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Staff

Founder + President

Charles A. Birnbaum, FASLA, FAAR, is the Founder and President of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF). Prior to joining TCLF, Birnbaum spent fifteen years as the coordinator of the National Park Service Historic Landscape Initiative (HLI) and a decade in private practice in New York City with a focus on landscape preservation and urban design. His recent projects include two web-based initiatives: What’s Out There (a searchable database of the nation’s designed landscape heritage) and Cultural Landscapes as Classrooms. His has authored and edited numerous publications including the Modern Landscapes: Transition and Transformation series (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012), Shaping the American Landscape (UVA Press, 2009), Design with Culture: Claiming America’s Landscape Heritage (UVA Press 2005), Preserving Modern Landscape Architecture (1999) and its follow-up publication, Making Post-War Landscapes Visible (2004, both for Spacemaker Press), Pioneers of American Landscape Design (McGraw Hill 2000) and The Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes (National Park Service, 1996). In 1995, the ASLA awarded the HLI the President's Award of Excellence and in 1996 inducted Birnbaum as a Fellow of the Society. He served as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design during which time he founded TCLF. In 2004, Birnbaum was awarded the Rome Prize in Historic Preservation and Conservation and spent spring/summer of that year at the American Academy in Rome. In 2008, he was the visiting Glimcher Distinguished Professor at Ohio State’s Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture. That same year the ASLA awarded him the Alfred B. LaGasse Medal and in 2009 the President’s Medal. Birnbaum is currently a Visiting Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning + Preservation and a frequent blogger for The Huffington Post.

Ex-Officio, Legal Counsel

Robert Griffith is a partner in the Louisville, Kentucky, office of Stites & Harbison, PLLC a law firm with over 260 lawyers in offices located throughout the southeast. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Centre College, a Master of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Kentucky. Mr. Griffith began his career in the New York offices of White & Case. He is a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Kentucky Superlawyers, and Chambers USA’s Best Lawyers for Business. Throughout his career he has specialized in business litigation. More recently, his representation of River Fields, Inc. and the Bluegrass Conservancy has resulted in an increased concentration on conservation easements, issues surrounding the protection of historic and environmental resources, and non-profit governance. He has been an active community volunteer and has served as the Chairman of the Board of Louisville’s Speed Art Museum, Chairman of the Better Business Bureau of Louisville, and President of the Episcopal Church Home. He is currently President of Preservation Louisville, Inc. and Secretary of Yew Dell Gardens. He lives with his wife, Mary, on their family’s 700-acre farm in Meade County, Kentucky.

Director of Communications

Nord Wennerstrom handles TCLF's public relations and strategic communications and has more than twenty-five years of experience in public relations and marketing. Prior to joining TCLF, he ran his own public relations firm (TCLF was a lead client), was Director of Communications at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and was an executive at The Fratelli Group public relations firm in Washington, DC. At Fratelli, Wennerstrom's principal client was the National Geographic Channel which he helped launch and promote for seven years (clients also included the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Discovery Communications, Sun Microsystems, Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, Magazine Publishers of America, and many others). He has also written art criticism for Artforum and features for Art & Antiques magazines, was an art dealer, and worked for the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the US House of Representatives. Wennerstrom holds a BA in Political Science from George Washington University.

Project Manager

Nancy Slade is the Project Manager for the Pioneers of American Landscape Design Initiative. This series utilizes multiple formats—including biographical profiles, videotaped and transcribed oral histories, and print publications—to educate, inspire, and promote the active sharing of information. She comes to The Cultural Landscape Foundation after working at the National Park Service, Historic Landscape Initiative (HLI) in Washington, D.C. There her job responsibilities included management of the Index of Designed American Landscapes. She also coordinated several HLI publications, including Preserving Modern Landscape Architecture II (2004), Design with Culture (2005), and Shaping the American Landscape (2009). In addition, she has authored essays on John Simonds and Lester Collins for Shaping the American Landscape. She holds a Masters of Landscape Architecture from Virginia Tech.

Senior Project Manager

Courtney Spearman is a Senior Project Manager at TCLF. Her responsibilities focus primarily on What's Out There, include writing and editing What's Out There content, coordinating volunteers, planning What's Out There Weekend and Garden Dialogue events, and managing grants and strategic corporate and university partnerships. Before joining TCLF, she worked as a landscape architect for EDAW/AECOM in Alexandria, Virginia. Her educational background includes Masters degrees in Landscape Architecture and Architectural History from the University of Virginia and Bachelors degrees in History and Art History from Rice University. Ms. Spearman has published writings about a private Thomas Church garden in Washington, D.C. and the James Rose Residence in New Jersey.

Finance Manager/Program Associate

Suzanne Garza oversees financial and administrative programming for The Cultural Landscape Foundation. She comes to TCLF with a background managing non-profit organizations including several professional membership societies and a foundation working to fund national and international development projects. In the private sector, she has worked in publishing and advertising, with a range of experience including operations, accounting, and grant management. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree from Georgetown University.

Project Manager

Amanda Shull currently administers The Cultural Landscape Foundation's silent auction, and Landslide programs and exhibitions. She holds a Bachelor's degree in cultural anthropology from Bard College and a Master's degree in landscape architecture from Virginia Tech. Prior to working at TCLF she worked in private practice and completed a professional internship in Ireland with the Galway County Council through the US/ICOMOS International Exchange Program. While there she participated in a survey of historic demesnes for Ireland's National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Project Associate

Matthew Traucht provides support for What’s Out There, Landslide, Garden Dialogues, and other TCLF programs. After working for a number of years for a non-profit organization documenting wilderness in the Southwest, Matthew received his Bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from the University of New Mexico. He worked as an archaeologist on prehistoric sites and owned an organic farm near Santa Fe until he joined the Peace Corps and moved to The Gambia, West Africa. These experiences helped him discover landscape architecture as a way to combine his interests and he received his Master’s degree in 2013 from the University of Minnesota. Through that program, he studied in the Netherlands and Italy and interned with UNESCO where he documented cultural sites in Kiribati.