really enjoying my job.” n Danny Stratten was married to Jennifer Gruenert on June 20, 2009. They now live in Bellingham, WA, where Danny continues his work as a restoration designer with ICF Jones & Stokes. n From Brian Trippe: “Well, at long last the day has arrived! Measuring in at 7 pounds, 10 ounces, and 20 inches—little baby Trippe was born! I’d like to ramble on a bit more before finally revealing the sex, but you should all know that mother and baby are very well after a planned C-section. OK, so you’ve waited long enough for the big reveal, and frankly I’m tired of using gender-neutral pronouns to describe li’l sprout. It’s a BOY—Brady Tyler Trippe! Best wishes and thank you for all your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes. Love, Brian and Robin and Brady.” n Greg Walzer lives in Colorado Springs, CO, and reports, “Layla, my basset hound, is huge. And she’s still very stubborn. I’m not married, and I don’t have any kids that I’m aware of. I’m renting a great little condo near where I work. I don’t have a proper yard, so I experimented with a little container garden. With a yield of seven-and-ahalf tomatoes, deformed (but good) baby carrots and lettuce that I’m pretty sure wasn’t lettuce at all, it seems I’ll be rethinking my strategy next year. I’m in several softball leagues, have a few amazing friends, and spend a lot of time in the mountains hiking, fishing, camping, and snowboarding. I’m the head (only) landscape designer for Robertson’s Landscaping, in Colorado Springs. Aside from design, I am the residential project manager for the company. All new clients are my responsibility, as well as several longtime clients. I enjoy project management almost as much as design. In the busy season, we employ about 85 to 100 people. At times, I was running four crews at once. Our company employs sprinkler technicians, pruning crews, maintenance crews, chemical crews, flower crews, construction crews, watering crews, arborists, and a shop guy. I’m able to draw expertise from some very talented and knowledgeable people. I still have my 350 Prismacolor marker set, which I use when my boss wants to impress a customer. I still haven’t learned any computer program for design (sorry, Brian). I’m currently being trained in sprinkler design/installation, which was my weak point. My

Kim Klein

News from Alums

Members of the class of 2007 Kate Dana, Niko Rubin, and Sean Roulan with Nancy Braxton at formal presentations in winter 2009

plant ID and general plant knowledge have come a very long way. Sumac is one of my favorite plants. I enjoy the customer-service part of this, but it can be overwhelming in the busy season.” 2007

Class Agents: Alicia Batista (batista07@csld.edu), Priscilla Novitt (novitt@csld.edu) Alicia Batista is living in New York City. She says, “I spent six weeks in Panama as a Bird Fellow. Upon my return, I immediately went back to work at ABB.” See their website for more details. The next issue of con’text will include a full report of Alicia’s experiences in Panama. n Jennifer Campbell writes, “This year I have been working for a landscaping company in VT. The experience has provided good insight into conventional industry practices. Also, the landscape-design page of my website is newly finished! Last, I am participating in a program run by the Nature Conservancy of VT that provides presentations on invasive exotic plants, where I use my public-speaking skills in front of public and private groups. If anyone knows of a venue for this presentation, please let me know!” n Kathy Connor, in Kittery Point, ME, says, “All is well! I was working in Albany, NY, for a consulting company as a planner during 2008 and living apart from my husband (who stayed in ME in our house), but earlier this year I landed a job in Ipswich, MA, as the assistant planner. I am so glad to be home!” n Kate Dana writes, “Have been living in Newport, RI, for over a year with Milton, the 15-year-old dog, who is holding up really well. Working on reviving Project One, a volunteer organization dedicated to producing public art events in and around Newport, with VIEWPORT, a juried exhibit of sculptural art and performance at the Fort Mason Boat Basin, in fall 2010. I have been working for the residential landscape design firm PLACEstudio, in Newport, RI, as an associate landscape designer; I’ve also been working on small residential landscape design projects independently. I recently completed illustrations for the soon-to-be-published EnergyWise Landscape Design, authored by Conway alum Susan Reed ’87 (see

