This week was my last week with the Olmsted Center. Boston has been great and even greater working with an incredible team. From week 1, I was welcomed with much guidance and information to gain. This opportunity has truly opened my perspective of landscape architecture and design as a whole. Landscape architecture is much more than I expected with much opportunity to be creative and innovative. As an architecture major focused toward structure design, I was under the expression landscape architects only focused on plotting and organization of vegetation though I was wrong. This ten week internship has proved the many avenues incorporated in landscape design including structures, roads, trails, and hydrology. This leads the designer to think further about visitor experience and views on site. Landscape architecture includes many of the same skills demanded for structural design and maybe even more with extensive research of the land including tree and plant species present. I have gained much knowledge I expect to enhance my design process.
My project was to complete a cultural landscape inventory for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. This gave me the opportunity to research Harriet Tubman’s life and involvement in Dorchester County. I learned of her many hardships while enslaved and separation from family members. She experienced a near death experience, having a 2 lb weight thrown at her head. This incident slowed her down briefly but yet leaded her to courageously plan and escape to freedom and lead many other slaves out of Maryland. Harriet Tubman’s life is a great story to tell and remember for not only the African American culture but anyone experiencing restraint from full potential in life. She will forever be an ambassador for freedom and equal rights in this country.
Along with research I worked to present a existing condition map for National Park Service land in Madison, Maryland right next door to the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge. This was great exercise for my skills in AutoCAD and Adobe Illustrator. After weeks of vigorous line work and frequently going back to make edits, I completed baseline documentation for a small portion of the 11,000 acre monument freshly proposed. I also worked with LIDAR data, orthographic photos and databased files from ArchGIS. I’m very anxious to return to school and put this knowledge to action. This summer I can say I definitely advanced in my architecture and design skills, presentation skills, and even learned more about my self in the ten weeks.
Wishing the best to my 2014 Designing the Parks Team, Ashley, Sara and Grace and a big thank you to the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation. I also want to thank the National Park Service and SCA for providing this awesome opportunity.