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Resilience: Landscape & Economy

“Ecology and Healing on the Gulf Coast,” p. 10

by Ginny Sullivan ’86 and Ruth Parnall

con text Conway School of Landscape Design Spring 2009


Conway School of Landscape Design Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning & Design The mission of the Conway School of Landscape Design is to explore, develop, practice, and teach design of the land that is ecologically and socially sustainable. We: provide graduates with the basic knowledge and skills necessary to practice design of the land that respects nature as well as humanity ■■ develop ecological awareness, understanding, respect, and accommodation in our students and project clients ■■ produce project designs that fit human uses to natural conditions. ■■

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

Accreditation. New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.

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

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

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: Learning by the Yard, Ecology and Healing on the Gulf Coast, p. 10

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Spring 2009

The Economy and Conway. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 A Special Message from the Board of Trustees

School News.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Resilience and Progress.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 by Director Paul Cawood Hellmund

Sustainability and the Economy: An Alum’s Story.. . . . . . . . . . . 9 by Eric van Lennep ’83

Ecology and Healing on the Gulf Coast. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 by Ginny Sullivan ’86 and Ruth Parnall

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Achieves Leed Gold Certification.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Winslow Street Park.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 by Emma Cooke ’06 and Hannah Whipple ’06

The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future.. . . . . . . . 16 by Tom Wessels

If You Don’t Know Where You Are, You Can’t Know Who You Are.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 by Bill MacLeish

Oikos Fluxus: Resisting the Call of the Climax Economy.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 by Ken Byrne

News from Alums, Former Faculty, Staff, and Trustees. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 From the Director of Development and Alumni Services.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Annual Report 2008. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Letters to the Editor.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inside Back Cover


Board of Trustees Arthur Collins II ’79, Chair

Landscape Architect & Real Estate Executive, President, Collins Enterprises, Inc., Stamford, CT

The Economy and Conway

A Special Message from the Conway Board of Trustees

William Richter ’77, Vice Chair Richter, Cegan and Associates, Avon, CT

Dear Conway Friends:

Jack Ahern

On behalf of Conway’s board of trustees, I want to assure you of Conway’s stability and positive forward trajectory in these extraordinary times. Over the years, the trustees have attentively guided the school, mindful of keeping a Conway education both of the highest quality and at the most affordable cost. I’m happy to report that Conway has not experienced the kind of investment losses that some other institutions have endured over the course of the current downturn in the financial markets. Our conservative investment strategy has proven successful, allowing us to maintain our reserve funds while continuing to keep our high quality program affordable. We continue to expand Conway’s sphere of influence nationally and abroad by fostering connections and strategic alliances with programs that have complementary curricula. Both the caliber and number of applicants have increased. The outlook for next year—the school’s thirty-seventh—is highly promising. Conway’s leadership in teaching sustainability, environmental design, and green technology continues to be recognized. Applications for the class of 2010 are strong and we anticipate another full class. The school has a dedicated staff and—in Paul Cawood Hellmund—a visionary director with now four years of experience at Conway. We are now better prepared than we have ever been to further the school’s mission during challenging times and to achieve a permanent Conway, demonstrating strength by increasing our resilience. Our mission—teaching and promoting sustainability—has never been more relevant nor its graduates more needed. This year we are having phonathons or other events in Boston, New York, and Washington D.C. Please join us to hear first-hand about our plans for the future. As always, we depend on your annual fund contributions to make up the difference between tuition, project fees, investment revenues, and the total cost of a Conway education. If you can give now, we thank you. If you normally send a donation later in the academic year, would you please let us know your plans now? With your fiscal year 2009 gift or pledge in hand, we can do a better job of planning responsibly. Thank you for all you do for our much-loved school.

Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Amherst, MA

Henry W. Art

Director, Williams College Center for Environmental Studies, Williamstown, MA

John S. Barclay

Director, Wildlife Conservation Center, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Richard K. Brown Darrow School, New Lebanon, NY

Nat Goodhue ’91

Goodhue Land Design, Stowe, VT

Nicholas Lasoff ’05

Lasoff Landscape Design, Bennington, VT

Robbin Peach ’78

University of Massachusetts McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies, Boston, MA

Allen Rossiter

Buckingham, Browne and Nichols School (ret.), Cambridge, MA

Aaron Schlechter ’01 Ecological Consultant, Norwalk, CT

Virginia Sullivan ’86

Learning by the Yard, Conway, MA

Susan Van Buren ’82

Terralogos Green Home Services, Baltimore, MD

Seth Wilkinson ’99

Wilkinson Ecological Design, Orleans, MA Emeritus Trustees

David Bird (d. 2007) Gordon H. Shaw ‘89 Bruce Stedman ‘78

AdvisErs John Hanning ’82, Montpelier, VT

Sincerely,

Arthur Collins ’79 Chair, Board of Trustees

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


School News Faculty & Staff Updates

Faculty Reviews Teaching and Curriculum Paul Cawood Hellmund, Ken Byrne, Kim Erslev, and Jono Neiger met for a day in August to review their classroom experiences of the preceding year and talk about ways to develop teaching repertoires and reinforce learning across the curriculum. This past fall, faculty members sat in on each other’s classes, meeting afterwards, and continuing to talk about pedagogy. Taking and sharing notes on, for example, when students respond well, when they seem confused, what works and what does not, has been effective and has led to an increased level of cooperation that should help learning throughout the year. Trustee Ginny Sullivan ’86, principal of Learning by the Yard and a former school administrator who has finished her coursework for a PhD in

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Campus Updates

Dyami Nason Regan

Ethan Roland Teaching Digital Design Methods Ethan Roland, a permaculture designer, teacher, and researcher based in the Connecticut and Hudson river valleys, has been giving instruction in digital design methods in the fall and winter terms. He shares the responsibility for the class with Dana Tomlin and Paul Cawood Hellmund. Ethan assisted in the course last spring. Ethan studies and practices regenerative design in all corners of the world, from the wild apple forests of Kazakhstan to the tropical monsoon ecosystems of Thailand. He helps build resilience for local and global communities through the ecological design and development firm AppleSeed Permaculture (www.appleseedpermaculture.com) and helps to organize the Northeastern Permaculture Network (www.northeasternpermaculture.wikispaces.com). He holds a B.A. from Haverford College and an M.S. in collaborative eco-social design from Gaia University and is currently working for the university in organizational development and helping expand the bachelor’s program. Of the use of digital design, Ethan states, “Given the current global situation (climate chaos, massive ecological degradation, collapsing economies, peak petroleum), teaching something as high-tech and with such great embodied energy as digital design methods can only be approached from the perspective that computers are transitional tools. We must use every tool we can to descend gracefully and ethically from our current peak of consumption to a world of locally resilient and sustainable human settlements—and computers are certainly one of these tools.”

children’s environments at The College of Design, North Carolina State University, will be working with faculty to maximize the benefit of this collaborative process.

Conway to Award First Bird International Service Fellowship Thanks to the generosity of Marten Bird and Rachel Bird Anderson, son and daughter of David Bird, chair of Conway’s first board of trustees, we are pleased to announce that the first David Bird International Service Fellowship will be awarded at Conway’s graduation on June 27, 2009. (See con’text, fall 2008, page 8 for more details.) Recent gifts from Rachel and Marten, which bring the David Bird International Service Fellowship Fund to $27,750, enable the fellowship to be launched this year. The fellowship carries a cash value of $5,000 annually and provides opportunities for recent Conway graduates to develop their design and planning skills further by undertaking public service projects outside the United States; to engage and support agencies and public service non-governmental organizations in such projects; and to enhance Conway’s graduate program and benefit current students by having returning Bird Fellows in residence at Conway. A streamlined process for implementing this first year of the fellowship is now being developed by a proposed selection committee made up of the Bird Fellowship Advisory Committee (Rachel Bird Anderson, Minneapolis, MN; Charlotte Elton, Panama City, Panama; Pamela Hurtado ’08, Santiago, Chile; and Floyd Thompson ’74, Washington, DC) and the Academic Committee of the Conway Board of Trustees. Current students and graduates from recent years are encouraged to apply. Criteria for fellowship eligibility and an application timetable will be published on the Conway website by April 1, 2009. If you would like to make a contribution to the David Bird International Service Fellowship Fund, please go to www.csld.edu or contact Kim Klein, director of development and alumni services at (413) 369-4044 ext. 3. Eco-Makeover Press Release Yields Bountiful Choice for Fall 2008 Residential Projects “SEEKING courageous and conscientious landowners willing to push the boundaries of ecological design. If you want your home to become a place for selfsufficiency, beauty, productivity, and interconnection with whole natural systems, then CALL US. “In these times of changing climate, energy availability, and shifting ecosystems, we need — continued on page 4

Thistle, Dillon Sussman ‘08


In my three-plus years at Conway I have seen many, many examples of resilience, the “ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change” (as Merriam-Webster defines it). These days, with the word crisis rarely missing from daily headlines, we see new demands for greater resilience in just about every aspect of our lives. As part of that cultivation of resilience we are being forced to question even basic aspects of our society in what Conway Humanities Professor Ken Byrne calls “this period of unsettling economic news and profound concern about the future” (p. 21). In particular, he asks us to question the inevitability of a “climax” economy. See what you think. Frequent Conway visitor and Antioch University New England Professor Tom Wessels also wonders about standard economic models. In an excerpt from, The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future (p. 16), he asks where we want to place our confidence for long-term sustainability. Will it be in “our present corporate model, which has functioned for little more than a century through competitive exclusion and inefficiency”? Or will it be “the model life on Earth presents, which has successfully sustained itself for at least 3.5 billion years through coevolved specialization, integration, redundancy, and efficiency”? He makes a case for resilience. Resilience is what 2006 Conway classmates Emma Cooke and Hannah Whipple found in a Worcester, Massachusetts, women’s group that was recoiling from violence and poverty. Through that group’s determination and using Emma and Hannah’s spring student project, Winslow Street Park—an intergenerational gathering place—sprang into being in just two years. Read the inspiring story on page 15. In his current professional work addressing “climate change head-on through design and through using natural systems,” another alum, Erik van Lennep ’83, one of the founders of the Rainforest Action Network, finds that the process of “(re)positioning is constant” (see p. 9). Ecological and social resilience are being tested (and designed) by Conway alums working in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Wendi Goldsmith ’90 and her company, Bioengineering Group, have contracts to help rebuild Louisiana’s coastal flood protection destroyed by Katrina and to evaluate and redesign Louisiana’s levees and pumps and restore damaged coastland. (See con’text, fall 2007, pp. 20–23.) Conway Trustee Ginny Sullivan ’86 and long-time Conway Adviser Ruth Parnall have been helping the children and others in a Mississippi community rebound after Katrina through their Children’s Garden in East Biloxi (p. 10). As I hope you will readily detect in this issue of con’text, Conway is doing well and doing good. We have full enrollment again this year and conservative strategies have shielded our investments (90% in money market funds, certificates of deposit, bonds, and government securities) from much of the brunt of the economic crisis (p. 35). Still we are being careful in our spending and we are working extra hard to attract additional support. (See the letter from Kim Klein, Director of Development and Alumni Services, page 34.) We are also moving forward with our campus greening, to make our building and campus more energy efficient, in line with the Conway mission and curriculum (p. 5). This year’s class is exceptionally capable—okay, I do say that every year!—and Associate Director David Nordstrom has arranged fascinating projects for them. Their resilience has already been tested by an ice storm that came just before the fall projects were due! This year we look forward to welcoming two special members to the Conway community: honorary degree recipients Richard T.T. Forman (one of the fathers of landscape ecology) and Will Rapp (founder of Gardner’s Supply Co. and Reforest Teak). Read about them on page 8. It is great to see your letters about the last issue of con’text. Let us know what you think about this issue and please share your thoughts on resilience!

David Brooks Andrews

Resilience and Progress From the Director

Paul Cawood Hellmund

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School News

2009 Conway Summer Landscape Institute

Historic Places and Modern Living July 25–26, 2009. $275 before July 1, $300 after. No prerequisites. Open to the public. This intensive two-day workshop will explore how to integrate historical resources into our modern lives and will include a visit to and design exploration of the landscape of a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Usonian home. Our historical landscapes and architecture are not only treasured remnants of our collective cultural past, but their embedded energy also means preservation is often synonymous with sustainable development practice. This workshop will introduce participants to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation, with an emphasis on rehabilitation standards and landscapes. Building upon these concepts, the workshop will explore case studies where the landscape is an integral part of the architecture and the historical site. A visual tour of historical landscapes from all across America will provide the tangible support for the concepts. The workshop will also explore how to adapt historic places for modern living. Using the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Usonian home and its landscape in Amherst, Massachusetts, as our canvas, we will explore how to add landscape and architectural elements to this National Historic Register site while still meeting the standards.

— continued from page 2

to get serious about transforming our relationship with the land. Students at the Conway School of Landscape Design are focusing their fall term studies on integrated residential projects that provide for human needs while increasing biodiversity and ecosystem health.” A summer press release with these lead paragraphs resulted in an article about Conway residential projects in an August issue of the Greenfield Recorder. Over one hundred homeowners responded with inquiries about becoming one of the nineteen fall projects for the class of 2008. Those not chosen for an eco-makeover may be considered for next year.

Robbin Peach ’78 Welcomed to Board Conway’s board of trustees welcomed Robbin Peach to its membership in February 2008. Robbin brings a wide range of strengths and skills to the

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Courtesy photo

Trustee Updates

Landscape architect Melissa Mourkas, a 1994 graduate of the Conway School of Landscape Design, specializes in garden design, residential landscape master plans, and historical landscapes. Principal of Landscape Legacy, Melissa is a licensed landscape architect and is qualified as a historical landscape architect under the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation. She is a member of the City of Sacramento’s Preservation Commission. Her current projects include a historic landscape report for the California Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park. Melissa has an undergraduate degree in architectural history. She has been designing landscapes in both New England and California since 1993. To register: ■■ see www.csld.edu/whatsnew.htm ■■ email summer2009@csld.edu ■■ call (413) 853-3034 For more information about the workshop contact: Melissa Mourkas, Landscape Legacy, (916) 452-7344 www.landscapelegacy.com, mmourkas@mac.com

school’s leadership body. Her education spans a bachelor of science in horticulture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, a master of arts in landscape design from Conway, and a master of arts in public administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. A leader in organizational development, fund creation, private-public partnerships, strategic planning, and developing complex multi-stakeholder programs, Robbin is an executive manager with a history of successfully managing teams, inspiring enthusiasm, and turning ideas into measurable outcomes. Robbin has an extensive knowledge base in philanthropy. From 1990 to 2007, as executive director of the Massachusetts Environmental Trust, an environmental philanthropy focusing on water, marine, and related resources, she increased grantmaking from $100,000 to approximately $1,000,000 annually and leveraged over $28 million worth of environmental assets through “high engagement” philanthropy. She co-founded the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership Fund, which supports ecosystem-based integrated ocean management in Massachusetts, and founded the Albatross Fund, which focuses on community involvement in marine resources of the Galapagos. Most recently, Robbin has been working on


School News

Kim Erslev

Possible improvements to the Conway campus

Campus Greening By David Nordstrom ’04, Associate Director

Over the past few years, the Conway board of trustees, staff, and alumni have been engaged in a process of articulating a vision for the school’s future. They have studied the building and campus with a view to augmenting sustainability, generating preliminary designs, and considering when to undertake what steps.* They have concluded that as a priority, in line with Conway’s mission and curriculum, our building and campus should be developed into models of sustainability that can engage current students, attract prospective students, and serve as an educational site for the community as well as for visitors from outside the area. Upon the recommendation of the board’s campus planning committee, the trustees endorsed, at their October 2008 meeting, two initial goals: improving the sustainability of the campus and increasing the energy efficiency of the building envelope. This decision grew out of recent evaluations of our facilities, including a pro bono energy audit performed by TerraLogos Green Home Services, the company of alums Susan and Peter Van Buren ’82. (Thank you, Susan and Peter!) The standard blower door test revealed the main building was relatively air-tight, but the studio results were almost three and a half times higher than the target rate for new homes. The Van Burens helped us identify main areas where air leaks were detected: in the basement, in particular around the band joists and exterior door, and in the studio and main building around the window frames, baseboards, exterior doors, and roof

eaves. They recommended that we replace windows and doors, particularly those opening into the lobby, and add attic and studio insulation. We want to improve the building envelope so that it not only takes less energy to heat in the winter but also serves as a model of sustainability. Conway has passive solar gain on its south-facing building, and in December, some of the vegetation was removed that had been blocking our solar hot water panels from the sun. Since it was built in the 1980s, other opportunities for increasing the building’s efficiency have multiplied and are now under exploration. We are also considering the impact of other trees on the passive solar heating of the building. In addition, we are reviewing the replacement of energy-wasting and generally worn-out kitchen appliances. We have secured the services of core faculty member Kim Erslev—an architect as well as a landscape architect—to serve as project manager. Kim is creating a comprehensive list of specific next steps for renovations to the building as well as cost estimates to undertake the work. These recommendations will be reviewed in February 2009 by the campus planning committee and the board of trustees, who have expressed interest in making the most essential improvements as soon as possible as we develop the Conway campus as an educational model of sustainability. We will report on decisions regarding building and site improvements through email communications with our constituents and in the fall 2009 issue of con’text; we will keep you posted on fund-raising initiatives formulated to implement recommended actions. In the meantime, if you would like to join the campus planning committee (members of board committees need not be board members) or if you have recommendations about these renovations, please email me: nordstrom@csld.edu. *con’text, fall 2006: Master Plan Moving Forward, by William Richter ’77, p. 6; con’text, fall 2007: Generous Gifts Enable Campus Improvements, p. 2, and A Vision for CSLD: An Evolving Continuum, by Paul Cawood Hellmund, pp. 8–9; con’text, fall 2008: Student “Green Team” Undertakes Campus Assessment, pp. 4–6.

regional ocean governance issues with the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative and other clients in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region. Robbin has served as senior downtown planner for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, as director of urban design for Boston’s Public Facilities Department, and as senior urban designer for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. Currently, she is a senior research fellow in the Office of the Dean at the University of Massachusetts’ McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies in Boston,

Annual Fund Goal $95,000

Give Now

www.csld.edu/donatenow.htm

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School News

serving as senior advisor to the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership Fund and as co-principal investigator to a $10.7 million grant to build a partnership to integrate multi-use ocean management in Massachusetts’ coastal oceans. Robbin also consults as an independent advisor specializing in philanthropy, organizational development, and fund creation for environmental issues. Robbin lives on Buzzards Bay in Mattapoisett, MA with her seventeen-year-old son. She still loves landscape design, specializes in growing dahlias, and enjoys thumbing through gardening books, but admits to a shabby and otherwise unkempt yard. . . . There is always tomorrow! Welcome, Robbin!