p. 6) and have been designing and illustrating labels for several small farmbased, value-added products, including the delicious black-currant products made by Conway alum Kate Kerivan ’84. n Brian McGowan writes from the Bronx, New York City, “I started work in April as the assistant director of horticulture at Wave Hill, a twentyacre public garden and cultural center located along the Hudson River in the Bronx.” n Karen Reedy writes, “My partner, Kathy, and I are doing well and enjoying suburban life in Melrose, MA. We have a two-year-old Lab-andgolden-mix puppy named Willa who is our baby and whom I take for hikes in the nearby woods all the time. I am currently working part-time for a kayaking company and am very interested in becoming ACA certified as a kayak instructor. I have also recently enrolled in an informal, non-degree program in conservation that prepares one to work as a park ranger’s assistant. I am also looking for online ways to enrich my self-education and career pursuits.” n Nicko Rubin works hard and eats lots of fruits at his home and business, East Hill Tree Farm, in Plainfield, VT. He is growing, selling, and planting fruit and nut trees in his community, as well as offering consulting and education for local permaculture classes. n Andrew Ward reports from Sandy Hook, CT, “Victoria Schroth and I are living in Fairfield County, CT. Victoria is teaching, and I’m working as a project manager at a design/build company. We’ve been traveling as much as possible. Living the dream in CT. Looking forward to reuniting with some fellow Conway grads. Anytime any of you want to spend some time in the ’burbs, give us a call or shoot us an e-mail.” 2008

Class Agents: Doug Guey-Lee (gueylee08@csld.edu), Amy Livingston (livingston08@csld.edu), Theresa Sprague (sprague08@csld.edu) Kevin Adams is in Clemson, SC, pursuing a PhD. He reports, “As part of my PhD research assistantship this term, I’m working on a sustainability plan for a local public housing authority with two MLA students. What is most intriguing to me about this project is the potential to influence all of our client’s housing sites and hopefully its mission. It’s seldom just about the site—context, context, context! Those of you who participated in the Conway-Philly charrette last spring know that abandoned lots are also a passion of mine. I may be starting a research project with this

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scholar [a German landscape architect who researches temporary reuse strategies for abandoned urban lots], which will likely lead to a dissertation.” n Jesse Froehlich says, “In an unexpected turn, I moved to Southern CA to start a new job in February 2008, and it’s going well so far! I’m working for the Pasadena branch office of a firm called MIG. MIG is a planning/ landscape architecture firm, but the Pasadena office exclusively does planning. The work involves lots of public involvement, strategic planning, policy planning, and organizational development for projects related to the environment—more specifically, land use, transportation, water infrastructure, parks and recreation, public health, and environmental justice. Exciting!” n Pamela Hurtado lives in Montagnola, Switzerland. She is currently developing a park design for the Municipalidad de Cauquenes in Chile. n Adrian Laine, in Seattle, WA, writes, “Nothing exciting, just dancing and enjoying life. Waylon has had some semiserious injuries recently, including a burn to the cornea and losing the tip of his middle finger, but he is well and on the mend. I got laid off from my job at Jones & Jones Architects and Landscape Architects. It was not altogether unexpected, since after the loss of our large Abu Dhabi project, the firm had been steadily slowing for some time. I was touched that they held on to me the longest (they have had to let go of twenty-plus people) and even now communicate that I am at the top of the list for rehire. In the meantime, I will be trying my hand at landscape construction. I am excited to be learning more about this, since I think that it will make me a much better designer and brings me closer to my goal of owning a small design/build firm at some point in the future. I can’t complain that after a year tied to a desk, I will finally get to go outside and see some sun!” n Amy Livingston, in Northampton, MA, says, “Hello to all those out there in the post-Conway world! I’m still in Noho and finally found a job with a landscape company doing soil analyses and learning about the whole microbiology of the soil ecosystem: nematodes, fungi, worms, compost tea—it’s all good! Hope you all are well! Congratulations especially to Mike and Catherine and their beautiful bambinos.” n Seth Pearsoll reports, “I have been in Philadelphia for one year and have made significant headway into a professional network in the city, and I

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continue to look for planning/design work.” n Catherine Pedemonti reports from Cambridge, MA, “Tacita and I had a baby boy on June 27. His name’s Nico, and we’re overjoyed with the new addition to our family!” n Theresa Sprague writes, “I am currently working as a senior restoration designer for Seth Wilkinson ’99 at Wilkinson Ecological Design in Orleans, MA.” n Tom Sullivan lives in Turners Falls, MA. He writes, “I got back into tile setting to meet my bills and pay off my loan, but in between jobs I worked on two slide-show presentations. The first was a slide show, ‘Design Native Bee Habitat in Your Yard,’ at the Discovery Center in Turners Falls, MA; the second was a talk, ‘Farm and Garden Native Bee Habitat Creation,’ at the Northeast Organic Farmers Organization yearly conference. I have decided that native bees will be my niche. Presently, I also have an offer to speak to a beekeepers’ club in Fairfield, CT. I have just accepted an offer to be an energy adviser for the Center for Ecological Technology of Pittsfield and Florence, MA. Last year CET saved $5 million in oil from their air sealing and insulation jobs. I am looking to helping our native pollinators by pushing that number even higher.” 2009

