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LAF: Leadership for the Future

By Ron Figura, LAF

Images courtesy of Landscape Architecture Foundation






The mission of the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) is "to support the preservation, improvement and enhancement of the environment." A national organization based in Washington, DC, LAF is advancing its mission through leadership in information, scholarship and research that supports sustainable design and planning.

Demonstrating this leadership in 2007, LAF has:

  • Tripled its scholarship awards over the past three years and will award $100,000 in 2008
  • Created the Olmsted Scholarship and will award the first $25,000 prize in the spring of 2008
  • Partnered with Island Press to publish the case study Biodiversity Planning and Design: Sustainable Practices
    by Jack Ahern and co-authors Elisabeth Leduc and Mary Lee York
  • Scheduled the seventh symposium, Leadership and Landscape Change for May 18- 21, 2008, in Charleston, South Carolina

A more in depth summary of these and other exciting initiatives follows.

Fostering the Next Generation of Leaders

The Leadership in Landscape Scholarship Program fosters a new generation of landscape leaders by providing scholarships and fellowships.

Multiple scholarship categories achieve a number of important goals:

  1. Rewarding superior student performance
  2. Assisting students with unmet financial need
  3. Encouraging diversity in education by sponsoring underrepresented populations, and
  4. Awarding fellowships encouraging original research.

In addition to financial resources, LAF promotes internship opportunities, which enrich traditional education with practical experience or support research.

Since its inception, the LAF Leadership in Landscape Scholarship Program has awarded over $585,000 to approximately 400 students; moreover, LAF continues to expand and improve its scholarship program.

The first Olmsted Scholarship will be awarded in spring of 2008. Given for leadership and vision, the $25,000 Olmsted Scholarship will be the premier award for landscape architecture students. LAF will use a two-stage selection process. The first stage will involve inviting nominations from the faculty of each LAAB-accredited school for a fourth or fifth year undergraduate or graduate student. A second stage will involve interviews with a select number of candidates.

Two new scholarships were established this year: The Stephen G. King Play Environments Scholarship and the LA Forms Design for People Scholarship.






Sarah Misner


The Stephen G. King Play Environments Scholarship
$5,000
Sarah Misner,
State University of New York






Bonnie Kate Kirn


Landscape Forms Design for People Scholarship
$3,000
Bonnie Kate Kirn,
Cornell University

Including these new scholarships, the following winners were awarded national scholarships:






Joshua F. Schwartz


The Courtland Paul Scholarship
$5,000
Joshua F. Schwartz, University of California at Davis






Paul Cozzolino







Elizabeth Lee


The ASLA Council of Fellows Scholarship
$4,000 each
Paul Cozzolino, Texas A&M University
Elizabeth Lee, California Polytechnic State University






Erich Paul Bilal


The EDSA Minority Scholarship
$3,500
Erich Paul Bilal,
University of Georgia






M'Lynn Lehrmann


The Rain Bird Intelligent Use of Water Scholarship
$2,500
M'Lynn Lehrmann,
Texas A&M

In addition to the scholarship, LAF offers fellowships that require applicants to submit proposals for review by prominent juries.

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship awarded two fellowships in the amount of $4,000 each to Cary Ann Fathman, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and Lisa Uddin, University of Rochester.

Ms. Fathman's study, A History of the Stark Brothers' Orchard on North Manitou Island, will outline the history of a historic orchard in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, Michigan, and lay the groundwork for development of an orchard management plan in order to further the preservation efforts of the orchard.






Cary Ann Fathman, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis


Ms. Uddin's dissertation, Breeding Grounds: American Zoos and the Public Display of Endangered Species, investigates zoological gardens of the 1960's and 1970's and their relationship to discourses of civic renewal. The dissertation asks how the emergence of naturalistic and multi-species habitats was influenced by anxieties over the perceived deterioration of American public life, and how its environmental aesthetics came to express hopes for a rebirth.






Lisa Uddin, University of Rochester


The Dangermond Fellowship, which was created to encourage the innovative use of geographic information systems (GIS) as a framework for exploring integrated approaches to landscape assessment and intervention, provided a $10,000 fellowship to Keera Pullman, Louisiana State University.






Keera Pullman, Louisiana State University.


Ms. Pullman's proposal, 3-D Visualization and Analysis of Severe Tropical Cyclone Larry, will offer scientists a new tool for studying cyclone behavior and its effect on landscapes. The project promotes increased awareness and understanding of storm patterns and processes and improved planning and management of urban and natural resources.