Speakers in 2007–2008 By bringing a variety of perspectives to our students, guest speakers play an important role in the educational experience at Conway. Last year’s speakers were well received and we thank them for their time and efforts in preparing their talks. Julian Agyeman, Associate Professor and Chair, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University, Towards a Just Sustainability Jack Ahern, Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Dutch Planning Randall Arendt, Landscape Planner, Site Designer, Author, Lecturer, Conservation by Design: A Practical Strategy for Preserving Town-Wide Open Space Networks Hank Art, Director, Williams College Center for Environmental Studies, Forest Ecology Al Averill, Soil Survey Project Leader, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soils Keith Bowers, Founder and President, Biohabitats, Inc, Graduation speaker, Regenerative Design: Partnering with Nature Bruce Coldham, Principal, Coldham & Hartman Architects, Co-housing and Green Building Chris Connors, Landscape Consultant, Sketchup Jill Ker Conway, President Emerita, Smith College; Visiting Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Landscape through the Lenses of the Sciences and the Humanities Walt Cudnohufsky, Principal, Walter Cudnohufsky Associates, Inc., Landscape Design Theory Bill Cullina, Nursery Manager and Propagator, New England Wild Flower Society, Great Native Plants

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Janet Curtis ’00, Planner, Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs and Andria Post-Ergun ’96, Landscape Architect, City of Boston Department of Neighborhood Development, Environmental Justice on the Ground Nick Dines, Professor Emeritus in Landscape Architecture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Healing Landscapes Elizabeth Farnsworth, Biologist and Scientific Illustrator, Plants and Plant Communities in Landscape Design and Planning; Using Science and Ecology Dale Hendricks, Owner, North Creek Nurseries, Inc., Native Plants for Sustainable Landscapes Brian Houseal, Executive Director, Adirondack Council, A Life in Conservation Peter Jensen, Founder, Peter S. Jensen & Associates, LLC, Trail Design and Construction Richard Little, Professor of Geology, Greenfield Community College, Landforms and Geology Charles Mann, Author, The Pristine Myth Peter Monro ’86, Principal, Monro Associates Landscape Planning & Design, Paths Darrel Morrison, Professor and Dean Emeritus at the University of Georgia, Landscape Design: Where Art and Nature Meet

Malcolm Wells

Joan Nassauer, Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, Cues to Care: Thoughtful Ways to Design and Present Messy Ecosystems Rutherford Platt, Professor Emeritus of Geography, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Senior Fellow, Institute for Sustainable Cities, City University of New York (CUNY), The Humane Metropolis—People and Nature in the 21st Century City Bill Reed, President, Integrative Design Collaborative, Sustainability and Regenerative Design Alan Rice, Landscape Architect, Landscape Construction Ethan Roland, Founder, AppleSeed Permaculture, Digital Design Methods Joel Russell, Land Use Attorney and Planning Consultant, The Legal Context of Site Design; Zoning and Land Use Law Stephen Strong, President, Solar Design Associates, Inc., Renewable Energy Dana Tomlin, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania, Geographic Information Systems David Vreeland, Principal, Spectrum Design Collaborative, Construction and Septic Systems Don Walker ’79, Retired Director, Conway School of Landscape Design, Cars in the Landscape Larry Weaner, Founder, Larry Weaner Landscape Associates, Breaking the Rules: Creating Natural Landscapes in the Real World Hannah Whipple ’06, Project Designer, Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway


School News

Recent Publications by Conway Alums Articles by Alums in the Permaculture Activist “Questioning the Invasive Species Paradigm” by Jono Neiger ’03 and Dave Jacke ’84, appeared in the May 2008 issue of Permaculture Activist (pp. 3–7). The first of two articles exploring issues surrounding the paradigm of invasion biology, this piece investigates four aspects of the native-invasive species debate: definitions, rhetoric, time-frame, and context. Noting that the definition of a problem determines its solution, the authors call for inquiry into the terms “native,” “exotic,” and “invasive,” and challenge the scientific validity of current definitions. They ask, “Can a non-native or naturalized species become native; if so how, and how do we know when this has occurred? Why are the ecosystem changes we see so widespread and happening so quickly? Are ‘invasive’ species the drivers of this change or passengers along for the ride or some combination? What role do we humans play in these changes and what is the right response? At what time scale and over what spatial scale are we observing these changes and determining impact?” Their research and discussion lead the authors to call for “long-term ecosystem-based studies and assessment of the assumptions underlying current research, and current media material.” In an upcoming issue, Jono and Dave will explore scientific integrity, money flows, and pyschosocial aspects of the invasive species issue. Meantime, “We encourage everyone to step back from a reactive stance, observe carefully, own our projections onto and our role in the ecosystem of which we are part . . . . We are all in this together, and to paraphrase our Indian forebears on this continent, we are all relatives.” Jono is a core member of the Conway faculty, with a teaching focus on regenerative design, and the principal of Regenerative Design. Dave is a Conway master teacher focusing on permaculture and the principal of Dynamics Ecological Design.

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The same issue of the Permaculture Activist carries an article by Nicko Rubin ’06, “The Food Forest of John Wires” (pp. 31–32), a moving portrait of a sixteen-acre parcel on the southwestern slope of Bald Hill in Plainfield, Vermont, that John Wires purchased in the early 1970s, because: “‘I was looking for a different world.’” Wires’s property is composed of a band of old fields and young forest. It sits at the foot of Spruce Mountain on the edge of the Groton State Forest. Nicko experiences the hill as “probably the most beautiful place in the world . . . and a place I go when I need to honor reality.” He describes the long history of human use on the site and the habitat for a range of wildlife that was subsequently created over time and by Wires’s efforts over

the thirty-year period he lived on the land in a small cabin. “The pattern of clearings and comfort­ably spaced trees amidst a mixed-hardwood forest is delightful. Birds, squirrels, and deer all seem particularly pleased with the landscape. Though John . . . did not begin with a clear plan, . . . . he followed his intuition, trying many things, and seeing what survived and what did not . . . . The world view which draws a distinction between the human and the natural breaks down in this landscape . . . . John Wires participated in the landscape (like all of the species on the hill) as was his nature.” Although Wires is no longer maintaining the site, the plants he brought there are still “growing, flowering and fruiting,” and many are spreading through the larger landscape. Nicko lives and practices ecological landscape design in Plainfield, Vermont, runs East Hill Tree Farm, and also helps manage the food forest at the John Wires property.

“Garden Books Lighten Winter Nights” This was the headline of an article on December 12, 2008 in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, which recommended four books for winter reading beginning with Bulbs in the Basement, Geraniums on the Windowsill: How to Grow and Overwinter 165 Tender Plants by Alice and Brian McGowan ’07 and released this fall by Storey Publishing, North Adams, Massachusetts. The article noted, “Many Pioneer Valley gardeners have wondered what happened to the couple, whose Blue Meadow Farm in Montague was a flower grower’s delight for nearly 20 years. The McGowans are living on Cape Cod, where Brian works for an ecology restoration company and Alice writes a regular column for Horticulture magazine and also edits a Cape pond newsletter. “The book is an outgrowth of their 18 years in the nursery business . . . . The McGowans felt a book on overwintering tender plants like salvias, dahlias, and fuchsias would be a welcome addition to the garden bookshelf . . . . Alice said it took about three years to write the book. Brian took many of the plant photos. “The McGowans moved to Orleans just over a year ago. Brian said gardening on Cape Cod is akin to gardening in a desert, compared to the alluvial plain in Montague. ‘It’s a different climate and there’s really not much soil, just sand and rock,’ he said . . . . Brian sounds enthusiastic about his new work, especially a project on restoring habitat for the diamond back terrapin. “The McGowans’ book is straightforward, pragmatic, easy-to-read . . . . Anyone who grows annual flowers, tropical plants including banana and brugmansia, or tubers like dahlia would benefit from owning it. In addition, it is a connection for Valley residents to a wonderful nursery we all loved and whose loss we still mourn.” Reprinted with permission of the Daily Hampshire Gazette. All rights reserved.

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School News

Will Raap, Business, Ecological, Economic, and Social Visionary

Two Receive Honorary Degrees from Conway Richard Forman, “Father of Landscape Ecology”

Maple Leaf, Liz Kushner ‘08

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In late spring, 2009, the Conway School will confer an honorary degree on Will Raap, founder of Gardner’s Supply Company. Ann Turner Whitman ’88, staff horticulturist at Gardner’s Supply, shares her thoughts about Will:

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. —John Muir Will Raap has been saving the world, one garden at a time, for more than twenty-five years. In his own words, “It has been my experience that the very act of gardening builds awareness and understanding of environmental problems, and energizes people to help solve them at home, in their communities, and beyond.” As the founder of Gardener’s Supply, Will began making a difference in his company’s own backyard: a 400acre area called the Intervale in the heart of Burlington, Vermont, and home to the company’s headquarters. Rich in farming history, the land had become a crime-ridden dumping ground. In this urban wasteland, Will envisioned an opportunity to improve the food security of the city. He founded the not-for-profit Intervale Center, to develop enterprises that generate economic and social opportunity while protecting natural resources. Today, the Intervale is home to more than a dozen small-scale organic farmers and a 500-member community-supportedagriculture farm. Together, they are supplying more than seven percent of Burlington’s fresh produce. Vermont’s largest community composting facility is also located in the Intervale, as well as more than 150 community garden plots. Will’s vision, networking, and stewardship for the land extend well beyond Vermont. In association with the University of Vermont, he and other educators brought thirty business and environmental students to Costa Rica in 2004 for a class entitled “Ecological Design and Sustainable Development.” The two-week design process resulted in an ecologically sensitive and sustainable land use plan for a 200-acre development. Classes in subsequent years have focused on ecological and economic restoration plans for the 25,000-acre Rio Nandamojo watershed in Costa Rica. He is also working to preserve tropical rainforests throughout Central America through Earth Carbon Offsets. Will Raap is a visionary leader for sustainable land use, food and water security, and communities. His commitment and actions are proof that we can make the world a better place for our children, one garden at a time.

Courtesy of Gardener’s Supply

By Ann Turner Whitman ’88

Randy Marks ‘09

On January 12, 2009, the Conway School conferred an honorary degree on Richard T.T. Forman, PAES Professor of Advanced Environmental Studies in Landscape Ecology at Harvard University and the author of numerous books and articles. Conway master teacher C. Dana Tomlin, a former faculty member at Harvard Design School, joined in presenting the degree. “Dr. Forman has played a pivotal role in the development of landscape ecology and in doing so has had a tremendous impact on ecological landscape planning and design,” remarked Paul Cawood Hellmund, director of the Conway School and a former student of Richard Forman’s at Harvard. “Through writing and teaching, Richard has developed a substantial bridge between science and design.” Richard’s primary scholarly interest is linking science with spatial pattern to interweave nature and people on the land. Often considered to be a “father” of landscape ecology and also of road ecology, he is playing a key scholarly role in the emergence of urban-region ecology and planning. Other research interests include conservation, the patch-corridor-matrix model, changing land mosaics, and land-use planning. He received a bachelor’s degree at Haverford College and PhD at the University of Pennsylvania.He is a member of the Graduate School of Design, associate of the Harvard Forest, and associate of the Harvard University Center for the Environment. He served as vice president of the Ecological Society of America and president of the Torrey Botanical Society. At Harvard, his courses explore ecological principles and applications for understanding conservation, design, policy, and planning of land. Richard has taught at the Escuela Agricola Panamericana (Honduras), University of Wisconsin, and Rutgers University.


School News

Notes from the Fringe: Sustainability and the Economy Where Are They Now: An Alum’s Story Only for the most fleeting moments did I believe I would be a landscape designer. That’s not why I studied at Conway and it’s not what I took home with me. I wanted to study landscape design as a tool to add to my kit for understanding and contributing to world repair. I wanted a better grasp of how to design systems, focusing on a mix of restoration ecology, permaculture systems, and user psychology. What I walked away with was a conviction of the power of design. I left Conway and immediately abandoned landscape as I started to design organizations, campaigns, education strategies and more—not because it was my desire but because I felt I must. I co-founded the Rainforest Action Network in San Francisco in 1985, because I couldn’t look away from what was happening and sleep at night. I couldn’t promise a tree I might plant that it would be allowed to grow to old age, so I set about trying to change the system that devalued trees and everything else not linked to fast profits and consumerism. Digging deeper, I wanted to point out to my colleagues that our basic thinking was badly skewed. I wrote my first article linking rain forest destruction with climate change in 1984. It was picked up by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and read on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives—to a thundering silence. At that time conservation groups were actually blaming the rainforest for its fragility, and for the first time I heard the word “sustainability.” Problem was, they were talking about “sustainable exploitation” as a value. So I invited victims of U.S. exploitation to come and tell us about it. Twenty representatives from tribal nations around the world convened at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1989 to give testimony. For the next twelve years I ran the Arctic to Amazonia Alliance, linking First Nations peoples around the world so they could more effectively break the silence, coordinate resistance, and share learning. I used design every day, but possibly not as Conway would have imagined. In the late 1990s I started to feel I wanted to reintegrate much of what I had learned and provide this to others. I wrote a vision statement for a learning center, where human rights, environmental literacy,

Edi Galvao

By Erik van Lennep ’83

intercultural communications, personal growth, design, and entrepreneurship could be overlaid and taught to young people. Lots of potential collaborating organizations said, “Cool! Tell us when it’s running.” They didn’t get it: that it would only run if we joined hands. Frustrated, I looked further. Eventually, I followed the encouragement of various NGOs, individuals, and academic institutions and moved to Ireland. I met two others with complementary visions and we created Ireland’s centre for sustainability, Cultivate (www. cultivate.ie). After seven years I was chafing at my desk and wanted to come back to my original passions: design and the natural world. In 2007, I left Cultivate and set up a new collaborative, TEPUI (www.tepuidesign.com), to work within a “for benefit” or “fourth sector” business model to address climate change head-on through design and through using natural systems. It’s been a predictably rough ride so far and I find I spend a lot of energy just keeping up with developments in our clean tech sector. It’s changing by the minute and our position is on the leading edge, so the process of (re) positioning is constant. But I am loving it, back in the magic and power of design. About the economy: I watched as Ireland slavishly followed America’s lead into greed and it’s now heading down the tubes right behind. So how do we keep going, especially on the fringe? One comfort is that the single most robust economic sector is now climatechange-related businesses. If we can’t make the connection between landscape and climate impacts, we should bow out and do something more useful. If we can’t use our presentation skills to help our clients understand that we can use design to find a path forward, we need to re-sharpen those skills. For me, for now, I will try to use the design process as a tool to help leadership do its job more effectively in bringing together sustainable economics with sustainable energy, climate response, food security and whatever else from the long list of outrider issues that need to be brought back into the core. After all, leaders are just humans, scared, overwhelmed, and undertrained for the task before them. I am hoping we can take the urgency of our situation, apply some design strategy and innovation, and kick-start the new era. I am also willing to bet we won’t be viewing it through the windshield of an SUV. Those wishing to contact Erik, may reach him at erik@tepuidesign.com. “Where Are They Now” is a continuing series of portraits of Conway alums. We invite you to share your experience at Conway and beyond. Go to the alumni area of our website, www.csld.edu/alumnipage.htm and fill in the questionnaire. Or you can send your story to the school through the post office.

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Featured Projects

Ecology and Healing on the Gulf Coast Restoring a Sense of Home in East Biloxi by Ginny Sullivan ‘86 and Ruth Parnall

Safe places for children to play are among the most critical resources that were lost and destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Rebuilding play spaces has there­ fore been the focus of many of the groups aid­ing in the recovery of Gulf Coast communities. Unfortunately, this has most often involved importing turnkey “playgrounds” of a kind many children’s advocates recognize as sub-standard both in terms of play value and safety: large manufactured climbing structures set in an unshaded pool of bark mulch or barren “safety surfacing.” While offering children a place to go and a vehicle for a concentrated, large-motor workout, these settings rarely provide a sense of place, shade, or shelter, and do not support children forming communities based on common discoveries and interest in the world around. Pursuing a different idea, Myers Park United Methodist Church of Charlotte, North Carolina approached us to help design and build a children’s garden that would help reconnect young children to the beauty and mystery of the natural world, whose destructive power had so recently devastated their families’ lives. The disaster-relief arm of this church focuses on raising money and finding volunteers for communities in need of emergency services. It had responded immediately after Katrina to the pleas of East Biloxi. The beneficiary two years later was Moore Community House (MCH), a hundred-year-old settlement house and anchor for social services in the small Gulf Coast community of East Biloxi, Mississippi. MCH lost most of its capacity along with the seven buildings destroyed by the surge water from Hurricane

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Learning by the Yard

Ginny Sullivan ’86, an early childhood educator with advanced degrees in curriculum development and ecological landscape design, is a Conway trustee. Ruth Parnall, a registered landscape architect and a credentialed botanist, is a Conway adviser. As principals of Learning by the Yard, they have created designs for school yards from Massachusetts to North Carolina, and now, East Biloxi, Mississippi. They have given numerous workshops and classes to Conway students and have served as mentors and studio teachers. Other projects of theirs can be found at www. learningbytheyard.com.

Plants restore native flora to the play yard and the street view.