Class Agents: Kate Benisek (benisek09@csld.edu), Ashley Pelletier (pelletier09@csld.edu) Cyndy Fine says, “I had hoped to ease back into my ongoing gardening business and to do more design and less hole digging after graduation, but (fortunately in this economy) I ended up jumping right back in with the addition of FIVE new design projects! I am feeling overwhelmed and disorganized but extremely blessed . . . and missing my CSLD family! Though my overall landscape/garden aesthetic has not shifted dramatically, my design projects are now fully informed by my CSLD education and training. Some of my new projects have included the redesign of driveways (of course!) and looking at the overall entry experience in a way I wouldn’t have in the past. I’m also much more aware of how people use their property, not just what it looks like.” Cyndy’s projects include “a newly built lake-view home landscape, Japanese-inspired gardens for a timber frame surrounded by hay fields and spectacular views of a ski mountain, a mid-eighteenth-century farmhouse landscape,” and “a small orchard on a VERY steep slope.” She

Courtesy photo

News from Alums

Class of ’09 alums Lucie Martin, Kate Benisek, Suzanne Rhodes, and Rachel Bechhoefer (not pictured) met up in Chicago in September to attend the ASLA conference together and explore the city.

adds, “All on my (new) drawing board! YIKES!” n Katharine Gehron moved to Waterbury, VT, in October. In November, she started part-time at Julie Moir Messervy Design Studio, in southern VT, where she is working on some writing and design projects. She is the happy owner of two of Cyndy’s barn kittens, adopted this summer. n Alex Hoffmeier writes, “I am currently living in Montpelier, VT, working throughout the Northeast with Timber and Stone, LLC. This conservation-minded trail design/build company works to connect people with the natural world in a safe and sustainable manner. Currently, I am working on a project in Conway, MA, creating a boat portage around a hydro-power dam on the Deerfield River. This project includes the construction of a hinged dock, a flight of stairs up a steep bank, and a single-track trail connecting downstream of the dam.” n Sara Preston writes, “After spending a month in NH with my family, we moved to Carbondale, CO. I am enjoying the western landscape and adjusting to the dryness after a very cool, rainy summer in New England. It feels great to use my backpack again! Just returned from three days in the Maroon Bells. The wildflowers are beginning to fade now, but my wildflower books have been getting heavy use. I have yet to find work but am volunteering in exchange for studio space at the clay center in town. All those inspirations that have been pushed to the periphery of my mind are flooding forward, and my hands are happy to be at work. My sketchbook still comes with me everywhere, and I am finding my community filled with examples of sustainable design and planning. Bike paths extend from Aspen to Vail, the downtown sports bike racks of every variety, there is limited vehicular parking, and there are traffic-slowing measures of every kind. Oh, and trees for shade. Kim would love it. So I am looking for work, but in the meantime I am keeping busy and enjoying my new life here.”

Summary of Operations FY 2009


The financial health of the school remained strong overall as fiscal year 2009 saw a $5,457 increase in net assets bringing total net assets to $1,116,463. Total unrestricted support and revenue was down slightly as increased tuition revenue did not completely offset a 25 percent decrease in contributions, an 8 percent decrease in project revenue, and a 22 percent decrease in investment income. Expenses were up over last year primarily as a result of increased staffing, including costs associated with planning and fund raising for a capital campaign (noted under “other expenses”). As of June 30, the balance of unrestricted cash and investments was over $485,000. The school continues to practice a conservative investment policy with ninety percent of the portfolio made up of money markets, certificates of deposit, corporate bonds, and government securities. We would like to thank all who continue to keep the Conway School of Landscape Design financially sustainable through their generous contributions.


