The second year Landscape Architecture Master Candidates were featured in the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association winter newsletter! This past fall, they worked on a trail easmennt with the Cedarbrook Country Club involving designing a woodland restoration plan, numerous elements incorporating education, and a boardwalk design including ADA accessable parts of the trail. Follow this link to read more!
This last week, the 25th Annual New Directions of the American Landscape was held on our Temple, Ambler Campus. Hosted by one of our local favorites and president of the NDAL, Larry Weiner! The theme of the conference, Assessing and Reassessing Ecological Landscape Design, touched on topics of horticulture, landscape architecture, ecological restoration, and novel ecosystems in the framework of design, intent, and science. The speaker list included Nancy Aten, Travis Beck, Kurt Culbertson, Nigel Dunnett, Carol Franklin, Carol Gracie, James Grimes, Rebecca McMackin, Darrel Morrison, Marc Pastorek, Thomas Rainer, and Larry Weaner.
Two of our local favorites, Larry Weaner and Carol Franklin spoke on day one of the conference. Larry Weaner’s talk was informative and innovative, as was his talk at the 2013 ASLA conference in Boston this past November. His message: plant what is appropriate, know what your landscape is trying to tell you and know what plants will thrive. He discussed his own backyard experiments with the lovely Aquilegia canadensis, Wild Columbine, and how it simulates nature as well as how to utilize growing season and smart matinence to encourage your native landscapes to thrive. Carol Franklin, founding principle at Andropogon, provided incredible energy in her closing talk on day one of the conference. Carol somehow was able to preach less is more in the landscape by using language that was so decorative and unique (written in my notes about not so artistically placed shrubbery: “hiddly-piddly pimples on the landscape”). I look forward to hearing her speak again in the future.
From a more horticulturalist stance, Carol Gracie provided a great overview of how specific wildflowers such as dutchman’s breeches and may apple grow, are dispersed and pollenated in nature. Her book, Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast: A Natural History, displays beautiful photographs telling the story of their life coexisting with their environments. Rebecca McMackin, Director of Horticulture at Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, discussed how the park faired after Hurricane Katrina. Going through an extensive plant list, she and her staff have carefully monitored what plants thrived or barely made it in the flooding.
As a landscape architect, it was especially thrilling to hear Nigel Dunnett discuss his plantingplans for the London Olympic park, offering thoughts on novel ecosystems and serving purpose for beauty and function. Beginning with an overview of his travels, and how nature organizes itself in such stunning ways in the natural environment, he makes a case for putting vegetation in the place it will thrive. Slide after slide, he demonstrates how knowing plant communities can help bolster design, and ecology- knowing how to mix them in an ecologically sound way is what evokes a sense of awe in the general public. By utilizing succession, he creates landscapes that are incredibly dynamic and take on completely different faces as the seasons change. Thomas Rainer also discussed this idea of novel landscapes, in what is appropriate. One of his most important take aways was how, as a horticultural community advocating for native plants we need to get people involved through the beauty and function of the plant, not because “ITS THE RIGHT THING TO DO!!!!!” I found his talk thoughtful, and quite appropriate for much of the discussion within the ecological restoration community.
Closing the seminar the last two discussions were led by Travis Beck of the Mount Cuba Center and a team of Darrell Morrison and his mentee Nancy Aten. Darrell and Nancy discussed their projects and closed with a wonderful exercises, where they each had large swaths of sketch over a map of our Temple Ambler Campus and demonstrated conceptual designing to a classical medley. A powerful experience, and one that each audience member was visibly touched by. The third-year graduate studio has Darrell come as he leads similar design exercises (we are excited to have him back next fall!)
Overall, the conference was an enriching experience, covering a wide spectrum of issues within landscape architecture and horticulture. We are looking forward to the 26th annual NDAL speaker list!
Teresa Pereira, second year in the Landscape Architecture Program, was recently featured on the Island Press Field Notes with an article titled “Why and How: Interdisciplinary Perspectives for Ecological Restoration” She reflects on her visit to the 2013 Global Society for Ecological Restoration Conference and discusses the “Why Restore? ” video that was chosen as the contest winner by Island Press. Please click the title above to read the full article.
“As I settle back into my routine (and coursework) in Philadelphia, I am reflective of the takeaways from the Society for Ecological Restoration’s World Conference in Madison. I got to peel into deeper layers of the question that Island Press prompted students to answer in the video contest: why restore? As there are countless of perfect reasons to increase the personal, ecological, cultural, and socio-economic values of our degraded landscapes, it is the how that I was interested in hearing about at the conference. It is the how that transforms challenges into active communities in search of solutions—and what a great group of communities that came together last week…..”
The student chapter of the Society of Ecological Restoration is collecting white oak acorns. For Earthfest this year, we would like to give the children white oak seedlings that they can take home and plant. The white oak acorns will sprout right away, so we should have small seedlings by Earthfest. The red oaks will not sprout until spring, so we are not collecting those. We had over 300 children come to our table last year so I am hoping to collect about 400 acorns, since many may not sprout. Attached is a picture of a white oak (Quercus alba) leaf and acorns for identification purposes. The acorns are about 1 inch long.
Teaching Ecological Restoration (Not Restoration Ecology). Recently, several of our students and professors attended the Global Society For Ecological Restoration Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. This article featured the presentation done on the Master of Landscape Architecture program here at Temple University. Please read on!
Originally posted on The Dirt:
In a session at the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) conference in Madison, Wisconsin, ecologist John Munro worried that SER is moving away from its focus on practical, on-the-ground, ecological restoration projects in favor of more passive, “academic research on restoration ecology.” Pointing to Temple University’s landscape architecture and horticulture program, which features the first ever-accredited concentration in ecological restoration, he said the focus must remain on “doing rather than studying.” His fear is that many restoration ecologists can no longer “see the forest for the statistics.”
The solution, according to Munro, is to boost ecological site design education in both landscape architecture and ecology degree programs. Landscape architects and restoration ecologists must understand “specifications, logistics, sequencing, planning. This can’t be handed to other professions.” A landscape architect in Philadelphia discussed the ecological issues landscape architects must increasingly know about. A landscape architect professor and graduates from the Temple program then discussed their innovative program and what they are doing with what they’ve learned.
Landscape Architects Need Ecological Know-How
Two students Teresa Pereira and Taylor Keegan were announced the winners of the Island Press and Society for Ecological Restoration’s video scholarship contest. The video, posted below, was a narrative of a Landscape Restoration Workshop taught by John Munro at Temple University. Pereira and Keegan specifically looked at how Landscape Architecture and Ecological Restoration are a necessary and beautiful marriage, successfully introducing and solving environmental issues within our world. Please tune in and see how we answer the question “Why Restore?”