Katrina. The water had crested at twenty feet above this sandy, sea-level community, one of Mississippi’s poorest and most diverse, on its way to Biloxi Back Bay. Within hours, the water returned with equal force along the same path from the opposite direction. Learning by the Yard did not get involved until two years after the storm. In August 2007, the two of us flew into New Orleans and rented a car. We drove from the still closed and shuttered Super Dome, along Bourbon Street, out through Gentilly, and headed east on State Route 90, the Old Coast Road, to witness first-hand the wreckage: houses with roofs torn off and foundations yards or blocks away; driveways leading to freshly scraped foundations, or hardpacked sand in Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Long Beach, and Gulfport. When we reached the gridded streets of East Biloxi, we encountered a shattered community under the legendary and beautiful liveoak trees, many of them suffering from the saturation of salt water brought by the surge. With much of the debris cleared away, many homes boarded up, and many residents still living in FEMA trailers, Katrina was a living presence. Whether with the waitress, the clerk at Radio Shack, or the meter reader for the gas company, every conversation we had eventually became a practiced account of the residents’ experiences


Featured Projects

in the storm. They told us their Katrina stories with the stunned sense of wonder that this could actually have happened to them, ending always with some version of the chorus, “But I am blessed. Others suffered more.” The high-tide line scribed on still-boarded-up houses two years after the storm illustrated the subtle, water-carved topography to which Gulf Coasters have long tied their lives, the politics of which would hinder the recovery and rebuilding effort. One of those backroom political changes had allowed casinos to come onshore, and eleven of the original thirteen were rebuilt and functioning almost instantly after the storm. The average homeowner in East Biloxi faced greater challenges. New rules had been put in place shortly after the storm. FEMA maps had been redrawn, reflecting the realities of the Katrina flooding—finished floor elevations in some areas were required to be twelve feet above the ground. A house that was damaged but not moved off its foundation might be allowed to be rehabbed, while down the street, a disabled grandmother, whose house had to be demolished, had to choose between rebuilding at the lower flood-elevation and foregoing FEMA insurance, or building the costly sixty-foot ramp required to reach the new, required floor-level. Like those of many of their neighbors, the experience of MCH illustrates the cost and chaos surrounding rebuilding. Well into the process of architectural planning for just one of their buildings—a new child care center—MCH found that their building would be unaffordable when the new FEMA rules required them to raise the first floor by more than twelve feet. MCH began the construction drawings and permitting all over again, this time for a donated former church that could be rehabbed on its existing foundation. This was the building whose grounds Learning by the Yard helped develop.

for inquiry as they went about pursuing challenges outside. In addition, the beautiful texture and sense of wholeness communicated by the native palette would be nurturing for teachers, parents, and the community spending time there. Seeking the Native Plants of the Gulf Coast

Working with an unfamiliar plant association is always a challenge. We felt much more at home with this project when we realized that the Zone 9 coastal dune plant community resembles that of Cape Cod— familiar genus but different species. We were helped by two Conway alums: MaryCrain Penniman ’89, who has had a long-time professional relationship with the Baton Rouge area, and Brian Tamulonis ’04, now transplanted to North Reading, Massachusetts, but who came to Conway from his landscape contracting business in Louisiana inspired by local native plant advocates. MaryCrain actually joined us as a volunteer for part of the installation time. Brian steered us to two venerable nursery owners, Miss Margie Jenkins, eighty-six-year-old owner of Jenkins Farm and Nursery, and Tom Dodd, of Semmes, Alabama, for whose father the Tom Dodd Jr. Award is given annually at the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference. (Don Walker was a recipient in 2001.) The back-and-forth of finalizing the plant list included an exchange with Miss Margie about twelvefoot tall, field-grown tree blueberry that Miss Margie had planted from seed twenty years ago: “Surely you do not want those . . . all gnarly and covered with lichen,” she said. And we said, “They are exactly what we want!” Using mature plants would do a lot to help us with our goal of recreating an established place to serve as a refuge and reminder of home amid the destruction. With her help we packed the garden with gems like four-inch-caliper red maples, chokeberries,

Research confirms the positive impact on human behavior and development provided by green space and on the opportunity to participate in the rhythms and processes of the natural world. Such benefits would be especially important for children suffering the high levels of stress and feelings of helplessness associated with large scale disasters. Of all populations, we felt these children should be given the opportunity to benefit from play in nature. We wanted children to experience the seasonal change of color and texture, enjoy the visits of native pollinators, and relax in the shade and scent of heritage trees. We therefore proposed a play space filled with the family of Gulf Coast back dune plants. The diversity of texture, color, form, shape, and foliage would provide children with endless fodder

Learning by the Yard

The Idea of a Children’s Garden

Miss Margie Jenkins (87-year-old owner of Jenkins Farm and Nursery in Amite, LA) with Ginny Sullivan ’86 (right) and MaryCrain Penniman ’89 (left)

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Featured Projects

fringetrees, and blue huckleberry. These nursery people, seriously but not fatally affected by Katrina, generously extended themselves to help others reclaim their beloved Gulf Coast landscape. Tom Dodd was inspired to give us blue-eyed grass to plug into the sod matrix of the playhouse’s living roof. Jenkins Nursery donated plants as well as inviting us to share red beans and rice in the kitchen while waiting out an impressive tornado that passed nearby, blackening the sky and raising the adrenalin.

Learning by the Yard

Ginny Sullivan and volunteers add blue-eyed grass to the sod roof on the playhouse.

Installation

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possibility of a story as children and teachers notice and discuss the details around them. We roofed the trike shed with sheets of opaque poly-carbonate, an extremely durable and inexpensive material imported by the truckload after the storm for reconstruction. It fills the shed with light without the security challenge and expense of windows, but was not a material anyone had worked with before. The “newness” of our approach made some people uneasy, perhaps because in the wreckage it had too little “oldness” to balance it. Post-Occupancy Evaluation

We are eager for an opportunity to return to Biloxi and see how children and teachers are using the garden. In the meantime, head teacher Mary Harrington writes that the children clamor each day to “go to the park,” a name for their outdoor space that tells us they feel an affection for it that is different from a “playground.” They love the big hill, running up it and rolling down, and they use the climbing structure extensively. They like to play in the little house but are bothered by wasps nesting under the roof.

Learning by the Yard

After the nursery trips, we began to second guess our ambition and spent a sleepless night wondering how the twenty-four-inch root balls of the blueberries and red maple would fare after two hours travel on the truck and planting by an eager bobcat operator with a cowboy swagger. We were working with a crew that was overstretched and unfamiliar with our plant choices. Supplies and labor were desperately hard to come by in Biloxi, and many projects involved only what was commonly available at the d’Iberville Lowe’s and Home Depot. But it was not only the choice of (ironically) unfamiliar native plants that made our design a challenge to embrace and install. Instead of recreating the status quo, we were asking both installers and educators to accept new ideas. Instead of relying on manufactured play structures and plastic toys, we built much of the play value into the landscape and planting. The play hill was an unfamiliar detail and one that required many hours of hand work to shape and grade correctly. This is now one of the best loved parts of the plan. Children used to a place that is sea-level flat love to climb up, roll down, and experience the view from the top. The four-to-one slope presents a challenge to toddlers just learning to walk, and entices older children to run and even caregivers to stretch their bodies in new ways. The play house with its sod roof caused many adults to shake their head and ask, “Why did you do that?” not realizing that the question contained its own answer. We did it to surprise, to evoke curiosity, and to provide a sweetness of detail that is rare in children’s environments. We also hoped to inspire conversation about the insulating qualities of the sod and other possible uses of this technology in Biloxi’s unforgiving climate. We retained the raised bed of the vegetable garden with eighteen-inch-tall sections of a two hundred-year-old live oak tree that had drowned in Miss Margie’s yard. These grand remnants of the storm offer seating at the edge, growth rings to count, a surface to walk and balance on, and the

Kevin Crockett, head of the planting crew, and Ruth Parnall discuss layout of the groundcovers.


Featured Projects

They enjoy best of all the water mister on a hot day, of which Mary confirms, there are many. They have made time for a little gardening, which she herself loves and which she plans to do more of. Her report on the living landscape is not surprising. She says most of the plants are doing well but some have died. Weeds grow up in the mulch between the plants, and MCH has not yet developed an effective maintenance regime to address this. She appreciates the in-ground sprinkler system which waters the garden on a schedule, relieving her of one thing to think about. Lessons from Working in a Disaster Area

Moore Community House staff

So what did we learn from our involvement in this project? Neither of us had worked before in an area suffering widespread destruction and despite watching two years of media coverage, we were stunned by the enormous human and material cost of Katrina and its aftermath. We came with a desire to help, a willingness to work, and a vision of what the garden could be for the children and families involved, but we were unprepared for much of what we encountered. We expected much more participation in the process than was realistic for clients still reeling and trying to rebuild their lives; disaster victims may no longer put much value in planning and tend to have a fragile grip on the future. They are focused on the present and on getting things done. Talking about it may seem a waste of time and such time needs to be rationed, not least because people are saving energy to deal with the bureaucrats and providers of services. Expecting detailed feedback on design options, while desirable in most circumstances, may create anxiety in traumatized clients. In retrospect, we feel we asked for a commitment to detail that is often hard to achieve in normal circumstances, much less under stress with largely untrained and volunteer workers. Because solutions that require thinking in new ways or doing things differently does

produce stress, one must put the highest premium on careful inventory and site assessment. There may be no room to go back and rework bad decisions based on a misreading of the conditions on the site. An example in our case: we accepted second-hand reports of the health of a large water oak on the site which eventually had to be removed during construction. We would now say that the first priority is to reestablish order. Risk-taking and creative solutions must be calculated and weighed differently, because the consequences of an effort not working out can be discouraging and cause people to lose faith in the process. The trial and error process required to place and plant such large trees as we chose was time consuming and frightening at first to our installers and our client until we were able to work out a system and get the trees safely in the ground. We learned that helpers can become part of the problem if they require too much time and attention, making decisions and talking things through. Another time we would be prepared to make decisions that may be less than ideal, knowing that postponement undermines the project. For example, many trees on the site needed severe pruning, a radical change that we felt needed prior approval before we began. In fact, no one wanted to comment one way or the other and we see now that we were introducing anxiety by insisting that our client consult with us about this issue. One of the most valuable things we did during our time in Biloxi was to take the time to explore and then share our appreciation of the place where we were. Our excitement when we discovered the stunning watercolors of Walter Anderson, a masterful regional painter, and our quest to find the migrating sand hill cranes and our (scary!) alligator sitings on early-morning breakfast walks in natural areas elicited genuine smiles from our hosts, evoking for them old feelings of pride and pleasure in their nowwounded place. What we learned about local culture and ecology from our explorations fed back into the project in specific place-appropriate design decisions. This grounded knowledge also helped us know our clients, broadening and deepening their identity beyond that of victim or refugee. This deeper connection to the people and the place helped us better understand their needs and desires, making us better and more effective designers.

Toddlers love rolling down the hill in “the park.�

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Featured Projects

I

n difficult economic times, it is possible to lose sight of an ethical commitment to the environment. The actions of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts demonstrate, however, that commitment has long-lasting benefits that are a model for organizations, individuals and businesses at any time. In 2004, even before finalizing plans for a new building in Hatfield, the Food Bank approached the Conway School of Landscape Design for assistance in developing a plan for a green site and exterior building management that would be eligible for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. The Food Bank is situated on two-and-a-half acres of land in a small industrial park. The landscape was a rather unpretentious mix of turf grass and some opportunistic crab grass bordered by a small wooded area and a very tiny wetland. That fall, the project was assigned to David Campolong ’05 who developed a water-efficient and low-maintenance landscape plan with native plants. Because it is a food storage warehouse, the building also needed a perimeter clear of vermin harborage as well as a reasonably presentable kempt appearance for the neighbors. Dave provided helpful overall ideas and suggestions for different native species. As the Food Bank moved forward, they approached Dave for a more detailed and comprehensive plan following his graduation from Conway, but he was unable to accommodate them due to other commitments and the distance from his home. Subsequently, the Food Bank contacted Conway again, and Brandon Mansfield ’07 and Nicko Rubin ’07 assisted with options and ideas after they had graduated; Nicko created a plan upon which the actual landscape has been based. So far, the red maples have been planted; the river birches and junipers were to go in this past fall. Sheet mulching for a couple of problem grass areas has been completed. Future plans

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Asa de Roode, based on a plan by Nicko Rubin ‘07

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Achieves LEED Gold Certification include wetland plants for the detention basins. The measures taken for the landscape as well as the building itself have earned the site LEED gold certification for existing buildings. Asa de Roode, manager of the facility, states that the landscape “is functional, meets zoning regs, requires no regular irrigation and is pretty low maintenance. Pretty much a green facility manager’s dream!”

“Thank you for all the help you and your students provided to us. We couldn’t have done it without you!” Asa de Roode, Facility Manager, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts

Beaver Dam Praise Sometimes, clients let our students know how a project has been received and how it is moving forward. This past fall, Stuart Ross, Senior Director of Program Marketing and Communications for the Environmental Defense Fund, wrote to Beth Hammen ’08 concerning the master plan for the Beaver Dam Sanctuary (BDS) in Bedford, New York. A description of the plan by Beth and Pamela Hurtado ’08 can be found on page 32 of con’text, fall 2008.

“[The master plan] is extraordinary in every way, and you have given us so much to think about. I am still working my way through the recommendations and need to share my thoughts with the BDS board. You should also know that I shared this report with Michael Bean, who has been EDF’s resident wildlife ecologist for thirty years and one of the top people in the field. He was extremely impressed with the quality of your work.”


Featured Projects

Winslow Street Park by Emma Cooke ’06 and Hannah Whipple ’06

Kim Klein

Kim Klein

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n downtown Worcester, Massachusetts, a nonprofit group, Women Together, wanted to transform a vacant, corner lot strewn with garbage into a vibrant neighborhood park. The women decided this diverse community needed a gathering spot—a peace garden as many called it—a place to come together to overcome violence that had shaken the neighborhood far too many times. Due to a lack of a plan, the state had turned down a previous application but encouraged Women Together to apply again with a plan. They hired the Conway School in spring 2006 ​to create a feasible design-intent package for their Urban Self-Help Grant application. Less than a year later, the grant allowed them to purchase the lot and complete the first phase of park construction. In fall of 2008, the park officially opened. When we first came to Worcester to find out how the community envisioned the park, the dedication and enthusiasm from across the neighborhood was obvious. Residents were eager to contribute ideas. There were women and men, multiple generations, people whose first language was not English, and people from different classes and races. Some people had been in the community long enough to remember when the now-vacant corner lot had been the Winslow Street School. They all saw potential in the Winslow lot. Through workshops, we discovered that the residents had a wide variety of ideas about what should be in the park: open space where they could gather, performance space, bathrooms, natural areas for play, community-maintained gardens, and a memorial space. It seemed that people really wanted a gathering spot—a common ground for all generations, all classes, all races to come together to celebrate, heal, and reflect. Three important goals for the park also emerged from the workshops: that it be safe, that different generations could use it, and that it be sustainable. Evaluating the site conditions and surrounding context, we gathered cues from the site such as the worn footpath cutting across the lot. It eventually became a major path that cut an arc across the corner. For safety, we kept the park open to avoid places where people might feel trapped and to encourage the community to keep their eyes on the park. To foster multigenerational use, we included multi-functional spaces that could be used by people of all ages and abilities, such as square tables for playing checkers and having picnics, and large, grassy spaces, where children could run around. A low wall hugging the path was a place

Top: A 2006 project, the park was built in less than two years. Bottom, There’s room for more.

for adults to sit and chat and for children to climb and play. For sustainability, a low-maintenance design implemented in stages was important. Multi-functionality and flexibility contributed to the idea that this park could easily evolve with the community. The use of local resources contributed to a park that would evoke pride and a sense of ownership and stewardship throughout the neighborhood. The group’s unbelievable motivation propelled the dream of a park into reality. There were other supporting pieces to this process: there was political support for the park, and guidance from the local land trust on how to go about applying for the grant and working with the previous owner. We feel quite lucky to have been able to contribute to this process by translating the ideas of the community into images and creating a plan that showed the possibilities that the space held. We hope the park will be used, that enthusiasm and involvement from the community will continue, and that over time the park will grow and evolve with the community itself. “I’m very happy that I got the opportunity to work with Women Together on their project to turn that corner property into a real park. Hannah and I were lucky to have been in the right place at the right time to be a part of that. There was movement in that community that allowed our Conway methods to work—and to materialize into a real, living park.” Emma Cooke ’06

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The Myth of Progress Toward a Sustainable Future Into the Forest by Tom Wessels Tom Wessels is a member of the core faculty and associate chair for external relations in the department of environmental studies at Antioch University New England in Keene, New Hampshire. Giving public talks and leading field trips, he has been a regular visitor to Conway since spring 2002. His books include: Reading the Forested Landscape, The Granite Landscape, Untamed Vermont, and The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future, from which this excerpt from chapter 4 is taken. We thank Tom and the University Press of New England for their kind permission to reprint it here.