(with comparative figures for 2008)

87,052 10,235 521,800 75,760 2,505 19,626 588

Total Unrestricted Support and Revenue Net Assets Released from Restrictions

712,125 34,406

717,566 43,322



532,726 121,836 46,549 36,377

481,331 105,195 43,091 4,787




Loss on disposal of asset








TEMPORARILY RESTRICTED NET ASSETS Contributions 33,050 Investment income/Interest earned -scholarship/loan fund – Net assets released from restrictions (34,406)

2,217 797 (43,322)












Class Gift On Saturday, November 22, 2009, representatives of the class of 2009 presented its class gift to the school—nineteen books for the school’s library. Left to right, Brian Markey, Michael Blacketer, Katharine Gehron, Prof. Kim Erslev (accepting the gift on behalf of Conway), Aran Wiener, Cyndy Fine, Kate Benisek, and Jonathan Cooper made the presentation during the Fall 2009 Formal Presentations. Ashley Pelletier attended the presentations the day before.

With this annual report we list, with gratitude, all contributors to Conway’s 2009 annual fund, including those who gave restricted gifts and gifts-in-kind. What is the annual fund and what does it do? Well, think of it this way. A $100 gift to Conway’s annual fund contributes as much to the school’s annual budget as a $5,000 endowed fund. It’s that important! The annual fund is the key source of spendable income that impacts just about everything that we do. It covers many of the things students don’t think about but reach for. Things that you expect, like lights, gas for the van during field trips, and cords of wood for one of our three wood stoves. It’s that important! This past year proved to be a challenging one for raising money, but an estimated 255 alums, family, and friends made contributions to the Conway’s 2009 annual fund. Those gifts, your gifts, help keep Conway’s education affordable and for that we THANK YOU! With sincere thanks, Kim Klein Director of Development and Alumni Services

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Paul Cawood Hellmund

School activities Administration Fund-raising Other expenses



A Big Thank You to Our Donors! The nineteen students of the class of 2009 made a class gift of nineteen books for the school’s library


65,311 10,445 551,224 70,064 (598) 15,369 310


FY 2008

Contributions In-kind contributions Tuition and fees Project fees Workshop fees Investment income Miscellaneous income



Annual Report Fiscal Year 2009




Annual Report 2009

Fiscal Year 2009 Kudos! Trustees. Conway’s board of trustees continues to set the bar by making 100 percent participation to the annual fund a goal. They continue to give generously by contributing just over twenty percent of the annual fund goal. Their total dollar amount and the percentage of their combined gift increased over the previous year. Trustees also participated in our “satellite” phonathon making calls to hundreds of Conway friends and alums on behalf of the annual fund. Thank you, trustees, for your generosity and dedication to the school! P honathons. Two phonathons were held in FY 2009 in Amherst, proving once again to be important vehicles for annual fund giving and for communications between our alums and friends. It is also worth mentioning that each phonathon served as a connector of one or more reunions, including the class of 1999 in Austin, Texas. See page 35 for a full account. As always, a stellar group of volunteers gathered at the offices of our good friends at Blair, Cutting and Smith Insurance Agency (for years a corporate partner to our efforts) in Amherst on February 4, 2009 and March 28, 2009 to make calls and enjoy a lunch break together. Volunteers heard how the economic downturn was affecting some of our alums and friends; many, however, wanted to participate in some way, so volunteers were able to assist by offering a pledge now-pay later arrangement. Everyone benefitted! We are very grateful to those alums and friends who took the time to help with the phonathons making them successful and enjoyable. A special thanks to the many class agents who answered the call for volunteers: Ian Hodgdon ’06, Amy Livingston ’08, Priscilla Novitt ’07, Lucinda Tavernise ’99, and Chuck Schnell ’01, as well as Tom Sullivan ’08. Thank you also goes to Madeleine Charney ’03 for making many, many thank you calls to our donors throughout the year. Staff members and trustees also played an important role in our efforts, and a special thanks goes to Director of Admissions Nancy Braxton, Trustee Rick Brown, Director Paul Cawood Hellmund, Associate Director David Nordstrom ’04, Outreach Coordinator Priscilla Novitt ’07, and Trustee Virginia Sullivan ’86. It is important to mention that the thirtieth, twentieth, and tenth-year reunion classes of ’79, ’89, ’99 collectively raised an impressive $8,505, and their challenge helped raise an additional $4,080 from other donors during both phonathons. Not bad for six hours! This past year proved to be challenging from a fundraising perspective, and although there was some upward momentum, a reduction in funding was seen throughout the campaign.

