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Practice : Winter 2010
FEATURE ] LANDSCAPE INSTITUTE AT THE BAC Fertile Ground Sally's connection to the school came via an inquiry to COGdesign, a non-pro t organization that provides pro bono landscape design services for underserved clients. COGdesign (Community Outreach Group for Landscape Design) has facilitated over such projects in eleven years. e germination of this organization began in a Landscape Institute classroom. Creating a design for a client who really needed the service proved so satisfying to Lucia Droby and Rosalie Johnson that they began to seek out more projects. When inquiries for services started to mount, they appealed to their fellow members of the BSLA Chapter at Radcli e Seminars, a very active group of students and alumni. In , the chapter supported the establishment of a non-pro t status for the growing business. COGdesign now recruits designers for their clients from the ranks of interested LI students. Some projects begun in a single class can initiate a ripple that swells beyond the classroom, coming to fruition on a much larger scale. is was the particular result of a passionate activist, her community connections, and the choice of a teacher to support and validate a student's interests. Eleanor M. McPeck's 's seminar, American Landscape, -- , coincided with the earliest awareness of the steep decline of Olmsted's parks throughout Boston and New York. Student Cornelia McMurty's interest in preser ving Leverett Pond Park in Brookline prompted McPeck to use it for a class project in restoration. e class's presentation before Brookline's Park and Recreation Commission eventually netted , of HUD funds for Leverett Pond's restoration. A subsequent Pilot Survey of twelve Olmsted parks, conducted by McPeck's students, was published through a grant from the Beacon Hill Garden Club. e student's methodology was brought before the nascent National Association of Olmsted Parks, in an e ort to serve as a model for a national scale survey. According to Eleanor, who continues to teach seminars in landscape history, there existed no systematic way of describing and interpreting the deterioration of New England parks before students began identifying sites and developing inventories of them. It was, she says, their original studies of the early 's that helped fuel public policy decisions a ecting preser vation practice across the country. Bridging with BAC "It takes a certain kind of humility, vision and patience to work with the outdoor environment," acknowledges Ms. Heimarck. Having practiced herself for eighteen years, she knows how interdependent, as well as interdisciplinary, the eld is. "A landscape education should encourage students to talk critically about built and natural environ- ments, learn from them, and build capacity to listen e ectively. is profession is good for generalists who are able to assimilate knowledge of science, art, natural environ- ments, and social needs. At the LI, we recognize there are many di erent kinds of practice, many diverse applications of landscape training. We strive to provide a general armature to address personal interests through our electives and course structure. As in , Harvard sought to place the program in a setting that would sustain its excellence. e Landscape Institute at the Boston Architectural College will provide a richer array of opportunities for all of our students. I see this as a transformative moment for the Landscape Institute; at the BAC the program bene ts from being integral to an interdisciplinary environmen- tal design college. Our educational options and synergies have multiplied overnight." Many books published by LI students originated as research projects for coursework or theses. 33 PRACTICE