Joseph Weidle ‘08

The Myth of the Free Market: The Loss of Diversity and Democracy

At first sight the Pisgah old-growth doesn’t appear to have a high level of species richness. I can see only five species of dominant canopy trees: hemlock, white pine, beech, black birch, and red oak. Species of understory shrubs are even fewer, including mountain laurel, witch hazel, and maple-leaf viburnum. Due to the dense shade of the hemlocks, ferns and other herbaceous plants are uncommon. But this view of the forest’s diversity is skewed—what one of my colleagues calls “above ground bias.” Within the soil and the decaying hulks of downed trees, the diversity of species has become enormous. The summer of 2003 was one of the wettest witnessed in central New England. During September of that year I visited the old-growth, and what I saw then was completely different than what I am seeing on this hot July afternoon in 2005. That September the understory of this forest was transformed into a fairy-tale land of fungi. Huge colonies of golden chanterelles covered the ground. Amanitas of various hues sported huge, warty-topped toadstools. Varieties of coral fungi added many textures and colors to the mix. Numerous species of polypores and puffballs festooned the decaying trunks of downed trees. I counted over forty species of fungi growing out of the soil and decaying wood. Two were completely new species that I had never seen before, including a light green, gilled mushroom. Many of the species I saw were saprophytes—such as the numerous species of puffballs—

meaning that they get their energy from decomposing wood or other organic material in the soils. There were also many mycorrhizal species, such as the amanitas. Mycorrhizal fungi and trees offer another example of mutualism. The fungus gets its energy from the roots of trees while allowing trees to dramatically increase their rates of nutrient uptake. This is such a critical interaction that many coniferous species of trees can’t exist without their mycorrhizae. Part of the mycorrhizae’s function is to more quickly decompose organic litter and transfer the resulting nutrients directly to tree roots. In this way mycorrhizae not only help the trees with which they are associated, but the entire forest system by recycling nutrients that might otherwise leach out of the soil and be lost from the old-growth forest. That this forest is able to sustain itself is in large part due to the mycorrhizae and other decomposers in the soil. In front of me is the rotting trunk of a one-foot diameter beech. It is covered in charcoal mat fungus, making it look like it has been burned, when in reality it is just in advanced stages of decay. I roll part of the trunk back and find two species of salamanders— the robust yellow-spotted salamander and the delicate red-backed salamander—and a whole host of scurrying beetles. All the downed wood in this forest adds greatly to its species richness. Like the reef, the

© 2006 University Press of New England, Hanover, NH. Reprinted with permission.

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decaying wood creates microhabitats for salamanders, means a huge loss in prey for predators such as the beetles, and many other organisms that I can’t even Arctic fox, snowy owl, and gyrfalcon. As a result see. The dead beech is a critical resource for these these predator populations suffer a crash as well. species, which in turn recycle the beech’s nutrients to With reduced predation the lemming population support new generations of beech like the smoothquickly rebounds, only to suffer another die-off four trunked tree to my right. years later. Each time the lemming population peaks, This beech has a unique pattern on its bark. I see a Arctic plants they forage are dramatically reduced, series of light tracks, about a quarter of an inch wide, allowing soil nutrients to be leached away at higher that run all over the bark, intersecting in a grand rates.1 This biological dynamic increases the instaweb. These are the foraging trails of slugs that graze bility of the Arctic ecosystem. Ecosystem instability the algae that grow on the beech’s bark; in this way brought on by regular, dramatic cycles is not witthe slugs are not unlike periwinkles that graze algae nessed in systems with high species richness. on intertidal rocks. In this forest mycorrhizal fungi Democracy fosters diversity in a political system. support a beech that in turn supports the algae that In a healthy democracy that encourages freedom sustain slugs. When the beech dies it will sustain a of speech and the press a broad range of political whole new community of species. This is just an inviews are expressed. This generates social stability finitesimal part of the interlocking web of interactions through openness and accountability, while allowthat make and sustain this old-growth ing the society to develop through forest. If any species became domithe evolution of its values. Workers’ nant enough to exclude lots of others, rights, women’s suffrage, civil rights, Every example from for example if one species of fungus and environmental legislation are all the natural world out-competed all the others, the forexamples of the evolution of social est would become simplified. In this values during the twentieth century. suggests that the move instance the forest would lose redunIn contrast, totalitarian states that dancy within its mycorrhizal services, restrict freedom lack a diversity of to consolidate farms making the forest more fragile. This views. They represent simple, static into larger operations simplified forest would be less able systems that can only maintain social to resist perturbations that would stability through brutal military increases the threat jeopardize its sustainability if its one might. Compared to democratic of future instability. species of fungus were extinguished. societies, totalitarian states have Certainly it would be far less efficient far more frequent upheavals, coups, in its use of energy and would have and military conflicts, making them a greatly reduced capacity to recycle its nutrients. As more unstable political systems. The foundation of Maya Angelou states, for this forest its strength is in sustained progress lies in stable systems that increase its diversity. diversity through time to resist perturbations. Is this what we see occurring in our local, national, and Corporate Mergers, Competitive Exclusion, global economic systems? and Simplification What is seen in the economic arena is just the So how do increasing diversity in ecosystems and opposite; a trend where a diverse array of local or reincreasing complexity in other natural systems relate gional commercial enterprises have consistently been to progress? The answer is that systems with more replaced by ever-larger transnational corporations complexity, like ecosystems with higher biotic diversithat increase their size through mergers, acquisitions, ty, have greater resistance to perturbations—they are and competitive exclusion. A look at the agricultural more stable. As such they can prosper in tough times sector shows this trend quite clearly. Each decade in whereas more simplified systems can start to unravel. the United States, the number of farming operations In an ecosystem with low species richness, the loss shrinks as more and more of the nation’s agriculof a single species may cascade through the entire tural production falls into the hands of a decreasing ecosystem, disrupting its function. In an ecosystem number of agribusinesses that control a constellation with high species richness, the probability that the of large, industrial-strength farms. Between the end loss of a single species will result in a similar level of of World War II and 1997, the number of farms in disruption is much lower due to greater redundancy in the United States steadily dropped from 5.6 to two species’ ecological roles. million while the average size of farms increased from Every four years, when lemming populations 200 to almost 500 acres. 2 The year 2002 witnessed a crash in regions of the arctic, major disruptions move further 1 percent decrease in the number of American through the Arctic ecosystem. Because this ecosysfarms.3 Interestingly, congressionally developed farm tem has low species richness, the loss of the lemming

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subsidies that were intended to shore up small family farms are doing just the opposite: In 2003, 60 percent of the subsidies went to large agribusinesses that represented only 10 percent of American farms.4 Each of these large industrial farms produces a limited number of crops—low diversity—and consumes great quantities of petroleum (in the form of pesticides, fertilizers, and diesel fuel) to run big farm equipment and to transport its products throughout the world. The Institute on Energy and Man has accurately tracked global per capita energy consumption and oil production through the last century. Global per capita energy consumption peaked in 1979 and has since fallen steadily. The institute predicts that global oil production will peak in 2006 and then will fall more than 60 percent during the next four decades.5 How will these large corporate farms fare in an environment with dwindling availability of oil? Does it make more sense to support a system in which a larger array of small, diversified farms can be productive on lower levels of petroleum consumption and can market their products locally rather than needing to truck them across the United States? Every example from the natural world suggests that the move to consolidate farms into larger operations increases the threat of future instability. Coupled with global climate change, large operations that are not diversified run an even higher risk of being affected by erratic weather events such as droughts than do smaller, diversified farms.

m Now let’s see how consolidation affects the quality of our manmade environment. Imagine you are driving down an urban strip at night on the outskirts of any city in the United States. Could you tell what state you are in? Urban strips have become so homogeneous during the last thirty years that it can be hard to know where we are geographically. All strips will have a handful of similar gas stations—Exxon, Mobil, and Texaco. They share the same fast food restaurants—McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. And many have the same box stores—Wal-Mart and Home Depot are just two examples. Just a few decades ago, regional differences on emerging strips were clearly expressed in the restaurants, clothing, hardware, and other retail stores that were owned and operated by area residents, and they all had a local flare. Those regional differences have been swallowed up by ever-increasing corporate homogeneity, resulting in dramatic losses of commercial diversity. This loss of commercial diversity has broad implications that go far beyond just choices of where to shop. To see the impact of consolidation of commercial enterprise, a look at Wal-Mart is instructive. Wal-

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Mart is the single largest business in the world today. Its corporate niche is huge, covering the sale of just about any imaginable retail product. It is larger than ExxonMobil, General Motors, and General Electric. It is even larger than its top five competitors combined—Target, Sears, JCPenney, Safeway, and Kroger. Out of every consumer dollar spent in the United States during 2002, 7.5 cents went to Wal-Mart.6 Wal-Mart’s hallmark is expressed in its slogan: “everyday low prices.” No one can sell products for less than Wal-Mart. This is the reason that Wal-Mart has been so successful. But as the second law of thermodynamics points out, we can never get something for nothing. Low prices come with a number of costs. Since Wal-Mart captured such an important percentage of the retail market, a large constellation of product suppliers have been caught in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. To survive they need to contract with this retail giant, but contracting with Wal-Mart often generates loss of control over a supplier’s business, losses in profits for the supplier, and sometimes even bankruptcy. Wal-Mart can dictate what it is willing to pay for a product and often demands that suppliers sell to WalMart at a price lower than what they agreed to the previous year. As a result suppliers have to find ways to manage on lower profits. If they don’t, they may be dropped by Wal-Mart. In the case of an umbrella supplier that asked for a 5 percent price increase on their product, a Wal-Mart representative said, “We were expecting a 5 percent decrease. We’re off by 10 percent. Go back and sharpen your pencil.” The umbrella supplier reworked the numbers and returned with a request for a 2 percent increase. Wal-Mart’s reply was, “We’ll go with a Chinese manufacturer.”7 The umbrella supplier was dropped . . . . Low prices at Wal-Mart drive quality manufacturing jobs out of the United States, increasing job insecurity in this country; force reductions in employee benefits and wages; and increase pollution and other environmental problems associated with manufacturing goods in less environmentally regulated countries such as Mexico and China. Wal-Mart’s low prices have definite costs that are borne by all of us. Regarding consumer prices, Steve Dobbins, president of Carolina Mills, states, “We want clean air, clean water, good living conditions, the best health care in the world—yet we aren’t willing to pay for anything manufactured under these conditions.”8 Decreasing prices of consumer products are used as an indicator of progress. But are losses in job security, job quality, employee benefits, wages, and environmental protection signs of progress? These are costs that as a society we all pay, and they have big impacts on the quality of life for many Americans. One result of the outsourcing of jobs is that the


labor market becomes increasingly unstable. In my People with brain injuries who lose their ability to parents’ generation, many individuals spent their speak often find that speech returns as other parts entire working careers with a single organization. of the brain take on that function. These are both There was a higher degree of loyalty between workers examples of redundancy in a complex system. What and the businesses employing them than we see today. Hurricane Katrina exposed was the fragility of our This created job stability that was translated into staoil supply system. One storm generated a 40 percent ble family economies. Today, the average employee’s spike in the cost of gasoline, almost overnight! Part tenure with an organization hovers around 3.6 years.9 of this may have been related to price gouging, but a We see that with increasing competitive exclusion in good part of it was related to the fact that a majority business (resulting in homogenization and simplificaof our petroleum refining capacity lay within Katrina’s tion of the economic sector) comes storm track. This is clear evidence of a increasing instability in jobs and famisimplified system that has little redunlies. Experts tell us that this is just a dancy and, as a result, little stability. Where natural systems short-term trend in globalization and Just as the notion that ever-inthat more and better jobs are on their creasing growth will generate further grow more diverse, way. Such statements are based on an progress has no scientific grounding, integrated, inherent belief in an ideology of free our current global economic system trade and open markets. Although is behaving in a way that is absolutely and efficient . . . . free trade and open markets are great contradictory to the way all natural our global economic for corporations, the reality for the complex systems function. Where majority of individuals and families natural systems grow more diverse, system is moving in is that access to quality jobs and integrated, and efficient, with each employment security have decreased the opposite specialized part working to support steadily for decades. Why shouldn’t the other parts in a stable system, our direction. we imagine that the new, quality jobs, global economic system is moving in brought on by globalization, will the opposite direction. It is moving simply be outsourced, just as the jobs toward simplification and homogeneity in the information technology sector are? . . . through competitive exclusion, wasteful use of resources, and lack of integration, with each corporate entity The Rise of Corporate Power looking out for its own interests—profits—rather than Currently, the relationship between the people and the well-being of the whole system. the economy has been turned on its head. An econWhich model would you bet on for long-term susomy is supposed to serve its people; however, in the tainability: the model life on Earth presents, which has world today, people are to serve the economy. This successfully sustained itself for at least 3.5 billion years may be why our leaders often refer to us as consumers through coevolved specialization, integration, redunrather than citizens. dancy, and efficiency; or our present corporate model, Not only do individual corporations continue to which has functioned for little more than a century grow, simplifying the economic system, but political through competitive exclusion and inefficiency? power has been concentrated in transnational corporaNotes tions to such a degree that democracy itself is being 1. F. Pitelka, 1973. “Cyclic Pattern in Lemming Populations undermined. All the international trade agreements Near Barrow, Alaska.” Alaskan Arctic Tundra 199-215. crafted thus far have taken place behind closed doors, 2. U.S. Department of Agriculture. National Agriculture with no accountability to the public, by appointed Statistics Service. See <http:://www.usda.gov/nass/pubs/ trends/farmnumbers.htm>. officials. The diversity of opinions, social structures, 3. Ibid. See <http://usda.mannlib.comell.edu/reports/general/sb/ approaches to governance, and cultural traditions sb991.pdf>. around the world are being compromised as transna4. Environmental Working Group’s Farm Subsidy Database. tional corporations consolidate and increase their hold See <http://ewg.org/farm/progdetail. php?fips=20000& progcode=total& page=conc&yr=2003>. on power. What is being created is a homogeneous 5. Richard Duncan, 2000. “The Peak of World Oil Production global economy that becomes less accountable to and the Road to the Olduvai Gorge.” Pardee Keynote people and less able to resist perturbations. In terms Symposium: Geological Society of America, 3. of this last point, Hurricane Katrina exposed the soft See <http://diedoff.com/page224.htm>. 6. “The Wal-Mart You Don’t Know.” 2003. Fast Company. See underbelly of this system and its inherent fragility. <http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/77/walmart.html>. Within self-organized, complex systems, redun7. Ibid, 5. dancy of function is a common attribute. In Vermont, 8. Ibid, 6. if we lose one of our insect pollinators, we have many 9. Employee Tenure Summary. 2002. U.S. Department of Labor. other species that will service our flowering plants. See <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/tenure.nro.htm>.vv

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If You Don’t Know Where You Are, You Can’t Know Who You Are By William H. MacLeish

The Recorder of Greenfield

Bill MacLeish is Conway’s 2008– 09 visiting fellow. This article is adapted from a 2007 public lecture he gave on behalf of Conway.

I have never been able to track down the source of the statement quoted in my title. Actually, it is so plain, so straight, that it could have come from an elder edifying his hunters and gatherers way back in the early Pleistocene. It means that place and life are woof and warp. And, yes, dogs understand place far better than we—and lift a leg to inscribe their attachment to it whenever the mood strikes. Rats go one step farther: They carry neurons in their brains that act to show the animals where they are. Researchers call them “place cells.” I am not aware that we are so blessed. But I do know that place influences us—much more intensely than we lords of the earth are willing to admit. My wife and I live on a slope running down to the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts. On average, I tend to be relatively calm here, or what passes with me for calm. But let me go, or think about going, to Manhattan, where I worked for years, and my nervous system shifts its focus to combativeness and raw excitement as I remember the crowds on Madison Avenue, crowds that negotiate their rapid and collision-free passage without so much as one direct glance at another human being. The influence of place on people, and vice versa, has been gaining public attention over the last couple of decades. Winifred Gallagher was one of the early writers to expound on that subject. Her book, The Power of Place, published in 1991, concentrated on the damage humanity has done to its surroundings. She wrote of “the terrible power of the Industrial Revolution” and how it “drew the West indoors.” Literally. And the resulting decrease in direct sunlight has produced an increase in sleep disorders and related afflictions. Negative ions, which can help stabilize the nervous system, can also be in shorter supply in captive air.

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The evidence of people-place interactions goes on and on. Students tested on material in one classroom tend to do better on a test covering that material if it is held in the same classroom. Low-relief landscapes appear to increase the incidence of depression. The arrival of a severe barometric low can do the same thing by decreasing the amount of oxygen in the blood. Some desert areas are known to send people into hysteria. French Foreign Legionnaires call theirs “cafard.” In California, the Santa Ana winds, blowing hot and heavy down the mountains, can perform similar service. Mid-altitude people are said to be belligerent. I, a member in good standing of Clan MacPherson, can vouch for that. Joseph Campbell, the great scholar of myths, liked to tell a story about a bushman in Africa who was persuaded to leave his forest and stand on a high promontory overlooking the savannah. The man had never before been able to see so far. He thought the elephants he saw in the distance really were the size of ants, and he sobbed in terror until he was back among his beloved trees where perspective rarely entered. To return to my title, if we do not know, and know in depth, where, we are, we cannot fully understand who we are. I would add that if we do not study our surroundings, our landscapes, we cannot develop true attachment to them. We remain strangers in our own home. Vine Deloria, a Standing Rock Sioux, spent time with that problem. “The old Indian prophecies,” he wrote, “say that the white man’s stay on these western continents will be the shortest of any who have come here. From the Indian point of view, the general theme by which to understand the history of the hemisphere would be the degree to which the whites have responded to the rhythms of the land—the degree to which they have become indigenous. From that perspective, the judgment of the Europeans is severe.” I submit that responding to the rhythms of the land means paying very close attention to what we’re doing and what the land is doing. It means learning the land and thus learning its true value—to us. If we don’t learn, it’s easy for us to pollute in the name of growth


or greed—or boredom. It is easy, as Wes Jackson of the Land Institute says, to treat soil like dirt. We have, in our haste and inattention, taken numberless acres of land out of the wildness that harbors the natural resources sustaining us. We have dammed the soul out of too many rivers. Thrown that great web of roads across the continent. To own property is too often to own the right to do with it what we please. But Americans, I believe, are still eminently adapt-

able. Excessive addiction to television may have glazed our eyes a bit, but we are still able to recognize a problem before it ruins us and move to correct what’s wrong. We seem to be doing that with climate change. We may soon do so with where we live. As Winifred Gallagher writes, “these days, any big conference of scientists concerned with the future of our planet and species . . . includes discussions of . . . the relationship between people and places.”