FY 2009 Restricted Gifts The David Bird I nternational Service Fellowship Fund. Established in 2008 as a tribute to long-time Conway supporter and former trustee, David Bird, the first fellowships were awarded at last year’s graduation to Alicia Batista ’07 and Kyle Haley ’09. In a special inaugural

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Annual Fund Goal $85,500

Give Now

www.csld.edu/donatenow.htm “I recovered from the year and always am certain if not for Conway I would not be doing what I am. I love what I do!” - Alma Hecht ’02

award, these two fellows were selected and given $5,000 each to work on projects in Summit Park in Panama. The David Bird Service Fellowship Fund is an endowed fund with a goal of raising $100,000 before the fortieth anniversary of the school in 2014. The David Bird International Service Fellowship Fund currently holds $30,150 and thanks must be given to the following contributors for their support during the FY ’09 campaign: Charles Sumner Bird Charitable Fund Jeanne Bird Marten Bird Rachel Bird Anderson Walter Cudnohufsky Associates, Inc.

Peggy & Clyde Froehlich Dorothea Piranian John Sears Heather & William Reed William H. Waldron, Jr.

FY 2010 Development Initiatives FY 2010 A nnual Fund A ppeal. In FY 2009, we raised just over $65,000 in unrestricted contributions, down from our budgeted goal of $95,000. In the new fiscal year, we established a goal based on what the annual fund truly supports, our students. This year’s goal of $85,500 represents, in essence, a supplement of approximately $4,500 that Conway extends to each of its nineteen students. We need your continued support to achieve this goal and to balance our budget. Participation is the key to our success. Did you know that when we complete grant applications many grantors ask about our alums’ participation rate in the annual fund? Alums’ participation shows commitment and strength, so contributing at any level makes a difference. Please participate in Conway’s annual fund today! Use the enclosed envelope to contribute or make your pledge. If it’s more convenient to give online, go to www. csld.edu/donatenow.htm and make your gift through PayPal. You do not need an account to make a contribution. Other I nitiatives. We hope that you enjoyed the first in a planned series of papers issued in October on the Shelburne Falls Food Security Plan. This first paper, which we sent to everyone with a mail or email address, found its way into several other mission-related newsletters (the best form of flattery) and received great response from our alums and friends. Look for our next paper in spring! ENews, a bi-monthly electronic newsletter, brings you the freshest news from Conway and covers everything from student work, to events, to appeals. Contact Kim Klein to be included: klein@csld.edu. Capital Campaign and Grant Writing. As the country began to show signs of an economic downturn, Conway was going through the process of establishing goals and benchmarks for a capital campaign to address building needs, including an extensive energy retrofit of the existing building and a possible expansion. In addition,

FY 2009 Donors


FY 2008 Donors

Alums 0





FY 2009 Total Gift Amount


FY 2008 Total Gift Amount

Alums 0





Although the number of donors (top chart) and the total gift amount to the school (bottom) were down in FY 2009, the average gift amount increased by twelve percent. Your gift of any amount is appreciated.

the campaign would address the need for scholarship funding. Although the capital campaign has been put on hold until the economy recovers, Conway continues to work toward our goal of improving our physical space by researching and applying for grants. This year Conway applied for three major grants. We welcome information from our alums and friends if you know of a grant that might be relevant to the school. Please contact Kim Klein, director of development and alumni services at klein@csld.edu, or (413) 369-4044, ext. 3. Conway’s Legacy Circle. Through The Conway Legacy Circle, we recognize those alums and friends who have made bequests or life income gifts to endow Conway’s long-term future. Have you arranged for a planned gift to the Conway School? If so, you have elected to make a gift that will sustain the school and future students for years to come. It is important to us that we thank you properly, so if you have included Conway in your plans, please contact us so that we can list you as a member of The Legacy Circle. If you would like more information about making a planned gift and about The Legacy Circle, please contact Kim Klein, director of development and alumni services at klein@csld.edu, or (413) 369-4044, ext. 3. Through The Legacy Circle, Conway recognizes the commitment, generosity, and leadership of those alums and friends whose bequests or life income gifts ensure the future of the school and advance the quality of a Conway education for years to come. By publishing the names of our donors, we thank them publicly and encourage other members of our community to follow their lead: Anonymous Jennifer Allcock ’89 David Bird (d. 2007), Trustee Emeritus Richard K. Brown, Trustee Susan Crimmins ’97

William Gundermann Joan Cawood Hellmund Paul Cawood Hellmund Anna James ’99 Carrie Makover ’86 Bill Montgomery ’91

What does Conway’s Planned Giving Program Include? A planned gift is any major gift, made during your lifetime or at death as part of overall financial or estate planning. It can include a bequest, life insurance benefit, or retirement benefit. Further information is on the Conway website, csld.edu/waystogive.htm, or contact Kim Klein, director of development and alumni services at klein@csld.edu, or (413) 369-4044, ext. 3 for more detailed information.

