This month’s newsletter from the Ecological Landscape Alliance (ELA) features articles by two Conway alums. ELA is a networking organization whose mission statement is “Advocating for responsible stewardship of land and natural resources in landscaping and horticultural practices.” Two recent Conway alums, Emily Davis ’14 and Kate Cairoli ’13, contributed pieces to the September ELA newsletter about some of their recent work as ecological landscape designers and planners. Click on the titles to read the full articles. Image above: Community Charrette, by Katherine Sargent Cairoli ’13

Designing with the Ecosystem: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel, Catch a Ride on It

Native insect predators, like this Praying mantis, were released this spring as a way to ensure balanced trophic levels in the garden, and therefore controlling pest populations ecologically.

Native insect predators, like this Praying mantis, ensure balanced trophic levels in the garden and control pest populations ecologically.

A landscape designer with a background in permaculture and geochemistry, Emily Davis ’14 shares her own list of ecological characteristics that form the design principles she applies to her work.

“I began studying ecology in earnest after I realized how much easier my work would be if I could quickly identify the structural and functional niches in a landscape, and then replicate them for a client. Or understand the complex and cooperative relationship between tree roots and the fungi, and promote them within my home orchard and food forest. Or internalize the trends of succession and eventual disturbance, and use that knowledge to help my community improve disaster resiliency.”

 

Community Design: How a New Pocket Park Came to the Near Northside

Team 2 presented the final design to a well-attended super neighborhood meeting. After the presentation, designers and an OAH board member fielded questions from community members to explain design decisions and the process of community involvement throughout the design phase.

Team 2 presented the final design to a well-attended super neighborhood meeting. After the presentation, designers and an OAH board member fielded questions from community members to explain design decisions and the process of community involvement throughout the design phase.

Katherine Sargent Cairoli ’13 combines her deep love of nature, passion for environmental justice and public health, and ecological design in a career in public interest design. She currently resides in Houston, TX and serves as the Director of Communications for Open Architecture Houston. She shares her experience leading an inclusive community process for the design of a new pocket park.

“Not all vacant lots are the same. Some are nestled between residential lots and looked after by neighbors; some are littered and adjacent to highways; still others have a nascent appeal that can benefit from the right intervention. One such lot is located along Fulton Street between Panama Street and Hammock Street in the Near Northside. Community members have long wanted to create a pocket park here. Recently, they worked with the Greater Northside Management District (GNMD) to realize that vision.”

We’d love to publish you! If you are an alum and interested in submitting an article for a future ELA newsletter or a Conway blog post, contact publications manager Rachel Lindsay ’15.