Oikos Fluxus

Elderberry, Dillon Sussman ‘08

Resisting the Call of the Climax Economy by Ken Byrne Charles Mann, author of 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (Vintage, 2006), recently spoke at Conway about his work, focusing on the active role humans played in manipulating the environment of the Americas for thousands of years before Europeans arrived. He argued that the Amazon forest, for example, should be understood not as a pristine landscape barely affected by a small human population but as a direct and deliberate product of human intervention, with plant and animal diversity maintained by agriculture and by the active creation of rich soils through the mixing of clay pottery shards and charcoal. During the question and answer period after his talk, a student asked Mann what lessons a landscape designer committed to sustainability should take from what he had presented. If there was no natural pristine state, he replied, then our job is not to bring the landscape back to some state that never existed; rather, we should understand that our responsibility is to make the world as we want it to be—not in the sense that we have permission to ignore the past or invent the world from whole cloth, but in the sense that we should use our energies to create a world we would want our children and grandchildren to inherit. Mann’s visit coincided with the class’s reading of William Cronon’s Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England (Hill and Wang, 1983), a seminal work in environmental history and a direct and acknowledged antecedent of Mann’s book. Cronon, too, explores the effects of Native Americans on the landscape of North America, while also exploring the clash of cultural

ideas of property, trade, domestication of animals and landscapes, and so on. Here and in his later work, he like Mann, argues that how we talk about nature has consequences for how we act in the world. In “The Trouble with Wilderness” (in Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, W.W. Norton, 1996), for example, he writes that when we hold up pristine wilderness as the standard against which we measure civilization, “We thereby leave ourselves little hope of discovering what an ethical, sustainable, honorable human place in nature might actually look like. [ . . . ] By imagining that our true home is in the wilderness, we forgive ourselves the homes we actually inhabit” (p. 81). Changes in the Land explores the complex, messy history of ecological change in New England and makes an explicit argument for a particularly dialectical way of thinking and talking about environmental history. In the book’s first few pages, Cronon lays out historically dominant notions about environments and how they change. Frederic Clements, influential in the early decades of the twentieth century, understood biotic communities as superorganisms that are transformed through an internally driven process of succession, from developmental stage to stage, until they reach a climax state. In this stage of maturity and equilibrium, they maintain themselves in perpetuity, if not disturbed. Cronon criticizes this view for placing nature outside of history, for representing change, once climax has been achieved, as the result of an external force, an aberration. He out­lines how this teleological notion (assuming a

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Sarah Bray ‘08

biotic community’s ideal ecological end-state) gradually gives way over the course of the twentieth century to an understanding of ecosystems in perpetual flux, where dynamic, complex, and contradictory environmental processes assume a properly historical character. His own narrative of New England rejects an easy environmental determinism for a more complex narrative, tracing the multiple causes and unexpected consequences as societies evolve in their relationship to their environment and to other societies. One of the important forces involved in environmental change is economic activity, but Cronon explicitly rejects a simple economic determinism; the effects of disease were not reducible to the consequences of an economic process, for example, and if economic activity affected ecological processes, the opposite was also certainly true. However, the ultimate global triumph of what Cronon sees to be a uniform economic structure (what he refers to variously as market capitalism, the North Atlantic market economy, or the global Greed, wastefulness, capitalist economy) alienation from nature, effectively and uncomfortably reinstates a and the desire for kind of teleological easy profit need not narrative arc; he may argue that the global be seen as synonymous capitalist economy was with capitalism . . . . not the ultimate determinant of environmental and social change (which is too messy, dialectical, and contradictory for such a conclusion), but his narrative still arrives at its final destination: once society reaches the stage of what Cronon terms the global capitalist economy, socioeconomic succession terminates. Early societies’ self-provisioning and barter, symbolic gifts, and other forms of inter-tribal trade give way to monetized exchange (commodities bought and sold for abstract money); early practices for creating and distributing surplus (such as the potlatch, war, and storing up for lean times) give way to an obsession with profit. The rich diversity of noncapitalist economic activities becomes reduced to one dominant economic form. In a chain of equivalencies, money, market exchange, wage labor, financial investments, greed, waste, all become equivalent to global capitalism. Cronon writes in the book’s final paragraph that “By integrating New England ecosystems into an

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ultimately global capitalist economy, colonists and Indians together began a dynamic and unstable process of ecological change which had in no way ended by 1800. We live with their legacy today” (p. 170; emphasis added). Here Cronon illustrates his very different approaches to economy and ecology (those terms sharing the root oikos, “house”): while ecological processes and states are always already in flux, temporary moments of only apparent equilibrium in an always shifting and evolving, complex and contradictory condition, the economy has reached its ultimate telos, a final end-state of global capitalism. In this sense, there is a climax forest of sorts in Cronon’s text: the economy. This inevitable global economic structure—the uniform, seamless, and omnipresent economic endstate—becomes the mirror image of the representation of pristine nature that Cronon rejects; the ideal nature state always receding beyond our grasp into the past, diverted by our interventions from its intended climax condition, is matched in this dark mirror by the dreaded end-state of the global capitalist economy, which is perpetually and for always in our present, never left behind: there is no slippery slope to a better, more beneficent or humane economy, and ultimately, this climax economy is beyond human intervention. It must be noted that the view of a climax economy found in Cronon is not particular to his work or to an earlier time, but is current and pervasive, found across the political spectrum, in popular and in academic culture. For example, a climax global capitalism is a foundational assumption in a number of essays by contemporary landscape urbanists— designers, architects, and other theorists who share a central interest in understanding, representing, and designing landscapes as places of non-linear, fluid, and unending change, what James Corner refers to as “terra fluxus.” (See the recent The Landscape Urbanism Reader, edited by Charles Waldheim, Princeton Architectural Press, 2006). The point here is not to seize on an inconsistency in Cronon’s approach, but to probe the effects of this climax economy’s dominance in our discourse and to suggest how a different understanding, a different language, of ecology-economy (an ecological economy,


successional without climax) might lead to new interventions, to provide that hope that Cronon spoke of, to discover an ethical, sustainable, honorable place in the world. What are the alternatives to the climax economy narrative? One approach is to acknowledge that economic diversity was the case in the past and that it still exists today, that these various forms (in the household, for example, where surplus is produced, distributed, and consumed in non-capitalist forms) are widespread and perhaps even dominant, central and essential to our reproduction as societies. Cronon himself recognizes both the principle of economic diversity and the historical existence of it in early America—that Indian societies for example practiced a variety of economic activities, to produce, distribute, and consume goods and services, in market and non-market forms, involving public, semi-public/ semi-private, communal, and individual ownership; however, in his narrative once these activities come in contact with the market, they become transformed and incorporated within a uniform economic space. Partly this is the result of a broad and ambiguous definition of capitalism that unhelpfully conflates diverse forms, processes, consequences, and characteristics under the banner of a global capitalist economy. Greed, wastefulness, alienation from nature, and the desire for easy profit need not be seen as synonymous with capitalism; surely other economic forms and practices, such as feudalism, slavery, self-employment, communal production, or, for that matter, fraud and larceny, are not free of these either. Similarly, commodities and market relations can be conceived of outside of capitalism. For example, workers in modern slave conditions (some have suggested that prison workers fall in this category), self-employed plumbers, and members of worker co-ops produce surplus goods and services for a monetized and often global market; we can choose to include these as aspects of a singular global capitalist economy, or we can choose to distinguish each activity, to note each process’s various conditions of existence and multiple, often contradictory consequences. To return to New England’s historical context: A colonist shoots a beaver, eats the meat, and sells the pelt for money to a trader who ships it to sell to a furrier in London. A worker feeds a spool in a waterpowered mill, to produce cloth for the market. Both can be represented as facets of the same global capitalist economy, because both involve money, markets, commodities, profit, and perhaps also natural resource depletion, waste, and greed. Or, they can be understood as different economic activities; the former a non-capitalist form (a kind of self-employment and self-provisioning, producing food and a commodity

sold for cash in a market that spans the ocean); the latter capitalist (industrial capitalism, wage labor, the communal production of a surplus, realized in a market exchange and received by the non-producers of the surplus). Resisting the seductive conflation of all economic activity under the banner of the global capitalist economy, we can look for ways in which the global economy is in fact multiple economies, diverse forms of economic activity, with their own internal contradictions, operated on by different external forces, interacting in various complex and unexpected ways, and creating opportunities for multiple interventions. But if we accept without challenge the climax economy subtext—that society reached a point in its evolution at a form that emerged in the 1600s—then all that is left to us is a kind of rear-guard action, a nostalgic attempt to return to or preserve a pristine, pre-capitalist state, which is forever receding from us. It is significant in the economic landscape that General Motors both makes cars (for now) and lends money for home mortgages and sells insurance; these activities are related but not synonymous. This is significant for understanding how econo[The] present [is] a mies evolve in the same moment in a dynamic, way it is significant that a particular forest complex, and contradictory landscape contains process of succession, within it salamanders, ponds, and trees. To whether that be acknowledge that these objects are profoundly ecological or economic. related is not to say that they are the same thing. Making visible this diversity—of objects, processes, relationships— is a condition for allowing us to see the present as a moment in a dynamic, complex, and contradictory process of succession, whether that be ecological or economic. And as Charles Mann responded to the student’s question about how his analysis—his narrative—can be useful to a person entering this field of sustainable planning and design, we can suggest that the economy is multiple, not singular; in successional flux not a climax state; and deeply human in its origin and ongoing operations, not something outside our abilities to alter, or design. This too, in this period of unsettling economic news and profound concern about the future, is about the power of narrative to shape our understanding of our opportunities to create the kind of home we would like to live in, and to pass on to our children and grandchildren.

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News from Alums

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. Class agents play a critical role in communicating the uniqueness of Conway and your participation is greatly valued. 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. We want your volunteer experience as a class agent to be interesting and rewarding—we want you to appreciate how valuable your efforts are, and we want to show you how simple it can be to make a difference for Conway. We encourage co-agents for each class so 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 class agents’ role.

Many of the firms and individuals men­ tioned in the News from Alums have websites. We regret that space and typographical issues do not allow us to include them in the News, but links to firms where Conway alums are promi­ nently 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 sec­ tion of con’text. 1973

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

Class Agent: Clarissa Rowe (clarissa.rowe@comcast.net) Floyd Thompson writes that his recent Chile trip to help with tourism planning went well and his professional consultation in China for a two-week detail on sustainable tourism development in the Hunan Province was a huge career peak for him. 1975

Class Agent: Betsy Corner (corner75@csld.edu) 1976

Class Agent: Kathleen Knisely (kathleen.knisely@gmail.com)

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David Cox is now ag team leader

for the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schoharie County, NY,“at which I provide educational programming and resources in agriculture/horticulture mostly for small farmers and landowners. Topical areas currently are food marketing, local foods initiatives, opportunities for energy alternatives with open space, agroforestry, etc.” n The class of 2009 enjoyed visiting Andrea Morgante in Hinesburg, VT, during their September road trip. Andrea led the students in a design charrette on a very, VERY rainy day. 1977

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

Class Agent: Susanna Adams (susanna.adams@earthlink.net) 1979

Class Agent: Lila Fendrick (team@fendrickdesign.com) Donald Chamberlain, program director at Building Changes in Seattle, WA, reports, “Building Changes is in the process of transitioning from its 20-year legacy as a nonprofit housing developer to the new role of support services intermediary focused on ending homelessness in Washington state. In October, Building Changes celebrated

Paul Cawood Hellmund

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. Andrea Morgante ’76 talks to the class of 2009 about her community work in Hinesburg, VT.

two major milestones. We opened Kenyon House, our last housing development, an 18-unit project for single adults living with HIV/AIDS who have additional challenges associated with homelessness, incarceration, mental illness, and chemical addictions. It is quite an innovative design that meets LEED gold standards and is sited on a large irregular lot that is still being planted out (pending additional fundraising, of course) with local and introduced drought-tolerant materials. We also announced the launch of our Community Employment Pathways program, which seeks to forge better connections, county by county across the state, between the homeless housing and services systems and the workforce development and training systems. Our goal is to facilitate access and success in post-secondary education and develop career pathways for homeless job seekers. You can find out more about both of these programs— and all the other cool things that we do—by visiting our website. Check out my video blog regarding our learning process to grow our impact through federal advocacy!” In other news, Donald will be on sabbatical until early January, “mostly hanging out in India and cross-country skiing in eastern Washington. Ciao!” n Don Walker gave a talk to the Conway class of ’08. Also see p. 33 for an update from Don. 1980

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

Class Agent: Elizabeth French Fribush (elizabeth.fribush@phra.com) 1982

Class Agents: Suzanne Barclay (smbarclay@optonline.net), Susan Van Buren (susanvb@verizon.net) See class of ’07 for more about Faith Ingulsrud. n Peter and Susan Van Buren are now working together at

TerraLogos Green Home Services, the


News from Alums

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Bruce Carnahan says, “Hello all—I haven’t left the planet. I would enjoy catching up with anyone who is interested.” n Erik van Lennep writes with “three exciting news bits: (1) Dublin City Council is now taking the Green Roof policy document I wrote for them and incorporating it into the city development plan as well as using it to springboard a wider discussion of green infrastructure. I am trying to ground this discussion in creation of green jobs as well. (2) I am presently facilitating Ireland’s first Master’s Level continuing professional development (CPD) course in sustainable design, and (3) about to lead a design charrette in Qatar to facilitate development of a ‘design zone’ in Doha.” See page 9 for more news from Erik. n Jeff Richards is “hanging in there.” He and his wife

COMING SOON to the Alumni section of the Conway website— career and job resources! 1984

Class Agent: Kathleen Kerivan (Kathleen_Kerivan@antiochne.edu) Mollie Babize continues to work (with Kirsten Baringer ’04 and Chuck Schnell ’01) “for our stalwart founder and former director, Walt Cudnohufsky, primarily on land planning and community scale projects. Being winter adjunct faculty at Conway is both exciting and challenging—and reminds me how remarkable this school is. But the biggest project for me this year is the total gut and renovation of a 1790 cape in Ashfield—learning more about all the elements that go into creating an energy-smart home (from my builder/spouse Mary Quigley) that will provide single-level living for us as we age. We are living this fall in a 25-year-old camper/trailer in the midst of the construction zone! One unexpected bonus of the site: occasionally having Amy Klippenstein’s ’95 cows next door!” The class of 2009 visited Mollie and Mary’s new home

Mollie Babize ‘84

1983

just celebrated their 20th anniversary, and have three children (14, 11, and 7), “So,” he writes, “I can’t slow down anytime soon. Lately, certainly after our youngest reached age six, I have been rediscovering personal interests and remaking myself (yet again). If you’re ever in eastern Massachusetts, please feel free to give us a call or drop in.”

Courtesy photo

company Peter started with two green architects in November 2006. They write, “We just celebrated our second birthday. We perform Home Energy Inspections to identify the hidden energy leaks that waste money and make our homes uncomfortable. The TerraLogos process provides homeowners with cost-effective solutions to simultaneously save money on utility bills, make their homes more comfortable and healthy, and reduce their personal impact on the environment. Business is going well, and I think we both feel that this is the most rewarding and best work we have done. We have performed over 400 inspections, making us the industry leader in the Baltimore region. As our collective will as a country becomes more committed to seriously correcting our energy habit, the prospects for growth and success for our company look very good. On the family side, oldest daughter Adrienne is in Bristol, England, with her British husband, Nick, and our oldest granddaughter, Isobel (9). Melissa lives in Brooklyn with her Italian husband, Riccardo, our other granddaughter, Flavia (5) and grandson Nilo (1.5).” In February, 2008, TerraLogos performed an energy inspection at the Susan and Peter Conway School Van Buren ’82 at a family reunion in June (see p. 5).

New photovoltaic array near Mollie Babize’s ’84 old barn; she is still researching the meaning of ‘WEQUANOGH’ which is written in slate on both sides of the barn roof

site this fall, where Walt led them in a design exercise. n Dave Jacke was a critic at the students’ formal presentations this fall, and is a master teacher in permaculture at Conway. For more on Dave, see p. 7 n Kate Kerivan recently joined Mount Grace Land Trust (a regional land trust based at Skyfields Arboretum in Athol, MA, which has protected over 22,000 acres in 23 towns in western and central MA) as their community outreach coordinator, a position funded by a joint grant from Massachusetts Service Alliance and Commonwealth Corps. She reports, “Possible ‘ambassador’ projects include the establishment of community gardens (or a community farm) accessible by public transportation or by foot, particularly in more populated towns such as Montague/Turners or Greenfield.” She will work with community groups to increase recreational and educational use and stewardship of protected lands; increase support for Mount Grace’s conservation mission by community-based non-conservation groups; and increase land protection projects initiated with planning input from those groups. 1985

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Judy Zimicki Gianforte reports that her Conway skills “are now being used in my work as the ‘do-everything’ sole staff member of a small, local land trust based in Cazenovia, NY. The work is a wonderful blend of natural sciences, politics and cultural use and history that reminds me daily of Walt’s reminder to always remember to use the original program or intent to inform the analysis and subsequent design. Fellow Conway classmate Donna Sturgis also calls Cazenovia home, and someday we’ll work together again I hope.” 1986

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Cynthia Boettner writes, “I am still focusing my work efforts on invasive plant work with the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, which encompasses the Connecticut River watershed. Been doing on-theground (and on-the-water) projects including leading volunteers to remove water chestnut from ponds and coves in the watershed. (All are welcome to join in, hint, hint!) Also, in an attempt to protect the state-listed plants on

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Mt. Tom, I’m working with a partnership to control pale swallowwort and other invasives. I also send out periodic electronic ‘Newsbriefs’ for people in New England concerned about invasive plants. It gives notices of workshops, conferences, research results, online resources, etc. Anyone can sign up by contacting me at cynthia_boettner@ fws.gov. I’m looking forward to hearing from Conway students and alums! I’m still living in Shelburne Falls with my husband Jeff, who does research on insect pests such as winter moth for UMASS. Two books that I think Conway-ites would find inspiring are Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens by Doug Tallamy, which gives a great discussion on biodiversity and tells how insects, which are such an important food for most other higher organisms, are dependent on native plants (and for the most part, cannot use exotics). The other book is Hot, Flat and Crowd­ ed: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America by Thomas Friedman. Inspiring!” n Peter Monro recently visited Conway to talk about residential paths. He has also completed a first draft of his textbook, The Nature of Paths: Design consider­ ations for walkways in the landscape. He expects publication in the spring of 2010. n Ginny Sullivan—See article starting on page 10 and class of ’89 for more information. 1987

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? 1988

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Ann Turner Whitman—See article on page 8. 1989