Conway Has a Wish List! Would you like to make an immediate impact on the school? Gifts such as those listed below could be taxdeductible and provide another means for you to make a gift to the school. Please do not mail or deliver anything before calling us to make sure there is a need, especially if your gift is electronic. Thanks in advance! Your gifts make a big difference! ■■

Airline miles: Do you have airline miles that you won’t use? Mileage can be transferred with a minimal fee by most airlines. Conway would award miles to »»Bird International Fellows to get to their destination, »»faculty for professional development, or »»staff for donor visits or admission-related events.

Copy paper: letter and legal size printing paper for copy machines ■■ New Energy Star appliances (call for details) ■■ Books for the library (call for the list) ■■

Gas cards For more information, contact Kim Klein at klein@csld. edu, or (413) 369-4044, ext. 3. ■■

Donors FY 2009 The board of trustees, faculty and staff of the Conway School of Landscape Design extend our warm and whole-hearted thanks to the following individuals and organizations for their contributions to Conway during the 2009 fiscal year. We deeply appreciate your generosity. Thank you! Annual Fund (unrestricted gifts, including phonathon and Conway matching gifts)

This year was a particularly challenging one for Conway’s annual fund. Given the economic picture, we carefully trimmed our operating expenses where possible and diligently managed our resources. We also found that our project revenue was affected by the economic picture. Even though the annual fund campaign was not as successful as we had hoped, our alums and friends helped us raise just over $65,000, down from our budgeted $95,000. Although our final results were less than hoped, the good news is that our average gift amount increased by twelve percent and we saw an eleven percent increase in giving from “friends” of the school. The annual fund serves as the primary resource for funding operational expenses and we are already seeing positive signs for FY 2010. Thanks to everyone listed below for their commitment to the school and our unique graduate program!

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% Change




Annual Report 2009




Annual Report 2009

Donors to the 2009 Annual Fund $5,000 and Above Corporación Pro-Cauquenes $2,500–$4,999 Anonymous Anonymous Richard K. Brown & Anita Loose Brown Arthur Collins II Nicholas & Barbara Lasoff Allen & Selina Rossiter Aaron & Alexa Schlechter $1,000–$2,499 D. Alex Damman Tom & Barbara Delaney Sargent Virginia Sullivan Mrs. M. E. Van Buren $500–$999 Jennifer Allcock Anonymous Henry W. Art Lila Fendrick Patricia Finley George & Kristen Flather Wendi Goldsmith Nat Goodhue Carrie Makover Andrea Morgante Mary Mourkas Susan Rosenberg The Sally Mae Fund, Inc. The Smith College Class of 1983 Susan & Peter Van Buren Peg Read Weiss & Frederick Weiss Seth Wilkinson Eric Weber & Barbara Young $250–$499 Susanna Adams Jack Ahern Suzanne Barclay James Bouwkamp Art Collings Walter Cudnohufsky Associates, Inc. Harry Dodson Freda Eisenberg Donna Eldridge Peggy & Clyde Froehlich William Halleck James & Alice Hardigg Lynn Harper Paul Cawood Hellmund David & Marcia Holden Amy Klippenstein Nancy Knox Adrian Laine David Lynch Renny Merritt William & Melody Montgomery Plantscapes, Barbara Keene Briggs Walter Reynolds Design Associates Melissa Robin & Michael Caplan Sheafe Satterthwaite Donald L. Walker Jr. & Ruth Parnall Hap Wertheimer $100–$249 Katherine Anderson