In addition to these national awards, the CLASS Fund awarded $22,500 to 14 students and the Peridian International, Rae L. Price, FASLA Scholarship awarded two $5,000 awards this year.

Supporting Critical Analysis of Designed Places and Significant Issues

The highly acclaimed Land and Community Design Case Study Series, which documents innovative projects and analyzes contemporary topics, is enabling landscape architects to meet the public's demand for more livable communities by enhancing their skills and knowledge base, informing public policy, and providing material for professional and public education.






Biodiversity Planning and Design: Sustainable Practices by Jack Ahern and co-authors Elisabeth Leduc and Mary Lee York. The publication shows how an interdisciplinary approach led by planners and designers with conservation biologists, restoration ecologists, and natural and social scientists can yield successful results and sustainable practices and minimize habitat loss and degradation.


The series has added a new title with the publication of Biodiversity Planning and Design: Sustainable Practices by Jack Ahern and co-authors Elisabeth Leduc and Mary Lee York. The publication shows how an interdisciplinary approach led by planners and designers with conservation biologists, restoration ecologists, and natural and social scientists can yield successful results and sustainable practices and minimize habitat loss and degradation. The book features the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington; the Crosswinds Marsh Wetlands Mitigation Project in Wayne County, Michigan; the Florida Statewide Greenway System; and the Fort Devens Stormwater Project in Ayer, Massachusetts.

LAF and Island Press have identified green roofs and urban stormwater management as priority topics and are now working together to identify authors for the upcoming case studies.

LAF is also in the process of finalizing a contract with the University of Washington Press to publish the Urban Community Gardens case study.

In addition to Biodiversity Planning and Design, the list of published case studies available through Island Press includes:

  • Village Homes: A Neighborhood by Design, by Mark Francis
  • The Paris Lexington Road: Community Planning and Context Sensitive Highway Design, by Krista Schneider
  • Urban Open Space: Designing for User Needs, by Mark Francis

To order these publications please visit www.islandpress.com.






Charleston Waterfront Park


Creating a Vision for the Future

Complementing the case study series, the Landscape Futures Initiative is analyzing how the landscape planning professions need to respond to global landscape change. A series of six symposia on the drivers of landscape change--urbanization, culture and technology, connectivity, economy and politics, global environmental threats, and population and social dynamics--have been held over the past five years.

The seventh symposium, Leadership and Landscape Change will be the capstone of the six symposia that came before and is scheduled for May 18- 21, 2008, in Charleston, South Carolina. Hosted by Clemson University the symposium will include a broad range of exciting speakers and topics and address how the land design and planning professions need to evolve to creatively solve complex and rapidly evolving challenges.






San Francisco is a City of Lights, so the 22nd Annual LAF Benefit held on the 52nd floor Carnelian Room Restaurant was a fitting start to the Annual ASLA meeting. The LAF board along with professional and industry leaders met for the City Lights Scene dinner to enjoy the spectacular view and marvelous food.


Foundation Website: www.LAfoundation.org

The LAF website is now more interactive and comprehensive and includes several new sections, along with prominent placement of "action" buttons--how to sponsor a program or event, donate, register, learn more, or become involved.

Bringing the Landscape Architecture Community Together

Join the LAF board and professional and industry leaders at the City Lights Scene, the 22nd Annual LAF Benefit Dinner.

LAF invites you to a spectacular evening high atop one of the tallest buildings in San Francisco. The 22nd Annual LAF Benefit Dinner, City Lights Scene, will be held on the fifty-second floor of the former Bank of America World Headquarters building in San Francisco's famed Carnelian Room Restaurant, offering unparalleled views of the city.

The event will be held on Friday, October 5 from 6:30-10:30 PM. Guests will be invited to savor a cocktail and a sumptuous selection of the finest California cuisine as they luxuriate in unsurpassed views from high atop San Francisco.

Proceeds for this event benefit the LAF Leadership in Landscape Scholarship Program. Admission is $175 per person. To purchase tickets or sponsor, please visit www.lafoundation.org/citylights or email rfigura@lafoundation.org for ticket and sponsorship information.

Please visit www.lafoundation.org to learn more about how to become involved with LAF. LAF is a 501© 3 non-profit organization and your donation to LAF is fully tax deductible.



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