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? MaryCrain Penniman has her own freelance firm in Acton, MA, and is excited about a recent community service project she was involved in in Biloxi, MS. She writes, “Ginny Sullivan ’86 and Ruth Parnall [a Conway Advisor] had a design contract to do a playground for the Moore Community Center, in an area that was utterly devastated by recent hurricane damage.” They got Mary to help with locating specific native plant materials, as Mary was originally from that area. “The project

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News from Alums Peter Monro ’86 anticipates a spring 2010 publication date for his textbook, The Nature of Paths: Design considerations for walkways in the landscape

was a poignant experience,” she says, and “the resulting playground was an important success.” See page 10 for more about the project. n Patsy Slothower is still happily engaged with her job at the Wayside Farm Greenhouse in East Sandwich, NH, in the lakes district. 1990

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Wendi Goldsmith, president and founder of Salem, MA-based The Bioengineering Group, Inc., has been appointed to a three-year term on the National Women’s Business Council, a bi-partisan federal government council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the president, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners. “Being asked to serve on the National Women’s Business Council is a deep honor,” said Wendi. “I look forward to working with the council and using my experience as a successful business owner to promote federal policies that support women entrepreneurs, and welcome the platform for sharing ideas about women involved in sustainable design.” 1991

Class Agent: Annette Schultz (schultz91@csld.edu) 1992

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? 1993

Class Agent: Amy Craig (amy.craig@verizon.net) Michael Hylton returned to Seattle, WA, in June after two years on Maui “being an artist and having fun surfing. I returned to the West Coast with the intention of living lighter, serving more effectively. So far so good. I rely more on mass transit, walking, and buy most produce from a local farmers’ market. My time is currently split between University of Washington MLA, University of Hawai’i Masters in Urban and Regional Planning and University of

Hawai’i Masters of Science in tropical conservation and environmental service as well as occasional job applications and research. Moreover, I am over halfway into the UW MLA suggested reading list (48 books!)” He is also volunteering at The Nature Conservancy, and has been involved in a salmon restoration project and an endangered endemic plant (golden paintbrush) prairie restoration project. 1994

Class Agent: Jonathon Ellison (ellison94@csld.edu) Jonathon Ellison has been working with 30 Montreal students on a master plan for their campus. He is about to start work on the Waswanipi First Nation Master Plan for a largescale community center in northern Quebec, where he has been hired for environmental and LEED design, and community participation based on local culture and connection to landscape. His design firm is also currently busy in CT and Quebec, although Jonathon and Ann are considering more projects in Sri Lanka and India, as an alternative to Canadian winters. Jonathon still lives in his old farmhouse, where he now contemplates how his two sons ever became taller than him. n After several years as a planner in the Historic Preservation Office of the City of Sacramento, Melissa Mourkas returned to the private sector world of landscape architecture in January, 2008. Now qualified as a historical landscape architect under the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation, Melissa is currently working on a “Historic Landscape Report for the Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park in Sacramento.” She writes, “I continue to work with residential design clients and have expanded the scope of my practice to include small commercial projects. When I’m not having fun drafting on the computer, I’m still out camping in my VW Westfalia camper, enjoying the great landscapes of California!” 1995

Class Agent: Art Collings (otter@mac.com) In April, Susan Rosenberg will speak about urban arborism to the class of 2009. 1996

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer?


News from Alums

Class Agent: Matthew Arnsberger (arnsberger@mindspring.com) Matthew Arnsberger recently sent Conway a note from NC about wildlife in the landscape. He writes, “Communities need to examine the impact of white-tail deer within our natural and maintained landscapes and consider means of controlling deer populations through culling or sterilization. In the meantime I have had good success with installing seven-foot fences around portions of individual properties.” n Fall ’08 has been a busy one for Brian Higgins, who is “starting both a new business and a non-profit with a bit of education, too. January, 2009 will see the official launching of my design firm—Greenpath Studio and new nonprofit called Sustainable Greensboro. In the meantime, I’ve also started taking courses leading towards the Native Plant Studies Certificate from UNCChapel Hill and towards a certificate in non-profit management at Duke University. Most recently, I participated in a wonderful retreat organized by Orion Magazine’s Grassroots Action Network that was hosted by southern environmental writers Jan DeBlieu and Janisse Ray. In August, my wife Jill and I moved into our new home in the historic Glenwood neighborhood of Greensboro and plans are already under way for the transformation of the 8,000 sqft-lot. In the last few months, I’ve also been able to connect with two former classmates—Matthew Arnsberger and Wynne Wirth. The Green Drinks Greensboro events I’ve been hosting since June continue to be very successful. The websites for both the business and non-profit should be up in January—if not sooner.” n See class of ’06 for more on Justin Molson. 1999

Class Agent: Cindy Tavernise (tavernise99@csld.edu) Judy Thompson and Cindy Tavernise had a great visit with Gwen Nagy-Benson in Hamden, CT, and with Ben Hren in New Canaan in June. Gwen and Andy welcomed Rachael into this world, making a beautiful family of five. Also, Cindy

Judy Thompson ’99 and Gwen Nagy-Benson ’99 [with Gwen’s daughters Mary and Ella]

Cindy Tavernise ’99 climbs up Mount Nemrut in southeastern Turkey.

reports, “We had a wonderful time with Ben, who showed us all around the New Canaan Nature Center, so busy with a host of design projects. We know you are back overseas now, Ben, and we hope it was a good move for you. Please convey our ‘hello’s’ to Diane for us, will you?” Cindy recently returned from a two-and-a-half-week trip to Turkey. She reports, “I no longer am an active landscape designer. I paint instead and still chair our town’s Open Space Committee, if that counts. We are in the process of writing an OSRP update already. (How did I EVER get saddled with this?) I’d like to report that recently my sister and I visited our daughter Sabrina in Istanbul and traveled around Turkey for two and a half weeks while Silvio held the fort in Granville. It was a fabulous trip and we soaked in several very different kinds of landscapes and cultures, from wet Istanbul, to desert Kurdish territory, to semi-arid Aegean coastline. If you were to ask which was my favorite spot, I couldn’t answer. They were all exotic and rich and lovely to me. Between my sister, my daughter, and me, we took over 3,000 photos. Now, I’m trying to clear the clutter of life from the studio where I paint in order to start some new canvases on Turkey.” n We all welcome little Nyssa Sparrow, and congratulate Alison and Seth Wilkinson on producing such a beauty! Seth, Alison, and Nyssa live in Orleans, MA, out on the Cape. Seth writes, “She’s keeping me on my toes—went right from crawling to running around her first birthday. She ran right out the door the other day—good thing we live in the woods! Thanks again for keeping tabs on our class. Don’t you miss those days? I think its time for another reunion— what do you think?”

Seth Wilkinson’s ’99 daughter Nyssa Sparrow

2000

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Janet Curtis is living in Cambridge and working in Boston at the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources im­ ple­menting Governor Patrick’s Executive Order 484: Leading by Example: Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings. n Leslie Dutton Jakobs is still in metro Detroit, and reports, “despite the economic atmosphere, I’m still getting work. I gave up looking for a job in a firm, so I volunteered for earthy organizations, made important contacts, and got some jobs. Conway alums were very helpful in offering advice as to how to get started. I’ve been working on forest restoration, prairie establishment, schoolyard projects, historical landscapes, and even consulted on how to turn a McPlayground into a place where the kids could get a little dirty.” n See class of ’08 for more about Lesya Struz. 2001

Courtesy Cindy Tavernise ‘99

1998

Courtesy Cindy Tavernise ’99

Class Agent: Susan Crimmins (sbcrimm@crocker.com) Selina Lamb returned to campus recently to serve as a critic for the students’ fall formal presentations.

Courtesy Cindy Tavernise ’99

1997

Class Agents: Chuck Schnell (schnell01@csld.edu), Robin Simmen (simmen01@csld.edu) Jay Levine is working as a community grants manager for the Town of Adams, MA. n Robin Simmen is “trying to hold GreenBridge together while the budgetary skies fall down here in New York City. Other than that, it’s been a good year, my second as director and my sixth at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This is a great time to be living in Brooklyn, which is lighting up with artistic energy draining from Manhattan and with all kinds of grassroots environmental efforts. I’m especially invested in what’s going on with community composting, urban farming, and food security issues, as well as what’s happening with bees, birds of prey, and all sorts of wildlife that are showing up here in bigger numbers. Who would have thought cities would become wildlife refuges as populations crash elsewhere? If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by Brooklyn

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Chuck Schnell. n Jason Williams

has been with Milone and Macbroom, Inc. in CT for four years. “This year,” he reports, “we have acquired two firms, HMA (regional and local planning) and Barkan and Mess Associates Inc. (traffic engineering & transportation planning) which has allowed me to develop new relationships and become involved in a variety of projects. In the past year I have worked on a number of exciting projects including Penobscot River Restoration, Maine (removal of three dams); Planetree Healing Garden, Bristol Hospital, Bristol, CT; Town Center Study, Ridgefield, CT; Mitchell College, New London, CT (two pedestrian plazas), athletic fields, University of Connecticut, Rockwell Park, Phase I and II, Bristol, CT (17,000sf concrete skate park, playgrounds and spray park); and illustration of active river area components for the Nature Conservancy publication The Active River Area—A Conservation Framework for Protecting Rivers and Streams. In the last two years I have also taken and passed the LARE and will be taking the AICP examination in May. My wife Gina and I are still living in our first home in Huntington, CT, and will have been married two years in May ’09. We are expecting our first child (girl—Winter Williams) at the end of December, beginning of January.” 2002

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Michele Albee Devaney writes, “My husband, Bryan, and I will be finishing up our Peace Corps service in Romania this winter and will be moving to Park City, UT,” where Michele will be working as a regional planner for local public administration. 2003

Class Agent: Lauren Wheeler (lauren@naturalresourcesdesign.com) Madeleine Charney has a book recommendation for Conway alums: Einstein’s Wife: Work and Marriage in

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the Lives of Five Great Twentieth-Cen­ tury Women by Andrea Gabor. “One of the women covered is architect Denise Scott Brown. The book gives an inside look at these remarkable women’s accomplishments and the challenges of balancing family life with a successful career. I have also been adding to a digital showcase of my published articles, book reviews, and professional presentations,” which is linked to Conway’s website. n See also class of ’08 for more about Angela Seaborg. n For more about Jono Neiger, see p. 7.

Lupin Hill Hipp ’04 with husband Richard Hipp

materials (boulders and stones found on-site), composted cow manure from a neighboring farm (mixed with existing soil), and almost 100% native plant selections. Bourne Landscape’s mission is “to design and create ecologically sensible landscapes that are functional, aesthetically pleasing, and easily maintained, with an emphasis on the use of native plants and materials.” n Lupin Hill writes from Portland, Oregon, “On October 18th I married Richard Hipp. My name will soon be changing to Lupin Hill Hipp. In attendance from Conway were: James Allison, Crystal Hitchings, Kirsten Baringer (see class of ’84) and Jean Akers, former faculty.” n Brian Tamulonis—See article on page 10.

2004

No class agent yet— would you like to volunteer? Matthew Bourne reports that Bourne Landscape, LLC “will be entering its fifth year, following graduation from Conway in 2004. We’re slowly carving out an ‘ecological’ niche here in southern Maine. We’ve been designing and installing landscapes that include all native plants, emphasizing the use of natural materials (specializing in custom stonework) and have had success installing ‘Eco-lawns’ (no maintenance grass seed blend from Prairie Nursery in Wisconsin). The demand for conventional landscaping still dominates our workload, but our ecological approach is beginning to take root. We are working more with groups like the Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District and are receiving more and more calls to perform erosion control projects around the lakes. Olivia Bourne (7) is in first grade. Mchale Bourne (6) is in kindergarten. Michelle Bourne (mom) is our business manager and we are working very hard to promote and live by our Conway ethics. We’re still searching for the right connection for winter work somewhere in Latin America. We hope to broaden the horizons for our girls’ future by offering a life of travel, foreign languages and culture, and eye-opening experiences. Winters are long in Maine and the culture can be extremely limiting, not to mention the short landscaping season.” A recent project incorporates natural

A recent project of Matthew Bourne’s ’04 company incorporates native plants and on-site materials

2005

Matthew Bourne

Botanic Garden on Saturday, March 7 for our 28th annual Making Brooklyn Bloom, a free daylong conference open to the public. This year’s focus is ‘Growing Up Green: Guiding Youth from Gardening to Green-Collar Jobs,’ and featured keynote speaker Maurice Small, a local hero from City Fresh in Cleveland, Ohio. P.S. Being married is much more fun than I ever imagined.” n See class of ’84 for more about

Class Agents: Linda Leduc (plantlady0@charter.net), Sandy Ross (rosslandscapedesign@gmail.com) Ben Falk and his firm Whole Systems Design, LLC “have continued to grow, planning and developing solar infrastructure for homes, farms, towns and schools.” Their recent projects have included master planning for a town common and community farm including elements such as integrated pasture-agroforestry, fruit and nut orchards, community gardens, ecological aquaculture, affordable/farmer on-site housing, and marginal lands agricultural systems. They’ve also planned and general contracted a small, diverse farm which included a pond, perennial food crops, orchard and rotational intensive pasture, and hoophouse and barn-integrated greenhouse development. Further afield, Ben’s firm has just finished a year-long master planning process with the Cape Eleuthera Island School. Ben continues to develop and farm his own landscape in the Mad River Valley, VT, tending tree crops, intensive gardens, fish, mushroom plots, quick-cycling fuelwood hedges, and other systems. n Shawn Callaghan reports, “The Callaghans are doing great here in Boston. We are approaching our oneyear anniversary and are planning a trip out to Los Angeles and Catalina Island. Jaime is getting her master’s right now in elementary education at Brandeis. EarthView Design is doing well. I’m

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News from Alums


News from Alums

finding a lot of opportunities to build wildlife habitat into my projects, which is always fun.” n Sandy Ross attended the ASLA conference this past October “and found it so very green and sustainable in orientation.” She recommends the pdf on sustainable guidelines available at the sustainable sites website as a valuable resource. n Todd Lynch reports that “Lately,” daughter Sylvia has “been having fun ‘talking,’ grinning, banging on her belly, clasping her hands together, and drooling!” n Lincoln Smith has earned professional accreditation in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the Green Building Certification Institute, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council. n Chris Stevenson writes from CA, where he is working for the California Department of Transportation as a biologist/environmental planner, “I use my skills to relate to the landscape architects and engineers, and I can instigate some change now and then. With upcoming restriction in CA and the Southwest on water use, I think I may be in line to assist citizens in retrofitting water-thirsty lawns, install rain gardens, etc. I’ll be getting certified to do drip irrigation and design, and just took a workshop on rain water catchment systems, so I hope to start doing some design on the side.” 2006

Class Agents: Ian Hodgdon (ian.hodgdon@yahoo.com), Brian Trippe (trippe06@csld.edu) The class of 2009 visited with Danielle Allen at the Arethusa Collective Farm on their fall field trip. n Clare Rock Bootle continues to work at the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission as a regional planner, where her work includes “growing our brownfield assessment initiative and helping towns mitigate the effects of floods and fluvial erosion. I recently started focusing on energy issues and will soon be involved in a regional trails initiative. I continue my work with the Montpelier Tree Board and was recently nominated to chair the volunteer committee and am wondering what I’ve got myself into. Mike and I traveled to Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands in the spring and spent the summer sailing

on Lake Champlain and canoeing. We celebrated Danielle Allen and Benner Dana’s wedding along with Hannah Whipple and Justin Molson ’98 and of course the food was plentiful, local and tasty, tasty! I’m now waiting for the snow as without it Vermont is just cold and dark. Thinking of my fellow Conway cohorts, best wishes to all!” n Emma Cooke switched jobs at the end of October, and is now the design assistant at Aqua Vitae Design. She reports, “It’s wonderful to be in the realm of design again. I’m running the office: bookkeeping, getting quotes, ordering, managing construction, communicating with the clients, making presentation boards for perspective clients . . . and now I’m also getting to work on the backyard design for a client we have on the Venice Canals (here in L.A.) It’s great to be delving into landscape design again and I’m learning an amazing amount by running the day-to-day of the design office. In other news, I’m living with my sister (who’s getting her PhD in economic geography at UCLA) and we have two worm bins on our stoop even though we’re not supposed to have any ‘pets’ at our apartment. After a year without a car, relying on the public transit system of L.A., I bought a car,” which she needed for her new job, “so life in L.A. has changed quite a bit. We’re #342 on a waiting list for a community garden plot (the average waiting time is 14 months—not sure I’ll last that long in L.A.). And finally, I’ve been spending Saturday and Sunday evenings (and a few other random weekdays) doing data entry for the Obama phonebanks calling NV, NM, IN, NC and FL!” Emma also recently visited the site of her spring project (see p. 15). n Jennifer Nicole Chenoweth (formerly McElligott) and husband Joshua Chenoweth are happy to report that “on Sunday, September 14th at 7:48 pm, our baby daughter was born at Olympic Medical Center. She was 6 lb., 15 oz. and 20 inches at birth.” n Greg Walzer reports that Colorado Springs is “awesome—my job is absolutely perfect. Soon our company will have a new website (which I am in charge of).