John & Frances Barclay Gary Bachman Hatha Gable Bartlett Mark Bethel Cynthia Boettner Michelle LoGrande Bongiorno Kenneth Botnick Larissa Brown Clémence Corriveau CSLD Class of 1999 Esther Danielson Anya Darrow Marlene Eldridge Jonathon Ellison Paul Esswein Elizabeth Farnsworth Marica Fischer Donald & Betty Fitzgerald Sean Gaffney Elisabeth Gick Betsy Hopkins Jeff Horton Judith Janowiak James & Deborah Jensen Robyn Jones John & Annie Klauder Selina Lamb Edward Landau Charles Leopold Jacqueline Leopold Barbara Mackey Ann Georgia McCaffray Brian McGowan Robert & Gladys Miner Darrel Morrison Melissa Mourkas Robert Mulcahy Gwen Nagy-Benson Wendy Page Martha Petersen Silvestro Pinelli Barbara Popolow Janet Powers Linda Prokopy Alison Reddy David Rosenmiller Joel Russell Katherine Schreiber Gordon Shaw Angela Sisson Robert Small Andrew & Nancy Smith Richard J. Snyder Richard & Marilyn Snyder Laura Stack Robert Edson Swain Brian Tamulonis Richard Thomas Judith F. Thompson Other Donors (includes those donors who requested that their giving level not be published) Betsy Abert George Anzuoni Helen Anzuoni Kevin Adams Eric Angell Grey Angell Amy Ackroyd Alicia Batista Leigh Bloom

Arthur Bartenstein Michael Below Sarah Bray Nancy E. Braxton Lorna & John Broucek David Buchanan Ralph Caputo Joan Allen Casey Seth Charde Joshua Clague Randy Cole Jill Ker Conway Carla Manene Cook Emma Cooke Betsy Corner David Cox Jill Crosbie Colleen Currie Robert Dashevsky Gregory Drake Sunnifa Deehr Arden Edwards Jon & Barbara Elkow Donald Eunson Kristen Fletcher Elizabeth French Fribush Jesse Froehlich Jeannine Keith Furrer Jeanne Furstoss Dennis Gemme Judy Gianforte Randy Griffith John Hamilton Judith Harvey Carl Heide Jane Hemmingsen Ian Hodgdon Faith Ingulsrud JustGive.org Byrne Kelly Sonja Kenny Kim Klein Peter Klejna Gary Koller Claudia Kopkowski Karen Lamson William Lattrell Linda Leduc Robert Lemire Mark Leuchten Jude Lichtenstein Amy Livingston C. Todd Lynch & Janet Bertucci Margaret Maley Brandon Mansfield Kathleen McCormick Janet McLaughlin William McLeish Robert & Mary Merriam Andrea Morgante James Mourkas Kristin Nelson David Nordstrom Priscilla Novitt John Nuzzi Peter Marshall Owens Sheila Finn Page Mary Parker Erin Pearson Mary Crain Penniman Darlene Peters Heidi Putnam Ginny Raub

Susan Reed Sarah Drew Reeves Alan Rice Jeff Richards Clare Rock Selina Rossiter & Alexander H. P. Colhoun Sean Roulan Elizabeth Rousek Ayers Clarissa Rowe John Saveson Seeder Art LLC Charles Schnell Barbara Scott Robin Simmen Pasty Slothower Jeffrey & Dorothy Smith Lincoln Smith Peter Smith Johanna Stacy John Stevens & Nancy Berube Thomas Sullivan Lucinda Tavernise Betsy Taylor Michael Thornton Karen Tiede Brian Trippe Liz Vizza Marcella Waggoner William H. Waldron, Jr. Ian Warner Bob & Judy Wilkinson Mary Garrett Wilson Ross Workhoven Matching Gifts IBM Matching Grants Program CA, Inc. Gifts-in-Kind Each year many Conway alums, friends, and guests donate (partially or fully) a range of professional services to the school, thereby supporting the operating budget through diminishing our outof-pocket costs. We are very grateful to the following individuals for their in-kind contributions in FY 2009: Ken Byrne Mollie Babize & Mary Quigley Blair, Cutting & Smith Michael Cavanagh Matthew Farrington Greenfield Savings Bank Kim Klein Selina Lamb Nicholas Lasoff Carrie Makover Pamela Sand Restricted Gifts Charles Sumner Bird Charitable Foundation Jeanne Bird Marten Bird Rachel Bird Anderson Walter Cudnohufsky Associates Peggy & Clyde Froehlich Dorothea Piranian John Sears Heather & William Reed William H. Waldron, Jr.

