Connor Neville

Where are you from?

Ocean City, Maryland

 Where do you attend school?

B.S. (2016) – Agricultural Studies, UMES

(University of Maryland Eastern Shore – Princess Anne, MD)

*M.L.A. (2020) – Master of Landscape Architecture, SUNY-ESF

(State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry – Syracuse, NY)

*Second year of the program in fall 2018

What are your academic interests?

My academic interests are peaked in areas where the metaphysical (theory) meets the physical (practice), largely due to my affinities for theology, philosophy, logic, form, function, and beauty. I love the deep richness of study within the field of community design, particularly in how communities relate to their constituent elements of human interaction, contextual significance, and cultural prominence.

What are your career/educational goals?

My short-term goals while matriculating through the MLA program can be categorized into two major themes: 1) to gain insight and wisdom as to what ‘architecting the landscape’ involves as a profession and as an individual, and 2) to give of that newly-acquired knowledge as much as possible through sharing with others, voluntary service, or employment opportunities.

My long-range goals encompass a greater span and application of the same themes, but on a larger, international scale. My career goal is to launch and direct a design and consultancy firm that will engage with people in problem-solving projects around the world. Through missional and purposeful work as the motivating driver, I would love to travel the globe for my career endeavors of ‘making place’, reshaping/highlighting landscapes, and bringing restoration to communities of people.

What is your internship project focus? 

This summer, my internship (which is facilitated through a partnership between the OCLP and SUNY-ESF’s Center for Cultural Landscape Preservation “CCLP”) focus is on the only National Park site in the state of New Hampshire: the Saint Gaudens Historic Site in Cornish, NH. One of the component areas of the site is the Blow-Me-Down Farm (BMDF) property, which was recently acquired by the NPS in 2010. The primary period of interest for the BMDF site is pertinent to one of its most notable owners, Mr. Charles C. Beaman, Jr (1840-1900). Beaman was vital in establishing the Cornish Art Colony in the late 1890’s, which proved to be a pivotal art movement in the history of the United States.

My task is to produce period plans that illustrate how the farm’s cultural landscape changed throughout significant periods of development. I will be working in ArcGIS, AutoCAD, and Adobe Illustrator primarily, but will experiment in a few other programs for additional investigation. I am grateful to be working with historian, Dr. Sara French, who is responsible for writing the Cultural Landscape Report for the BMDF. More directly relating to the mapping and technical assignments of my work, I will be under the wise supervision of Mr. George Curry and Mr. John  Auwaerter, Co-Directors of the CCLP at ESF, as well as Mr. Chris Beagan, Historical Landscape Architect of the NPS Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation (OCLP).

Why did you choose to participate in a Designing the Parks Internship? 

My internship is hosted through the ESF CCLP in partnership with the OCLP, which facilitates an amazing network of people to become acquainted with! After working in the maintenance division of a national park for three years, I am eager to take part in some of the alternative aspects of park management by now working on the design side of landscape preservation and resource management. Additionally, the combination of this internship with my MLA degree happens to be a winning combination that I am extremely grateful for!

What are you looking forward to learning or exploring during your internship?

My excitement for what lays ahead is grounded in the expansion of my skills through experiential learning.

Travel-wise, I am excited about all of the trips! First to Harriet Tubman’s home in Auburn, New York, then to Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine, and then the trip to the Blow-Me-Down Farm site in Cornish, New Hampshire! I have never been to any of those places, but I am thrilled to go!

Along with trips and some of the workshop sessions yet to come, I am truly looking forward to becoming more familiar with and accustomed to the professional workflow that is carried out in NPS operations across the country. The standards for drafting plans, cartography, and even techniques used in modern-day geospatial technologies are all skill sets that I am eager to improve upon.

I also look forward to exploring the historical relevance of site features and associated landscape contexts. Through this process of investigation and map production, I hope to engage with some exploratory methods of landscape analysis as a form of topological forensics, in order to more-accurately place historic structures on-site where they no longer exist today.

What types of opportunities will Designing the Parks provide you with?

Of the different opportunities and exposures within the Designing the Parks internship, I am most grateful for what I am sure will be an enriching season of personal growth for the way in which I perceive and experience landscapes. I cherish the lens through which a landscape preservationist inventories and analyzes the resources that are contained within a site (existing and historic, natural and built, etc.). Intrinsic within the profession is a sense of wonder for the way things are and the way they were once formed. I believe that this internship will be a great conduit for that wonder to flow through.