Jennifer Nicole Chenoweth ’06 with daughter Rowan Haley Chenoweth

I will let you know when it is ready. You will be able to see some of my designs.” 2007

Joshua Chenoweth

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Todd Lynch ’05 with wife Janet Bertucci and daughter Sylvia

Class Agents: Alicia Batista (batista07@csld.edu), Priscilla Novitt (novitt@csld.edu) Jennifer Campbell had a great first season as a landscape designer and is “very glad to have traded an indoor office for outdoor ones.” In October, she reports, “after three years of wonderful classes, and conceptual design work for a project in Brattleboro, Vermont, I received an Advanced Certificate in Native Plant Studies at the New England Wildflower Society in Framingham, MA. I am settling in to a new studio space in Brattleboro with my Chihuahua puppy to divide the year between landscape design and a new botanical costume jewelry business.” n Brian McGowan—See article on page 7. n Priscilla Novitt (formerly Miner) and her husband Adam were among Conway’s residential clients in fall ’08 and really enjoyed the process. Adam says, “What was once a warm but hazy vision is now a set of solid plans that we can work towards.” Priscilla reports, “We’re planning to ride from the source of the Connecticut River to the ocean on our tandem bicycle starting this spring—it’s sure to bring back many van-related memories.” n Sean Roulan spent the summer designing regenerative homesteads and helping build the food system on the north shore of Massachusetts in Gloucester. He writes, “I am on the advisory board for the local farmers market and also worked with Greenthumbs, a nonprofit teaching youth to garden. I have since moved to a home on the ocean which is a hub of sustainable activity. Guests are always welcome and the regenerative landscape always has an abundance of food. This time of year we are still eating kale and collards, our root cellar is fairly well stocked, and the cold frames contain lots of spinach for the late winter. I am now the lead designer for Dharma Harvest Inc. a non-profit focused on the design of pedagogical landscapes, which connect students to nature and their food system through place-based education and edible school yards. We are currently looking for schools to work with, and any leads would be a huge help. Our goal is to realize Michael Pollan’s intention of a vegetable garden/farm at every school, college and university,

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2008

Class Agents: Doug Guey-Lee (gueylee08@csld.edu), Amy Livingston (livingston08@csld.edu), Theresa Sprague (sprague08@csld.edu) Sarah Bray writes from NY, where she is project coordinator for New York Restoration Project, “NYRP is a non-profit started 13 years ago by Bette Midler to beautify the city. Two years ago, NYRP received funding from Mayor Bloomberg to start the million trees program, which is where I come in. My job is to find spaces throughout the city (not already under the NYC Parks and Rec. domain) to plant trees. It’s mostly off-the-cuff site assessment— not exactly the Conway way—but we visit a site, meet with the owners or managers, agree to a certain number of trees, and bring them trees based on what is safe to grow in the city, and what will hopefully provide the most benefits for the site. Everything goes very quickly. We aim to plant 14,000 trees per year (Parks plants the rest)— an ambitious goal. The most interest-

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ing parts of my day are meeting with clients, realizing how much has to do with nursery availability, working with contractors, and communicating with the other members of my million trees team. Clear, concise communication, as learned at Conway, can never be over-emphasized.” n Adrian Laine is working for Jones and Jones Architects and Landscape Architects in Seattle, WA, and writes, “The firm is an ecologically/sustainably minded firm that has been in the Northwest for over 30 years and has done some pretty cool stuff. The project that I was brought on to help with is an enormous desert zoo in Abu Dhabi, UAE, called the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort. Waylon is still living the dream of becoming a brewer and has found work at a very wellrespected local brewery called Elysian Brewing. We miss the New England fall, what with the maple leaves and all, but are enjoying ourselves here as well. I have joined an awesome dance troupe and will be performing dances from the central Asian region of the world.” n Amy Livingston reports, “Dillon Sussman, Andrew Weir and I are trying to drum up design work in the Northampton area and have met with several clients. I’m still interested in local food production and am trying to be creative in merging my design experience with building gardens. Hopefully before the snow falls, my partner and I will have finished our ‘second home’— our yurt!—and we’ll invite everyone in the area for tea.” Dillon and Andrew recently completed a pro bono project for a day care center in Leverett, MA. Developed in only four days from the initial meeting to the client’s deadline, their schematic plan will be used to apply for a grant for installation funds. The client is also including them on a proposal for a larger EEC (Department of Early Education and Care) grant. n

Amy Livingston ‘08, with boyfriend Reed, completed building a Mongolian yurt on Thanksgiving day 2008.

Conservancy in Jamaica Plain, MA, and reports, “I think it is a really great fit.” n Theresa Sprague recently attended a workshop hosted by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and writes, “The topic was resolving land use disputes and the focus was on mediation and facilitation. While there I met two Conway alums, Angela Seaborg ’03 and Lesya Struz ’00. It was very exciting to meet other Conway grads and we had some wonderful conversation.” Theresa nows works for the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District n Joey Weidle writes, “I have been building a permaculture garden at the house I am couch surfing at, and have been averaging at least one book a week. I can recommend anything by Euell Gibbons (I have read three), who is a forager from Pennsylvania who used to have his own TV show about finding things to eat in the wild. His descriptions of plants, uses, and former uses by native peoples are cheery and informative. I also found a lot on growing food in small spaces, keeping with my urban renewal interests. All of that from Berkeley. Lastly, I just picked up the book Radical Agriculture. It is a conglomeration of essays by the likes of Wendell Berry, etc. Very, very, very great read. It outlines how agribusiness and big oil set up the tax-loss farming system askew to favor ever-larger, ever-more fossil-fuel-guzzling, monocrop megafarms. Thankfully, it also touches on labor movements, reform, and directions that small, organic farms and coops can take. This was written in 1976, which is scary, because just now are these things coming around.” Joey also reports, “I found and identified my first edible chanterelle mushrooms on a recent forage!”

Courtesy Seth Pearsoll

Annie Scott.

The class of 2009 visited with Faith Ingulsrud ’82 and Nicko Rubin ’07 in Vermont this fall

Paul Cawood Hellmund

integrated with curriculum and feeding the food system in a closed loop. My design firm, Regenerative Intentions, focuses on cultivating community through the development of sustainable food systems. We work with local land trusts to put conserved land into active regenerative agricultural use. We design regenerative farms that increase the health of the land while providing an abundance of human needs such as vegetables, grass-fed meat, and fruit. Local green collar jobs are created in the process. As a small start-up we are always looking for work and have a passion for food and nourishing local economies through nourishing positive flows and the currencies which enable them.” n ■ The class of 2009 visited with Nicko Rubin in Vermont on their fall road trip. For more on Nicko, see p. 7. ■ n Victoria Schroth is teaching right now at a school in Fairfield County, CT. She writes, “During the spring and summer I did about 15 residential designs around the area. I found that teaching and design work could be quite a great combination for me. I get to influence young students toward environmental appreciation and at the same time get to supplement my income and fulfill my own creative desires with my landscape design work.” n See class of ’08 for more about

Courtesy photo

News from Alums

Seth Pearsoll, Jesse Froehlich, Michael Lance met up with Annie Scott ’07 and Sandy Ross ’05 at the

2008 ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO in Philadelphia. n Catherine Pedemonti recently started a new job as project manager at the Emerald Necklace

Seth Pearsoll ’08, Jesse Froehlich ’08, Michael Lance ’08, Sandy Ross ’05 and Annie Scott ’07 catch up at the ASLA conference in Philadelphia.


News from Former Faculty and Staff Walt Cudnohufsky, Founding Director (1972–1992), writes:

Jean Akers

Reflecting

Jean Akers, former Associate Professor of Landscape Design and Graphics (2002–2006), The crater rim of Larch Mountain has softened into a gentle ridge covered with a fir forest. reports on a July climb up Mount Saint Helens: “Yesterday was the mendation to turn around at the nice greatly anticipated climb up to the flat outcropping shared by the seismic crater rim of Mt St Helens, the volcanic monitoring station. The higher portion mountain that erupted dramatically of this mountain experience was not in 1980 and has been steaming and worth the risk without that essential building a dome within its crater on climbing gear. and off since then. I joined our parks department’s Americorps team on “But it was a beautiful day and beyond their team-building field trip and tried the sore muscles and stiff knees, it to prepare physically for the climb by feels good to have had a nice challengtraining in the months before. ing hike. I was the oldest in this group by fifteen years, and most were in “We were blessed with great weather their mid-twenties and I did not seem but challenged by the amount of snow to slow anyone down. At least that still remaining from last winter. Even characteristic felt satisfying.” on the lower elevations of the hiking trail that leads to the climb, there were Jean also reported on a less dramatic, still patches of snow.” Starting at 5 but beautiful hike around the considera.m. the group covered more than ably older Larch Mountain crater. (It three miles by sunrise. Gaiters helped last blew four million years ago.) Notkeep pumice, ash, and snow out of ing a swampy plant community, views their boots as they crossed snowfields of the Cascade Mountains, the thick and the glacial Swift River. cover of a forested plant community, an ancient hemlock forest and the Jean continues, “Based on my experiwide array of blooming plants—avaence, I would recommend the seismiclanche lilies, western trillium, coralroot monitoring station as the turning (a saprophytic orchid), vanilla leaf, point in the hike. From here, your bunchberry, redwood sorrel, stream expansive views to the east, south and violet, rock penstemon, and twinflower west afford visibility to Mt Adams, Mt marsh marigold—she concludes, “The Hood, and Mt Jefferson.” She also Larch Mountain crater loop was a noted, “The views peeking through delightful walk in the woods and a the unstable, crumbling, steep and sharp contrast to the blasted landsharp rocky ridge of the crater rim did scape of the upper reaches of Mt St allow glimpses of Mt Rainier, Mt Baker Helens’ younger crater. When life’s and the Olympic Mountain range far dramas erupt around us the wounds to the north.” and damage can be raw and unstable. Acknowledging the danger of the In the natural world, time (especially five-hour ascent, Jean states, “The geologic time) can change the physical ski poles I used were very helpful but landscape. For me, a good walk in the crampons would have made a world of woods adds a balanced perspective on difference. Those scary portions of the life. Outside lies magic. Go for a walk steeper ascent across the snow and icy in the woods!” glacier are the reason for my recom-

One bit of advice I can remember sharing with several classes as they left the Conway School to face their respective career opportunities was, “Try not to depend upon landscape architecture/ design as the sole outlet or expression of your creativity and your worthiness.” Despite landscape planning and design being an underappreciated but wise career choice, it has, by my experience, a tendency to deliver a slower than desired realization and satisfaction for most people’s creative needs. As I now reflect on my recent actions, I may have subconsciously attempted to honor this heartfelt advice. As a teenage youth, I can remember hot summer nights, lying on my parents’ little-used, thick, living room carpet, near the front screen door, grasping for any air movement and coolness. The ‘wissssh’ of traffic on the nearby highway was drowned out only by the Grand Old Opry in the radio near my ear as I laid my head on the soft carpet late into the night. It has proven to be an unextinguished and cherished memory. My introduction to music included this and, as a teenager, my feeble attempt at playing the guitar, often accompanied by Sister Judy on the accordion. Picture me at fourteen with my black and pink piping cowboy shirt! I later happily graduated to square dancing and ultimately, while in college, to square dance demonstration and square dance calling which included singing calls. My poor family endured my practices but banished me to the basement except when I needed their grudging assistance to test a particular square! My parents, both from large families, had met through singing and playing country music, but they had set it aside as they raised us nine youngsters. They were largely hands off, tolerant but admiring mentors with little to be proud of. Perhaps I have inherited just one of their “musical genes” with a need for greater expression? Four years ago I heard of and soon joined the “non-auditioned” Greenfield Harmony Chorus. It has been a delight to insert myself inconspicuously as was possible into healing music. This is a growing chorus of eightyfive people which gives semiannual

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News from Former Faculty and Staff

Courtesy photo

A doting grandfather

concerts of world music in original languages. It is led by a talented, charismatic scholar and director Mary Cay Brass. In the past year, joining a smaller hospice choir, Eventide, has presented more opportunities to sing at memorial services, nursing homes and at bedside. It is scary, rewarding and a healing activity, as much for us singers as for those who happen to be listening. This musical exploration has meant my taking a singing lesson or two, participating in workshops on discovering the “natural voice,” close harmony Blue Grass, African and Gospel Music. I am working on the daunting task of finding and using an untrained bass voice. Not unlike good design I am discovering that singing of almost any kind means submitting and submersing oneself into a community voice and identity, something larger and different than ourselves. I can report music as a delightful and rewarding discovery and a true complement to design as a means of doing good work in the world, often as a team member. I have continued to garden actively, to be an adoring grandparent to Levi Walter, two-and-a-half, and Phoebe, five-and-a-half, who have moved to Greenfield in the past year. I try to write regularly, and to paint. I started watercolor painting in 1992, when I left the Conway School, and it has become another important and auxiliary creative outlet. In recent years I especially enjoy watercolor teaching and may be hitting my “teaching stride.” In addition, WCA Assoc. Inc. has been a most satisfying design and planning practice for six of us including three Conway graduates. This report confirms that life for Susan and me is full and rewarding. We

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manage to work out twice weekly, walk regularly, and try to eat well. We dance, ski, canoe annually as seasonal punctuation. We delight in being active and being able to be active! Currently blessed with health and enthusiasm for life, we are most thankful for all the good in our lives. I/we can recommend pursuing multiple outlets for one’s fulfillment and as a partial but potent antidote for the many sufferings all those in the world endure. The world needs you, the active, positive, healthy and mindful planner and designer now as much or more than ever! All good wishes in finding/using personally your rewarding outlets! We especially enjoy when we get calls or visits from Conway alumni. So do give a shout! Maureen Buchanan Jones,

Associate Professor of Humanities (1993–2003), sends this news and poem: Hello dear people flung far and near and doing the good work of keeping our planet safe, I send you all the best wishes for your work and your very selves. I am quite dandy and doing what I never dreamed was possible. My business, Writing Full Tilt at writingfulltilt.com, is successfully four years old. Who knew I needed to listen to business plans as well as sun/shadow analyses? I lead writing workshops in Northampton and Amherst, Massachusetts, as well as lead a manuscript group and retreats. I have fostered four books through the publishing process for other writers: one fiction and three non-fiction. I have had eight poems published and a prose commentary on WFCR-NPR. My middle-grade novel is finished and in an agent’s hands. The sequel is in fledgling stages, while an adult novel is well underway. For those of you who remember, Glynis is a senior in high school, 5’9”, driving (Yikes!) and nearing her black belt in Karate. She studies Russian and Chinese. We are neck deep in the college application process. Doug, my phantom husband while at Conway, is

very much present and still playing jazz. My older daughter, Koren, and my grandson, Phineas, (11) fill me with joy. Here is a poem, because it’s what I can give.

Filter By Maureen Buchanan Jones

The path is hard packed and dusty brown. Soft, soft, silty dust like no talcum ever made, finer than a sift of flour, finer than gauze-woven silk. Green/brown grasshoppers abide in the silt, blend their corrugated legs, their faintly pulsing torsos into the seer dust. They know how to wait for rain. A child’s bare feet know too. They let the filtering silt seep into the small creases, fill the hollows of articulated toes. The child’s feet wallow in the heated silk, stay a moment to absorb the way the particled earth rises like mist, whispers a story. The grasshoppers know it. It’s a story of thirst, of closed eyes, of memories ground to sleep. It’s a story of waiting and disappearing. It’s a story of staying forever. The grasshoppers whirr as a shadow falls. Their wings blurr in springing flight. The child runs on. Both will remember. They will take in the rain as it carries, in those first great drops, the smell of silt flung open.


News from Former Faculty and Staff

Don Walker ’79, faculty member (1979-1992) and former Director (1992–2005), sends these thoughts:

Master of No One At the age of ten I began to be a wage earner. For ten cents carfare and twenty-five cents per rehearsal or church service, my career as choirboy had begun. Sixty-three years later I retired as director of the Conway School to my dream job: fulltime handyman and Don-of-all-trades. During the twenty-five years of owning this house, the to-do list grew to incredible lengths and continues to branch and twine astonishingly. Necessary repairs rarely give way to alterations or improvements. Tuck-pointing masonry foundation walls, replacing faucets, rebuilding brick walks and stone and wood steps, displacing cracked basement window panes (and finally learning to cut glass), designing and installing and painting picture rails to prevent nail holes in plaster walls (pictures still wait to be hung), and trimming branches from the sassafras tree that scrapes shingles from the roof, are a few memorable moments. Too often, sub-repair is necessitated by an erroneous action during initial fixup, as when breaking off a spark plug requires the removal of grill, headlights, radiator, air-conditioning condenser, and miscellaneous appurtenances, all of which are as rusted on as the spark plug had been. My first enormous project, one that

soured me on taking it to some other phase, was moving all my papers from Conway and attic and elsewhere to our “library” (and winter conservatory and storeroom) and organizing binders of course work for Paul, the thenincoming director. Months of daily sorting and searching and organizing, as the to-dos whispered and beckoned and screamed, abruptly halted when all was completed and shelved where dust gathers today. On to hose repair, soldering a leaky watering can, rehabilitating a metal garden cart and a wheelbarrow, replacing rotted parts and staining garden furniture, and preparing a vegetable garden of rutabagas, parsnips, garlic, leeks, beets, cucumbers, beans, pumpkins, and brussels sprouts. Somewhere in there came the gift of a laptop PC with the accompanying black hole of learning to work it and roaming through cyberspace. Emails to senators and congressman has become a frequent time devourer which shows little chance of easing now that elections are past, although there will be no more driving van loads of Smith College girls to Keene New Hampshire to canvass. Retirement has allowed frequent trips to Syracuse New York to visit family, one trip to Illinois to wish a speedy recovery to a longtime friend, several trips to Richmond Virginia to see my grandchildren and their parents, and a few stopovers on the eastern shore

of Maryland to stay with Sue Gutting after John’s untimely death. All travel is via Prius (at 50 mpg) or train rather than air. I agree with John who refused to fly because he had “too much respect for gravity.” This week finds me awash in apples. After years of near barrenness, our two apple trees produced a tremendous crop of blemished to near-perfect fruit. Every day I’m coring and paring and slicing to prepare apple sauce, apple pie, apple crisp, apple poor man’s pie (my favorite, thank you Darlene Bledsoe ’91), sautéed apples, sliced raw apples, dried apples, baked apples, and I’m about to launch into chutney after I store most of the least damaged apples in boxes on basement shelves. Yet late each evening I think I should be doing something meaningful. Richard Williams, Program Coordinator (1979–1987), writes: All best wishes to those I so gratefully remember and so sorely miss. Grateful? Yes, for your questions, your thoughtfulness, your refusal to accept professionally acceptable but poorly defined vocabularies and processes. Old age gives me opportunities (still in Conway, still in the woods) further to deepen the questions until they reveal answers. And I have Ellen’s continued help: enjoying retirement, she still “thinks conceptually” (Walt’s language) and still makes me aware of “What’s really (underlined) going on” (Don’s language). Thanks indeed.