We make every effort to acknowledge everyone’s generosity. If a mistake has been made, please accept our apology and contact us so that we may correct the error in our records.

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From the Chair BOARD OF TRUSTEES Arthur Collins II ’79, Chair Collins Enterprises, L.L.C. Stamford, CT

Jack Ahern

Landscape Architecture University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA

Henry Art

Biology Department Williams College, MA

John S. Barclay

Wildlife Conservation Center UCONN, Storrs, CT

Rachel Bird Anderson

Public Health Professional Minneapolis, MN

Richard K. Brown, Vice-Chair

Darrow School, New Lebanon, NY

Jonathon Ellison ’94

Les Jardins Ellison Gardens Ayers Cliff, PQ

Nat Goodhue ’91

Goodhue Land Design, Stowe, VT

Nicholas Lasoff ’05

Lasoff Landscape Design Bennington, VT

Allen Rossiter

Buckingham Browne & Nichols School Cambridge, MA

Aaron Schlechter ’01

Ecological Consultant, Norwalk, CT

Virginia Sullivan ’86

Learning by the Yard, Conway, MA

Susan Van Buren ’82

Terralogos Energy Group Baltimore, MD

Seth Wilkinson ’99

Wilkinson Ecological Design Orleans, MA EMERITUS TRUSTEES

David Bird (d. 2007) Gordon H. Shaw ‘89 Bruce Stedman ‘78 Walter Cudnohufsky Founder, Director (1972–1992)

Dear Conway Friends: I am pleased to write you on behalf of my fellow trustees to tell you of much progress and momentum at Conway. There have been challenges of the type that seem common in the world today, but overall the signs of a healthy school are apparent. Our school is sound fiscally, we have an unprecedented third year of full enrollment, applications continue to come in at a steady clip, and our graduate students are completing projects that address some of the most important environmental questions of the day. I am reminded how much of the integrity and identity of Conway are really based on what you all do in your everyday lives in support of the Conway mission. Thank you! Clearly our mission of finding more sustainable ways of living on the planet—ways that nurture and inspire people and accommodate ecological processes—is even more vital today than ever before. And the mission is relevant around the globe, which makes it especially encouraging to read of the difference Conway alums are making in circumstance where it can mean the most. A number of you have been especially helpful in publishing books in recent years. For example, Sue Reed’s ’87 featured on page 6 of this issue. We can’t help but be especially thankful to the Conway teachers and staff, and the many visiting teachers who add so much to our school’s effectiveness. These people are visionary, and their dedication adds greatly to the energy and vitality of the school. Thanks to each of you who contribute to the school—in so many ways. Recommending the school to a prospective student, project client, or donor is crucial to helping us sustain our mission. And as always, your contribution to the annual fund makes it possible for us to keep tuition affordable and our school attractive to the next generation of ecological landscape planners and designers.


Arthur Collins ’79 Chair, Board of Trustees

Donald Walker Director (1992–2005)

ADVISERS John Hanning ’82 Montpelier, VT

Richard Hubbard

Shelburne Falls, MA

David Lynch ’85 Watertown, MA

Amy Klippenstein ’95 Ashfield, MA

Carrie Makover ’86 Fairfield, CT

Darrel Morrison New York, NY

Ruth Parnall Conway, MA

Joel Russell

Northampton, MA

Jonathan Tauer Colrain, MA

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School News

Class of 2009 on fall trip. Back row: Brian Markey, Sara Preston, Alex Hoffmeier, Sarah Mitchell, Aran Wiener, Randy Marks, Erik Johson; middle row: Lucie Martin, Cyndy Fine, Ashley Pelletier, Katharine Gehron, Fiona Dunbar, Kate Benisek, Rachel Bechhoefer; front row: Suzanne Lyn Rhodes, Paul Cawood Hellmund (Director), Michael Blacketer, Kyle Haley, Jenna Webster, Jonathan Cooper, Ken Byrne (Faculty)

This issue of con’text was printed with the flexographic process, which uses recycled water-based inks, no solvents, and produces very low waste.

Conway School of Landscape Design 332 South Deerfield Road P.O. Box 179 Conway, MA 01341


NON-PROFIT ORG U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 4 No. Hatfield, MA

Profile for The Conway School

con'text winter 2010  

Magazine of the Conway School of Landscape Design and its Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning & Design

con'text winter 2010  

Magazine of the Conway School of Landscape Design and its Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning & Design