Through The Lens of Preservation: Design Decision Making

This week highlighted how critical planning is in the process of implementing alterations to historic landscapes. This was evident in the Fairsted Landscape Management Workshop that took place this past Wednesday at Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site. The workshop focused on vegetation management goals and priorities for each of the historic character areas on site. Chris Beagan and Eliot Foulds led the workshop alongside Superintendent Myra Harrison, Site Manager Lee Cook, Supervisory Park Ranger Alan Banks, Horticulturalist Scott Hyndman, and Gardener Mona McKindley. The DTP (Designing the Parks) interns also had the opportunity to participate in the workshop’s discussion of vegetation management priorities.


Alan Banks, Chris Beagan, Eliot Foulds walking through the Hollow (FRLA)

The greatest take away that I had from our participation in the workshop was the challenge of preserving historical character while also maintaining the health and sustainability of the landscape. Another consideration that I took away from the meeting was that historic character is preserved more efficiently through a holistic approach to problem solving and design. While the finer details of each tree or shrub do contribute to the character, the overall impression of each character area in relation to its historic significance is priority.

After the meeting, Angelina, Chris and I had the opportunity to walk through the Green Hill parcel with Mona McKindley and Bill Fuchs, who is a part of the Exotic Plant Management Team. With the help of Mona and Bill, we were able to learn about the native and historic plant species on site, as well as invasive species mitigation strategies. I also appreciated learning more about wildlife and habitat value on site. Once again the topic of conversation led to restoring historic character and sustainability by discussing the prioritization of plant species. Another consideration that was discussed was how each species contributes to the overall character of the site.


Chris Beagan, Mona McKindley, and I walking through Green Hill

Returning to the office, I was able to apply what I learned on site to my own work in developing a treatment plan and supplement graphics for the Green Hill parcel. Later in the week, I had the opportunity to demonstrate my work, and the work of the other DTP interns in a presentation for an important visit from ACE (American Conservation Experience). ACE sponsors my internship at the Olmsted Center through the CRDIP (Cultural Resources Diversity Internship Program). My main advisor at ACE is Katy Dalrymple. Katy is a Diversity, Inclusion, and Special Projects Coordinator at ACE out of their Salt Lake City office. She traveled to the Northeast to observe ACE interns at work, and to see what we have been working on in our respective roles. I appreciated the opportunity to present the enriching work we have all accomplished as interns on the DTP team.



Katy and I during my presentation of DTP Program

The DTP team closed out the week with local cultural exploration at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The museum held a “Neighborhood Nights” event featuring live music, art-making with local artists, horticulture projects, and networking with museum educators and staff. We even found a connection to the Green Hill parcel at the museum through some historic photographs!


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