News from Trustees Focusing on the theme of sustainable urbanism, Jack Ahern reports that he was busy this past fall with international sabbatical travel and research. In September he toured northern Europe giving lectures at universities and visiting innovative projects in Holland, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. The Hammarby Sjostad project in Stockholm and Kronsberg in Hannover Germany were impressive examples of contemporary sustainable urban development. The next trip was to China, with stops in Beijing, Hangzhou and Shanghai. The Chinese culture is definitely in mega-growth mode. It’s palpable! Impressive new structures and parks are everywhere, particularly

the Olympic Forest Park in Beijing— three times the size of Central Park in NYC, and with many sustainable features! The Chinese are acutely feeling the effects of rapid industrialization and urban expansion, notably, traffic and poor air quality. Hangzhou, the city Marco Polo called the most beautiful place on earth, still inspires with the memorable West Lake complete with causeways, temples, bridges, and lotus pools, all surrounded by misty green mountains. As of this writing Jack is headed to Sao Paulo, Brazil to co-teach a studio on urban green infrastructure at the University of Sao Paulo, and then a visit to Rio to see classic modern works of Burle

Marx, contemporary parks, and a few days at Copacabana and Ipanema. He plans to write a book on the research. Jack Ahern is a professor in the Depart­ ment of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at UMass Amherst. Serving on the academic committee, he has been a Conway trustee since 2000 and was recently re-elected to the board for a three-year term. Al Rossiter recently retired from being an administrator and English teacher at the Buckingham Browne and Nichols School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is also the proud grandfather of Eloise Allen Colhoun, daughter of — continued on page 36

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Dear Alumni and Friends: First let me say thank you for supporting the Conway School by volunteering, by participating, and of course by contributing! We are here and we are slowly growing, and in today’s climate that speaks volumes. Having recently joined the staff of Conway as the director of development and alumni services, I have found that working from the inside is vastly different from consulting at a distance. From the inside, you experience the creative energy of the students, which is such a powerful Conway force. My job is to take that energy, creativity, and spirit, and build a development and alumni services “office” that can support the program, students, alumni, faculty, and staff in all ways for years to come. Conway has aggressive fundraising goals that include a long-term vision for the whole campus, but important initial needs include insulation of the studio and much-needed energy star windows throughout. Practicing what we teach in innovative and sustainable design, we are studying alternative energy for the school. Linking past to present and creating additional teaching space as well as a possible revenue source over the summer months, we are also exploring moving the Delabarre barn from the old school site to the current one. The long-range vision for expansion of the property—both the building and the grounds—provides nineteen students room to spread out, find quiet spaces to work and common spaces to congregate for learning and socializing. And we are investigating how Conway can become a learning laboratory for new technologies: a test facility and a campus developed as an educational tool, with features such as demonstration gardens. Most important, scholarship dollars are needed so that all students with vision and desire can accept our offer of admissions knowing that they will receive some financial support. To foster collaboration, we are exploring funds to be set aside for projects from under-funded clients that would teach as well as create visibility for the program. All of these goals on a good day are fundable given the talent and support of our faculty and staff, and a truly committed, hands-on board of trustees. Some would argue that many of these goals are necessary for the program to move forward. But the current global financial crisis has forced us, and all other educational institutions and non-profits, to assess and re-evaluate closely every area, from best teaching practices to the development of our campus, from fundraising priorities to admissions. And this, we think, is good. Conway is operating in a thoughtful and fiscally responsible manner on a very lean budget. We embrace efficiency. Our faculty teaches at an extremely high level and we are collaborating with other scholars, professionals, and likeminded groups to provide an incredibly well rounded, hands-on, graduate educational experience unlike any in the United States. We are strong and our program works. Confronted with the downturn in the economic environment, we are proactive in searching out partnerships, in expanding our constituency (individuals, corporate partners, and foundation relationships), and in fine-tuning our message. This year, we will focus on expanding the annual fund, which, along with tuition, is the life-blood of the school. Expanding the annual fund will help us move beyond being a tuition-driven institution, one where losing just one student makes a big difference in our revenue stream for the year. We anticipate an increased need for scholarships and we have also made finding financial aid a priority. We will never be able to compete with larger institutions’ aid packages, but we must be able to offer support to students with limited means who are a good fit and who desire a Conway education. So this year, we will not only fund-raise, but we will also “friend-raise.” And you can help. Go online to www.csld.edu and make a gift of any amount to the annual fund. And remember, every gift makes a difference! If you have already made your gift or pledge this year, perhaps you could consider a “stretch” gift or challenge your classmates with a match. If you would like to make a gift of stock or transfer from your IRA, please feel free to contact me for assistance. You know we will make the most of your contribution and that it is greatly appreciated! You can also help by suggesting a spring or winter student project, visiting us for a lecture and bringing a friend, introducing us to others who might be interested in our program, maybe even someone in the corporate world who would be interested in partnering with us in creative ways. Our focus is the teaching of sustainable design and planning, and we are ahead of the curve. The need is clearly there for the work our graduates do and we have over five hundred fifty alums making a difference in the world and many more to come. Our most important goal is to continue to reach out and teach with the same energy, enthusiasm, and commitment for the next thirty-eight years, so I welcome your thoughts and ideas on how development and alumni services can support that goal. All the best,

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Kim Klein

Priscilla Novitt ’07

2008 r ep o r t ann u al

From the Director of Development and Alumni Services


Annual Fund Goal $95,000

Give Now

www.csld.edu/donatenow.htm

(with comparative figures for 2007) FY 2008

FY 2007

UNRESTRICTED PUBLIC SUPPORT AND REVENUE Contributions

87,052

In-kind contributions

10,235

41,150

521,800

407,800

75,760

80,835

Tuition and fees Project fees Workshop fees Investment income (restated for 2007) Miscellaneous income Total Unrestricted Support and Revenue Net Assets Released from Restrictions TOTAL UNRESTRICTED SUPPORT AND REVENUE AND NET ASSETS RELEASED

99,244

2,505

0

19,626

21,258

588

3,085

717,566

653,372

43,322

5,495

760,888

658,867

EXPENSES School activities

481,331

Administration

105,195

97,994

43,091

33,404

4,787

55,000

TOTAL EXPENSES

634,404

630,170

INCREASE/(DECREASE) IN UNRESTRICTED NET ASSETS

126,484

28,697

Fund-raising Other expenses

443,772

TEMPORARILY RESTRICTED NET ASSETS Contributions

2,217

Investment income/Interest earned -scholarship/loan fund

49,187

797

1,936

Net assets released from restrictions

(43,322)

(5,495)

INCREASE/(DECREASE) IN TEMPORARILY RESTRICTED NET ASSETS

(40,308)

45,628

NET ASSETS AT BEGINNING OF YEAR

1,024,830

950,505

NET ASSETS AT END OF YEAR

1,111,006

1,024,830

86,176

74,325

INCREASE/(DECREASE) IN NET ASSETS

Each trustee serves on one or more committees. They are joined by interested alums and are assisted by staff. Academic: Jack Barclay and Al Rossiter (Co-Chairs) Jack Ahern, and Nick Lasoff ’05, joined by Larissa Brown ’94, Sean Gaffney ’04 and assisted by Nancy Braxton and Ken Byrne. Campus Planning: Bill Richter ’77 and Aaron Schlechter ’01 (Co-Chairs), Nat Goodhue ’91, Susan van Buren ’82, Seth Wilkinson ’99, assisted by Dave Nordstrom ’04. Development and Outreach: Rick Brown (Chair), Hank Art, Robbin Peach ’78, and Ginny Sullivan ’86 joined by Todd Lynch ’05 and assisted by Kim Klein. Executive: Art Collins ’79 (chair), Bill Richter, Al Rossiter, and Rick Brown assisted by Paul Cawood Hellmund. Finance: Bill Richter (Chair), Rick Brown, and Art Collins, assisted by Dave Nordstrom.

Priscilla Novitt ’07

Trustee Committees

Trustees and staff at Oct. ’08 board meeting: Aaron Schlechter ’01, Paul Cawood Hellmund; Kim Klein, Al Rossiter, Rick Brown, Nat Goodhue ’91, Dave Nordstrom, Nancy Braxton, Bill Richter ’77, Ginny Sullivan ’86, Art Collins ’79, Jack Barclay, Nick Lasoff ’05. Not pictured: Jack Ahern, Hank Art, Robbin Peach ’78, Susan Van Buren ’82, Seth Wilkinson ’99.

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2008

The overall financial health of the school remains strong, as fiscal year 2008 saw an $86,176 increase in net assets, bringing the school’s total net assets to $1,111,006, exceeding the million dollar mark for the second year in a row. Total unrestricted support and revenue increased 10 percent, primarily as a result of full enrollment. Although unrestricted contributions and project fees were down from their record levels in FY 2007, the annual fund goal was achieved and the number of donors increased significantly (15%). As of June 30, 2008, the balance of Conway’s investment account was almost $450,000, with 90 percent of the portfolio made up of conservative investments: money market funds, certificates of deposit, 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.

STATEMENT OF ACTIVITIES FOR THE YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 2008

r ep o r t

Summary of Operations FY 2008

ann u al

Annual Report Fiscal Year 2008


News from Trustees

Selina Wood Rossiter ’02 and Sandy Colhoun. Al has been a Conway trustee for five years and serves as cochair of the academic committee. He was recently re-elected to the board for a three-year term. Aaron Schlechter ’01 writes, “I passed the Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control exam on my first attempt in July. It was quite difficult and I am happy to not ever have to take it again. Currently, my primary project has me back on the Staten Island Bluebelt in the Sweet Brook watershed working on the largest (quantified by dollar amount) infrastructure project in NYC DEP history ($34,000,000). The project was visited by Mayor Bloomberg last fall and covered by the TV networks. My firm, Creative Habitat Corp. won the bid for oversight of ecological restoration of the Brookfield Landfill. Last year, I completed the Central Dutchess Water Transmission Line (thirteen-mile-long twenty-four-inch water), eleven miles of which will become a rail trail in the next phase of work.” Aaron Schlechter is an ecological consultant and has been on the Conway board since 2006. He serves on the campus planning committee and was recently re-elected to the board for a three-year term. See also page 10 for an article by Ginny Sullivan ’86 about her experiences with a design in post-Katrina Mississippi. The trustees welcomed Robbin Peach ’78 to the board in February 2008 for a three-year term. She serves on the development and outreach committee. For more about Robbin, see page 4. Susan Van Buren ’82 and her husband Peter assisted with the school’s environmental assessment (see p. 5).

In Memoriam Remembering John Gutting By Don Walker

John Gutting, a landscape architect who was an early promoter of planting local indigenous species to create natural settings, died December 31, 2006 at his Church Hill, Maryland, home. He was 63. He is survived by his wife, Susan Gutting, daughters Rainey and Elizabeth, and son Jeffrey. John was a long-time guest teacher at Conway.

John Gutting was my student at the University of Illinois. Then he became my friend, my inspiration, and my teacher. For more than a dozen years he came from Church Hill, Maryland, to this school in Conway, Massachusetts, where his visit was the highpoint of the students’ year—and of mine. In his inimitable way, John would share with students his philosophy, his knowledge, his projects, his method of work, and some beer and pizza and war stories. John’s method was to learn everything possible about a situation, from global weather patterns to the feel of a gate handle. John’s extraordinary genius was to be able to translate all he learned and observed into wonderful physical landscapes—which he called living, enduring, and evolving sculptures. John’s projects are ecologically appropriate, exceed the needs and desires of his clients, and are subtly or stunningly beautiful. The absence of John’s good-natured, sure-footed, towering presence leaves a gaping tear in the lives of family, friends, and colleagues. John will be irreplaceably missed by his clients for whom he created amazing environments. John will be missed by Maryland, which he said he was in the process of reforesting one project at a time. John will be missed by this planet Earth, this “tiny blue dot” in the vast blackness of space—the only known site of life, which vitality he labored to sustain for his and all of earth’s offspring. And John is missed by me. I recently happened upon my notes from John’s talk at Conway in November 1998. As always, it was an explanation of why he did what he did and how he went about it—from enormity to minutia. Some excerpts: “A landscape design must be an invitation. Use serial vision. It must be a place worth exploring or it’s just a painting.” “How much time does it take? If it’s a ¼ acre site, say 12,000 square feet, and you spend two minutes per square foot to analyze, design, develop a planting design, construction documents, and oversee implementation, that’s 400 hours. This means ten to twenty seconds per square foot for a planting plan. I would like more time, but who can afford it? You want to work until it’s ‘right.’ You don’t want it built, seen, or published until it’s ‘right.’ So, usually, you spend more time than anticipated and can bill for.”

Esta Gallant Kornfield ’83 April 26, 1950–March 10, 2007

Birch Leaf, Liz Kushner ‘08

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Celia Pearson

— continued from page 33

Esta Gallant Kornfield died peacefully at home in California, with little pain, surrounded by people she loved. Her seven years of breast cancer were hard work, but she lived those years as she lived her whole life, fully and smiling. She continued to paint, bicycle, garden, teach, parent, meditate, travel, design landscapes, volunteer, Hula Hoop, walk Tyler the coyote-like dog and so much more, until very recently, always keeping a warm, beautiful home while making the time to deeply connect with many around her. Her dear friend, Alma Hecht ’02, writes, “My life would not be what it is without Esta. Indeed she was the reason behind my moving into design with horticulture and why I went to Conway. She was a blessing, and still is.”


Letters to the Editor

With this edition, con’text begins a new feature, Letters to the Editor. We invite you to respond to the issues raised in the magazine via: ■■ Email: editor@csld.edu ■■ Mail: Letters to the Editor, con’text, 332 S. Deerfield Road, PO Box 179, Conway, MA 01341 ■■ Phone: (413) 853-3034. Leave a message and your phone number if you would like your call returned. Letters addressing topics in the magazine are given priority. Letters may be edited for brevity or clarity. Once a topic has been addressed by letters in two issues, we will move on to new topics.

A Must Read The meatiest con’text ever! A must read! Thanks! —Peter Monro ’86

A Happy Privilege

I enjoyed the fall issue of con’text, especially the commencement remarks by Paul Hellmund. His account of the battle-worn suit of armor at Warwick Castle with the motto Nulla quies alibi (“no rest elsewhere”) is a heartening reminder of the happy privilege we have of facing the challenges before us. —Frank Morgan Atwell Professor of Mathematics, Williams College

Scribbles of Interest Seeing all the little sketches in your publication was a pleasure, and it tempted me to send along this copy of Drawings. As you’ll see, I use illustrations from it to enliven my otherwise full writing. If my scribbles interest you, please feel free to use them. There is no obligation, no charge, no permission needed. —Malcolm Wells

Malcolm Wells

Editor’s note: Malcolm spoke at graduation in 2004. We are pleased to include two of his drawings in this issue of con’text.

Conway Thriving From the last con’text I received, it looks like the school is thriving and changing in important ways. How wonderful to see full classes and such interesting projects. —Maureen Buchanan Jones Maureen taught humanities at Conway from 1992 to 2003. Recent news and a poem by Maureen appear on page 32.

Prepared for Challenges My trip through the snowy Berkshires to the Conway School of Landscape Design was a memorable one. In this idyllic location I found a deeply committed faculty, exceptional students, and a unique model for landscape

architecture education. In such a focused environment the support among students and faculty clearly forges lifelong friendships. The use of real projects for small towns and nonprofit organizations that might not otherwise afford the services of design professionals is a tremendous framework for learning. The graduates of the Conway School will surely be well prepared to take on the environmental challenges of our age. —Kurt Culbertson

Staff

Kurt is CEO of Design Workshop, Inc., a firm practicing landscape architecture and land planning in North and South America. He worked with students at the school in winter 2008.

Mollie Babize

Up There with the Best Having been in the education world for over forty years, I have examined many school catalogues, not only from my own schools, elementary through graduate school, but also from the colleges my three children attended. I must say I would put the recent issue of con’text up there with the best publications. The layout is easy on the eye (something that many publishers of these documents fail to appreciate), which makes the pages inviting rather than overwhelming. Equally impressive are both the quality of the writing and the variety of articles. Reading about the student projects, about the importance of laughter in our lives (Ken Byrne’s piece), the inspirational remarks delivered by Keith Bowers and Paul Hellmund at the 2008 graduation, and the numerous ways in which the Conway School is reaching out to the wider world all made me proud to be a part of this institution. Both the breadth and depth of the various articles reveal the richness of Conway. It may be the smallest graduate program in the country, but in terms of energy, commitment and talent, it is right up there with the largest and most prestigious colleges. Congratulations to Nick Lasoff ’05, Terry Blanchard and all those who contributed to the effort of making con’text such an engaging publication. —Al Rossiter Al has been a Conway trustee for five years. He recently retired from being an administrator and English teacher at the Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For news from Al, see page 33.

Faculty Paul Cawood Hellmund Director & President

Ken Byrne

Humanities/Core Faculty

Kim Erslev

Landscape Design & Graphics/Core Faculty

Jono Neiger

Regenerative Design/ Core Faculty

Bill Lattrell

Ecology Adjunct Planning Adjunct (Winter term)

Ethan Roland

Digital Design Methods Instructor

Administration 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, ©2009 by Conway School of Landscape Design, Inc. All rights reserved.

Nicholas T. Lasoff Editor

Terry Blanchard Graphic Design

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


Con’text now uses 100% post-consumer waste paper stock. By doing so, we have reduced our ecological impact by saving: ■■ 9 trees ■■ 586 pounds of solid waste ■■ 5,531 gallons of water ■■ 3.7 pounds of suspended particles ■■ 1,287 pounds of air emissions ■■ 1,341 cubic feet of natural gas

School News

Paul Cawood Hellmund

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The paper is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, indicating that all fibers in the paper stock have been taken in the most responsible manner.

Nick Lasoff ’05 and Nancy Braxton happily sheet mulch an old issue of con’text at the Conway School.

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con'text Spring 2009  

Magazine of the Conway School of Landscape Design